So you have fitness goals and you want results, but you need some help. This is where hiring a personal trainer can bridge that gap.
Whether you’re looking to max out one rep, cut a few sizes, get ready for competition, or simply improve your current fitness routine, using a personal trainer can be a complete game-changer.
But how do you find a quality trainer that is right for you and matches your goals? These personal trainers are here to help.
We asked several personal trainers some of the important questions they hope their potential clients will ask them. Here’s what they say you should ask your trainer.
1. What are your references?
It may feel like you’re digging into someone’s past, but don’t be shy. After all, you are a paying customer and you will work hard. Although degrees or certifications do not necessarily guarantee you the best trainer, Anthony Carey MA, CSCS, believes that this is always a very important question to ask your coach. “Coaches who have an exercise science-related degree and/or national certification have demonstrated a level of skill that someone who has taken a weekend workshop or internet certification will not have.”
Seek certifications from certification bodies such as the American Council on Exercise, The National Strength and Conditioning Association, the national academy of sports medicineand the American College of Sports Medicine. “These organizations have been accredited by the National Commission of Certifying Agencies (NCCA),adds Carey.
The expansion of knowledge and growth in their field should also be continuous. “Also, make sure the trainer maintains continuing education units to keep up to date with the latest research and trends,” Carey suggests. Once you’ve found a trainer with excellent credentials, you’ll be one step closer to achieving your goals.
2. What criteria will you use to determine my exercise program?
Cookie-cutter fitness plans or “well-rounded” programs most likely mean the trainer is putting you, your medical history, and any past injuries on the back burner. A coach should consider any past medical conditions or injuries. “You should always be asked to complete a medical history questionnaire to determine your needs and limitations,” Carey says. If you are under the care of a physician, the trainer should discuss any exercise concerns with your physician and should request a health examination or release from your physician. “The trainer should then perform both a cardiovascular assessment and a musculoskeletal assessment to determine your current fitness level,” adds Carey.
Each individual has their own unique strengths and weaknesses and this should be determined through assessment and then addressed in your specific exercise prescription. A detailed program designed for you is a great sign that you may have just found your trainer.
3. Can I see reviews from past and previous customers?
There’s a reason people head straight to the “reviews” section on Amazon before making a purchase: they want to see what everyone else has to say about the item they’re about to read. invest. The same research should be done when hiring a personal trainer.
Matt Pippin, CPT, with Pippin Performance encourages you to request “testimonials from current or former clients”. Great reviews, recommendations, and results will speak volumes about the trainer. “It’s also a good idea to find out if the trainer has worked with someone whose goals are similar to yours,” he adds. For example, a retired person might not want to work with a trainer who only trains young bodybuilders, and vice versa.
By doing so, the trainer you speak with might even refer you to someone who works with clients like you.
4. Do you have proof of professional liability insurance?
It is important to know that every A-rated insurance company that offers professional liability for the fitness industry must be certified by a reputable certification body. “The implications here are clear: if the trainer doesn’t have coverage, they’re either uninsurable or not meeting our occupational standards,” Carey says. This is where you should continue shopping for a personal trainer that is covered.
5. What is your communication style or behavior when training clients?
Motivation comes in different forms of communication when it comes to personal training sessions, but you need to match your needs with a trainer who can meet them. “Do you need a motivator or an educator, or a touch of love?” Carey asks. “The approach the trainer brings to your session can determine whether you stick with your program or not,” he adds.
Your trainer is more than someone who designs an exercise program for you. They are your ally and your support network to achieve your goals. It should be someone you respect and get what you want out of the relationship,” Carey says. You want to be excited about training with them and feel better physically and mentally after every workout.
6. What are your payment plans and cancellation policy?
Hiring a personal trainer is an investment. Having a clear understanding of prices and cancellation details up front and in writing can eliminate any awkward misunderstandings. “Many trainers will offer different pricing structures depending on your financial commitment to training with them,” says Carey.
Your coach should be able to provide you with all of this information in writing. “It’s even a good idea for both of you to sign a contract that clearly outlines the financial expectations of both parties.”
7. What kind of results can I expect?
Results take time and do not come overnight. “A coach who makes unrealistic promises sets you up for disappointment.” Depending on your goals, advises Carey, “your coach should be able to give you a general idea of where you’ll be in a month, three months, and six months if you stick to the plan.”
ALSO: Look For These Qualities In A Personal Trainer
In addition to asking these seven questions, looking for important qualities in a coach will also set you up for success.
First things first: does this train show any type of empathy? “You want them to know what it’s like to go through this journey and care about it,” Pippin says. The journey you take when you switch bodies, while rewarding, can be challenging at times. It takes dedication and hard work, which is not always easy.
Another quality to look for is amazing communication skills. “Not only during training, but also being totally upfront about what they are going to provide,” he adds.
The same goes for how the trainer speaks to you during a session. “You want a coach who knows how to effectively communicate what he’s trying to show you,” Pippin says. “You don’t want someone who’s constantly spitting ‘techno chatter’ at you describing something to you,” he adds.
BONUS: Personal Trainer Red Flags
During a session, you want a trainer who makes it clear that he is in your best interest and who gives you his full attention; anything less can be a red flag. Here, Pippin gives two important indicators to watch:
1. When you explain your goals and they don’t listen to you, but instead go out of their way to sell you a membership or even supplements right off the bat, move on to the next coach.
2. If they are constantly on the phone during your session, make this your last session with them.