How to Hire a Personal Trainer in 10 Easy Steps

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Instructions by a Thumbtack professional

How to hire a personal trainer in 10 easy steps

If you’re ready to get fit, a personal trainer can be a great support option. Maybe you’re looking to trim down. Maybe you’ve hit a fitness plateau. Or maybe you’re injured and need to get safely back on track. Whatever the case — it’s important to ask the right questions when hiring a personal trainer.

We asked three top-rated Thumbtack trainers what to ask before hiring someone to (lovingly) kick your butt into shape: Kevin Weston of Shape 2 Tone in Orange, California; Petros Arzoumanidis of Workout Anywhere Personal Training in New York; and Konrad Koczwara of Chitown Trainer in Chicago.

STEP 1: How to hire a personal trainer

Ask about certifications

The first question you should ask a prospective trainer is what kinds of professional training or certifications they have. Hiring a trainer with the proper education and certification is crucial for a quality experience, as well as for staying safe while keeping fit.

Koczwara recommends even asking whether a potential trainer has a health and fitness-related college degree.

STEP 2: How to hire a personal trainer

Understand their specialties

Find a trainer with an area of expertise beyond just the basic training certification. If want to get in shape after having a baby, seek out a post-natal fitness specialist. Arzoumanidis suggests asking any potential trainer what type of clients they usually work with. For example, if you want to have the body of a ballerina, a trainer who focuses on weightlifting competitions might not be the best fit.

STEP 3: How to hire a personal trainer

Know what you want

Be clear about what kind of results you want — and ask how the personal trainer can help you get there. Koczwara many of his clients want to burn fat, increase strength and cardiovascular endurance, have more energy, improve their mood and overall health, and lose weight. If you have a desired outcome, share that with any potential trainers over the phone before you meet in person.

Are you hoping to shape up for a wedding? Do you want to slim down for a high school reunion? Do you need to lower your heart rate per doctor’s orders? Let a prospective trainer know right away so the two of you can decide if it’s the right fit.

STEP 4: How to hire a personal trainer

Ask about cost

Find out whether the pricing changes or remains fixed after sign up. Weston recommends that you ask about future pricing, too. Some trainers offer incentive sign up rates that may be subject to increases in the future. Know what you are agreeing to before you sign on the dotted line.

STEP 5: How to hire a personal trainer

Ask about client successes

You want to work with a trainer who will get you the results you want. The best proof of that is recent client experiences. Arzoumanidis suggests asking the trainer to share stories, which will also give you a chance to understand how the trainer works. Another option is to read testimonials online or ask the trainer for references.

STEP 6: How to hire a personal trainer

Ask about nutrition and meal planning

All the hard work in the world won’t change things if you’re not getting proper nutrition. Weston urges people to talk with a potential trainer about how he or she handles meal plans. It’s especially important to find someone who is confident recommending the appropriate amount of protein for your body weight and type to ensure optimal outcomes.

STEP 7: How to hire a personal trainer

Ask about your specific conditions

During the interview process, you should let potential trainers know about any injuries or health concerns that you have. Let them know if you have back problems. Many people experience pains from old injuries or back issues just from sitting at a desk all day.

Don’t exacerbate an existing problem or create a new one by not discussing what is really going on with your body.

STEP 8: How to hire a personal trainer

Ask how they stay up-to-date

Just like every other field, the world of health and fitness continues to evolve. As experts gain more understanding of how our bodies best perform, strategies change. Arzoumanidis says to ask what your future trainer does to stay relevant in the field and up-to-date on best practices.

STEP 9: How to hire a personal trainer

Ask who will work with you

Some larger organizations are run by a well-known trainer who oversees employee trainers. Weston recommends asking if the person you create a relationship with on the phone is the same person who will be doing your training.

STEP 10: How to hire a personal trainer

Prepare for the first session

Koczwara recommends getting a good night’s rest before your first training session. Eat simple carbs, such as a banana or strawberries, for energy before you meet with your personal trainer. Often a first session is a moderate introduction to what a regular session might look like. Your trainer should take time to get to know your goals, perceived limitations and current lifestyle. Koczwara says as long as you, "show up with a smile, ready to work," you’ll have a great time.

Most importantly, ask yourself if you like the trainer and if he or she has what you want. Hire someone you click with. Physical fitness can be hard at times, but it should also be enjoyable. Hire a person who seems to practice what they preach, fitness-wise.

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