While you may want to train as a lone wolf, the reality is that sometimes we all need that little extra help to achieve our goals.
Of course there are tonnes of different programs and guides available online but sometimes a more personal approach is needed.
This is where a personal trainer could help. They can give you the advice and motivation you need, while also helping to keep you accountable for your actions or sometimes inaction.
So how do you go about choosing a personal trainer? Here are some things you should keep in mind before you take the plunge.
#1: What are Your Goals?
Before you do anything else you need to work out what you are ultimately trying to achieve.
Are you trying to lose weight? Or are trying to gain muscle? Even if it is just to “get fitter” then you need to make this clear to yourself.
If you do not have these goals in place then how do you know if a prospective personal trainer can help you achieve them?
When choosing your objectives it is important that they are things that you care about, and that can be tracked.
#2: What is Your Budget?
Nowadays budgets are tighter, so before you hire a personal trainer you need to make sure that you can afford one.
While the costs will vary, with those with a large Instagram following likely to charge much more than one that is affiliated with your local gym. Whichever you choose will cost you.
It is always worth asking if there is any discount available before you sign up. Sometimes there will be offers available that you are unaware of.
#3: Don’t be Tricked by Their Popularity
Celebrity trainers and those with a high social media following are not necessarily the best choice when choosing a personal trainer.
You need to ask whether they have any other credentials? A nice smile and some abs is not enough proof that they actually know what they are talking about.
Will they actually help you achieve your goals?
#4: Ask What Credentials They Have
You may think that you need to at least pass some course to be able to advertise yourself as a personal trainer but this is not always the case.
I would recommend that you ask what credentials the prospective personal trainer has. Do they have any letters after their name? If not maybe they are not as knowledgable as you think.
The letters to look out for are:
- National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA)
- National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)
- Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (NSCA-CSCS)
- Certified Personal Trainer (NSCA-CPT)
- National American Sports Medicine (NASM-CPT)
- American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM-CPT)
- American Council on Exercise (ACE-CPT)
#5: What is Their Area of Expertise?
Not all personal trainers are the same, most trainers have their own area of expertise. For example some may work with those with joint pain, while others may only work with the elderly.
It is no good you choosing to work with someone who usually chooses yoga if you are looking to build muscle. While those with joint problems should avoid those personal trainers who primarily opt for HIIT workouts.
Again, it is best to ask the trainer what type of exercises they usually include in their workout program.
#6: What’s Their Personality Like?
It probably comes as no surprise to learn that personal trainers are not robots and all have their own personalities and way of working.
While one may take the softly, softly approach, others may opt for shouting to motivate you.
You need to think whether their personality matches your own.
Chances are if you are more of a relaxed person, then a trainer who is strict and uncompromising may not be the best fit for you.
If you get on too well then they may not be a good choice either. You need someone to push you and to motivate you, so if you are spending all your time chatting then you are not going to see the best results.
#7: Do They Listen to You?
Before you start a new program, any potential personal trainer should ask you a few questions about you, your current diet and training, and your past history, including any medication you currently take.
These are important questions for them to ask, as doing a new training regime can be potentially dangerous. Especially if you are not as fit as you would like to be.
A past history of illness or injuries are best disclosed to a personal trainer, and if they do not ask about them then I would recommend looking for an alternative.
#8: Are You Making Progress?
Once you have made the decision and have chosen your personal trainer it is important that you keep asking yourself whether you are making progress towards your goals.
It may take a few months to realise that they are not working but I would recommend giving at least 4-6 weeks before you opt for someone else.
Be honest with yourself too, are you following their plan? Giving 100% at each workout? If you are aren't then perhaps the fault does not lay with your personal trainer but with yourself.
However, if you are sure you are giving your all and still not seeing results then there is no harm in looking elsewhere. There is no point throwing your hard-earned money away for a trainer that is not helping you towards your goals.
A personal trainer can certainly help you reach your goals, but only if you find the correct one.
Hopefully if you follow our questions above you will choose the best one for your own needs. Good luck with your search!
If you have any other questions that you would suggest asking a potential personal trainer then please leave them for us below using the comment form provided.