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What to Look For In A Personal Trainer



lifting weights

Hey there meathead. Now that you’ve finally decided to take your health and fitness more seriously, you deserve all the help you need to reach your wellness goals.

Whether you’re a beginner trying to get rid of that nagging beer belly or a fitness junkie taking things to the next level, hiring a great personal trainer is a wise investment.

Not only do personal trainers teach you the right exercises for your needs, but they also motivate you to work out and follow through with your fitness program.

A personal trainer could be the only thing standing between you and that leaner body you dream of. It could be the only thing you need to shred your muscles or win a marathon.

That is exactly why it’s incredibly important to choose your personal trainer wisely. Choose the right personal trainer from the start and you’ll have a fabulous time working out.

Choose the wrong personal trainer and you can expect all manner of problems later on. Plus, you risk serious injury when working with an inexperienced and subpar trainer.

That said, let us discover what to look for when hiring a personal trainer that will help you smash your fitness goals while feeling great the entire time.

How to Choose a No-Nonsense Personal Trainer Who Gets Results

Building a regular workout routine is no easy task even for the most dedicated people. One day, you’re hyped for the session, but the next, not so much.

Another day, you fall off your nutrition plan and indulge in some treats you shouldn’t be touching with a ten-foot pole.

Plus, isn’t it always fun to work out with somebody else? It’s always fun working out with my friend Dan. It’s incredible because you encourage each other to push the limits.

A great personal trainer is a like that workout friend. He keeps you on track and advice you how best to achieve your goals realistically, and more importantly, safely.

Here are a couple of pointers to help you choose the perfect personal trainer for your fitness goals. Don’t sweat it; it’s super-duper easy.

General Fitness or Specialized Training

If you’ve read this far, you most definitely have defined your fitness goals. Perhaps you want to run a marathon. Maybe you just want to lose a couple of pounds. Are you into weightlifting? Yoga?

The type of personal trainer you ultimately choose depends entirely on your overall goals. Obviously, you want to get the best talent for your budget and needs.

That’s why the personal trainer you choose needs to understand your fitness goals. If you want to train in a specific area e.g., endurance training, you need a trainer experienced in that specific area.

If you want to win an upcoming boxing competition, you need a personal trainer for boxers and so on and so forth. It makes achieving your goals easier.

So, take time to define your goals and choose the best personal trainer for your needs. That should thin down the list of possible personal trainers.

After that, it’s imperative to check if the personal trainer has the knowledge, skills and experience to help you achieve you goals. It’s as simple as asking the right questions during the interview.

Certifications and Experience

Quick question: How do you easily tell you’re hiring a great personal trainer? That’s right; they have the right education and experience.

And how do you gain education and experience? Ten bonus points for your team if you shouted, “You get certifications!”

Nowadays, most employers won’t hire a personal trainer without certification. That means if you work with a reputable gym, you can expect to find certified personal trainers.

If you go with an independent contractor, ensure they have certification from an accredited certifying body such as NASM, ACE and AFAA, among others.

Typically, personal trainers are required to hold at least a high school diploma, GED or equivalent. After that, a great personal trainer enrolls in a training program and takes a certification exam.

If they pass, they become certified personal trainers (CPT). If you’re a bit curious, here’s a NASM Practice Test that shows you what is expected of a CPT.

You might find a great personal trainer without certification via word of mouth, but you’ll agree it’s safer to work with a certified fitness instructor because they are simply better equipped.

For best results, you want to work with a certified and experienced personal trainer as opposed to a newbie or a trainer without certifications in the area of specialty.

Client-Trainer Compatibility

Do you remember we said a personal trainer is like that great friend who keeps you pushing the limits? You know, the kind of guy that gets you pumping the iron even when you want to give up?

It’s called “personal” training because it means just that, and for things to work out, you must be compatible with your personal trainer.

Ask yourself questions such as “Do you click with your personal trainer?” “Are you comfortable with your personal trainer?” and “Do you look forward to your training sessions?” among others.

Ideally, you want to answer “yes” to each of the above questions. Anything short of that and you must ditch that particular trainer ASAP.

The best way to determine if you click with your trainer is to attend at least one their sessions. One session should be enough to determine if you’ll continue working with that particular trainer.

Does the personal trainer communicate well? Do they motivate you to achieve your goals or are they demoralizing by the manner they treat during sessions? Are they professional?

Knowledge of Nutrition

Unless you’re the absolute beginner or live under a rock or something, you must already know that body condition goes beyond physical exercise because it’s also about what you eat.

After all, they say you’re what you eat. If you’re trying to lose weight, you need a special diet plan that supports that specific goal.

If you’re trying to build muscle mass, you also must adhere to a different kind of diet. Nutrition planning is an important part of what personal trainers do.

As such, you should seek out a certified personal trainer who knows all about nutrition, and how the body processes the different foods we eat.

If he’s a great guy like you, he might even take you grocery shopping or recommend regular diet plans. Then, he or she will show you exactly how to follow through with your diet for best results.

A good personal trainer will also recommend effective and safe fitness supplements. Here’s how celebrity trainer Joel Harper puts it:

“My clients are constantly asking me for advice about nutrition and supplements,” says Harper, “They ask, ‘Do I need supplements if I eat healthy already?’ My answer is ‘YES,’ because it’s tough to consistently eat a well-balanced diet and you want to make sure you get enough protein and nutrition every single day.”

Patience and Encouragement

Working out and achieving fitness goals is no easy task. Planning everything at the beginning is easy and fun. Sticking to a productive workout routine? Well, that’s a different animal.

You need copious amounts of zeal to do the kind of exercise that brings you real results. That plus, we are all different and respond to exercises differently.

That’s why it’s incredibly important to have a patient personal trainer who is willing to train at your pace instead of trying to jam more exercises down your throat even when your body has had enough.

At the same time, you don’t need a personal trainer who grows complacent in the name of being “patient with you.” You need a trainer who pushes you without breaking you.

A patient trainer will take time to understand you needs based on many factors such as health, age, existing conditions, and how much training you can take at any given time before buckling.

You need a patient trainer who will also encourage you to exercise diligently without injuring yourself at the same time. The best trainers want the best for their clients.

Otherwise, how will trainer show social proof if nobody sees results from their training? Go for a guy who is patient enough without being complacent.

Personalized Training Plan

A good personal trainer is heavily invested in the health and wellness of his or her clients. When it comes to fitness, it’s never about the trainer, but you and how you’ll achieve your fitness goals.

In most cases, an exercise routine that works for me might not work for you. It’s just the way things are because we’re intrinsically different.

What works for you might not work for the next guy, which creates a need of personalized training plans for different ages, body type, gender, fitness level, schedule and so on.

So, does your personal trainer provide a personalized training program based on your fitness levels and goals? Or do they offer generic training paraded as a one-fits-all magic solution?

If you need general fitness exercises just to stay in shape, you can choose a personal trainer who does a little bit of everything.

However, if you need more specialized training, you want a personal trainer who is experienced in that specialty. Such a trainer is better placed to create a personalized plan that works for you.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Tammie Houston

    September 28, 2021 at 12:33 am

    I love that you talked about how you should look for a personal trainer that has the patience to deal with you and can give you constant encouragement when you’re ready to give up. I have some really bad social anxiety issues myself and it makes me a bit shy when doing new things like working out. Hopefully, I can find someone that can understand that aspect of me and adjust my workout accordingly.

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