Ready to Get Fit? Four Tips for Hiring a Personal Trainer

Know what you're doing when you hire a trainer.

By Tracy Leigh Ritts



If you’re considering hiring a personal trainer to help you get in shape, you may be wondering how to find the right one. Melissa Brown, a personal trainer and nutrition consultant based in California, helps clear up the mystery with these four tips.


1.      Set a clear list of goals and expectations. This could be anything from shedding ten pounds, to toning muscles, to losing inches.  Know what you want and be sure you’re ready to commit.


2.      Contact area gyms and athletic clubs to begin generating a list of possible personal trainers. Friends, too, may have suggestions. Once you have a few names, set up a time to interview the candidates. You’re going to be spending a lot of time with this person, and they will be your fitness guide, so it’s critical that their style meshes with your personality and goals.


3.      Be ready with a list of questions! The following will give you the information you need to know:

·        How long have they been training others?

·        Do they have past and current clients you can contact?

·        Do they have any formal education, certification, and/or hands-on experience?

·        What do they do to stay informed about changes in the fitness industry?

·        Do they have a specialization (sports, fitness, resistance training, etc.), and if so, what is it?

·        Is their training experience specific to youth, elderly, or any other specific group?

·        Have they had previous injuries? Ask them to explain them.

·        Has a client been injured when they have trained together?

·        How is their insurance set up? Are they insured privately or through the gym they work for?


4.      Discuss both your expectations and the expectations of the trainer you’re considering hiring. As a client, you should expect your trainer to be on time, fully attentive, engaged and enthusiastic. He or she should be willing to demonstrate all exercises to you before you try them, and be able to articulate clearly about fitness and what you can expect to receive from each step of the process. Likewise, your trainer will have his or her own expectations of you and should readily be able to provide them to you.


Hiring a personal trainer is a great way to get in shape safely and to stay motivated. Educate yourself before selecting your trainer and then – of course – be ready to work hard! Working with a personal trainer is a commitment of time and money -- and often a considerable amount of both. It might be the best thing you ever do for yourself, and the decision should be made with a clear head and clear goals.

For more information, visit the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s website at



Tracy Leigh Ritts is a freelance writer based in Ohio. She is the author of a wedding planning.