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How to choose a personal trainer?

When you’re ready to start your body transformation journey, it’s time to think about who you’re taking on board with you. Getting the right personal trainer to guide you could be the key to saving time, money, and your health on your way to getting fit.

Choosing a personal trainer is like choosing a mentor – you have to make sure that this person understands your individual goals, motivations, needs, and limitations. And that this person is actually able to provide you with expert guidance backed by constant learning and relevant experience.

While that may sound like a hard task, it actually takes some simple research and patience to choose the right personal trainer – and we put together 5 tips to help you with that.

1. Look for relevant certifications & experience

Look for certified personal trainers who can demonstrate relevant education in fitness and sport as well as experience in the field. This showcases their professionalism and dedication to what they do, so you can expect to have a knowledgeable and passionate expert by your side while you’re working on your dream body.  

And don’t forget that a major part of your fitness success is your diet, so having a PT who has completed education in nutrition is a great way to ensure that your future fitness program will be as efficient as possible.

2. Read testimonials

A great way to learn what it’s like to work with a certain trainer is to read (or watch) their customers’ testimonials.  

Find out what people say about that PT’s work style and personality, and whether they helped their clients achieve their fitness goals. Also, check what kind of clients they have – it can also tell a lot about the potential specialization of the trainer or specific goals/challenges that this trainer is experienced in.

You may even go further and ask for a couple of references from that PT, and talk with their clients yourself. You can find out more about whether it’s comfortable and motivating to work with the trainer, and what approach they use in their practice. This actually brings us to the next step.

Photo by GRAHAM MANSFIELD on Unsplash

3. Find out their approach & philosophy

A good personal trainer offers way more than just exercise instructions during workouts. Find out what’s included in the program that they will design for you – will it be customized? Will it be based on your individual goals, fitness level, and limitations?

Look for things like initial assessment, tailored plan, regular progress tracking, and nutrition guidance.

It’s also worth checking if their values and philosophy go in line with yours – a good trainer will not let you get on a crazy diet and spend tons of your time and money on getting some elusive “beauty-standard” body; instead, they will focus on setting healthy goals and shaping the best version of your own body.

4. Ensure personality fit

Another important factor is personality fit which determines whether you would get along well with a trainer.

If you don’t really like the personality of your PT, you’ll have trouble following their instructions, advice, and guidance. Sometimes, it can even become irritating and destroy any motivation or mood for working out at all.

An ideal situation is when after working out with your personal trainer you’re in a great mood, feeling proud of the progress and motivated to go further.

Note, that you don’t have to find your own copy personality-wise, you just need to find a trainer who works best for you and who you feel comfortable working with. Some may feel more productive exercising with tough PTs who would push them to their limits on every session, while others prefer a calmer attitude and moderate, comfortable pace of workouts.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

5. Make sure all conditions suit you

Check all basic terms under which a personal trainer offers their service. What would be the location of your sessions and is there the possibility of online training? What are the price and duration of training sessions, and what’s included in them? What are the payment terms and cancellation policy?

Ask for as many details as possible to avoid unpleasant surprises about e.g. the content of your fitness program or inability to reschedule the session if something urgent comes up.

Another thing to look for is whether a trainer offers a test session – the first free or discounted session where you can get to know your potential PT and ask all questions that you have.

Take your time choosing a personal trainer and find out all information that will help you define whether you’re a good fit – ask questions, read testimonials, and get on a test session when possible. If you get the right PT on board, they’ll guide you through all highs and lows of your fitness journey and help you achieve the body of your dreams in the safest and most efficient way.

Julia Stecher is an award-winning fitness model, professional nutritionist, and certified personal trainer who provides personal training services in Zurich and online.

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