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Personal training, Fitness

What to Look for When Choosing a Personal Trainer

By Joe Talarico on Dec 8, 2021 9:30:00 AM
5 Minutes Reading Time


There are so many personal trainers out there it can be hard to decide who to go with. The price of each session can be a lot too so you want to make sure you are getting your money’s worth. How do we decipher the good from the bad? In this article, I’d like to go over some of that.

Be sure to check out my other articles on How Do I Choose a Personal Trainer At My Local Gym? and What You Need to Know If You Want to Hire a Personal Trainer. 


This is probably one of the most important ones in my opinion. What I have found most clients need when on their fitness journey, is someone to hold them accountable. A great trainer should be your guide who not only can build a program for you, but also make sure you are showing up for your sessions, and care about you reaching the goals you set for yourself.

I know for me, it’s easy to slip up and fall off my plan when I am left on my own. Knowing I have a trainer I have to answer to keep me on my toes and on track.


This seems obvious but often overlooked. Do you get along with your trainer? Most gyms offer a free assessment. Use that as a chance to get to know the trainer. You don’t have to be best friends with them, but you shouldn’t dread being around them. You should also look to see if they have a coaching style that fits your personality type. Some trainers are more militant and aggressive. Other’s are very laid back and easy going. Find what style you need to get you to your goals.


Once you find a trainer with a personality you like, don’t be afraid to ask them if they’ve even gotten any other client to the goals similar to yours. If you are trying to lose 20lbs and they’ve never helped anyone lose weight, they might not be the best fit for you. Personal training can be an expensive endeavor, so you want to make sure your money is going towards someone who has a track record of success stories to get you where you need to go.

If you are able to interact with their clients, feel free to also ask them what their experience was like working with that trainer.


What is their background? Is it their first year as a trainer or are they the top trainer at the gym? Maybe you have a very specific issue that needs a specific trainer. Some trainers specialize in post pregnancy while others specialize in sport specific training. These days there are so many trainers out there that if you have something very niche you want to focus on, chances are there is a really good trainer out there that does exactly that. Take some time to do your research and seek that out.


This is where it gets a little tricky. They don’t need to have a nutrition degree, and be able to write you a full on meal plan, but they should have a decent knowledge on nutrition. After all, whether your goal is to put on muscle or lose weight, both require implementing a proper nutrition protocol to achieve those results. They can write the perfect program for you, but if you aren’t eating the right foods to fuel those workouts, you will find yourself plateauing very quickly.  

I had all different types of plans for my clients no matter their needs. They could be vegan, keto, wanting to compete in their first show, you name it. I was able to take it on because I took the time to learn the nutrition side, experiment on myself and other clients, and see what works and what doesn’t. You don’t want to spend all that hard work and money in the gym only to come up short because you didn’t eat enough protein.


Your trainer should always have a plan of attack. Maybe you come to him wanting to add muscle. 3 months into it, things change, and you realize you have a lot of restrictions and injuries that need addressing. Your trainer should be able to adapt and adjust your programming based on your needs. There is no reason to be doing bicep curls and bench press, when all you want is to strengthen your core, and build some strength so you can play tennis.  

Hopefully this article helped clear up some confusion about what to look for when finding a trainer. At the end of the day don’t be afraid to ask questions, and be very specific about your goals.

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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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