Tips For Choosing the Right Personal Trainer

There’s no that if you’re unsure about how to kick off a new exercise regime that a personal trainer can help. However, choosing the right trainer with the right combination of encouragement, style, and fitness knowledge to suit your personal goals can be tough.

To help with the decision, here are some questions to ask to help you make the right decision when it comes to personal training…

1. Qualifications

Regardless of your fitness goals, a personal trainer with the best credentials is always important for safety sake. Look for a trainer who has earned certifications by a recognized organization you can trust—such as the American Council on Exercise (ACE) for Americans and Can-Fit-Pro (for Canadians).

2. Seek Reviews

Word of mouth references are strong stuff and you’ll want a personal trainer who has worked with other clients who speak highly of their professionalism, support, and knowledge. So ask around your local gym and even do some online research to discover if they come highly recommended or not.

3. Experience

Experience speaks volumes when it comes to trusting a professional with your health and fitness. Look for a trainer with the proper educational background—meaning technique (i.e., form adjustments), the type of training (i.e., power lifting, yoga, maternity fitness, fitness for weight loss, senior level fitness), years practiced. For instance, if you are a senior with bad joint health, you should seek out a trainer with a background in working with seniors to strengthen and improve joint health.

4. Background

Now background can be different than experience if the trainer has specialized and personal know how. By this I mean, they may be a former athlete or have interest in golf (if you are hoping to work out to improve your golf swing) themselves or they may also have other certifications that fit your fitness goals (i.e., chiropractic care, sports medicine, yoga, Pilates, nutritionist, physio-therapy, or massage therapist).

5. Training Style

In addition to background, a personal trainer who trains in a specific style may also be of interest to you. Consider your specific goals—for example getting in shape for hockey season, gentle yoga strength training, aqua fitness, or plyometrics (which is high impact jump training). If you have an injury, it’s also wise to seek out a trainer with knowledge working with that specific injury (i.e., ACL tears or lower back pain).

6. Availability

Of course availability to suit your schedule may seal or break the deal with a potential personal trainer. Inquire about their schedule to see if your appointment times match up for weekly or bi-weekly training.  And ask if they book recurring appointments (meaning the same time each week) or if you have to book in advance per session. You may also be interested in personal trainers who over group classes vs. one-on-one training sessions. It’s totally up to you!

7. Training Personality

You’re bound to have a pretty close relationship with your personal trainer so personal compatibility and training style are really important to a trusting, lasting relationship. You may like a gentle approach, a happy-go-lucky cheer coach, or you may respond to more regimented guidance. You may also like in-depth instruction with explanations on why you are doing this to your body and what muscles you are stretching or you may prefer a more self-sufficient approach to training.

8. Cost

A phenomenal trainer who you gel with and who gets results can be invaluable, but then again, cost may be an issue. Do yourself (and your bank account) a favor before you sign any papers and research the going rate for personal training in your city because prices will vary depending on location. If you still can’t afford one-on-one training, look for a trainer who teaches smaller group classes or check in with a trainer once a month to support and get ideas for your workout routine.


Emily Lockhart

Emily Lockhart is a certified yoga instructor and personal trainer. She believes that being healthy is a lifestyle choice, not a punishment or temporary fix to attain a desired fitness or body image goal. Anna helps her clients take responsibility for their own health and wellness through her classes and articles on ActiveBeat.