If you are serious about your fitness you’ve surely considered hiring a personal trainer. Maybe you are on my website right now deciding whether I would be a good fit for you. 🙂
But how do you know the person you are choosing really is as passionate about their job as they say they are? And how do you know they are truly committed to your goals?
It turns out the answer is quite simple.
Interview them! 🙂 There’s no better way to find if you will be a good fit than to ask them some key questions! Below, I’ve highlighted a few of them as well as the answers you would want to receive.
Question #1: What made you decide to become a personal trainer?
Look for genuine excitement and a commitment to an individualized approach. See if they have a truthful story they can share that resonates with you. Some trainers have been active their whole lives – on the other hand, you are only starting out! So if your trainer is a former athlete it can be hard for them to truly understand what you are going through and the challenges that come with starting a healthy lifestyle.
For myself, I was actually pretty unfit for the majority of my life so I’ve been through the whole process – being sore, not getting results right away, the whole 9 yards. For a while I also worked full time during the day, so I can understand the struggles of juggling a busy lifestyle while trying to squeeze a workout in.
These struggles (and the fact that I work around them) resonate with many of the people who choose me as their trainer.
Question #2: What’s your certification?
Most trainers will list this on their website so it’s not hard to find but still worthwhile to check out because if it’s missing that’s an automatic red flag. You don’t want your trainer to be an Instagram celebrity with no credentials.
The most common organizations who certify trainers are BCRPA, ACE and CFES. Either is good. Some trainers also have a background in Kinesiology. Although this can be an advantage, it’s not necessary to have this education to truly be a good trainer. Others have furthered their education in nutrition so they can provide their clients with meal plans and provide food recommendations. Make sure that the person you are going to hire is working within their scope of practice. For example if a trainer has no courses or background in nutrition, but is suggesting a keto diet, you might want to be a little weary
A few things to keep in mind:
- A trainer’s certification is just the beginning, and it’s pretty basic. Make sure your trainer is committed to continuing their education beyond just the basic stuff
- Know that healthy eating is more than just following a prescribed meal plan. Even if personal trainers are not nutritionists there’s still tons of advice that they can give you on building foundational healthy eating habits.
Question #3: What kind of clients do you work with?
Each trainer has things they are good at and things they are not. And each trainer will have a certain population who they gravitate towards. Ask about current clients – and see if you have anything in common with them. If you do – awesome! That means you will be a good fit.
For example, I primarily work with the 50+ population. I love getting them started on their fitness journey and we typically work together for the long term. I also enjoy educating and explaining things to my clients.
Other trainers like to work with bodybuilders or athletes – each one will have their niche. Make sure you fall into that category!
Question #4: What do you love the most about your job?
Just like any profession there are people who choose to become a trainer because they really want to help people, and others who do it because they didn’t know what else to do, or their parents told them it’s a good idea.
The answer to this question should be at the tip of their tongue for any trainer who is truly passionate about what they do.
For me, what I love most about my job is that I get to make real, tangible changes in people’s lives, help improve their quality of life, give them confidence and ultimately allow them to live a longer more meaningful life. I don’t need any time to think about this. It’s ingrained in who I am 🙂
Question #5: How do you keep learning and growing as a trainer?
Here’s the thing: personal training is a profession. It’s not just a job where you show up, do a shift for 8hrs and then leave. Moreover, schools that certify trainers only provide graduates with a foundation of knowledge to allow them to start their careers. Just like every other profession, you need to constantly learn and be aware of developments in the field.
So how is your trainer doing this? Are they taking any courses at the moment? Are they being mentored by someone? Not everyone is an expert on everything, but the trainer should have ways to find out things they don’t know and to be committed to constantly expand on their expertise. These things require time and money on their part – but isn’t it nice to know that your session fees are going towards your trainer becoming more and more awesome so they can serve you better?
To me this is a big deal so to further my knowledge I have joined the Personal Training Collective, an organization committed to providing trainers with educational workshops, expertise and knowledge to become the best possible trainers! I also have access to a nutritionist, an exercise physiologist and a life coach – so when my clients are training with me, they also have access to expertise that goes beyond just me, and in all areas described above! And yeah, I am paying an (expensive!) membership for it, but it’s proof of my commitment to provide my clients with the best!
Question #6: How do you prepare for your sessions?
- The potential client gets to understand what goes on behind the scenes of their training sessions
- The trainer gets to talk about their job!
When I first take someone in, I spend a good chunk of time getting all their paperwork ready for the initial session, getting their training log ready, prepping their initial workout, thinking about what tests would be appropriate to do, as well as ensuring I have all my equipment functional and ready to go.
For subsequent sessions, I continue to prep workouts as needed, as well as any educational handouts I think would be appropriate – and print everything so the client gets to keep it. Between sessions I check in with my clients (via text, email, Facebook messenger, you name it) to ensure they stay on track and that if they have any questions I’m there for them. If there’s anything I can’t answer, I then reach out to my network of professionals to get answers and get back to them.
I also ask my clients what kinds of things they want to do more (or less!) of, so the program I build for them is in line with what they want to be doing.
You want to make sure that your trainer isn’t just showing up to their sessions – rather, that they are still working for you even when you’re not together.
Question #7: If I were to ask your clients to describe you, what would they say?
Well, in my case my clients would probably say I make them work hard and they know my sessions will be tough but also worth it in the end. Some clients would say they regret telling me an exercise is too easy – because they know I’ll make it harder next time. Some clients yet would say our sessions end up turning into therapy – like that time when you visit your hairstylist and go from talking about hair to talking about that ex boyfriend that you hate. But that’s ok because therapy sessions are good too – sometimes people just need to vent.
So why is the answer to this question important?
At the end of the day, you want your sessions to be tough but enjoyable. You want to look forward to them. You want your sessions to be effective and give you a good workout. You also want to like your trainer, feel like you are being listened to, and feel like you can open up.
This ensures your personalities are compatible and you will work well together. Personal training is a relationship and it’s important that both the trainer and trainee work well together as a team.
When you hire a personal trainer, it’s important that you do your research and ask the right questions before you commit. I love it when potential clients ask me questions and seek more information because it’s so important to have a good fit. Good trainers will also due their due diligence when screening their clients as well.
So, whether you’re considering a trainer now or in the future – interview them! See what they say. And if the answers don’t align with what you’re looking for, move on. In the long run, it will be better for both of you.
After being skinny unfit for the majority of my life, I discovered fitness by accident once I became a mom and started working out with my husband. A couple of years later, I started Tone Every Zone out of an overwhelming desire to help other busy individuals and couples juggle a hectic lifestyle while staying active.
My mission is to teach people about fitness and work with them as a team to make long lasting lifestyle changes. My personal values include being professional, honest and transparent in all of my doings but also being funny and silly because that’s what makes life (and your training sessions) fun!