How to Choose The Best Personal Trainer

How to Choose The Best Personal Trainer

How to choose the BEST personal trainer or fitness trainer can be hard for individuals who don’t have a lot knowledge and experience in health and fitness. Here’s a guide to help you choose your next personal trainer.

ULTIMATE GUIDE: How to Choose the Best Personal Trainer

By Lucas James – Celebrity Personal Trainer

When your’re interviewing and searching for the best personal trainer you want to make sure he or she posses these important characteristics, traits and habits:

Pricing & Rates:

Often times when someone is looking for a personal trainer the first thing they ask is “What are your prices and rates?” Well, you would think that you might want to find out if the personal trainer you’re talking to is even qualified to do the job! I get phone calls and e-mails on a daily basis and 9 times out of 10 the first question I’m asked is about my hourly rate. Everyone has a price point they have, but don’t let the price be ultimate factor for choosing your personal trainer. Generally, the higher priced personal trainers have more experience and knowledge. Although, some personal trainers are overpriced for what you’ll receive in training, motivation, education and most importantly results. So be careful when searching.

Pricing for a personal trainer can range from $25 to $200 an hour. Generally, pricing various on the location of where you’re training and the experience the trainer has.

I highly recommend pre-paying for your personal training sessions. Why? Because once you’ve paid for your sessions you’re more likely to show up to them and stick with the fitness program. It will only benefit you in the long run.

Be careful for trainers who try to cut you a deal or bargain with you on price to get you to commit to personal training package. When you go to the doctors office do you try to  negotiate a price before you get your check-up? I hope not. A quality personal trainer will not bargain his or her way to get your business. Top rated personal trainers will never compromise their value in knowledge, skills and abilities for price.

Personal Training Session Time:

I recommend that a personal training session should last 60 minutes long. Don’t bother signing up for 30 or 45 minute personal training sessions. If you really want want to get a quality workout that targets specific  muscle group(s) that includes warming  up, stretching, or core training you’ll need need a full hour. It may be cheaper to do the shorter sessions, but you have to remember you’re investing money into the future of your health. You don’t want to take the easy way out and come up short.

Frequency of Personal Training Sessions:

When you’re working with a personal trainer it’s a good idea to workout with the trainer for at least two to three times a week in the beginning of your fitness program. One session a week is not adequate enough to learn and develop a consistent workout routine.


All personal trainers working for a gym, health club, fitness center, or independently are required to hold a personal training certification and CPR certification. Some facilities may also require the personal trainer to carry liability insurance. Be sure to ask your prospective trainer about his or her certification. Some good personal training certification organizations are ISSA, NASM, NFPT, and ACSM to name a few.


It’s very important that your personal trainer has some type of bachelors degree in exercise science, kinesiology, nutrition, sports conditioning or related field. Although some personal trainers hold degrees in other concentrations which is accepted by the fitness industry.

Remember, just because a personal trainer might hold multiple certifications or degrees that doesn’t mean or she is the best fitness trainer for you. Knowledge is power, but if a trainer can’t communicate effectively to a client then the trainer’s knowledge is worthless. You have to look at your future personal trainer as your next teacher. Imagine your favorite teacher while you were in school. Chances are you liked the teacher because he or she made learning fun and you were able to understand the subject through his or her teaching methods. The same methods apply with personal training.

Look the Part:

A fit and toned trainer who has experience and knowledge is the total package deal.  What you see is what you get. The personal trainer you choose should be in GREAT shape, no matter what. After all, how can you be motivated by a trainer who’s not in excellent shape or doesn’t look amazing in workout clothing? Interview your future personal trainer about what they do for workouts, their eating habits and what they do to stay in shape. If he or she don’t have a clear concise answer then I would suggest moving on to another trainer. The trainer you select should be someone that has a body you want obtain. I recommend for male personal trainers to have body fat less than 12 percent and for female personal trainers to have 20 percent body fat or less. I’ve noticed several trainers at gyms who are out of shape and they have a tendency to wear long sleeve and baggy shirts, wind pants, and large sweat shirts to hide their body while training clients. Watch out for these types of trainers.

Health & Medical Assessment:

When you meet the personal trainer for your first consultation you should be prepared to answer the following health and medical questions:

– What’s your height, weight and age?

– Do you have injuries? If so, did you have surgery? Do these injury(s) prevent you from doing any specific activities?

– Are currently on any medications? Which ones?

– Have you been diagnosed with any type of medical condition?

– What are your allergies? Do you have any food allergies?

– When’s the last time you had a physical with a doctor? What’s your blood pressure?

