Questions to Ask Your Personal Trainer

What You Should be Asking Your Personal Trainer

So it’s nearly three months since you made a vow to lose x amount of pounds before the summer, and sadly, not much has changed. Rest assured you’re not alone. Legions of faithful exercisers just like you are not getting the proper results despite their best efforts. Like them, it may be time to get a trainer to help you get that apple bottom back in shape. But be careful, these day anyone with great body and personality can moonlight as a personal trainer. Even worse than an unqualified trainer is someone who doesn’t understand your personal needs. So before you make the commitment find out what questions you should be asking to not only make sure your trainer is legit, but also to ensure that you’re on the same page.

Are you certified by a national certification organization?

Like your nail technician or hair stylist, a personal trainer needs to be certified. Organizations like The National Academy of Sports Medicine and American Council of Exercise have extensive training and exams before qualifying someone as a CPT (certified personal trainer). “If you’re working with someone in a club then more than likely they’ve gone through that club’s certification process,” says Andriette Holmes, a personal trainer in New York City. “If you’re working with someone who is independent then they definitely should have certification by a reputable organization.” Most certification organizations also require a CPR or first aid course. This is to ensure that a trainer is well equipped in case of an emergency with a client.

Can you provide me with references?

Think about it, if you’re about to hire a nanny, chances are you’re going to ask for references. With a personal trainer you may want to get a feel of their style through testimonies from previous clients. Ask the clients how the trainer helped them reach their goals and whether they enjoyed working with them. You should also be looking for testimonials independently, says Holmes. “As a trainer I’m going to list the people that are going to say the best things about me.” Testimonials will also give you a better idea of your trainer’s communication skills and their success rate.

Do you have liability insurance?

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Chances are you won’t get hurt during your training sessions, but just in case you are, using a trainer with liability insurance ensures that you’ll be taken care of in case of injury. “Liability insurance is a good way of gaging how professional the trainer is as well as their level of experience and integrity,” says Holmes.

What’s your training philosophy?

Is your potential trainer the “no pain, no gain” type or are they more about working at your speed? How do they motivate clients? What’s their training style? Adds Holmes, “Do they have a more rigid type of training style or are they someone who likes to train a little more creatively and can combine several different types of training styles.” A good trainer should also be able to map out their methods for helping clients meet their goals.

What kind of clients have you worked with before?

“If you’re a healthy female wanting to lose a couple of pounds and your trainer has 10 years of experience working with athletes then that may not be the person for you,” says Holmes. The reason? Helping an athlete lose weight versus a regular person requires vastlydifferent approaches. Say you’re post-natal and your trainer has never worked with that type of client, they may not be able to help you meet your goals.

Do you provide a complimentary consultation?

Ask your prospective trainer for a 20-30 minute sample workout and consultation to give you an opportunity to sit down and discuss your goals. “With a complimentary consultation you get a sample of the flow of the workout and their style of training,” says Holmes. This will also give your trainer an idea of your fitness level and needs.