A high quality personal trainer has the potential to be one of the biggest positive impacts in your life.
Similarly, being a coach is (in my humble opinion) the most rewarding profession on the planet. I mean, you get to help people become better versions of themselves EVERY DAY!
However, the wrong personal trainer just might make you hate exercising, and feel even worse than you started.
Choosing the right trainer doesn’t have to be a struggle—the key is to ask the right questions, and be very aware of the experience.
Here are some good questions to ask before the session:
What do you love about coaching?
How long have you been coaching?
What is the age range of your clientele?
My goal(s) is/are __________. How can I best achieve this/these? (Note: if the coach doesn’t ask you for your goals, another huge red flag)
Bonus if the coach asks you WHY your goals are important to you, and if there is a specific timeline you are working with.
If the coach does not ask you for information on your injury and exercise history, that’s a huge red flag. If a gym let’s you just jump into a class without checking to see how you move first, that’s a red flag too.
During the session:
If you are not automatically given a movement screen (red flag), ask for one.
Ask questions, lots of them. A good coach will teach you about fitness and health in the context of exercise. A bad trainer will give you commands like a dog.
Ask if your technique is right and rephrase the instructions you are given in your own words to improve your understanding. It takes 2 to tango, so do your part to be an active participant.
If the coach doesn’t explain why you’re doing an exercise (red flag), ask why. The answer should be clear and specific.
If something hurts, SAY SO. If the coach continues having you perform exercises that physically hurt, that’s another red flag. A good coach can modify any exercise to suit the needs of the client.
Where do you feel this exercise? Does the coach ask engaging questions to better understand how the session feels for you? This is a good thing. If not, red flag.
Be yourself. Let your character out and speak your truths. Find out right away if this person can’t hang with you and your beliefs.
Do they fully demonstrate and describe each exercise? Do they offer helpful tips to improve the exercise you are doing? Be careful of “over-coachers” who give out to many tips/cues at one time.
After the session:
Based on how you saw me move today, what are 1 or 2 exercises I can do at home that would help me best, and why?
Finally, find someone you want to hang around with!
If you train 3x/week (which is ideal for maximizing results), you’re going to see this person A LOT. Most people don’t even get to see their best friend this much in a given week. So long story short you had better get along with this person really well.
The 3 Feels test:
1) Do you look forward to the session?
2) Does it feel good/is it fun during the session?
3) Do you feel good after you leave?
This flies in the face of conventional wisdom which says you must “give 110%” or “pain is just weakness leaving the body.”
Please, no more of this. Life is precious, and so is your time on this planet. Exercise should make you feel good before, during, and afterward—and help you grow into the best version of yourself.
Asking the right questions, and being an active participant will practically guarantee you make the right choice when it comes to personal training.
Any other questions? Feel free to reach out, we love helping people happily achieve their fitness and health goals 🙂
Better every day,