If just getting through the last year slowed your fitness goals, you may be ready to restore your health and fitness with the help of a personal trainer. While it is important to screen a potential fitness professional against a few key criteria such as education, experience, ratings, and professional liability insurance, it is also important that you find a coach who will suit your unique needs. Whether it's your first time hiring a personal trainer or just can't find the right one, here are some tips from personal trainer Sarah Dorough to help you find a productive relationship that cuts through the flashy Instagram profiles and styles the right one Personal trainer from the posers.
1 of 6
Go the distance
When it comes to finding the right PT, the distance it takes to see them should be a big consideration, so choosing a local trainer can make sense. Most of us are not going to have the luxury of an exercise machine that comes to our home and trains us in our own on-site gym, so you will likely have to drive to every workout. Choose an easily accessible PT, as standing in traffic or regular long trips to exercise can dampen your motivation. If you've decided on a particular PT but find it's too far away, see if they have online counseling and programs.
2 of 6
svetikd / Getty
You chose your preferred personal trainer because he's the best in his field, but make sure you check in with your ego. You don't have to overdo your skills to impress a coach because you feel intimidated by how many social media followers they have.
“It is so important for customers to be open and honest with their trainer,” says Sarah Dorough, an ISSA-certified fitness trainer and sports nutritionist. An honest relationship is essential so that your PT can learn more about the real you and any injuries or limitations they may need to help you bypass them. "
3 of 6
Set realistic goals
You may dream of playing in the NFL or sprinting to new world records, and you may have been a sports legend in high school, but you should also be realistic about where you are right now in choosing a PT. If you are not realistic about your “here and now” abilities, you may need a reality check. Much like being honest with yourself, setting realistic goals involves looking introspectively and identifying injuries and other limitations like weight problems. The right coach is the one who can work with you from day one. “Personally, I've had to say no to a prospective client before,” says Dorough, a level 10 gymnast. “If a client is outside of my area of expertise but expects to get super-fast results in the same area, we need to be realistic about the possible results . I will always do my best for a client, but this could mean referring them to a PT that is more appropriate for their current situation, especially if the client has medical issues that require special attention. "
The perfect PT is one that works with your current fitness level. So be realistic about where you are. Many personal trainers are able to serve clients of all levels, but don't sell yourself a top athlete if you're not already there as you could be wasting time and money.
4 of 6
Hero Pictures / Getty
Build a relationship
If you use the services of a personal trainer, visit him several times a week and spend a lot of time with your coach. If you find that your PT took a lot of time for you during the initial login process, but now spends a majority of your sessions staring at their phone, you may not be getting the attention you deserve. If the relationship isn't open and productive, it may be time to move on to another coach.
“Our goal as trainers is to create a positive atmosphere for our customers in which they can grow,” says Dorough. "Your PT should take the time to find out as much as possible about you, from previous injuries to current mental health problems."
5 of 6
Hero Pictures / Getty
One size doesn't fit all
"There are different types of coaches and it's important that you find the right one to get you started in comfort," says Dorough. "A client who does not have a lot of fitness experience or knowledge of exercise and nutrition should ensure that they are working with a trainer who can support their needs with additional motivation and patience."
Even if your fitness level matches the know-how of your new personal trainer well, a personality conflict can still arise. If you feel like you are not responding well to your trainer's particular training style, don't let them derail your fitness goals. Ask yourself what personality traits you need from a trainer and feel free to give multiple trainers a call, email, and review accordingly. After all, you will be spending a lot of time with your new PT. So if you are female, for example, and would be more comfortable with a female trainer, go for it.
6 of 6
Georgijevic / Getty
Success with a personal trainer is just as important as you are. There are thousands of personal trainers on social media, but there is nothing “insta” about sustainable fitness gains. “Customers should be aware that results require commitment and time,” says Dorough.
If you're not attending the sessions, or if your diet is out of whack between PT sessions, don't blame the trainer. However, when you find a trainer who is approachable and who gives you the appropriate care and attention because you have been honest and realistic, we are sure that the client-coach relationship is key to your health and potential. Happy hunting!