How To Choose A Personal Trainer: Insider Tips From A Personal Trainer

By Elizabeth DiAlto

While some people regard personal training as a luxury service for the rich and famous, educated exercisers know that personal trainers are professionals just like anybody else.  You can do your own taxes, but you’ll probably get a better return if you go to an accountant.  You can sell your own house, but the process is much easier with the aid of a real estate agent.  (You get the point!) So if you’ve been exercising forever but not seeing the desired results, it’s time to get professional help! But, before you do, here are some guidelines for selecting a great one:

Ask about their qualifications. The most revealing questions you can ask are:

Do they have a degree or are they certified? Some gyms have personal trainers working that aren’t yet certified, so this is a crucial question to ask! That being said, there are a number of certifying bodies out there and the certification doesn’t always make the trainer.

What kind of continuing education classes or seminars have they attended?

What’s the longest they’ve worked with a client for? (Hint: you’re looking for at least 6 months, ideally closer to 2 years or more since clients only stick around if they see value in continuing to invest in personal training.)

What are some of the best results your clients have had? (An excellent trainer will light up when you ask this question and go off on their best client stories.)

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What populations do they have experience working with? This is especially important if you fall under a “special population” which can mean high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, advanced age, osteoporosis, arthritis, sciatica, diabetes, tendonitis, pregnancy and many more that can vary in seriousness.

Ask for client references or testimonials. Great trainers will have a healthy list of clients that would love to sing their praises and promote them anytime the opportunity presents itself.

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Ask for a free session/consultation before you get started. Any good trainer will want to do this anyway!  It gives them a chance to show you their stuff, while also learning about your body, performing movement assessments and getting an idea of what kind of program they would need to design for you.

Do they practice what they preach? This isn’t necessarily something you’re going to ask them, unless you’re really bold (and by all means if you are—please do!), but do they look like they live a healthy lifestyle?  Looks aren’t everything, but let’s be honest, in this case—most of us will be more motivated by a person who we’d love to look like, than someone who’s in worse shape than we are!

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