10 Things to Consider Before Choosing a Personal Trainer

10 Things to Consider Before Choosing a Personal Trainer

Congratulations! Congratulations! A personal trainer can help you stay motivated and accountable in your weekly workouts. They can also help you to maximize your time at the gym, avoid injury, and achieve consistent results.

There is a fine line between investing in your future success in fitness and throwing money away on something that doesn’t work. What is the difference? How to find the right person to help you achieve your goals.

It is important to do your research before you hire a trainer. All it takes to find the right person for you is some legwork. It’s “personal” training because you and your trainer will be working together to create a bond that will keep you motivated and engaged throughout the entire process.

Still stumped? Consider the following 10 criteria when you are looking for a personal trainer.

Credentials. A trainer should be able show you a certification in their area of expertise. Personal trainers in reading need to pass an exam administered by accredited organizations like the American Council on Exercise (ACE), National Academy of Sports Medicine, or the National Strength and Conditioning Association. This certification ensures that they have met the standards of professionalism, competence, and reliability required by a trusted organization.

Experience. Practice makes perfect. A trainer who has been around the block several times will likely have perfected his method for giving the best cues so you get the most from every rep. If you don’t mind playing guineapig, it may be wise to avoid signing a contract with a new trainer and instead choose one with some experience.

Personality. What drives you? Some people respond well to positive reinforcement, others prefer cheerleading and some like being screamed at. Others enjoy getting scared into doing more squats. Talk to your trainer to get an idea of her approach to help you decide if it is right for you.


Philosophy. This subtle, but crucial point of differentiation can make or break your experience. What beliefs are the trainer using to develop his programs? Are you looking for outside or gym-based exercises? Are you using machines? Or will you stick to free weights only? Discuss philosophy to find out if it is a good fit for you and your goals.

Specialties. Have you ever heard the expression, “Jack-of-all trades, master of none?” If you are looking for something specific, such as a 5k PR, you will want to work with someone who is a specialist in Olympic weightlifting. They will not only be more knowledgeable in the area you are interested in, but they’ll also likely be more passionate about the subject if they’re familiar with the details of the sport and have a personal interest.

Price. As experience, personality, and philosophy can vary greatly between trainers, so can their hourly rates, depending on specialties, location, and other factors (sometimes up to hundreds of dollars). Before you start your search, think about your budget. If hourly sessions for solo training are not within your budget, you don’t have to despair. Some trainers offer semi-private sessions and discounts for bulk purchases.

Availability. Consistency is key to working with a trainer. It’s worth asking about his schedule. What number of clients does he have? Is he booking solidly with little room for error? Is he more inclined to book them all at once each week or does he prefer a flexible schedule that changes frequently? What is your cancellation policy, how far in advance do you need to make appointments?

Where you live. This area is a matter of personal preference. So consider your tendencies and habits. Do you prefer to commute 20 minutes to get somewhere, or are you more comfortable walking? Where do you prefer to train? Some people find inspiration from seeing others in a gym setting. Others prefer the one-on-1 approach of a studio. Still others are inspired by the private space of their home. There are trainers for all types of locations, which is a good thing!

Tracking your progress. Your trainer should have a way to track your progress and show you that your hard work is having an impact. You can use benchmarks like PRs, weight loss and strength gains to help you stay on track. They also allow you to ensure your trainer is doing her job well.

Referrals are the best compliment a trainer could receive, but seeing clients’ results firsthand is second. Good trainers are happy to share success stories, testimonials, and references to help people achieve their goals, especially if they’re similar to yours.

While you may feel overwhelmed by the prospect of selecting a personal trainer for yourself, the criteria listed above are guidelines and not hard-and-fast rules. It’s okay to feel strongly about certain items but not others. You can simplify your search by trusting your instincts. You should choose a qualified and experienced personal coach who you feel is the best fit. This person is the right one to hire. She will not only help you achieve your goals but will keep you motivated, comfortable, and inspired all through the process.