Shopping For a Personal Trainer

personal-trainer2Seattle personal trainers really are the best in the country.  X Gym personal trainers are the best of the best, so when X Gym members have to move out of the area, they always ask me how to find a good personal trainer in their new town. This doesn’t have to be as tough as most people make it, and I’m going to walk you through the 7 easy steps in finding just the right trainer who will help you reach your goals as fast as possible.

1.) Look online and see if any show up in a local search. Just type in your city and “personal trainer”. Don’t bother looking past the first 3 pages on the search results. If they aren’t creative and motivated enough to figure out how to get ranked well, they probably won’t be creative or motivated enough as your exercise coach either. A good rank means they are popular too. They might have a website or a blog. Look for YouTube videos of them or other things they might have done. Once you learn their name, do a separate search that way. Find out their education and/or certifications. See if their body looks like you would want yours to look – which brings me to my second point:

2.) Give them the twice over when you meet them in person. Another good (and obvious) source to find a trainer is at a nearby club you might like to join. Ask the club for a free two week pass to see if it works for you. This will give you enough time to see the trainers there, observe their styles, and check out their butts! If they really know how to coach someone in getting fit, they will look like it themselves. I always tell people, “If you live it, you know it.” You can even put them on the spot and ask to see their abs. Have them pull up their shirt and show you. Would you be happy looking like them in your “after” picture? If they can’t get there themselves, what makes you think they will help get you there?

3.) Interview them. Ask about their education. A college degree is of course best, but only about 10% of the trainers have them outside places like the X Gym. Did they just get a certification or have they taken actual classroom courses? Do they take continuing education credits to maintain their certification? Do they do any self-study to keep current? What was the last research study they read? What is the most interesting thing they have learned in the industry lately? What is their philosophy on nutrition? Are they extreme or do they take things in steps? Ask for a testimonial from a client. They should be happy to have one off their present clients call you. Then interview that client and see how fast they got results.

4.) Do you “mesh?” Is it easy to talk to them? Do they even ask you what your goals are, or are they too busy talking about themselves, trying to “sell” you on their services? If they care enough to ask questions about you, they are probably interested in more than just your money. How mature are they? Are they accepting and empathetic or defensive and arrogant?

5.) Now here’s a trick question: Ask them how much time it will take for you to reach your goals. If they give you a definite period of time, run away. The right answer would be something like, “I can’t say for sure because I don’t know yet your genetics, how well you will stick to my nutrition advice, etc. etc.”  When I am pressed for an answer, I give a bell curve illustration so they can see a range. I tell them, “Some clients see visible results in as little as four sessions. Others take 4 months. You will probably fall somewhere within that curve, but we will have a better idea a couple months into it.”

6.) Ask for a free intro workout so you can see their style. Do they watch your form closely or are they looking around the room or in the mirror at themselves? Do they have good exercise cues or are they repeating themselves a lot? Do they stay interested and engaged, or get easily distracted?

7.) What are their rates? Do they try to sell you a long package, or single sessions? Trainers who offer huge discounts for a long commitment with no refunds are not confident ion their own services. If they know their results will keep you coming back, they will offer shorter chunks. Your trainer should be paid based on their results, not on how well they can talk you out of your money.

You will know within the first three session if you will like them or not. If they don’t give you more than 1 free intro workout, ask to purchase just 3 more and let them know you will be shopping around and may be back. Then try other trainers until you do find the one who really motivates you. At $500-$2000 per month, trainers aren’t cheap, so make them earn their money! Tell them you are paying too much to not get results. Remember, they might be telling you what to do, but you are their boss. They work for you!