Personal training, Fitness

Choosing a Personal Trainer - What Should You Look For?

By Joe Talarico on Nov 12, 2021 8:45:00 AM
4 Minutes Reading Time


It can seem a little daunting once you’ve decided to choose a trainer. There are probably a lot to choose from at your gym. To make it even harder, you may have heard other members or friends tell you both positive and negative things about hiring a trainer. How can we filter through all of this? 

Today, I’d like to go through some key things to look for when choosing a personal trainer. Be sure to also check out my article on the best way to choose a fitness trainer.

Ask Questions

Do NOT be afraid on any level to ask questions. Having a trainer can be expensive! You deserve to ask as many questions as you want till you feel like you got any confusing issues out of the way. You should be learning just as much about them and their training history as they are of you.

How many years have they been a trainer?

Have they had any success in particular with the issue or goal you have?

What is their plan to get you there?

These are just some of the many questions you should be asking a trainer before hiring them. Consider it a red flag if they cannot answer these.

Watch How They Are

Observe them on the floor while you are there working out on your own. How do they interact with their clients? Do their clients seem to get along with them? Make sure they are paying attention to their clients and not distracted on their phone, or looking around at anyone else instead of their client. A good trainer is focused on the client they are working with, and taking the time to make sure their form is correct and safe.

Performing Assessments

They should start off getting to learn as much as they can about you. They should want to know your previous experience in the gym, pursuing any fitness goals, obstacles towards achieving them, previous injuries, etc. They should also be doing an assessment on your technique through different movement patterns. We all have imbalances and weak areas. These are key spots to hit prior to putting you on any routine.

Individualized Approach

Going off of my point above, because we all have weaknesses and most likely previous injuries, the program you need will be completely different from the one I would need. We haven’t lived the same lives, therefore we did not develop the same weak links in our kinetic chain. Make sure the trainer you hire is looking out for these things, and coming up with mobility routines for you to do to address these. They should also be willing to adapt and modify your program if things come up (scheduling conflicts, injuries, etc).

Be A Guide

A trainer should be your guide. They aren’t there to just count reps and tell you what to do. They are there to introduce new movements, and teach you how to properly execute those movements. On top of that, they should be teaching you (if you are interested) in the logic and rationale behind everything they are doing. I always used to tell my clients that if I have done my job, I should be seeing you less and less. In other words, I should have taught you to be self sufficient at taking ownership of your program.

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Joe Talarico

Joe is a certified Precision Nutrition and strength & conditioning coach. He assisted the UCLA Women’s Tennis team in winning their 2014 NCAA Championship Title, as well as study under the great strength coaches at Pepperdine University. He was a collegiate rower at the University of Rhode Island (where he got his Kinesiology degree) as well as an amateur physique competitor. He is currently the master trainer at Upgrade Labs in Santa Monica where he is combining his years of training clients in the gym with newer technology to optimize their performance and recovery. He also cohosts The RelationSH*T Show Podcast with his fiancée where they discuss all relationship topics unfiltered from who pays on dates, to open relationships.

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