However, it can be hard to choose the right personal trainer for you. There are plenty of different trainers, with different skills, different pros and cons, different outlooks, and different areas of expertise. There are also, quite frankly, good trainers, and there are bad trainers.
Obviously, you want a good one. You also want one that can help you to meet your own personal goals. But how can you make this happen? How can you find the perfect one for you, who won’t waste your time and money, but will instead get you to where you need to be in the best, fastest, most efficient way?
Luckily, there are some things you can investigate before hiring a personal trainer. If all of these check out, you should be OK.
It is also worth mentioning that you should never sign up blind, and never to a large block at the beginning of your training. Most personal trainers (and any whom it’s worth going with long term) will offer a free taster session. Make the most of it. Then sign up for a couple of weeks. If it all works out, then consider signing up for more.
Your personal trainer checklist
Follow this checklist to make sure that you always get the most out of the money you spend on personal training, and that you end up going with someone who can ably support you long-term.
Always ask the following:
Do they have proper accreditation?
A personal trainer should have a relevant certification and organisation affiliation – like membership of the Registry of Exercise Professionals (REPs) – and a proper insurance policy for their given discipline as a basic requisite.
This isn’t a plus – it is a must. If a trainer cannot – or will not – produce their credentials on request, stop talking to them. They aren’t worth your time. In fact, they’re probably not properly licensed to train you.
Now, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue if you go through a local gym. Most gyms and leisure centres won’t let personal trainers use their facilities if they don’t have all the paperwork they need. They are a good place to start if you’re unsure. However, if you’re going with a private studio or a trainer who likes to work outdoors, check their credentials.
While you’re at it, check their insurance. They won’t be able to train you in a gym without it, but, once more, if you’re looking outside of gyms, it is worth finding out about their policies.
What is their experience?
A personal trainer can have their accreditation in line without necessarily being that experienced or knowledgeable in their discipline.
Personal training certifications are a good start – but they are just a start. Somebody with their full accreditation but with no experience isn’t worth your time. This is because most certifications take a few weeks to complete, which is nothing. Certifications can also have quite low thresholds to pass, meaning that it’s easy for sub-par trainers to get their licenses.
You want somebody with practical, hands-on experience, preferably with proven results and several years’ worth of practice and knowledge.
Ask for testimonials when you approach a personal trainer. Ask them what their experience is. If they have one on hand, ask for their CV. If they are good, and they are experienced, they should be able to draw on a wealth of past clients to show you, in writing, how good they are. The longer they have worked in their discipline, and the better their testimonials, the greater the likelihood that they are a good investment.
What is their reputation like?
Again, this is where testimonials come in.
Don’t think of personal trainers as luxury goods or status symbols. There are tradespeople. If you were having some construction work or decorating done, you would ask around and try to get a referral from a friend. Do the same for personal trainers.
Most of us know somebody who has used a personal trainer before, or who is currently using one. That person will know if their trainer was or is any good or not, will be honest about it, and will be able to tell you a bit about their experience and the personal trainer’s methodology.
If you don’t know anyone with experience working with a personal trainer, don’t worry. Written testimonials from past clients are a great resource. You should be able to request them from the trainers at your local gym, or simply search them online. Most personal trainers will have their own websites with testimonials on display.
What are they charging you?
It generally boils down to price per hour, in the end. You likely can’t, and definitely shouldn’t, spend above the odds for something that you can get cheaper elsewhere. Take a good look at a personal trainer’s pricing structure.
Before you begin looking, work out your budget: what you’re able and willing to spend, for what time and results. Try to hire somebody in this price bracket.
If you find that you can’t afford the standard of personal trainer you want, try clubbing together with a friend for joint sessions, or else find someone who will give you a discount for bulk buying sessions.