5 Questions to Ask Before You Hire a Personal Trainer
So, you’re ready to make some lifestyle changes and hire a personal trainer? I am sending you a virtual high five.
I get over-the-moon excited when women choose a healthier lifestyle. I love nothing more than seeing your goals turn into success. Making these changes on your own can be difficult so I often recommend the help of a personal trainer. Of course I like to think that I may be the right trainer for you. But, in all reality I’m not everyone’s cup of tea.
Before you hire a trainer I want you to take some time to know what to ask and what credentials to look for. The five following questions are extremely important for you to ask any trainer before you hire them and trust them with your health.
1. What steps will you take to make sure my workouts will be safe?
Safety is even more important than results. You need to make sure your trainer understands how to prevent injuries, and train effectively based on your current state of health. All trainers should require you to fill out a questionnaire before they start any type of program. This form should ask about your medical history and previous or current injuries. Your trainer should require a doctor’s consent especially if you have had any previous heart conditions, major surgeries or illnesses. Really good trainers will also assess your movement. They will have you perform a series of simple movements while watching for muscle imbalances, poor movement patterns along with asking about your pain levels during these movements.
*It’s time to find a new trainer if they don’t listen to your health concerns, cause you physical pain during and after your workouts, or tell you that you need to be sore in order for the workout to be effective.
2. What kind of education or training have you had?
It’s unfortunately true that anyone can become a personal trainer. There are some organizations that require you to read some material and then take a non-proctored test online. There are other organizations that require you to have your CPR certification along with some type of formal education before they will certify you. It is ultimately your personal preference as to what type of education you will require your trainer to have. In my personal opinion, the best certifications come from The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), American Council on Exercise (ACE), The International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) and The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).
Many trainers will also have a college education in kinesiology, sports and fitness management, athletic training or similar coursework. Other trainers went to school for a completely different career and decided that personal training was their passion later on in life. If this is the case, you could ask them how they keep up with personal training trends and what their plan is for personal growth in their field.
*If education is important to you, ask your trainer for their credentials and then do your own homework. Or shoot me an email and we can walk through it together.
3. How will you track my progress?
A good trainer will walk you through setting up some personal goals. These goals can range anywhere from losing a few pounds, to setting a personal record on a specific exercise. You need to know how your trainer will track this progress. What will they measure from the beginning and how often will they reassess and re-meausre your progress.
*It may be time to find a new trainer if they either a) have you get on the scale every time you meet or b) have no plan for measuring your progress
4. What is your philosophy on supplements?
Ah, supplements. This is a very touchy subject and I will be very clear that these opinions are strictly my own and are neither right nor wrong. If your trainer tries to sell you supplements during the same time they are trying to sell you a personal training package, it may be a red flag. Unfortunately, there are way too many trainers out there that are more interested in getting you to become a part of their multi-level marketing program instead of interested in being your trainer. This isn’t to say that some amazing trainers also sell supplements for direct sales companies. And, I will admit that some direct sales companies sell amazing supplements. But, you should be very leery if you tell this trainer you aren’t interested in buying supplements and their interest in you takes a plummet.
Another reason a trainer may be pushing supplements is because they aren’t well educated on proper nutrition and how to achieve results with just plain exercise and clean eating. Many trainers learned their craft while competing in bodybuilding or figure competitions (like myself). When you train in any of these types of forums, supplements are essential. New trainers often feel that these supplements are essential for their clients as well. Sometimes they are but not always.
My personal philosophy on supplements is that they are used to make up for what the diet can’t provide. I coach my clients to learn how to eat clean first. Then through a food/mood log or blood draw we figure out what nutrients they may be lacking in along with what macronutrient ratios we should change. I usually recommend most female clients to take a vitamin D3, fish oil, vitamin B12 and a probiotic supplement with their doctor’s permission of course.
5. Why did you become a trainer?
This question will open up a great conversation with your trainer where you will be able to truly discern if they are the right person for you. I can’t tell you what a right or wrong answer would be, but I guarantee you will know it when you hear it.
*If you would ever like to know my answer, shoot me a message and ask. I would love to share.
Just a few more tips
A great place to look for a personal trainer in your area is called Idea Fitness. You can search local trainers at this link https://www.ideafit.com/fitnessconnect.
When you hire a trainer you can expect to pay anywhere from $25 to over $100 per hour. You shouldn’t hire a trainer just because they are cheap, and you shouldn’t hire a trainer just because they charge the most. Find someone that you connect with and feel comfortable spending time with. It’s also important to know if your trainer is insured. Accidents do happen and they should be covered just in case.
Post a comment below if you have more questions about how to hire the best personal trainer for you!
I just wanted tot hank you for explaining some questions to ask when getting a personal trainer. It’s good to know that you can ask them how they can track your progress and how often the will re-measure your progress. This seems like a good way to understand what to expect from a trainer as well as potentially understanding what a good way is to track your improvement.
Thanks for commenting Taylor. I’m glad I could provide some suggestions!
I like your tip to ask why a potential trainer chose that career path. It’s cool to hear those stories, at least I think so, and I agree with you, hearing their answers will give you a better idea if they’ll be a good fit for you or not. As someone who is always looking for new career paths, it would be helpful to me too just to hear how they made the decision.
My husband and I want to improve our lifestyles and work out more, and we’re thinking of hiring a personal trainer to help us with this. Your article had some great tips for choosing someone like this, and I liked how you said to hire a trainer that will help us set goals and be able to measure and track our progress. Thanks; we’ll keep this in mind if we decide to hire a personal trainer.
Hi Jocelyn, I’m so glad this article helped. If you have anymore questions don’t hesitate to reach out.