So you’ve decided to take the plunge and hire a personal trainer. Yay! Congratulations! But where to start? Nowadays, there are tons of personal trainer out there to choose from. Whether at your local gym, that specialty boutique studio, or the mobile PT, there are so many choices! It can be a bit daunting if you don’t know what to be on the lookout for. As a Personal Trainer myself, I know that a little information can go a long way to finding the right person for the job when it come to your health and fitness goals. I also know there was a thing or two I wish all my clients looked at before they came into their initial consult with me.
So I came up with a list! Here are my “Top 5 Things to Look at When Looking for a Personal Trainer”!
1. The PT’s Certification(s)
While there may be a lot of personal trainers out in the world, they are most certainly not all certified in the same way. Here in Australia the most common is a Cert IV in Fitness done through a recognized institute but in Canada there are a few different options such as being certified through Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology (CSEP), Canadian Fitness Professionals Inc. (CANFITPRO), or American College of Sports Medicine (ASCM). These certifications can be on top of university degree in kinesiology/exercise science/human kinetics or related field. In addition, personal trainers can be certified in specific trademark workout styles (Think The Jungle Body/Zumba/Les Mills, etc.) or other general exercise skills (kettlebells, suspension training, boxing, etc.). With so many options out there, a good personal trainer we have at least one of these certifications, showing they have dedicated some time to learning about proper exercise techniques, forms, and injury prevention. So no excuses, go with some sort of certified personal trainer.
2. Your GOALS!
Why do you want to train with a PT? What are you looking to get out of the experience? (Especially if you are already working out on your own.) This can be as simple things such as lose 5kg, or build upper body strength to the more complicated as rehabbing from an injury and wanting to get back in the gym or competition in your first bodybuilding competition. And to be honest, there really isn’t a wrong answer here! (To feel healthier is a total valid answer!) Identifying your goals means that once you find a PT, they can get right into designing sessions and a program to achieve these goals, without wasting time. Your goals also lead me into my next point…
3. The PT’s Experience
Especially important to look for: has the personal trainer had specific experience working with a client with similar goals? Most trainers will list some sort of “specializes in” or “has worked with” list in their trainer profile, so look for the key words that match your specific fitness goals. Things such as “weight loss”, “female specific”, “bodybuilding competition prep” or “kettlebells” are often listed as services or program types a trainer might do. This can help focus your selection process to a trainer that has specific fitness knowledge targeted towards your goals. (aka they may have already done some of the troubleshooting for you!) This should also be reflected in their personal trainer qualifications, as if you want to learn how to Olympic Lift, look for a PT with an Olympic Lifting course.
4. Your Schedule!
This one is so important! They may be an amazing trainer, but if you can’t make time to see them, it does you no good! If you have an overly complicated schedule, write it out and go through all the potential times you could possible train, and where you feel you could potentially be flexible. This way on your initial consult or first chance to speak to a potential PT, you can ask about availability and know off the bat if things can work out with your schedule. Most PT’s will try their best to work with you, so being prepped can go a long way.
5. The right fit!
In all truth, finding the right PT is about finding the right fit for you. Do you enjoy the sessions, even if you hate them a little bit while doing burpee box jumps? Do you get along with your PT, enough to tell them if something doesn’t feel right? Do you feel supported, yet pushed to go for the next level? Do you make time in your schedule to show up to your sessions? Was this the style of workout you wanted? If the answer is yes, great! If it’s a no, look for the reasons why. It may be something simple as asking your PT to tweak your session or something as big as a personality clash. It’s okay not to love every PT session, but it’s a big red flag when you dislike everything about them.
Hopefully these tips help you a little bit more when you are looking at getting a personal trainer!
Got any other tips? Leave them in the comments below!
Happy working out!