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What to Know Before Hiring a Personal Trainer

With all of the places you can go, why would anyone need a personal trainer?

$10 a month gyms…

$150 a month boutique studios…

There are endless fitness options out there all offering a piece of the fitness experience, so why is Personal Training the fastest growing market in the fitness space?

Well, the reality is that most of these programs simply aren’t appropriate for the majority of people. They fail to offer or deliver on the holistic approach to fitness that most people are looking for.

Personal Training might be a good fit for you and can create a more tailored approach to your fitness goals. However, like all things, it’s good to know exactly what to look for (and look-out for) when hiring a personal trainer. In this article, we’ll cover those things.

Not all Personal Trainers are the same

Unlike other major professions, there’s no regulating body for becoming a personal trainer. Depending on the area you live in or facility you go to, the requirements for working with the general population varies dramatically.

With that in mind, there are three distinct areas we urge you to consider when hiring a personal trainer. Let’s discuss what those areas are.

Look for a Personal Trainer with a proven track record

When working with a personal trainer, it helps to work with one who has a lot of experience working with people in your position. For instance, you may want to hire someone who has extensive experience working with someone who:

  • Has similar goals as you
  • Can accommodate your specific needs – physical limitations, life management, etc
  • Can empathize with your struggles and personal experience – or has worked with people in a similar situation as yours

The point is, the industry can be extremely broad and generalized. In our experience working alongside many professionals, while a Personal Trainer is cleared to work with pretty much anyone, there’s a huge difference between someone whose certification had one chapter of text dedicated to working with special populations versus someone whose education and body of work solely focused on that particular population.

This leads us into our next piece. Certifications.

Personal Trainer certifications vary

There are about 2 dozen personal trainer certifying bodies out there. While some certifications can be achieved over a weekend, others take weeks and sometimes months to complete. 
We recommend looking for someone who has an NCCA certification as a minimum requirement, such as:

  • ISSA
  • NASM
  • ACE
  • NSCA

These certifications are considered the “Gold Standard” of the industry and are a great base of education. While this shouldn’t necessarily invalidate certifications not mentioned on this list, you’ll want to make sure your personal trainer possesses at least one of the certifications above.

Additionally, it would be good to consider if your personal trainer has a specialty certification for your particular struggle. For instance…


If you’re looking for someone to help you with nutrition, are they a certified nutritionist?


If you or your partner are expecting a child or just recently delivered a baby, do they have a pre/post-natal specialty certification?

Corrective exercise

if you’ve ever had a serious injury or surgery (as most adults have), does your trainer have a certification for working around certain limitations, improving mobility or posture?

There are several specialty certifications available, and most of them require an NCCA certification in order to obtain them. And a personal trainer who is armed with the background and knowledge to work with an individual is more likely to have a proven implementation process.

And that leads us nicely into our last point.

Great Personal Trainers have a plan

The main consideration for hiring a personal trainer is to help you achieve a specific goal. What separates good personal trainers from great personal trainers is the greats have a plan to get you from where you are now to where you want to go.

As we like to say, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

And every good plan possesses the following qualities:

Easily broken down into steps

Your trainer should be able to identify the checkpoints or objectives that you’ll look to accomplish along the way. This will ensure you not only reach your goal, but you build a foundation to maintain that goal for the long term.

Customizable to the individual

Every person is unique. Each individual will have a certain level of experience, medical history, and pace that should be taken into consideration when putting a plan together.

Anticipate roadblocks along the way

Like any kitchen remodel, things rarely go exactly to plan. There are going to be obstacles that occur along the way, and you need a personal trainer that can anticipate these and have a contingency plan for when they occur.

What to Do Next

Look for a proven track record

Talk to your friends, read reviews, and look for testimonials. This is the best way to ensure the person you’re working with can solve the problem you have, as they’ve likely done it for others before.

Check their certifications

There’s a wide range of personal trainers out there. Make sure you’re working with one who specializes in helping you achieve the goal that you want and has the qualifications necessary to work with you.

Review the action plan

Achieving a result is one thing. Being able to maintain that result for the long term is where true transformation happens. Make sure the trainer you’re working with has a plan, and that the plan is realistic for you and your lifestyle.

Want help becoming the leanest, strongest, and healthiest version of you?

Most people know that exercise, eating well, sleep, and stress management are all important in looking and feeling their best.

Yet most struggle with applying this information in the context of their busy, sometimes stressful lives.

That’s why we work closely with our clients to help them reduce body fat, gain strength, and build lean muscle so they can improve their health…regardless of what they have going on around them.

For an in depth look of what this approach looks like, schedule a consultation by booking an appointment below.

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