If you’re trying to get into a solid fitness routine but are struggling to find the types of workouts you like, the motivation to get through each session or the understanding of how to do certain exercises with good form, working with a personal trainer could be your solution.
It’s a great way to stay committed, learn more about how your body works and which moves it gravitates toward, and to just gain more confidence in the gym in general! Plus, you know you’ll get a sick calorie burn and strength training session when working with a professional and a clear regimen in place.
However, not all trainers are equal, and it’s important that you both vibe with the trainer you choose and are getting your money’s worth with the results you’re looking for. So, if you’re in the market for your newest accountability partner (who is there to keep your spirits high and kick your butt!), here’s what to keep in mind.
1. Look for certifications and recommendations
First off, you’ll want to make sure the trainer you hire is a credentialed, certified trainer with a reliable association. You’ll want to see CPT (certified personal trainer) or CSCS (strength and conditioning coach) after their name and have evidence of their qualifications before booking a session.
What’s more, it’s a good idea to ask around for recommendations based on personal experience! That means, ask your friends, family members, or co-workers—see if anyone has a CPT or CSCS they absolutely love and who has helped them lose weight, get stronger, gain confidence and motivation, or re-shape their bodies. Knowing that others advocate someone firsthand is helpful and can be a good starting step in seeing if that same trainer will be a good fit for you, too.
2. Make sure you vibe
Some people feel motivated by trainers who yell at them and use tough love to power through sets and reps, while others need more gentle encouragement and don’t enjoy that “drill sergeant” type of personality. So, try out both and see which personality type and style pushes you the hardest and keeps you enjoying the session and looking forward to another.
3. Consider price and location
Trainers vary in terms of price per session and potential package deals, and some work at certain gyms, while others can come to your home at your convenience and use your in-home or apartment building’s facilities. Have a budget in mind—discuss if they are willing to meet you there for a session or offer a bulk deal. And if you find it easier to squeeze in a workout in your own building rather than commute elsewhere during the week, then make sure they’re open to coming to you for sessions.
4. Pay attention to results
If you’re working with a trainer for a few weeks and you don’t see the number budge on the scale or don't feel any bit stronger or more knowledgeable in the weight room, then this isn’t the trainer for you. You want to see results! If you aren’t seeing any change after a few sessions—and you’re not eating more to compensate the new training schedule—then you should shop around and find a new trainer that is more effective and knows how to work you out best for your body and needs.
Overall, it’s great to get in shape and improve fitness through personal training! As long as you’re working with someone who gets your style and can help you maximize strength building and calorie burn with each session, it’s totally worth the investment.
Note from FJ: Outside of the gym, it's important to find a healthy diet and plenty of protein to support your exercise routine so all your work pays off. To make the most out of your efforts this go-around, we recommend these protein bars or these protein puffs!
Isadora Baum is a freelance writer, certified health coach, and author of 5-Minute Energy. She can't resist a good sample, a margarita, a new HIIT class, or an easy laugh. She writes for various magazines, such as Men's Health, Women's Health, SELF, LIVESTRONG, POPSUGAR, Allure, Health, Cooking Light, and more. Learn more about her on her website: isadorabaum.com.