Hiring a Personal Trainer: Why and How

Yikes, I can’t keep my New Year’s Resolution!

The motivation of the the new year has worn off, you find yourself slipping back into old habits and you decide it may not be worth the effort. Changing your life is hard work and can be overwhelming. What should you do? Give up? Throw in the towel? Eat everything in sight since you’ve blown it anyway? NO! One great way to stay motivated, get encouraged, and be accountable is to hire a personal trainer. There are many factors that go into the how and why of hiring someone to help!

The WHY!

Not being able to do something is not failure. Failure is when you stop trying. There may be a time when you just need a little help. Navigating personal fitness and diet are daunting tasks. There is more information available than there is time to search it all. 

Not being able to do something is not failure. Failure is when you stop trying. There may be a time when you just need a little help. Navigating personal fitness and diet are daunting tasks.

Personal trainers have the skills and knowledge to provide you with a wealth of information. They can do the leg work for you so you can be about the business of changing your life instead of doing hours of computer research on it! There’s many other good reasons to hire a personal trainer or coach:

  • A plan
  • Encouragement
  • Accountability
  • Motivation
  • Expertise
  • Assistance
  • Information

The HOW!

The market is flooded with big box gyms, 24 hour private gyms, and locally owned private fitness clubs. Most all of these kinds of facilities have personal training available, and that’s not even mentioning the host of private trainers and on-line trainers. Knowing which option is the best for you can be overwhelming.  I’m going to give you some helpful tips and questions to ask yourself when looking for a personal trainer.


  • Know your budget. Personal training can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be to be good.
  • Know the tricks of the trade and don’t be fooled by marketing. There is nothing wrong with training in a big box gym (think 24 Hour Fitness, Golds Gym, LA Fitness…) but you need to remember they are BIG on sales! There are many good trainers in these kinds of facilities, but money is often the name of the game.
  • Be observant of how trainers interact with their clients. If you attend a gym that offers personal training, watch how the trainers train before you just get assigned to the next available trainer. It’s ok to be particular. It’s your money, your time, and your health.
  • Seek advise from friends who’ve had success with a trainer. That doesn’t guarantee your success, but it gives you a place to start the search.
  • On-line (virtual) training can be a great tool if you are motivated and driven but can be a frustration if you need more personal attention and encouragement.
  • Honestly evaluate your own personality. If you are driven and don’t need a lot of personal attention, but rather just a plan of attack, you would hire a very different kind of trainer than the person who needs that accountability of having to go to the gym and physically meet one on one with a trainer to stick with it.
  • Personality matters. You have to be able to mesh with the person you hire. Sometimes the “best in the business” is not a good match for you personally.
  • Find someone knowledgeable in nutrition. You can not train hard enough to out-train poor eating habits. Some personal trainers have additional training (certifications or otherwise) that can help you get your eating in line with your goals.
  • Hire a fit trainer. Seems like a given, but there are plenty of trainers out there who talk the talk but don’t walk then walk. Trainers should lead by example.
  • If the partnership is not working, don’t be afraid to part ways and look for a different trainer.

Questions to Ask:

  • How much does it cost? How is the fee structure set up? Some trainers offer per session fees while other training options charge you a monthly fee.
  • What are my goals? Do I desire weight loss, sports specific training, general fitness, strength? Trainers often focus on specific areas of fitness.
  • Are you certified? There are many certification options for personal trainers. Do a little homework to see how much training the trainer has received.
  • How much time does each session last? Some trainers use a 30 minute time block for each client, some 45, some an hour. You need to evaluate how much time per session you want to spend and find a trainer that will accommodate you.
  • In what environment will I be comfortable training? If you’re intimidated by a big gym, look for other training options such as a small, privately owned gym, a women’s only gym, or on-line training.
  • What is the trainer’s personal background with fitness? It may be helpful to work with someone who has had similar struggles as you and can relate to you.
  • What is trainer’s knowledge of diet and nutrition? Be careful of the trainer who want to put you on some crazy low-calorie (below 1200 for a lady) for extended periods of time. This is not a healthy way to lose weight and is not necessary for success.
  • What is the trainer’s greatest strength and greatest weakness? This question can give you a lot of insight into how he or she thinks.
  • Does language matter? This may seem like an odd question, but I am shocked at the amount of foul language used in the fitness industry.
  • Does my trainer listen to me? If you are really not comfortable with a workout or an exercise, does your trainer modify and take the time to make changes that are in your best interest?
  • Am I doing what my trainer is telling me to do? If you aren’t getting results, really evaluate your own effort before you blame the trainer. If you are working like crazy with the trainer in the gym but not making any changes to your eating habits, chances are, the trainer is not the problem.

One More Thing to Consider!

A good trainer will recognize when something isn’t working and will help you make the best fitness choices for you. Sometimes it takes trying a few things to see what your body responds to and what works or doesn’t work. Give the process time and allow your body to respond.

A good trainer will continually provide you with tools for your own tool box. A good trainer is also a good teacher.

Your trainer should not keep you dependent on him or her in order for you to have success! Best wishes in finding the right person to help you achieve your personal goals.

Have you hired a personal trainer? What did you look for and did you have a good experience? Share your experiences with me below or on Facebook or Twitter! I would love to hear your stories of what’s worked and what didn’t.


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