What separates good trainers from bad trainers? How do you choose the right personal trainer for you? This is a question that gym-goers have been asking themselves since the time when fitness centers were still known as gymnasiums.
While you don’t want to work out with someone who doesn’t know what they’re talking about, you also don’t want a trainer that makes you do a lot of hard exercises just for the sake of making you tired.
You want a trainer who listens to your goals and who has enough experience to help you reach your objectives, while answering any questions that you might have along the way.
Although this sounds simple enough, we know it’s not that easy. That’s why we put together a checklist that you can use to help narrow down your options and find the perfect personal trainer for you:
How To Choose The Right Personal Trainer
- Go To The Gym And Watch Trainers
A great way to choose a personal trainer is to join a gym and start by observing different trainers from a distance. You’ll notice certain things like their training techniques, how busy they are, and how they treat their clients.
You want a trainer who’s consistent in showing up 100% for themselves and their clients. Also look at how they interact with their clients, because the last thing you want is a trainer who’s always on the phone or who is disinterested in what they’re doing.
- Consider Their Coaching Style
A trainer’s personality is important because it contributes to their coaching style. You’re going to spend a lot of time with your personal trainer, so it might as well be someone that you get along with.
Are they friendly, calm, encouraging, or are they strict and pressing? If you want the drill sergeant, boot-camp kind of personal trainer who’s going to be like, “OK, let’s flip a tire. Let’s go! No excuses!” then that’s okay.
But if you prefer someone who’s gentle, patient, and supportive then you should look for a trainer who doesn’t yell at you and is willing to hold your hand throughout the whole process.
Also, your personal trainer is your wingman and if you’re not feeling something then you should be comfortable enough to bring that to their attention. For best results, ask qualifying questions, go with your gut and you’ll know if you have a good fit.
- Good Program Design
A good trainer should be able to design a unique fitness and nutrition program that’s specific to your goals. The program should make sense and take into account the #1 principle of program design, which is progressive overload.
This means that the workouts need to get harder and harder over time. A good personal trainer will make sure that you’re not just staying the same (or going backwards!) but that you’re actually progressing.
- Have They Produced The Results That You Want?
If not, then find someone else who does. It’s tempting to take advice from someone who embodies an ideal physique and lifestyle that looks great on Instagram. There are many people who know the food, diet, and exercise equation for one type of outcome, but if that outcome is not what you want, then you’re not going to have good results with that trainer.
A trainer who specializes in endurance (like marathon training) may not be a good choice if your primary goal is strength and bone density improvements. A physique competitor is probably not the best trainer to help you improve your golf game. All personal trainers are not the same! Find a fitness professional who has a long track record producing the kinds of results you want.
Not all coaches live, breathe, and sleep fitness and nutrition. But you DO want a trainer who is actually practicing a healthy lifestyle and can give you practical advice when you’re not motivated, when it hurts, and when you’re tempted to fall off the wagon.
- Choose Your Trainer Now
Good personal trainers often have a waiting list. You should try to choose your trainer now so that you don’t have to settle for someone who isn’t suited to your needs and preferences. You want the perfect trainer for YOU who will guide you and push you appropriately based on your needs. You do not want “whoever is available”!
- They Should Monitor and Correct Your Technique
It’s important to maintain proper form when working out, not only to prevent injuries but to ensure that your workouts are maximally effective. If you’re new to working out, then your trainer should give you pointers on form at least a few times in the beginning.
If not, then they’re probably paying too much attention to their phone and not enough on you.
- A Good Personal Trainer Will Motivate You
A good trainer should be a good motivator and not just stand by counting reps. They need to inspire you to do better and more than what you think you’re capable of.
To determine this, have a conversation with your potential trainer to figure out if you’re comfortable with their training style and personality as well. If you’re not comfortable when talking to someone, you won’t be comfortable with them spotting you while lifting weights.
- Ask The Right Questions
When you do find a potential candidate to be your personal trainer, be sure to ask them relevant questions, such as:
- “What do you specialize in?”
This is to determine whether or not the trainer has experience helping people to reach the same goal that you’re aiming for. After all, it wouldn’t make sense to go to a track and field coach if your goal is to learn to use kettlebells or get ready for a bodybuilding contest.
- “Why did you become a personal trainer?”
The way a trainer answers this question can be very telling. Ideally, you want a trainer who is passionate about what they do and aren’t just in it for the paycheck or because they like to work out themselves.
The best trainers are people who actually love helping people. A lot of them have phenomenal transformation stories of their own, which inspired them to start helping others in the first place. The best personal trainer will be one who is there to serve YOU.
- “Are my goals realistic?”
You should ask this question to make sure that your trainer is willing to be honest with you. If your goals aren’t realistic, a good trainer will tell you. They’ll even help you to formulate achievable goals or to slowly work towards your original goals over an expanded time frame.
Are You Ready To Choose The Right Personal Trainer?
A good trainer doesn’t just count reps while giving you meathead advice from 1998. He or she should be your coach, and your cheerleader who can embody your goals. And for goodness sake, they need to know what they’re talking about! Bad exercise instruction is rampant in gyms and on YouTube, so buyer beware. If you follow the tips shared on this post, then you’ll definitely find a great personal trainer!