Working with a personal trainer is an investment in yourself that can pay dividends for years to come. As the hiring director for personal trainers for the last 22 years, Carlos Rivas has learned what separates good trainers from great ones. Here, his five criteria for hiring the right one for you.
1. THEY ARE COMPETENT AND CONFIDENT
A great trainer will have a track record of success and results to show for their efforts. While most gyms require their trainers to have certifications from credible organizations, the most important thing a trainer needs is a list of happy, successful clients.
Ask your trainer for references from people they’ve worked with who have goals similar to yours. If they can prove they’ve helped others get where you want to go, you’ve made the right choice.
2. THEY KEEP YOU ACCOUNTABLE
The number one reason people hire a trainer is for accountability. They need someone to get them to show up, work hard and feel good about it.
They should be firm yet understanding. They should give you tough love when you need a boost and show empathy when you’re struggling. Look for a trainer who shows up prepared with a customized workout. That means they’ve done their homework, and they’ve taken the time to consider your individual needs.
On the flip side, they must be accountable to you, too. They should show up on time, put their phone away and give you their undivided attention.
3. THEY LISTEN
Great trainers listen more than they talk. They ask the right questions and focus intensely on the answers. They should ask about your goals and expectations. They should constantly ask for feedback during workouts. If your trainer isn’t asking, “How does that feel?” or “Where do you feel this exercise?” then you’re not getting your money’s worth.
4. THEY STAY POSITIVE
Most people respond best to positive reinforcement. The best trainers will stay upbeat and positive even if you’re struggling. Fitness is about progress, not perfection.
Look for someone who reminds you that you’re a work in progress and encourages you to get a little bit better every day.
5. THEY KNOW WHAT THEY DON’T KNOW
Nobody knows it all, and the best trainers are not afraid to admit it. If you’re working with someone who claims they know everything, beware.
You’ll undoubtedly run into roadblocks during your workouts, and your trainer should be able to summon the right person to help you. Your results may require a team effort, so a deep referral network of specialists is key. Ask your trainer for referrals for things outside their scope of practice, including nutrition, physical therapy or massage therapy.
Choosing the right trainer can make a lasting difference in your life. Don’t settle for someone who is underwhelming when you’re hiring someone to guide you on your fitness journey.