There are a ton of personal trainers to choose from out there, so how do we know which one to choose? Finding the right personal trainer comes down to asking the right questions, and taking the time to find one who matches your needs.
Don’t think you need to be assigned a trainer or have a limited selection. You are spending good money to work with someone whom you will be interacting with a lot. It doesn’t hurt to find a trainer who has a personality that matches yours. I have found the best clients/trainers have been ones that just understood where each other was at, and how to be around each other.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions! I would say finding a trainer is more about YOU knowing what the trainer has to offer vs them seeing if you will follow their plan. If you have specific needs you should for SURE ask those questions. Ask them what their plan is to get you to your goals. How will they adapt if you miss a couple sessions or go on vacation? What experience do they have getting clients to where you want to be?
Assessing your Baseline
A good trainer will ask questions about your prior history and do a physical assessment of your current circumstances. It varies per trainer, but it should be some sort of analysis where they can see any weaknesses and imbalances you may have so that they can address those first. They shouldn’t just be providing some cookie cutter program that they give to every client. There’s no reason for you to be doing box jumps if you are trying to rehab an ankle, or just put on some strength.
How are They With Other Clients
If you can, speak to, or observe that trainer interacting with other clients. Are they attentive, or distracted on their phone? A good trainer should be engaged with their client and give feedback on the client's execution. The client shouldn’t be miserable (other than pushing hard for the workout if needed).
As you ask your trainer questions, see if this is a trainer you can grow with. Once they get you to your goals, do they have a plan (if you are interested) for your next steps? Are they giving you tools outside of the gym to stay accountable? A great trainer will always be willing to answer texts or questions you may have to further educate you to eventually do things on your own. If you go on vacation they should provide a workout you can do while you're gone so you stay on track.
On one side of it, a trainer should be pretty informed. What do they do to stay up to date with current trends and workout routines that are out there. If you ask them something they don't know, they should be willing to admit it, but willing to find the answer or refer you to someone who does. Are they themselves growth oriented? If they find something isn’t connecting with you, they should be willing to find workarounds or regressions until something does connect.