How To Find A Personal Trainer
Okay, you’ve tried many different workouts; everything from cardio classes to CrossFit or you’ve told yourself “I’m going to get in a routine” but when the alarm wakes you up an hour earlier than your used to or the after work networking drinks call, your effort to sustain this new habit is the first to go out the window. Or maybe you’ve got a big event coming up, you’re sweating for the wedding or you want to be in shape before you start having kids etc… After realizing that beating yourself up won’t help you get the bod you want, you realize you may need to actually pay a professional to tailor a workout based on YOUR BODY and YOUR GOALS; enter: personal trainer.
There is such a broad spectrum of quality when discussing fitness professionals. Lots of people on every platform can claim to be an expert but you’ve got to wade through the perfectly curated pictures and websites to discern who’s the real deal. Now I’m talking about finding a 1-on-1 personal trainer who trains you in person. First, you’ve got to decide whether you’d like them to come to you or you’ll go to them. (Hint: you going to them is going to be less expensive). If you have the luxury of hiring an in-home personal trainer, congrats! You are winning at life. If not, no worries, there are lots of qualified professionals in a gym setting too! Obviously, you can do a quick google search to see the top trainers in your area. Check out their website, search their name individually on Google to see what else comes up about this person. I’d also recommend looking them up on Facebook and Instagram because these pages will be their most up to date content (aka portfolio) where you can see what they’re up to on a weekly (if not daily) basis.
Once you’ve narrowed your search down to a few top people who you think you’d enjoy working out with, CHECK THEIR CREDENTIALS! I cannot emphasize this enough. If they are not certified by one of the top fitness professionals organizations (NASM, ACE, NCCPT, AFAA) or if they don’t have a degree closely relating to exercise science or physical therapy then move on. Just because they’re selling protein shakes and showing you their workouts on the reg doesn’t mean you should trust Betty and Bob Beach Body with YOUR body. Their credentials should be prominently displayed on their website and any social media outlet.
Let’s say two or three trainers you’re interested in pass the credentials test and you’re liking what you see from a virtual perspective so let’s get personal, shall we? Send them an email or even better, give them a call. If they don’t answer, leave a message (if they’re with a client they won’t be able to answer) and explain your interest in their services and you’d like to A. Come see their space or B. (If you’re hiring them to come to you) Visit your space (home or office or wherever you’ll be working out of) and chat about the possibility of working together. This is SO important because I’ve had clients tell me they just signed up with Jack or Jill at the gym down the street and ended up disliking him/her. You’ve GOT to meet the person before you commit to a session with them to feel them out, make sure you trust them and so you can see the space you’ll be working out in or so they can see the space (and equipment) you’ve got in your home. Personal training is PERSONAL for a reason. You spend lots of time with this person. They get to know you, your body and often times your family and friends. More often than not, I become good friends with my clients and form strong relationships with them, above and beyond an hour in the gym.
Important things to ask:
Ask them about their experience (how long, where have they worked etc…)
Ask them about success stories and clients who have been coming from a similar place that you’re in and how they helped them achieve their goals.
Ask them their philosophies, what they subscribe to in terms of their deepest rooted fitness beliefs and specialties. Do they have any special/cool/fancy certifications that sets them apart or a niche clientele that they absolutely love training (think prenatal or senior citizens population etc…)
Ask them their cost. You don’t want to be caught off guard at the end of your first session. Just as experience can vary between trainers, so can cost. Just remember, hiring a personal trainer is an investment in your overall health. This person will, ideally, help you prevent chronic pain and illness and increase quality of life and longevity. Pro-tip: If someone charges $150+/hour, they’re probably worth it.
Ask them how they track progress. This is SO important! “You can’t change what you don’t measure.” I’ve worked with trainers who have seen the same clients for 10+ years and these people have made no noticeable progress. Tracking progress by way of documenting strength or cardio metrics as well as body composition data is imperative to not only seeing the progress on paper, it will help motivate you and keep you on track. If your trainer is not keeping data on you then how are you measuring progress?
Ask them about their reputation I.e. referrals. The best compliment a trainer can receive is through referrals. If you don’t know anyone who has trained with this person, ask them. Great trainers are happy to share client testimonials and references!
Choosing a quality professional in any arena can feel overwhelming but follow these tips and trust your gut! Look for an experienced and knowledgeable trainer who feels like a good fit for you! If you listen to your gut, your new trainer will help you reach your goals and help you stay comfortable, motivated and inspired through the process. And who knows, you may get a great new friend out of it!
Group Fitness Coach
NCCPT, AFAA, NASM, CES, IYCA
Healthy Moms Pre/Post Natal