There are some REALLY bad personal trainers out there. Conversely, there are some AMAZING trainers out there, and they can be the missing link between you and sustainable, consistent progress (or even an elite level of athletic performance).
When you decide to invest in a trainer you’re making a decision that has the potential to change your life.
This article will give you all of the tools you need to help you make the most informed decision possible. Here’s how to decide what personal trainer is best for you.
It is not always good enough to rely on a review post about the gym. I suggest that you ask the trainer for past or current clients contact information so that you can reach out to those clients to see how their experience was.
Aside from making sure that the testimonials are real, I would suggest asking the client how the trainer acts and performs daily. Ask if about their behavior, do they make time to get better, are dependable and trustworthy.
Decide how important convenience is
A great trainer is worth traveling for but you’ve got to be honest and determine what’s important for you. New exercisers should spend at least a month seeing a coach 2-3x/wk to get a strong baseline and establish good habits
For more experienced trainees who don’t want to see a trainer multiple times a week, location becomes less of a factor. I have clients come in once every 2-4 weeks for form checks. I managed their programs and provided online personal training services at a monthly rate.
How much you want to pay
I’m biased, but I believe that a good personal trainer’s value is priceless.
The location will determine the price. A trainer in Washington D.C. will cost exponentially more than a trainer in small-town Pennsylvania.
A trainer who specializes will likely be in-demand amongst that population and therefore charge more for their services.
Lastly, the price will be dependent on experience. Hiring a cheaper, less experienced trainer might be fine if you have an adequate resolve and prior weightlifting experience.
To be a great trainer takes a significant amount of time, continued growth, and education. The job is not just instructing sets and reps or understanding the physiology of adaptation – a fair amount of psychology gained both from study and on-the-job experience is required.
Look for a trainer who understands the importance of coaching. They should be able to meet you where you’re at and challenge you to grow both mentally and physically.
What qualifications to look for
The health and fitness industry is really unregulated and can be hard to distinguish which trainer to select and who is actually qualified.
The first thing to notice is whether he’s got a University or college degree in exercise science, kinesiology, or something similar. If so, rest assured that he’s at least got a good baseline of theoretical knowledge.
Look at the certification that they hold. There is a lot of variation exists in cost and training. If you’re in the United States your trainer should hold an NCCA-approved cert. For more information here are is a chart that shows: best personal training certifications in the United States.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, get an idea of how much time and effort your potential trainer puts into her continuing development. Ask what was the last event they attended or a book they read. You want to make sure that the trainer is up to date on their information and always want to continue to get better.
Take shortcuts to figure out what you need to know.
You may not have the wealth of experience to know all of the questions to ask a potential personal trainer so shortcuts are necessary. The easiest way to figure out whether or not a trainer is unconfident, inexperienced, and unqualified is by analyzing not what they say, but how they say it.
An unconfident trainer will overcome his lack of confidence by throwing in a bunch of scientificy-sounding words. A confident trainer will explain a concept clearly, succinctly, and in a way that you can understand using appropriate metaphors, so that you can understand.
When you meet with a trainer they should keep the conversation focused on you and only speak about themself as it pertains to helping you.
A sign of a trainer who lacks focus and confidence will feel that he needs to impress you with everything that he knows.
A great trainer will ask questions about you and then, and only then, speak about how specific aspects of his education and experience make her perfectly suited to help you.
Great coaches know that programs need to be as simple as possible, and as complicated as necessary
What your trainer should look like
Judging a personal trainer solely on appearance is not the way to choose a personal training coach
If they are shredded then whatever they did to attain there physique probably took years of trial and error or protocols that you likely don’t want to follow.
Getting and staying shredded is a lifestyle choice.
This means ardent focus on diet and exercise. I’m not saying don’t do it, I’m just saying that you need to be cognizant of what it actually takes to achieve and maintain it.
Just because a trainer is in good shape doesn’t mean they knows how to help you. You’re different in everything from your daily commitments to body type. Even genetics has been shown to have a large effect on adaptation to exercise.
If you have very goals than training with somebody who has achieved what you want to achieve may be warranted. What matters is that the coach has experience in helping people with whatever it is that you want to achieve. They don’t necessarily need to be better than you in that one specific thing (Look at professional athletes some of their coaches are worse than them at their sport and still hire them.), but they should be able to tell you what you need to do in order to achieve and what it takes to get through each step.
An Important decision
Hiring a personal trainer can change your life but navigating the gray area to find the right one can be a challenge. If you’re serious that now is the time to make a change, take your time. There are great trainers out there, you’ve just got to find us.
P.S. Here are a couple myths about trainers as well…..