Spring Forward: How To Pick The Right Personal Trainer


We are a quarter of the way through the year and maybe you aren’t a quarter of the way towards your fitness goals. Or maybe now is your time to gear up for beach season. Regardless of the situation, hiring a personal trainer can drastically increase the chance of your success.

In the fitness game, success always comes down to one word: results. A personal trainer can both amplify those results and bring them in a shorter time span with great technique coaching, providing an effective training program, supplying motivation, accountability, and support, and educating about healthy habits away from training. Great personal trainers will keep you safe and hungry for more. With the right trainer, the cost can be the best money you have ever spent. However, choosing the wrong (for a variety of reasons) trainer can put a dent not only in the wallet, but your motivation and determination as well. Here are some tips when picking a personal trainer that can help save you time, money and frustration.

  • Use your network. Picking a trainer from a Google search or advertisements is a difficult way to find any professional. Referrals are the best method for a personal trainer to increase business and this should be the same for you. Ask around to at least get a short list before any face-to-face meetings.
  • You’re in charge. I am continually amazed at the apprehensive and unaware of people who meet with personal trainers. I understand that the gym can be an intimidating place for many (and a good trainer should be doing everything in his or her power to make a prospective client feel comfortable), but this is a job interview for the trainer, not you as the consumer. Have at least an idea (you and the trainer should solidify these together) your goals, when you want to achieve them, how you want to achieve them and what type of relationship you want with you trainer (i.e. do you respond better with in your face strong motivation or a softer approach).
  • It’s about you. Related to the last point, big red flag when meeting with a prospective personal trainer, who only speak about his or her self. Although it’s the individual’s qualifications, the services or results he or she can offer and the facility is important, if your prospective trainer is not trying to find out about you; your wants, needs and current abilities, etc., then the person is not the personal trainer who will serve you best.
  • Try before you buy. Be wary of any trainer or facility that only offers a long-term contract in order to begin. Often trainers will offer a free session to try to win over your business, if not buy a session at a time or the smallest commitment available. Yes, it will cost more per session in the short term, but until you are certain that this is the right trainer for you (and it’s ok if it takes multiple sessions or even months to make a final decision), it’s better financially to be able to easily severe the business relationship. While you are testing a trainer out be aware of whether you enjoy your time with the trainer, whether you feel closer to your goal after each session, whether each session feels tailored to your abilities and how you are feeling that day, and whether the trainer can adapt when things don’t go according to plan.
  • Be slow to hire, quick to fire. I said earlier that these methods would help find a trainer more quickly. Maybe a more accurate statement would be that these are meant to find you an effective trainer that will get you the desired results more quickly because finding that perfect fit might take some investment. However, this investment will pay off in the long run as you will spend less time, money and energy with a trainer that is not the right fit or can’t lead you to where you want to go. One thing that must be noted though, is once you find the perfect trainer; it’s up to you to ensure that they continue to be held to that standard. Too often the results don’t come because clients are taken for granted. Remember, you are the consumer and you are always well within your rights to demand the level of service promised in exchanged for hard earned funds.
    Marc MegnaPhoto Credit: Matt Roy
    The right personal trainer can be a significant part of helping one achieve his or her fitness goals. In fact, I think a great personal trainer is worth the cost because this person can make the time spent in the gym and away from work, family and other obligations more efficient and effective. However, like hiring individuals for any other employment, care must be taken to select the best fit in order to optimize the value.