How To Choose a Personal Trainer That Is a Good Match For You

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OK, so you have decided to hire a personal trainer to keep you motivated and working out on schedule so you can finally get the results you’ve been looking for. But before you take the plunge, much like in marriage, you need to make sure that this trainer is a good match for you. Here are a few tips to help you decide.

Step 1: Find Out What Types of Workouts the Trainer Uses

Most trainers have different theories and methods behind their prescribed workouts. Some might be big on lifting heavy weights while others prefer bodyweight exercises. Others still might prefer to jump on the latest fad or gimmick product.

The best trainers will be able to explain why their methods work, and they will be able to customize their ideas to fit your goals, preferences, and available time.

Step 2: See How the Trainer Motivates their Clients

There are numerous ways to motivate people to exercise. You have positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, goal setting, and more. It is likely that you respond to certain methods better than others, so you’ll want to watch for that.

You can get an idea of this just by talking to the trainer. If they focus on how much weight you need to lose or how lackluster your current exercise routine is, chances are they will won’t be using positive reinforcement to motivate you during a workout!

The best trainers will be able to try many different types of motivation until they find a way to connect with you. If they do it right, you’ll see constant improvement.

Step 3: Ask if the Trainer Caters to Certain Types of Clients

Some trainers work better with men, some with women, and some cater to a certain type of athlete. Some work with everyone and still deliver results.

What you want to watch out for is a trainer that caters to a certain client base, yet gladly takes you as a client no matter how far off you are from their current clients. It is possible they just want extra money and don’t care about your best interests.

The best trainers will be upfront about what types of people they generally work with and will refer you to someone else if they don’t think you are a good fit.

Step 4: Make Sure the Trainer is Committed

This is an easy step. All you really have to do is check on the trainer’s hours and contact methods available.

Some trainers will work with you at 5AM, 10PM, or any time in between. Some give you their cell phone number and tell you to call anytime. Others only work from 10AM-2PM and if asked for contact info, they just give you the main number at the gym they work for.

The best trainers will work with you on your schedule and will always be available for support.

Step 5: Ask for Testimonials and References

How do you know if a trainer is a good trainer or just a good salesman?

While you can ask the trainer any questions you want, a much better way to really find out about them is to talk to their current and previous clients. A good personal trainer should be able to provide testimonials and references, and even better, put you in touch with one of their other clients.

The best trainers will have testimonials and references on file, and they will gladly put you in touch with another client you can talk to.

Step 6: Do a Trial Session to Confirm Everything

At this point, you should have narrowed down your choices to one or two personal trainers. The last step is to go through one workout session with the trainer to see if you made the right choice.

This is where you can really see if their style suits you and if they are as committed as they say they are. If they start texting on their cell phones during your workout, that’s a pretty good sign they are not committed!

The best trainers will give you their full attention during a session, and they’ll be able to analyze your performance better than you did yourself!

Hiring a personal trainer is not as big of a commitment as marriage, but it’s a lot more complex than hiring someone to mow your lawn. It is worth your time to go through all these steps before deciding on a trainer and signing up for a 6- or 12-month plan.

About Coach Levi

Levi Bloom is a retired mountain bike racer turned cycling coach (which is why he goes by Coach Levi now.) These days, he helps new riders get started in the sport, and he writes about cycling training and nutrition online at He is also co-founder of The Endurance Athlete Plate, a healthy-eating guide for endurance athletes.
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