5 Questions To Ask & What To Expect When Hiring A Personal Trainer


February 7, 2012 by Imprint Fitness

Personal Trainer is now as common as a pair of good cross trainers and a water bottle.


Pay Attention to the Details and Look for Small Print...


unlike other professionals in your life, your fitness trainer doesn’t need to be tested and licensed by a state licensing board. Someone with little more than a great body and a smile can print business cards; call themselves a personal trainer, and rifle through your wallet every month.

So if you’re looking for a trainer, you need to know what to look for. Here are five questions to ask trainers either in person or by phone before hiring them.


1. Can I have references?

This is the best way to get honest information. A prospective trainer should be more than happy to give you a list of at least three clients whom you can contact. Ask the references if they achieved their goals, how the trainer helped them to do so, and what they liked best about the trainer.

If the trainer refuses to give references or acts as though it is a major inconvenience, look elsewhere.


2. Through what organization are you certified?

Certification is a credential given by an agency or institution with its own educational and testing procedures. Quality credentialing agencies require a thorough, and often expensive, process of certifying trainers. Usually this includes written, oral and practical exam components. Other agencies will literally “sell” a certification as long as the check clears.

Current popular and reputable certification associations include the National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA), the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA), the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), and American Council on Exercise (ACE). Certification from any of these organizations doesn’t guarantee trainer excellence but shows only that the person successfully passed the minimum requirements for certification. While important, certification is a factor that should be used in combination with all of the other information that you are collecting.

The trainer also should also be certified in CPR/AED and be able to show you the credentials.


3. What is your training/exercise philosophy?

A credible trainer should be able to explain their philosophy on exercise training. You don’t need a doctoral dissertation here, only a description of how they help clients reach their goals. How do they train clients? How do they motivate them? Is there an assessment process? Find out as much as you can about how they work with clients to achieve goals.

What you are looking for here is a reflection of trainer credibility. If the trainer says something like “I kick my clients’ butts…No pain, no gain, dude,” thank them for their time and move on. Be an intelligent consumer. Ask for specifics and clarification if you don’t understand something. This person is going to tell you how to exercise, give you lifestyle information and hold very heavy weights over your head.


4. How much do you charge and how do you expect payment?

Prices for personal fitness instruction vary widely based on where you live and trainer qualification and experience. As with everything else, you usually get what you pay for, but there’s no guarantee that the most expensive trainer will be the best suited for you and your goals.

Talk to other people who have used fitness trainers. Or call health clubs near you to determine the average rate in your area. If the trainer is meeting you at your home, expect to pay slightly more than average. If you are meeting at a health club, prepare to cover the cost of a guest fee if there is one.

Get specifics on all fees and how payment is to be made. Some trainers charge on a per session or monthly basis, while others offer packages and discounted rates for a given number of pre-paid sessions. Some accept only cash. Others accept checks or debit and credit cards. Most fitness trainers have some sort of cancellation policy. Agree on all financial obligations before the first session and insist that both parties sign a billing contract.

Avoid at all costs the trainer who responds to a question about fees with statements like “How much can you afford?” or “How much are you looking to spend?” This is someone who has their wallet—not your fitness goals—in mind.


5. How do they look?

You should never base your selection solely on physical appearance. A person with a flawless-looking body may not know the first thing about safely teaching you how to achieve your own goals. This is especially true if they have achieved their own results through things like drugs, eating disorders or exercise obsession.

The person you hire will be teaching you skills and lifestyle habits and doesn’t need to look like a model in a fitness magazine. But trainers do need to practice what they preach. Let’s face it. Are you really going to respect someone’s opinion if you’re in better shape than they are? Probably not.


Finally, Assess. What is your comfort level?

Above all, make sure you choose a trainer with whom you feel comfortable and ensure their personality is a good match with yours. Also, trust your instincts. Hiring someone with superior training knowledge is worthless if you don’t feel comfortable. You need to trust, respect and feel at ease with them.

You wouldn’t buy a pair of running shoes without at least trying them on to see if they’re comfortable. The same concept holds for hiring a personal fitness trainer. Set up an interview, ask the right questions, and follow your gut for the perfect fit.

 Benefits of a Personal Trainer


Trimming down and keeping your ideal weight can be hideously hard. From consuming the right food, at the right time, in the right quantity, to deciding upon the proper exercise and every little thing in between, it’s easy to make a mistake that can derail your progress and set you back a week.

Though the fee that a private trainer may charge can make your knees buckle, reserve judgment about cost until you can make an educated decision about the benefits of hiring one.

Correct Fitness Evaluation. Let’s face it a lot of us have a tendency to misjudge our physical abilities and for this reason end up with strained muscles and joints or a lax workout regime. With a personal trainer, your physical fitness will be accurately evaluated and you can be confident that the fitness plan you end up with is the ideal one for you.

Determination. The right trainer can turn your interest in fitness into a commitment to the lifestyle. A personal trainer will know precisely when he has to act as a motivator, a source of inspiration or simply as a person to talk to and listen to your individual woes.

Customized Fitness System. Contrary to popular opinion, there’s no quick fix or one size fits all program. In short, what may work for one person may not work for you and what might take others months to accomplish might take you a year or more. But how will you know what fitness plan is ideal for you unless you consult an expert?

Safety. A lot of accidents can take place in and around exercise equipment so hiring a personal trainer will guarantee that you are working with equipment the right way. Not only does this prevent costly physical injuries, it assures that you get the most out of your routines.

The Have to have for Transformation. Perhaps one of the hardest things to overcome is boredom! That is where your personal trainer comes into play, he or she can implement variations in your program while remaining on track with your particular fitness goals, all geared towards keeping you active and interested in going to the fitness center.


