Get the Basics...
  • Choosing a personal trainer is not a one-size-fits-all solution.
  • Make a list of what you need and what you would like to have when meeting with prospective trainers.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for references.

There’s no denying that working out with a personal trainer is beneficial to you. Exercising with a fitness expert who shows you the correct way to plank, deadlift, and crunch not only improves your strength but can also help you reach your fitness goals.

However, with over 200,000 personal trainers actively practicing in the USA, the hunt for a personal trainer who has your best interest at heart can feel overwhelming. But don’t despair! When researching your match in gym heaven, ask yourself the seven questions below.

What are their credentials?

Whether you want to lose weight, increase your endurance, or build strength, you need to work with a personal trainer who is certified.

The National Commission of Certifying Agencies ensures that organizations certifying personal trainers meet or exceed their standards of competence and professionalism.

Before committing, ask your prospective trainer about their certification. Where did they obtain their health and fitness college degree? Did they obtain certification from outside sources? Don’t feel awkward about asking to see their verification.

What is their experience level?

Practice makes perfect, so choose a personal trainer with verifiable experience. If your fitness goal is to build muscle, find someone who knows how to make the most out of every rep. If your main goal is to slim down, your trainer should be well versed in nutrition as well.

What is their coaching style?

When it comes to compatibility, training technique and personality are crucial. Take a moment to think about your learning style. If you’re the type of person who learns best when movements are broken down into small components, choose a trainer who is happy to go over the details as many times as it takes.

Next up is the personality factor. Do you need a stern drill sergeant who will push you to go faster and harder or a personal cheerleader who will encourage you every step of the way? Regardless of your preference, make sure that your personalities mesh. Ongoing support from your trainer is just as important as performing exercises correctly.

What is their specialty?

Are you familiar with the saying, “Jack of all trades, master of none?” If you have a particular fitness goal in mind, like running a marathon, look for a trainer who specializes in running as opposed to someone who specializes in weightlifting. Chances are they’ll be more passionate about it, which will translate to better training.

What is their reputation?

One of the best compliments a personal trainer can receive is a referral from previous clients. Helping people achieve their fitness goals is the top priority, and qualified trainers are usually more than happy to provide you with references and their previous clients’ success stories.

Do they know how to manage injuries?

Look for a personal trainer who knows how to manage both past and possible future injuries. If you suffered an injury in the past, your trainer should have the ability to create a workout regimen that won’t aggravate an underlying issue. If you happen to injure yourself during a training session, your trainer’s primary concern should be to help you seek proper medical attention.

How much do they charge?

An experienced personal trainer is worth their weight in gold. Unfortunately, too many people choose a trainer based on price alone.

Take some time and comparison shop in your city to get an idea of local average rates combined with trainer quality.

If a personal trainer is out of your budget, there a few options. Many trainers offer discounts for semi-private training sessions, which are a group class with one-on-one training combined. Others may offer you a discount on sessions bought in bulk.

It’s Up to You

If the thought of choosing a personal trainer still sounds stressful, it’s important to remember that the aforementioned criteria are only guidelines. You may feel strongly about certain points and not care about others. Most importantly, you need to do what feels right for you.

There’s a fine line between your fitness success and wasting money on something that doesn’t work. Knowing how to choose the right type of personal trainer will help you align your fitness goals and achieve your desired results.