Finding a personal trainer is kind of like dating: There's a lot more to choosing the right partner than just going for the person with the best body.
"Just because somebody looks the part doesn't mean they're going to be a good coach and able to articulate exactly how to get the same results," says certified strength and conditioning specialist Tony Gentilcore, cofounder of Cressey Performance in Hudson, Massachusetts. "You need to find someone who wants to make you your best asset."
There are tons of different factors that go into making somebody the ideal trainer for you, so it's a good idea to look into as many of them as possible.
"Bottom line, if someone has the ability to mess with your health, do your research," says certified strength and conditioning specialist Michelle Lovitt, a celeb trainer and Asics America conditioning coach.
Here are five questions you can ask a trainer before working out with them to avoid a mismatch.
1. What Certifications Do You Have?
Both Gentilcore and Lovitt agree you want to make sure your trainer is legit and has a good foundational knowledge of health and fitness. A certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS) certification is a must, but a degree in exercise science or a related field is even better, says Lovitt.
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2. What's Motivated You to Become a Trainer?
Look for a trainer who chose his or her job in order to help others, to make the world a healthier place, or to motivate people to become their best selves--not someone who just likes to work out or wants to work with celebrities. Someone who's training because it's their passion will help you achieve better results.
3. Do You Have Experience Helping Clients Work Toward My Specific Goal?
Okay, first step here is to figure out what your specific goal is. Do you want to lose weight? Tone up? Increase your endurance? Here's why that's so important: Many trainers work with every single client the same way--the way that they themselves got in shape.
No matter the individual goal (weight loss, fat loss, etc.), these trainers will have all of their clients practice bodybuilding or Crossfit or whatever got them to their current fitness level, says Gentilcore. "Hire someone who's there for you and will work toward your goals."
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