Updated: Nov 16, 2018
Does it feel bizarre to be reading a personal trainer's website that is helping you find the right personal trainer for YOU? Shake that feeling off, because I'm here to help you find the trainer that is going be the best fit for you based on your goals, personality, and a bunch of other stuff that you can check out below. And who knows, that trainer may just not be me.
I'm not only a trainer, I've been - and continue to be - a client, and as with any profession, there are amazing trainers out there who are going to work diligently to get you to and through your goals. And conversely, there are also duds.
Read on to learn how to shop around for a trainer that is going to help you be your best self!
Consultation & Assessment
Consultations are an opportunity for your potential trainer to get to know you. They will ask about your health, exercise history, current fitness routines, stresses, and goals. Pay close attention to how well this person listens to you and asks follow-up questions. This meeting is about YOU, because your training will be about, well - YOU.
High-quality trainers are going to listen to your story and want to learn more about you.
During this meeting, take the time to interview your potential trainer. Learn more about their training style, inquire about their "ideal" client, and ask about the services that they provide. Dig deep to learn about anything the trainer offers outside the training session. Do they provide check-ins via email/text? Additional workouts when you're not together or when you're traveling? Do they provide any resources that help you make better decisions about your health?
It's important to determine your goals prior to your consultation. Even the most amazing trainer may not be the trainer for you. Personal trainers are like snowflakes, and each individual will have different areas of expertise. If you're looking to become a bodybuilder, it would behoove you to choose a trainer with a background in - well, bodybuilding. Looking to get back into the gym after focusing on your career and having a couple of babies? You're going to want to seek out a trainer who specializes in behavior change and maybe weight management. Are you coming back to training after an injury? After working with a Physical Therapist, you might want to consider hiring a trainer with a corrective exercise background. Don't fret though, if your goal isn't fully fleshed out, your trainer can help you develop goals that matter to you.
Organization, Personality, & Professionalism
When meeting with your potential trainer, ask the questions that matter to you. You're building a relationship with a person whose purpose is to guide you to a healthier lifestyle.
Do you need someone who is going to get loud and challenge you out of your comfort zone?
Do you want someone who quietly instructs and provides details about every movement?
Can they explain the "why" to what you're doing?
Are they a know-it-all or do they make you feel comfortable and safe?
Effective trainers will have realistic expectations and not try to sell you on a gimmick or a quick fix. For example, you can't target fat burn - that beautiful gift comes off as it pleases.
What are your preferences? Some people may prefer hands-on guidance. Others may want a kick start with a plan to take ownership of their training after a period of time. Some really need an accountability partner that get them to and through those tough "I'm not feeling it today" workouts. Be open with your needs and ask questions to determine if the trainer is the best trainer for you!
Your trainer should be organized and prepared for your training. Workouts should be progressive and get you closer to your goals each time. They should be attentive with appropriate spotting and observing form to make sure that exercises are performed correctly.
Stop; before you read on, here's a reality check: Your trainer is not a miracle worker. Let's say that you're training 3 hours per week, there are 165 hours left in the week that you are on your own. Consistent sleep, movement during your work hours, stretching, meditating, and how you fuel your body are essential catalysts along your fitness journey. Talking to your trainer about hang ups outside training sessions can help them design a program and even provide you with additional resources to tackle obstacles outside of your training.
Certifications & Continuing Education
Would you go to a doctor that didn't have a degree or wasn't board certified? No? I wouldn't either. My recommendation is having that same mindset when choosing a trainer. There are so many fit people walking around in the world and on social media that it can be easy to fall prey to "they're really fit, so the most know what they're doing." Not all of these fit folks are qualified to be personal trainers, just like everyone who can cook isn't a chef.
Certified trainers are required to complete continuing education credits to maintain their certification. The possibilities for areas of study are practically endless. In addition to learning for certifications, quality trainers spend time learning from other trainers, reading and watching videos for proper form, and looking at research to stay at the top of their game.
I won't sugarcoat this - personal trainers cost real money. A variety of factors will determine a personal trainer's rate, which can be dependent on where in the world you live, the trainer's experience, whether you're traveling to them, if they're meeting you at work or home, and if they're independent or train out of a localized or big box gym.
Once you've determined that you have an important fitness goal, and have fully committed and decided to put in the work, and can be honest enough with yourself to admit that you'll need some help getting there - please, do yourself a favor and INVEST IN YOURSELF.
Yes, that means you're going to put some of your hard-earned cash into the hands of someone else - but - if you do the footwork and choose the right trainer, you'll find yourself on a fitness journey of your dreams!
Making The Commitment
When you seek out a personal trainer, you are committing to make a really big change in your life - and I don't say this lightly - making changes can be hard emotionally, mentally, and physically.
One of the biggest challenges is asking for help. Asking for the support that you need can save you a lot of wasted time trying to go at this goal alone.
When you find your dream trainer, remember that you are now in a relationship with this person. With relationships comes communication. Let them know what is going well, what isn't, and any additional support that you may need.
Remember your trainer cannot save you from the donuts in the break room or put you to sleep at night. They can guide you to making better decisions for yourself that will put you on track to improve your health.
Do you have more questions about finding a trainer?
Comment below or email me. I'd love to help you make progress on your fitness journey!