The 5 steps to choosing the right personal trainer for you

If you’re reading this page then you’re probably thinking about the not-so-simple issue of hiring the right personal trainer for you.

With over 100,000 personal trainers in the U.S. alone, all of whom have a variety of certifications, specializations, and approaches to training their clients, finding the right personal trainer can be a bit of a challenge. While you desperately want to find the trainer who can give you those chiseled abs and toned biceps, in the Wild West that is the personal fitness world it’s difficult to separate the phonies from the real deal. Plucking one trainer from the vast ocean of personal training professionals can often feel like panning for gold but without knowing what you’re actually looking for. Unfortunately, the reality is that choosing the wrong trainer can be the difference between improved long-term health or money down the drain. To help you on your quest to find your perfect personal trainer, we’ve compiled a list of 5 useful questions you can ask to separate the professionals from the pretenders.

1. ‘What’s your experience?’

First thing’s first, if you want that beach body in 6 months, then you need to work out whether your personal trainer actually has the credentials they say they do. When you’re selecting a personal trainer, here are a few questions you need to ask yourself or your trainer to gauge the level of quality of the fitness professional you are dealing with:

• How long has the person worked as a personal trainer?
• What health and fitness education have they received?
• Can they provide any references or proof of certification?
• If you have specific health issues or concerns, does the personal trainer have experience dealing with those issues?
• Did they ask about medications that you are currently taking or medical conditions?

Whatever country you’re in it helps to look for certifications from well-recognized organizations. In the US, American College of Sports Medicine (ASCM) or National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) are usually good indicators of PT quality. In the UK, the National Register of Personal Trainers recommends that you only work with a trainer that has passed their level 3 personal trainer course and is certified by the Register of Exercise Professionals. Certifications vary from country to country but as a rule of thumb, a minimum of 1000 hours one-on-one should (but won’t always) guarantee that the personal trainer you are dealing with knows their bench-press from their bicep curls. For extra caution, don’t sign up for more than one session to start off. This will give you ample opportunity to test drive the trainer’s expertise. For example, a good trainer will check your posture, flexibility, and movement patterns before suggesting anything else. It’s impossible to create a training program if you don’t understand the client’s needs first.

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2. ‘How do you track progress and measure results?’

While some people are happy to rely on the bathroom scales as a measure of progress, the feedback that these basic measurements can often be misleading where health and fitness is concerned.

It’s for this reason that when you’re choosing your personal trainer you need to ensure that they will accurately track your results and progress so all those early mornings spent on the exercise bike weren’t in vain.

Any personal trainer worth his salt should be able to devise a unique personalized training program based on your goals, your current fitness level, and your medical history. This is key to tracking progress since keeping a record of what you did when you did it and how many times you did it allows you to monitor your health and fitness changes over time and adjust your workout schedule accordingly. If you’re putting in hard hours at the gym, you’ll want to know whether those are actually translating into solid results.

Your personal trainer should also be taking into account what you want to achieve. For instance, if your goal is fat loss then you need to measure body fat percentage and circumference every 4-6 weeks, whereas, if it’s mass gain is what you want to accomplish, then weighing yourself along with measuring circumference every 4-6 weeks is the best policy (excluding exceptional circumstances).

Bottom line, your personal trainer should be tracking your results early and often to see if you can make changes.

3. ‘What’s your coaching style?’

Whether it’s Drill Sargent or Cheerleader, everyone has their own special way of working out and staying fit.

But whether you just want to lose a bit of weight or you’re aiming to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, when it comes to getting the best results, client-coach compatibility is essential.

This starts with knowing yourself. Are you someone who needs military discipline, a fierce trainer who barks instructions in your ear and drives you to go faster and harder in order to achieve your results. Or would you fare better with a more sensitive coach who still delivers encouragement more gently? Similarly, as you learn new exercise routines, you should take the trainer’s style of teaching into account. You might be a visual learner who can see something once and then repeat it, or alternatively, you might pick up new exercises by having them broken down into the smallest possible parts. At the end of the day, only you can really know what training style resonates with your personality, but it’s important to find someone who has the right personality and training style the motivation you need to stay on the challenging path towards health and fitness.

