What To Look For In A Personal Trainer
So you’ve decided to get in shape, yet again. You get a gym membership, but after a while, you stop going. You go to some fitness classes with some friends, but after a few classes, you can’t seem to find time in your busy schedule. You buy a treadmill/elliptical/stationary bike and have every intention of using it, but a few months later it’s dusty.
If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone! Staying motivated to workout and sticking to a workout routine is tough for most people.
A study by the CDC shows that only about 23% of Americans are working out as much as recommended for optimal health. Studies also show that 92% of people don’t follow through on their New Year’s resolutions, many of which involve health goals. We’re not working out as much as we should and we’re bad at following through on our goals. That’s not very encouraging if you’re looking to get into shape.
Luckily, there’s been research conducted on what does work to help people stick to fitness regimes. What’s the secret? Being accountable to other people. People who have someone keeping tabs on their fitness routine exercise more and stick to their workout routine for longer than those who weren’t accountable to anyone.
If you’re looking to commit to a fitness program, your best bet for success is finding someone who can hold you accountable. There’s no one more qualified to keep you motivated than a personal trainer. Getting a personal trainer might seem like a big investment, but if you want to succeed, it’s worth the money.
When looking for a personal trainer, finding the right fit can mean the difference between failure and success. What should you look for when researching personal trainers?
1. What are their Qualifications?
The most important thing when looking for a personal trainer is their qualifications. Finding a personal trainer with the right qualifications ensures your success and safety.
So, what kind of qualifications should you be looking for? Degrees, certifications, or some combination of the two. Degrees aren’t necessary to becoming a personal trainer, but many people in the industry pursue degrees in related fields. If the personal trainer you’re looking at has a degree in Kinesiology, Nutrition, Anatomy, Exercise Physiology, or Physical Therapy, you’re in good hands.
If they don’t have a degree, they should have completed an industry-recognized certification program. These certifications include NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine), ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine), NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association, ACE (American Council on Exercise), and others. The personal trainer industry in Canada has an abundance of trainers with different skillsets and credentials, many of which range heavily in quality.
If you’re interested in certain types of exercise programs like CrossFit, Yoga, Martial Arts, or Dance, the personal trainer should also have specific certifications for these programs.
2. Where are they Located?
The next thing you should consider when looking for a personal trainer is where they’re located. A convenient location is essential to keeping on track with fitness goals. You’ll want to find a personal trainer that works out of a gym close to where you’ll already be – home or your workplace. If it’s easy to get to your personal training sessions you’ll be less likely to cancel.
If you want to take your training to the next level, you may want to look for a personal trainer who will come to you. Plenty of personal trainers are willing to come to your house, or even your office, for their sessions. These trainers will bring everything they need with them so you can have an effective, structured workout out at home.
The obvious benefit of having a personal trainer come to you is convenience. Another benefit is that they can help you design a workout program that you can do in your own space. This could allow you to skip a gym membership altogether. One downside is that unless you have a home gym, you won’t have access to the equipment that gyms offer during your private training sessions.
Consider what convenience means for you. Are you looking for the kind of workout you get from going to the gym? Then find a trainer operating out of a gym close to you. Would you be more comfortable and successful working out at home? Then find a personal trainer that comes to you and shows you how to get results in your living room.
It’s all about what’s going to work for you.
3. When are they Available?
Another factor to consider is when the personal trainers you’re looking at are available. Even if their location is convenient, it won’t matter if they’re not available during the times that work for you.
The first step is to look at your schedule. Determine when you’ll be able to fit in a consistent appointment. This can be the hardest part of getting started with a personal trainer. We all have busy lives and it’s hard to imagine fitting in one more appointment. If your fitness goals are so important that you’re willing to get a personal trainer, they’re important enough for you to carve out time.
Once you have your ideal times picked, start asking potential personal trainers if they’re available during those times. Remember that personal trainers work with a lot of clients, and most of those clients want before work and after work times. You should be willing to be flexible about appointment times.
If their schedule doesn’t work for you, don’t let them try to convince you to work around it. If you have to pick a time that doesn’t work for you, you’re more likely to cancel. So pick something that works for you, not them. If you have a hard time matching your schedule to the personal trainers in your area, look into the personal trainers mentioned above that will come to you.
4. What’s their Reputation?
A personal trainer may have the perfect resume, but if their clients don’t have good things to say their qualifications are irrelevant. When you’re looking at profiles for personal trainers, make sure they have testimonials from their current clients. If you can’t find any testimonials from happy clients, don’t even meet with the trainer. They’re not worth your time.
