Are you thinking about working with a personal trainer, but not sure who to select? Getting a trainer can be a great decision and be very rewarding. Studies have shown those that work with a trainer get better and faster results. But, picking the right one can be a daunting process. I have worked with personal trainers on my fitness goals, been a full time trainer for over 4 years, and also hired trainers to work for my business. In this post I'm going to use the insight I've gained over the years to help you make the best decision about what to look for in a trainer if you are thinking about working with one.
Most of my clients have been to other trainers, coaches, or class instructors in the past. A lot of them have great stories, and praise their past coaches and trainers. Some, however, have told me horror stories. So it's important to do some research so you can make a smart decision and hire someone that will work well for you so you can get great results.
Here are the top qualities I recommend looking for in a potential trainer:
1. They Take A Science Based Approach
The first thing I look for is if they are science-based. Science provides a systematic approach to finding the answers to questions, like if a given exercise protocol is better than another for a specific goal. This is better than simply going off anecdote (e.g., When someone says "it worked for me.") because good scientific experiments will hold all variables constant and just test for one. With anecdote, you can't be sure if other variables are affecting the outcome. For instance, I've seen people start an exercise program, a diet, and a fat loss supplement simultaneously and attribute some portion or all of their results to the supplement. Although, their results could have been completely from their diet and exercise regime. If you are in the market for a trainer, look for one that respects and understands science, and doesn't just follow and recommend the latest fitness industry trends.
2. They Are Well Credentialed
There are plenty of great trainers who do not have advanced degrees or PhDs. However, I mostly try to look for individuals who do have a high level of education. If you are thinking about hiring a trainer, they should definitely be certified by a reputable company. Ideally with multiple certifications and with specializations in areas that are relevant to your goals. Having a college degree in a related field is also fantastic.
3. They Are Passionate
Look for trainers that are passionate about what they do. Training should be their main thing, not just a side job they do for extra money. They should also lead an active lifestyle and produced results for themselves in some form or fashion. Even better if they have achieved goals similar to yours. Demonstrating a hunger to learn more is also a great sign. The best trainers are constantly working to improve by doing research on their own, learning new exercises, attending seminars, etc. Look for trainers that walk the walk and are always trying to learn more and get better.
4. They Have Gotten Results For Other People
It's important that a trainer have experience working with other people. Being able to obtain results for oneself is one thing, but being able to successfully coach others through challenging workouts and to achieve long term goals is much more difficult. When seeking guidance, look for trainers that can point to real results from people that they have worked with.
5. They Have an Individualized Approach
Everyone is unique, and thus your trainer should come up with an individualized
plan for you. During the initial on boarding process they should ask you a lot of questions about your goals, training experience, preferences, and more. If they are just giving you the same workout they give everyone or going by the seat of their pants, you are probably not getting the best workouts for you and your goals. Be wary if they start working you out immediately without asking questions first.
6. They Are Caring and You Feel a Genuine Connection
This is the most important of them all. Look for someone who you think is genuine and cares. What truly makes a great trainer is whether or not they care about their clients. If you are just a number, a dollar sign, or a job to the person you are seeking health and fitness guidance from, you are most certainly not receiving the best service. Look for practitioners who are really trying to help and not just trying to make a buck. If they are selling something or have bias, they should be upfront about it. It's also important that you connect with and trust your trainer. If you're spending 2-3 hours a week with someone, it's important to like them and get along well with them.
Bonus: They Provide Nutrition Guidance
It is difficult or impossible for most people to get significant results without making changes to their diet. So if you are seeking a trainer in order to lose or gain weight, build muscle, or make significant changes to the current shape you are in, you will need to make changes to your diet in addition to starting an exercise program. Nutrition is a must for achieving most goals, and great trainers are either knowledgeable enough to provide nutrition guidance or can refer you to someone who can.
I recommend you call and chat with a trainer (or a few) before deciding. Before committing, try out a session with them. This will give you an idea of who they are, the approach they take, and what their training sessions will be like. It will also give you an opportunity to ask them any questions you might have. A good trainer will be happy to speak with you, offer a consultation, and answer any questions you may have.
Hiring a personal trainer can be one of the best decisions of your life. Improving your physical fitness and nutrition will carry over into improving almost every aspect of your life. It boosts confidence, improves feelings of well being, reduces pain, and makes you look great. A good trainer will make this a seamless, streamlined, and smooth process, and will coach you through the challenges along the way. A poor trainer can make it painful, more work than necessary, and even leave you worse off than before. So take a little time to find a good one.
There are a lot of great trainers out there, and not all of them will have every single one of these attributes, and that's okay. When seeking a trainer, look for one who has most of the qualities that you feel are most important. Most of all, find one you connect with and feel genuinely wants to help you achieve your goals.
As always, if you have any questions always feel free to message us.