Are you serious about getting in shape and improving your health? If you are, it is highly advisable that you find a certified personal trainer to guide and motivate you through your workout program. Your trainer will be your mentor and your ally when you feel like quitting, or when you don’t see the results you’re aiming for.

It will be their job to help you reach your goal. However, finding the perfect fitness trainer can be a daunting task. You have to find the balance between liking your trainer, and making sure they are qualified to assist you through your workout program.

How can you find that match made in heaven? You can now know what to look for in a personal trainer by answering these seven questions.

1) Are they Certified?

Anyone in a gym can give advice, but not everyone is qualified to do so. Take their advice with a grain of salt. For a trainer to be considered certified, they need to pass a written and practical exam on fitness and exercise, through a certification course. Two notable organisations that certified trainers use are the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and American Council on Exercise (ACE).

While certification is good the trainer must be able to communicate clearly and show a level of competence. Certification also does not prove the trainer is an expert as experience may be lacking. You want someone who has trained persons for at least 2 years with results. Therefore the ideal trainer would be someone with both certification and experience.

If you suddenly become unconsious do they know basic CPR? Do they know how to assist you properly before trained professionals arrive?

2) What is their Experience?

Certification alone does not guarantee a trainer’s effectiveness. They should also have experience. You want someone who has been actively training people for at least 2 years. You can also ask for references when choosing a trainer.

3) Does my Trainer look the part?

Your trainer's physique should inspire you to workout. If their own body is not in tip-top shape, how can they help YOU get in shape? Being trained by someone who looks healthy and fit will inspire you to persevere with your fitness goal. Your trainer will be your model - a constant reminder of what you’re aiming for.

4) What is their Specialty?

Once you’ve made the decision to join or start a fitness program, and you’re ready to book your first training session, you will discover that there are several types of workouts you can choose from. Some examples are: TRX, Kettlebells, CrossFit, or Aerobics, just to name a few. The trainer you choose should be certified to teach and train in the type of workout you choose. 

Trainers can get certified for different disciplines and programs. Some may even have degrees in Sports Science, Physical Education, Kinesiology or Exercise Science. It is important for your trainer to specialize in the type of workout you prefer, so they can share their expertise with you, and you can trust that they’re giving you the best advice.

5) How do they treat clients with injuries and do they modify exercises?

A good certified personal trainer will adjust the training program if you are suffering from an old injury, or if you’re in a weakened state. They will modify the program to fit your current physical condition. Some trainers do not take the time to consider these factors, and will simply follow a standard program.

Some scenarios:

  • A knee injury will make it difficult for you to do squats or any exercise that requires bending of the knees.
  • If you’re trying to strengthen your upper body, the exercises you do should be modified to achieve that goal.
  • A heart condition will prevent you from doing over strenuous exercises.
  • A trainer should not adopt a one-size-fits-all for clients. Exercises should be modified according to the individual’s condition and needs. In some instances, a person’s condition will even require them to consult with their physician before they can start a fitness program.

Before choosing a trainer, ask them how they will approach these scenarios so you can get an insight on their training style.

6) What is the Trainer's Fee, Terms and Conditions, and Availability?

Trainers’ fees vary depending on the service they provide Someone who has more certifications and experience would charge higher than one with less credentials. However, these are not the only factors that affect cost. Location, and competition also dictates the trainer’s fees.

Aside from knowing if their fees are competitive, know the following:

  • Does your trainer provide a free trial session?
  • Do they give discounts for bulk sessions?
  • What is their rule on cancellations and refunds?
  • Are they flexible or do you have to fit in to their schedule?
  • Will they give make-up sessions if you miss one?

7. Does my Trainer have the necessary Qualities?

It’s not only about knowledge and technical ability. A trainer should connect with you, and you should have confidence in them. You don’t have to be best friends with your trainer, but it would be hard to listen to or follow someone you don’t like. Aside from that, you want your workouts to be enjoyable, and not feel like a trip to the dentist. The kind of trainer you choose will affect the outcome of your goal significantly

Qualities you should look for:

  • Should motivate you and provide encouragement when you’re losing will and focus.
  • Should not be afraid to give constructive criticism.
  • Should be able to balance forcefulness with compassion.
  • Should be able to push you beyond your perceived limits.
  • Should be professional at all times, and respectful of your boundaries.
  • Do you want a military-style trainer, or a gentler style of coaxing? Ask them about their style, and determine if it will work for you.

Don't let enthusiasm, lack of knowledge and experience result to wasted time and money. Know the answers to these questions and choose not to settle. This will lead to an enjoyable workout experience with achieved goals. A fitness program would have more chances of success if you have an experienced certified personal trainer who cares about you achieving your fitness goals.

It’s a partnership based on honesty, mutual confidence, and trust. We trainers require nothing more from our clients but determination and consistency. We need to know what your fitness goals are, so we can do our best to help you achieve them.

What do you usually look for in a personal trainer? Leave your response in the comment section below.


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