Choosing a Trainer


By Darren-Floro-Bryant


We all have our own reasons for choosing a personal trainer. Although you’re not going to date your personal trainer, it makes sense to consider what you want in a trainer and what criteria must be met – much like dating.


After looking through the personal trainer want ads and conducting a (non-scientific) survey, I discovered the most popular reason a client chooses a trainer is their personality. Everyone I asked simply wanted to make sure that they got along with their trainer. Trainers and clients can potentially spend a lot of time together and often in close proximity. In addition, clients need to put a lot of trust in their trainer, so it’s important to feel a connection and support; and the more time you spend together, the more you inadvertently get to know about one another. One person, I surveyed even echoed the interaction to be like dating, with the hopes of a long-term relationship.


‘Personality’ was followed up by ‘leads by example’ meaning, the physique of their trainer was also important. Clients mentioned they found motivation from their trainer’s look, gaining inspiration when they witnessed the work that their trainer put into themselves. Clients said they even found more comfort when they saw their trainer doing exercises or movements they asked their clients to do. Also stressed as part of ‘leading by example’ was whether a trainer could lead by being able to clearly explain an exercise, what the benefits are, and what muscles are being utilized or working.


Referrals were also high on the list when considering a personal trainer. Clients listened to their friends or paid attention to posts or comments on social media. Many mentioned the desire to feel validated regarding their choice in a trainer or a need to quantify the reasoning for their choice. Also, clients said they like feeling part of “the club; they want to feel as strongly about their choice as the recommendations they received and want to share their successes.


But like any relationship…

Clients want to see and experience results. They also want to be told why they are doing the exercises they’re being asked to do and why it was good for them or how it applies to their results.  Clients want to see progress not just in themselves, but also in the exercises being asked of them. They want all aspects of their training to remain fresh and evolving, again like a relationship.


Surprisingly, certification was not the deciding factor in most clients’ decision process.  When questioned about it, many clients said certifications are important and made their decision easier, but almost all of them said that all of the certifications in the world do not make a person relatable. Clients consider certifications a necessity, rather than a reason.


Choosing a personal trainer is something that every individual looks at differently, and there are many other factors that are taken into account when starting the process. Money, time, convenience, specialties, availability; but when it comes down to it, most clients are looking for a connection with results. After all, it is your health and fitness that is at stake, and we all want the best versions of ourselves that we can be, right?

[Fact Box]

The Essentials on Picking a Trainer

(or WTBU (Wanting to Bulk-Up) Seeks PT (Personal Trainer))

  • Must be approachable, easy to talk with, and a good listener.
  • Must be able to understand my goals, practice what they preach, lead by example, and explain exercises well.
  • References are very important, and certification is required.


Important Questions to Ask When Choosing a PT?

  • Is the trainer certified?
  • Have any of my friends used them as a trainer? Would they recommend them?
  • Will our personalities mesh? Will we get along?
  • Do they participate in physical activity themselves? Will they understand my struggles?





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