If you’re going to invest your resources and trust your body with a professional, you want them to be worth it. Here are the nine major things to look out for before you start working with a trainer:
If your trainer has a know-it-all attitude, proceed with caution. The most experienced trainers in the field are confident in their knowledge and coaching but also recognize there is much we still don’t know for certain about the human body and that research is constantly changing how we approach training.A good trainer will also go out of their way to make you feel comfortable and safe.
Look for someone who schedules your training in accordance with your goals and needs that you discussed during an initial consultation. They should also have you on a training program as a regular client and not just improvising workouts on the fly.
3. Consultations and assessments.
A good trainer will never begin with a client without an initial consult and assessment. How will they know how to train a client if they don’t know their strengths, weaknesses, movement patterns, goals, and personality?
4. The ability to explain the “why.”
This might be the most telltale tip of how you can see if a trainer is not only a good trainer but a good fit for you. Always ask them why.
5. Diversity in training.
If you’re at a commercial gym, you have the advantage of being able to scope trainers out. Watch how they interact with their clients, but also see if they have clients of different ages, fitness levels, etc., do the same exact workout. If so, this probably isn’t the trainer for you—they should be tailoring the training program to your specific needs and goals.
6. No promise of quick results.
Progress takes time, and there are no shortcuts to true health and fitness. Run away from anyone who tells you can lose 20 pounds in a healthy way in two weeks or promises any type of unrealistic goals just to get you in the door and training with them. A good trainer will help set realistic goals and act as your teammate to help you reach them.
7. They cost money.
You get what you pay for and you pay for what you get. Not to say you need to be paying a ridiculous fee for training, but what a lot of clients don’t realize is that a quality trainer will not undervalue their time, knowledge, and what they can give you—because a lot more goes into having you on as a client than showing up for a one-hour session.
First of all, your trainer should unquestionably be certified. Would you go to a surgeon who didn’t graduate from medical school? Ask them what their national certification is. Once you have that information, go home and look it up. See if it’s a certification that you can earn in one online test over a weekend or if it’s an actual course that culminates in final examinations. NASM, NSCA (CSCS), ACE, ISSA, ACSM are the “big five” of the training world and most widely respected. Most top training gyms will require a trainer to have one of these.
9. They coach with knowledge.
A good trainer should be able to demonstrate their knowledge in a way that is helpful to you and not just throw around fancy science words to appear more knowledgeable. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions! The trainers you’ll want to hire won’t get defensive or shrug them off—they’ll appreciate that you’re doing your research.