– Have you have any recent illnesses, hospital visits, or surgeries you haven’t told me about already?

If the trainer doesn’t ask you these questions or doesn’t have you fill out a medical history questionnaire then I would avoid hiring the trainer. It’s very important that your future personal trainer knows everything about your medical and health history.  It’s in your best interest to be completely honest and accurate when answering these questions.

Nutrition & Meal Planning:

The number one factor for achieving any type of fitness goal is nutrition and meal planning. The saying “You are what you eat” is dead on right. Your eating habits account for 80 percent of your results. Remember, six-pack abs are made in the kitchen, not in the gym.

During your first consultation, you should be creating a custom plan. If your trainer hands you a sheet of menu of foods and says “here, eat this and go off this list” then you’re in big trouble! It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to lose weight or gain lean muscle. The trainer should have you write down what you eat and drink for at least seven days to get a good idea of what your eating habits are. From there the trainer should develop a custom meal plan that tells you what you should be eating and taking for meals, snacks, vitamins, and supplements. There are so many one-sided personal trainers out there who only concentrate on weight training, so make sure your trainer talks to you about creating a meal plan in the beginning. If he or she doesn’t have a focus or knowledge in meal planning and nutrition then I would highly recommend a different personal trainer.

Personal Training Test Session:

If you can get a tryout or practice session with your potential trainer I would highly recommend it. After all, you don’t buy a new car without test driving, right? If your trainer allows a preliminary session make sure it’s a full one hour session and it focuses on your fitness goals.

Getting the Maximum Results:

The trainer you choose should push you to the peak of your physical limits without causing injury.You want to make sure that when your working out you’re getting the most out of your 60-minute session. At the end of every personal training session you should feel like “Wow, I just got my butt kicked and it felt great!”.When you’re finished with a training sessions and if don’t feel tired, sore, or sweaty then you’re not getting the full benefits and need to be trained harder. It doesn’t matter what your fitness goals are, a personal trainer’s job is to push you past your normal workout comfort zone.

“Friends Zone” Personal Trainer:

You don’t want a trainer who’s going to chat and gossip during the workout.  There are some trainers out there who rather establish a “Friends Zone” then having a professional relationship. Remember, you’re paying the trainer to educate in fitness and nutrition, and to help you produce results. You didn’t hire the trainer to become your new best friend. I recommend that you don’t hire a personal trainer that’s a close friend, co-worker, or family member. You might get a special discount with the trainer, but those situations tend to fall in the “Friends Zone” and you’re generally not pushed as hard.

Motivation, Accountablilty and Tracking Progress:

Positive motivation leads to consistency and develops long-term results.What is it going to take for you to stay motivated so you maintain working out and healthy eating habits? Your personal trainer better have the answers and skills to keep you on point to avoid failure. There are several trainers who start to develop a comfort zone with their clients and lose track in motivating and holding them accountable. Make sure the trainer you choose it not a push over and is someone who can keep you on track no matter what your excuses are. Be sure the personal trainer tracks your progress from start to beginning. A good trainer will document your progress in weight, body fat, pictures,  body measurements, heart rate, reps and weight for your specific fitness program.

Buy My Supplements:

A personal trainer who sells their own supplements such as whey protein, vitamins, and drinks are pushing their product for profit. They profit margin on private label supplements is huge for personal trainers. If a personal trainer only recommends his or her products for you to buy then you know they’re just trying to make some money off you. Personally, I refuse to sell supplements to my clients.

Common Signs of Bad Personal Trainer:

– Your trainer shows up to your first consultation late.

– During your first consultation the trainer doesn’t take notes when asking you questions.

– Your trainer does’t count reps out loud.

– Your trainer is watching other people workout instead of you.

– Your trainer asks you what you want to do today.

– Your trainer asks you for money.

– Your trainer is on steriods.

– Your trainer wears jean shorts and sandals to a training session.

– Your trainer talks about his or her personal life the majority of your training session.

– “Personal training is my part-time job” – Trainer

– “I don’t own any equipment” – Trainer

– Your trainer has bad communication skills – “I don’t understand what you’re saying. Do you ever smile?” – Client

– “I’ve had rough couple months that’s why I’m out of shape and have gained weight” – Trainer

– “Can we end this session a little early. I have to be somewhere” – Trainer

About the Author

, Celebrity Personal Trainer and Fitness & Nutrition Expert headquartered in Scottsdale, AZ. He specializes in helping men and women achieve weight loss, muscle building, toning and other customized fitness & nutrition programs to create a Healthy Lifestyle. James offers private luxury personal training, 12-week custom workout plans, and personalized nutrition meal plans. Follow on Google+.

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