9 Things to Consider When Hiring a Personal Trainer

It’s time to get serious. What better way to put your get-fit plan into motion than by hiring a personal trainer? If you’re stumped on where to start, we’ve got you covered. Here are nine things to consider before choosing your next great fitness advisor…

1. Credentials

You don’t want just anybody teaching you how to get fit. Your personal trainer should be fully certified by a recognized program, such as the American Council on Exercise (ACE), National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), or American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). It also helps if your trainer has a college/university degree in exercise science or nutrition, although it isn’t mandatory. If it’s been a while since your trainer became certified, find out if he or she has taken any continuing education courses. Just as personal trainers are in the business of helping people progress, they too should be continually growing in their field.

2. Know-How
While certification comes down to a piece of paper, know-how shows itself in the gym. A good personal trainer will be able to tailor a program just for you, and help you see better results than you’ve achieved on your own. Can’t seem to get out of a plateau? The right trainer will have a strategy to pull you out of it. Since so much of fitness happens outside of the gym, nutritional knowledge is equally important. Your personal trainer should be able to guide you on what foods to eat, and when, to help maximize your workouts.

3. Compatibility
You know the expression, “Listen to your gut”? It applies to almost any situation in life, including shopping for a personal trainer. Trust your instincts when it comes to the first impression a potential candidate makes on you. If you don’t get a good vibe from the person, move on. You should genuinely like your personal trainer and enjoy spending time with them. Think about it. In some cases – like those 6:00 am workout sessions – your personal trainer could be the first person you see and talk to that day… before your morning coffee. At times like these, compatibility will be crucial. Sure, your personal trainer isn’t getting paid to be your best friend. But he or she should still be a pleasant person to work with.

4. Empathy
Getting in shape can be an emotional journey, so choose someone who understands and empathizes with your struggles. It doesn’t mean your personal trainer needs to have a history of being overweight, but he or she should recognize that change isn’t easy. As you start forming new, healthier habits (like going to the gym and eating better), your personal trainer should support you with positivity and compassion, not negative reinforcement.

5. Passion

Is your personal trainer just going through the motions, checking their phone the whole time they should be spotting you? Do they look like they’d rather be anywhere else but there? If so, you’ve found yourself a dud. Your personal trainer should be great with people, invested in your results, and exude a passion for fitness. Of course, it helps if they’re in shape too. Not only does it prove that they practice what they preach, it gives you something to strive towards. Someone who lives and breathes fitness will also be a great resource for any questions you might have about the latest fitness tech to help you stay on track.

6. Training Style
Every personal trainer has their own way of doing things. For example, some prefer bodyweight exercises, while others are masters at machines and dumbbells. There are also different areas of focus and expertise – like sports conditioning and performance versus general fitness. You might be used to exercising a certain way, but opening your mind to a new training style can pave the way for better results. On the same note, your personal trainer should be equally flexible. You don’t want someone who has only one way of doing things, or insists on the same five exercises all the time.

7. Price
Like any other service, personal training doesn’t come free. Rates can vary significantly depending on many factors – such as the trainer’s credentials, experience, expertise, location, and session length. You’ll want to decide ahead of time how much you can afford and/or are willing to spend for this service. You shouldn’t pay through the roof, but you also want to be happy with your results. If a personal trainer can help you ditch stubborn weight you’ve been carrying for years, then the money will be well spent. If cost is an issue, consider purchasing a series of sessions for a discounted package rate, or ask about semi-private sessions shared between you and a couple other clients.

8. Availability

If you can only work out at certain times of day – such as in the morning before work, or later in the evening after your kids have gone to bed – then you’ll need a personal trainer whose schedule can adapt to yours. You’ll also want to figure out the “where.” Will you go to your personal trainer (at their fitness club or studio), have them come to you (at your home gym), or meet you halfway (such as at a local park)? Commitment is key to your fitness success, so make sure your personal trainer is available when and where you need them.

9. Reputation
You could read all the reviews on a product or service you want, but it’s the opinion of people you know and trust that matters most. Consumer research backs this up: People are 90% more likely to trust and buy from a brand recommended by a friend. When you’re ready to hire a personal trainer, ask around. Someone in your family or friend circle has likely been in the same boat as you before. If they found a personal trainer who delivered a great experience and great results, you’ve got a winner. Make the call to get on their client list as soon as possible!

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About the Author: Nicole Kepic

Nicole Kepic is a fitness & nutrition expert who specializes in health, wellness, and lifestyle writing. She has also had articles published in a variety of fitness and bodybuilding magazines. When she’s not busy writing for her clients, Nicole is either keeping active with her family or dreaming of her next sunny vacation. www.nicolekepic.com

Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and is not meant as medical advice, nor is it to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Please consult your physician before starting or changing your diet or exercise program. Any use of this information is at the sole discretion and responsibility of the user.