If you have friends who work with personal trainers they love, check out these trainers first. This is an even better way to find a personal trainer than counting on reviews.
Also, keep in mind that because someone else loves a particular personal trainer doesn’t mean that you will. Getting a feel for their reputation is only a good indicator that they’re good at their job. It’s not a guarantee that they’ll be a good fit for you.
5. Are You Comfortable With Them?
Once you’ve vetted a personal trainer via research, it’s time for that initial meeting. Most gyms will offer this initial training appointment for free as long as you’re a member. If you’re meeting with a personal trainer not affiliated with a gym you may need to pay for this initial session.
This first session is the first opportunity you’ll have to get a personal feel for the trainer. Sometimes you’ll know right off the bat if they’re a good fit for you. You’ll either like them or dislike them right away based on their vibe, their attitude, or their approach. Sometimes it takes the whole initial session to know for sure.
What factors into ensuring you’re comfortable with your personal trainer? They should listen attentively and probably take notes, while you tell them about your goals and what you’re looking to gain from your sessions. During the assessment, where they’ll weigh you, take your measurements, assess your movement, and more, they should never body shame you or make comments that make you feel uncomfortable. They should tailor the workout part of the initial session to your goals rather than what they’re comfortable with or exercises they like. Their feedback style should match what works for you.
There is a lot to assess in that initial appointment. Trust your gut. You should know by the end of the session whether you want to work with this person or not. If you don’t want to continue with them, don’t feel bad about it. They’ll find another client and you’ll find someone who works for you. That’s the business.
6. Are they the Right Fit for Your Goals?
A huge part of determining which personal trainer is right for you is determining whether their style fits your goals. Obviously, any good personal trainer will tailor their program to meet your goals, but if their preferred training style doesn’t fit your goals you may not be comfortable working with them long term.
For example, if the trainer focuses on weight loss, but you’re more focused on muscle gain, you’ll run into issues. They can tailor their program to meet your goals, but they probably won’t be the best fit you could find.
Start by taking some time to outline your goals, and be specific! Getting in shape is a good goal, but it’s not specific enough to define your personal training needs. Talk about your specific goals in your initial session and don’t be afraid to ask the trainer how their training sessions will help you achieve these goals. If you don’t like their answers, find someone else. As a general rule of thumb, it’s important to figure out if you’re looking to cut or bulk first.
If you don’t know what your specific goals are, that’s okay too! It only means that you’ll need to find a personal trainer who’s willing and qualified enough to set goals with you.
7. What’s their Workout Style?
Finding a personal trainer whose style fits with your goals is only one piece of the puzzle. You also need to make sure that their workout style is a good fit.
Some personal trainers love hardcore workouts. They’ll make sure that you work your butt off and leave the gym sweaty and sore. Other trainers are less intense. They’ll make sure you work, but their sessions won’t leave you feeling like you’ve run a marathon.
Knowing what workout style works for you is essential to picking the right personal trainer. If you end up with a hardcore trainer when you’d rather do some low impact cardio, you’ll be miserable. If you’re looking to get your butt kicked and you end up with a low-key trainer, you won’t feel challenged.
During the initial session, talk to your trainer about the activity level that works for you. Make sure that they’re comfortable working with you on that level. Also, ask them how they’ll help you push your boundaries. Personal training sessions are about progress. Even if you’re looking for lower impact sessions, your personal trainer should still focus on getting you to try new things and improve.
8. What’s their Motivation Style?
How will this personal trainer motivate you? Some people want the “Biggest Loser” style trainer who’s constantly yelling in their ear and pushing them to do more. Others feel discouraged and uncomfortable with this motivation style.
Motivation style is essential to your relationship with your personal trainer. You need to find someone who is tough enough to make you work but kind enough to make you feel competent and successful.
During your initial training session, ask your trainer what tactics they use to motivate their clients. When you make it to the workout portion of the session, pay close attention to the way they encourage you and provide feedback. If their style during this initial session doesn’t work for you, don’t expect it to change in future sessions. Move on and find someone else.
Looking for a Personal Trainer that’s Right For You
In case we haven’t mentioned it enough yet, the most important thing when looking for a personal trainer is to find someone that’s a good fit for you. The most qualified personal trainer in the world may not be the best for you. The one all your friends love may not be the best one for you.
Finding the personal trainer that’s the best fit for you isn’t easy. It takes a lot of research and consideration, but if you take the time to think about all these factors, you’ll find someone that you can build a relationship with and work with long term to achieve your goals.
If you’re ready to start looking for the best personal trainer for you, check out our site and let us help!