Hey everyone! The idea to answer this question was posted in my comments when I wrote about LA Fitness and the terrible experience I had with them. I’m so happy to be answering this because investing your money, time and life into a personal trainer is a very important decision. This decision can either be one of the best you’ve made or one of the worst. So, if you’re looking to hire a personal trainer to help you reach your fitness goals, consider a few things:
1. Before you invest any money, figure out what your specific goals are.
Never, ever hire a trainer because you heard your cousin/friend/sister/brother in-law did and they said it worked. Narrow down your fitness and health goals specifically, and then consider if a trainer can help you reach those goals. Not everyone’s goals are the same and most of the time, a training program has to be tailored to your unique body. If you’re looking to lose weight, how much do you want to lose? Why? If you’re trying to “tone”, what kind of muscle definition do you want? Narrow down your goals and why you want to meet them, then consider a trainer.
2. Are they personable and professional?
I say this all the time…if your trainer doesn’t sincerely and genuinely care about you as a person, don’t train with them. I’ve been a trainer and I’ve had trainers. Both experiences have helped me learn that I’m not in this business just to make money. Essentially, people’s lives are at stake and they’ve trusted you to help change them. That’s a big job, that requires an even bigger heart and love for people. If they seem very distant and too “tough”, reconsider. Also, be aware of their professional manner. Are they always late to your sessions? Do they hold conversations with other clients or coworkers while you’re exercising? Beware of trainers who just stand there and watch you workout. Trainers should be fully engaged and even doing the workout with you, not looking at their phone.
3. Are your workouts different and full of a variety, or always the same?
Be careful of trainers who always put you through the same workout or don’t seem to know more than just a few moves. It’s important that they are TEACHING you as they go along so that when you’re on your own, you know how to do the different exercises they’ve given you. Now sometimes, some moves can’t be done without your trainer’s support, so be careful. To me, training should be very interactive and my clients should never expect the same workout when they come to me. Trainers should be informing their clients of why their doing a specific move, what muscle/muscles are being worked, if the move can be done at home or without a trainer’s help, and also checking in with their clients afterward.
And finally… Does your trainer listen to your needs/concerns or just try to kill you?
Sounds harsh, right? But you’d be surprised at how many people have told me their trainers have put them through grueling, non-stop, painful workouts that left them feeling defeated. I strongly believe and can prove that your body will not change if it’s not challenged. Workouts should be tough, but not agonizing. Also if you’ve been injured, just getting over an injury, taking medication, never worked out before, etc. your trainer should know and respect those specific needs/concerns. Over-shadowing those things can result in serious injury and that’s not what training should be about.
Your sessions with your trainer should be about quality, not quantity. For me, an hour session should include a warm up, full-out workout, cool down and stretch. What goes into that time should be meeting YOUR goals, not your trainers goals. I hope this helps a little bit.
Can you think of anything else you might look for in a trainer?