It is very easy to become a trainer these days. There are also a TON of gyms with a TON of young, inexperienced trainers out there just trying to make “easy money”. As a customer, it’s good to know what to look for if you want to hire a personal trainer so you don’t end up regretting the decision.
Ask away! Do not be afraid to grill them with questions to learn if they are worthy. If they get defensive that’s a red flag anyways. Some questions you could ask are:
- What certifications do you have?
- How long have you been a trainer?
- If I want (insert goal here), what would be your overall plan to get me there?
- What if I have (insert preexisting injury)?
- How have you helped others with my goal reach it?
I love this because it will reveal a lot about that trainer. It forces them to think, and will show how experienced they are working with other clients. You’ll be able to see if they are catering towards your goals, or just giving you a cookie cutter program. Don’t be afraid to put a little heat on them. They should be able to cater to your exact goals and if they can’t then they may not be a good fit.
Watch How They Are With Other Clients
This is another good tactic. If you already go to that gym a lot, and work out on your own, just see how they carry themselves with their clients.
- Are they on their phone?
- Are they super engaged with their client or checked out?
- Are they keeping track of workouts or walking around empty handed and winging it?
- What is their style of training?
- Does their style, and clientele match the goals and results you want?
- Do they hold onto their clients or always have new ones? (this is a bad sign)
Choosing your trainer is as much finding a good personality fit with yours as it is experience. There may be a great trainer out there whose style, or personality you just don’t get along with. That’s totally okay. You are paying money to be with that trainer for an hour a day, possibly multiple times a week. They don’t have to be your friend, but you should choose someone that makes the process a little more enjoyable so you stick with it longer. Feel free to ask that trainer's clients what their experience is like as well.
Get An Assessment
Are they asking you a lot of questions? Are they taking you through movements to see your limitations? They should be asking about your previous experience, current goals, limitations, etc. It’s a red flag if they just put you straight on a resistance training routine, squatting and deadlifting without any assessment.
Any good trainer should be very hands-on, asking a ton of questions, and invested in you as a potential client. It’s their job to get results, and get the best out of their clients. If they are sloppy, and don’t track anything, how can you expect to get what you want? Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and make sure their personality matches with someone you want to work with for an extended period of time.
Not Pushing Too Hard
If you see them train a 90 year old the same way they train a 25 year old, that is a red flag. It’s also a red flag if all you see them doing with clients is high intensity routines. A great trainer should be learning your limitations and building a plan around that. If you have previous injuries those need to be addressed. If all a trainer is doing is showing off because it looks cool, then that is not the trainer for you.
This isn't necessarily, but a good trainer should at least show that they continue to hone their craft every day. That can be through them talking about their continued learning outside of work at home, taking on more certifications, or learning from other trainers. It’s nice to know they enjoy their job enough that they want to continually make themselves better so that they can better serve you.