What To Look For When Hiring A Personal Trainer

Working up the courage to meet with a personal trainer or coach for the first time can be intimidating.

After all, if you have never hired a trainer or worked with a coach, how do you know if they will be able to meet your needs or be able to help you?

Sure you could ask about their certifications and education, but this only speaks to their academic accomplishments and not their performance. The issue is complicated even more by the array of fitness accreditations available to coaches.  The average individual has a very hard time sifting through this information.

A referral from a friend or family member is always a great start, but what works for others might not be what works for you.

So what DO you look for when hiring a coach?

Here’s a brief list of what’s important when looking for a coach:
  1. They ask about YOUR goals. When I first started coaching I thought it was so important to convey all my training and nutrition knowledge. I later realized that in doing this, I was speaking AT the person in the consultation so much that I never stopped to inquire about THEIR goals.  One of the first signs of a great coach is they start by asking what YOU want out of working with a coach. If no one asks about your goals, run. 
  2. They don’t beat you up the first day. The biggest sign of an inexperienced coach is one that wants to show you how “tough” they can be by taking you through a super hard workout the first day. This often happens because they did not assess your goals properly to begin with (see, above), and they assume that everyone wants to just get their butt kicked.
  3. They have an evaluation process.  This builds off of number two, but how will they be able to train you without seeing you move or knowing your injury and medical history.   Not all exercises are right for all clients.  A great coach will have a system in place to safely and effectively train you. 
  4. They explain the plan.  Let’s say for example, if you told me you are looking to lose 10lbs and get stronger, I might prescribe a plan that looks something like this

“The first two weeks we will workout twice a week. That will allow you to acclimate to the program and also provide time to establish the necessary nutrition habits. From there, we’ll add a third strength training workout and monitor your progress weekly. A good pace for a goal like this is a weekly fat loss of about 5-10bs. Given this, I estimate this should take about 3 months. We’ll assess and adjust weekly to make sure we are on track.”


Compare that to:


“Well I think buying 50 sessions (our biggest package) and training as often as you can is the best way to start.” 

A great coach will outline a plan along with an approximate timeline, and hold you accountable to the process.
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