Lots of people look for different things so there isn’t 1 checklist that will work for everyone but here are some things to consider:
This is one of those things that is very important to me but not as important to other people. I think you should have confidence that your trainer is seasoned, skilled and accredited. You can be certified in a weekend at some places, while other people do lengthy, detailed programs and even some even have degrees. Make sure you are getting what you pay for and while personality is important, you don’t want to end up injured.
Maybe you want a drill sergeant, maybe you want a friend, maybe you want competition. I have played all of these roles for clients because it was what they needed for motivation to see results. You might not know what you need but they should be in tune with what works to get you excited and ready for a challenge. I’ve had some clients that became such good friends that I had to stop charging them because we spent so much time talking or planning our next date. I felt like too much of a workout buddy and they wouldn’t listen to my critics and pushes any more and that is fine but you have to know when the trainer/client relationship has run its course. I’ve also had people that I didn’t like and they didn’t like me and because we were both miserable, I introduced them to someone I thought would be a good fit. It’s like anything else, you can shop for a trainer that works for you and you can change trainers if it isn’t working – it will be better for everyone. Never be afraid to leave and end up in a rut.
3) Professionalism & Attentiveness
They shouldn’t be answering their phone, texting, talking to other people or looking off into space when they are training you. They should also be organized in their plans, goals, booking and billing processes. They should take notes on exercises, progress, diet, moods and overall feelings towards everything! This isn’t to say that you can’t have a less type A personality trainer that is a bit more ‘go with the flow’ but make sure that you are getting the end result you want.
If you have an injury, illness or want to focus on a particular type of fitness, then you should look for someone that is knowledgeable about it.
When I was first starting out, I covered a session for a fellow trainer and he failed to mention that the client had Parkinson’s Disease so I was trying to follow his (very vague) training plan and was trying to encourage and push the guy not realizing that the guy couldn’t keep up until he finally said, “Did he tell you…”. I could’ve killed the other trainer. I never covered another session for anyone again because it was terrible for the client and made me look like an idiot. Bad situation all around.
5) Common Goal
Make sure you explain your goal to the trainer. If you are working toward a timeline, a fitness goal, need accountability or just want to spice up your routines, make sure you are clear with the trainer and they are working to your goal. You have to remember that trainers are business people too – of course they want you to be a client and pay them for 3 years but if you just want 6 sessions to get kickstarted, then they should respect that and work toward that goal. Most trainers know that referrals will be more rewarding and valuable than grasping on to a few lingering clients.
I once trained a girl that wanted to focus on getting into a pair of designer jeans that no longer fit. I knew that was the goal and we achieved it.
I once trained a kite surfer and we trained so that he was in shape to travel the world and kickass – we did it.
I once trained a guy that wanted to lose 20 pounds and after losing 10, he decided that he wanted to run a 1/2 marathon, he let me know and we modified our plans to make it happen.
If I hadn’t known the goals of any of these people, they would have gotten frustrated with the lack of seeing results because there would not have been a focus. Always make sure that you communicate your goal(s) and are HEARD.
These are some of my top what to look for when hiring a personal trainer tips, but what did I miss? What do you look for when hiring a personal trainer? Leave your thoughts in the comments!