What to Search for in a Personal Trainer

So now that you are convinced a personal trainer is what you have been searching for. The following are some of the items you must look for in a personal trainer.

A good personal trainer will…

  1. When you first talk to a trainer, do they ask you about your goals?  Do they ask you about issues that you’ve had with exercise and proper diet in the past?  Do they ask why you’re trying to get in shape?  If so, they’re a good trainer.  They’re concerned with your specific needs and not just looking to treat you like another generic customer.
  2. Does your trainer talk to you about diets and healthy eating?  If so, they’re a great trainer.  Remember, being fit and healthy is part exercise and an even greater part healthy eating.  Doing one without the other is a mistake and a good trainer recognizes that.  Yes, they’re mostly concerned about your exercise habits, but they should also be talking about your eating.
  3. Does your trainer explain to you why you do certain exercises?  If so, they’re a good trainer.  They’re trying to teach you about your body so that one day you won’t need them.  That’s the mark of a good teacher.  It means you’re going to learn a lot from this trainer and not just follow them around blindly.
  4. Does you trainer keep enough variety in your workout to keep you interested but enough regularity to measure progress?  Change is good and trying new things is also good, but you should also do some things multiple times.  That allows you to measure progress and improve performance.
  5. Does your trainer help you measure that progress and show you how to track it on your own?  Again, measuring progress is good and your trainer should help you measure and learn how to measure.  It’s not enough to just track your weight and a good trainer will show you how to monitor your fitness with other measurements.
  6. Does your trainer understand you enough to motivate you or are they just standing there yelling, “Come on!  One more rep!”  Encouragement is fine and dandy but true motivation comes from understanding your goals.  It’s a lot more motivating to hear “Ok, remember how you said you wanted to play ball with your son?  This exercise will give you the leg and back strength to do that” or “Let’s try for 7 reps today.  You were able to do 6 yesterday and I really think you can do one more today” than “come on!  No pain, no gain!”
  7. Does your trainer know what it’s like to face a health problem?  Wow, it’s great if he or she was a high school athlete and able to bench press a truck when they were in college but how does this make them better able to help you?  You may not want a track superstar who was in great shape all of their life, you want someone who understands your struggles and who can help you resolve them just like they did.  Don’t be afraid to ask your trainer about their history and don’t be put off if your trainer tells you that they once had a health problem themselves.  Those are quite possibly some of the best trainers out there.

There are many great personal trainers worth every dollar. There are, by far, more that aren’t worth a second look.  Just make sure you find one that’s good for you and not just good looking.


What Is A Personal Trainer

Consider stepping into the fitness center for the very first time in your life. There are so many machines and gadgets. What should you do first? Is this adjusted correctly? Are you using it safely? There are so many questions to ask about trying to get physically fit. How much do you push yourself? How much is too much?

A personal trainer is an individual who evaluates you as a result of your overall fitness wants and needs.

What is it that a personal trainer does precisely?

  • Implements periodized workout programs that are inline with the client’s gaols
  • Improves overall function of the client through complete fitness regimens
  • Keeps a client up to date on nutrition and supplementation
  • Practices safe, sound habits in and out of the gym
  • Decreases the chance of injury to themselves, their clients, and other gym goers
  • Removes barriers to client success


What is it that Separates a Very Good Personal Trainer from a Poor One?

An excellent personal trainer would tell you that you should make sure you and your trainer are compatible. A lot of corporate gym trainers have sales quotas; do you really think their primary goal is your wellbeing? Many of them have minimal training and are more of a salesperson than a trainer.

Above all, a personal trainer truly cares about the client. Each client is not just another paycheck, each client has personal goals and needs and is asking for guidance down a path they can’t walk on their own. A personal trainer is not an assembly line worker, a salesman or a drill sergeant! A personal trainer is a coach, a mentor and a partner on a road to a goal.


Will I get faster results with a Personal Trainer?

If you choose the ideal individual trainer…you’ll most undoubtedly see quicker results. A personal trainers job is to motivate and inspire a client to push far beyond the boundaries of what they would usually do if they were exercising by themselves.

A personal trainer must also support the client and have a clear understanding of what they want their client to accomplish, both short and long term, based on specific client goals.

A personal trainer has many roles within the realm of fitness.

If you are the type of person that will skip workouts unless there is someone waiting to workout with you, then a personal trainer may well fit that common need for an accountability partner.

If you are familiar with the basics of exercise and nutrition but don’t know how or where to properly expand on your knowledge, a personal trainer can be a great source of reliable information.

If you are tired of “winging it” every time you step into the gym or a grocery store, your personal trainer will provide you with a solid plan based on your goals and have the ability to modify the plan as needed.

If you’ve been unable to get past a certain point in your training or nutritional endeavor, look to a personal trainer for a program designed to prevent or minimize plateaus.

Depending on the outcome you desire, your fitness program must be complete and tailored specifically to your goals. Whether you are attempting to shed weight, gain muscle, run a marathon, get stronger or wear the body of envy, all of these goals need a plan. Fitness plans and programs are a dime a dozen on the Internet and many are free, the difficulty is most often with the proper and tailored implementation to your goals, That is what you pay your personal trainer for.

Rushing into your fitness-training program with out the proper education, assistance and expertise could result in injury or set backs both short and long term. Fitness training really should be enjoyable, you may never grow to like working out but you should love the results.

Find the right trainer and you’ll never ever look back or the same again,

I Promise!


2 thoughts on “5 Questions To Ask & What To Expect When Hiring A Personal Trainer

  1. […] of attack based on your goals and limitations. Check out our post on finding a personal trainer HERE for more […]

  2. […] of attack based on your goals and limitations. Check out our post on finding a personal trainer HERE for more […]

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