A great way to get the lowdown on a trainer’s style is to ask for references from current or previous clients – this way you’ll get uncensored opinions that will give you a more accurate picture of the coach and their training methods.

However, while style is a matter of opinion there are still some golden rules that personal trainers should be following which we’ll discuss in the next section.

4. ‘What’s your strategy for preventing and dealing with injuries?’

No matter how enthusiastic you are, or how much you want to do some exercise, if you’re nursing a killer hamstring injury it’s going to be nearly impossible to complete a full-body workout. If you believe that this accident wasn’t your fault, you should find a batesville personal injury lawyer. Accidents occur all the time though, some more serious then others. The worst thing though is when the accident occurs and it isn’t your fault. You might have got injured due to the negligence of someone else. This new injury might now affect your life in a way that you didn’t expect. If this is the case then you should definitely get a lawyer involved. If you are still unsure about who to use then you could always check out a website like https://www.stewartlawoffices.net to help you out.

Before pairing up with a new trainer, you’ll want to find out what strategies they have in place to deal with injuries in case you get one. Gym injuries are quite common and while we hope you’re bench pressing safely and not going pushing yourself too hard on the treadmill, don’t take any chances.

Most important to remember is that different types of goals require different training strategies. For instance, if you’re looking to build muscle then your training strategy shouldn’t be the same as if you’re focusing on fat loss.

Your trainer should also be keeping up with what you are doing outside of training sessions. If you’ve just been on holiday skiing for two weeks and you start an intense squats routine, then it’s probably not going to end well.

Ensure ahead of time that there is a documented injury plan in place – but remember, this is not a one-size fits all solution. Make sure that when your personal trainer is coming up with your plan, they are tailoring the program to your unique circumstances. Following a fitness plan is very important to prevent injury, however sometimes accidents do happen through no fault of your own, if you find that you are the victim of personal injury you might be interested in looking into a personal injury lawyer los angeles california for help on your case.

And one final caveat – if a trainer is constantly pushing you to the limit in order to get you quick results then you might want to think about considering other options, sooner rather than later.

5. ‘How much do you charge?’

Let’s be honest, when it comes down to it, personal training is an expense.

In the same way, that experience, training methods and services offered can range widely between different trainers, the difference in hourly rate between one coach and another can be quite vast!

With personal training sessions averaging around €60-80 per hour at the lower end of the scale and rising to as much as €200 at the upper end, you need to be sure of what you have to spend.

First, assess your budget to see how much is realistic then compare prices between different trainers and go to a few free consultations if that is what is being offered. This way you’ll be able to better gauge what services you will be getting for your budget.

However, in the same way that more expensive doesn’t always mean better, paying more for personal trainer doesn’t always mean a better quality service and it’s wise to look at reviews and shop around before making a final decision.

If a face-to-face personal trainer seems out of your budget, we’ll find out what other personal training options you have in the next section.

6. ‘Do you offer discounted sessions?’

Not everyone has the money to afford the pricey fees of personal trainers but does that mean you should become a couch potato. Of course not.

Some trainers offer special discounted services such as buying sessions in bulk or group classes, so if you don’t have enough money to pay for a one-on-one session, there are other options to get your fitness fix.

Following the recent move towards online personal training, trainers are using apps to connect with clients. Without the fixed costs associated with gyms and equipment rental, they can deliver the same expertise but at a lower price.

With prices averaging between €10-20 for a monthly subscription, the online personal coach is a much more affordable alternative and one which doesn’t compromise on quality.

That beach body you wanted? Problem solved.

right personal trainer

The final rep

We admit it, choosing the right personal trainer can sometimes be as tough as a HIIT workout. But, like any testing exercise regime, you will get through even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time. So, our advice is, don’t let the challenge put you off. If you do your homework and have the patience to hold out until you find the right trainer, you’ll be able to find someone who really helps you achieve the results you’re looking for.

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By Fitmo CEO & Founder, Dave Roeloffs

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