How to Choose a Personal Trainer

DO's and DON'Ts for choosing your next fitness coach

Hiring a personal trainer can be one of the best ways to achieve your fitness goals. Not only do they hold you accountable for your diet and exercise, but they can also tailor a workout program for your exact needs and abilities. 

Because of this personalized attention, trainers can be expensive. To make sure you don't squander too much money finding the right one, Lisa Fleming—Personal Training Program Manager at Blink Fitness in New York City—offers the following tips. 

DO…Ask Yourself The Following Question
What are your specific goals? This will dictate what type of person you want to work with. For instance, the trainer who can best prepare you for your next Ironman will likely be different than the one who teaches Pilates. If you’re looking for someone to train you in a specific sport, ask the manager at your gym if there is someone with expertise in the subject.

DO…Observe the Trainers
If you are looking for more general training, you can broaden your search. Begin by observing the trainers at your gym during the time you want to work out. That way, you can become familiar with your options. Watch for the attentiveness of the trainer. He or she should be paying attention to their clients and correcting clients' form, not checking their emails or joking around with other trainers. You can also look for someone who works with clients similar to you. If you’re a 25-year-old woman and you see a trainer working with men in their 50s, that person might not be the best choice for you. Once you’ve narrowed down your options, go to the gym manager and ask his opinion.

DO…Gauge How it Goes in Your First Session
You should feel comfortable working with your trainer. Whoever you choose should listen to you and afford you the opportunity for feedback. A trainer should push you harder than you would push yourself, but not past your limit. To find that fine line, the trainer should continually check in about how you feel doing each exercise.

DON'T…Expect a Detailed Health Assessment Prior to Your Workout
While some trainers begin by measuring everything from your waist circumference to resting heart rate, these details are not necessary. Still, every trainer should take the time to discuss your goals and any potential risk factors such as prior injuries.

DON'T…Choose Based on How a Trainer Looks
Some of the best coaches and trainers–such as those who focus on Olympic lifting–don't resemble the stereotypical lean athlete. If your trainer's appearance will help motivate you, then choose someone with the body you aspire to have. If not, choose someone who has a great track record with their clients.