Hiring a personal trainer is a big decision for most people. Since all personal trainers are not created equal and there’s no regulating body for this industry, it’s important to make sure you do your due diligence when interviewing – and selecting – the right personal trainer for you.
To help you do that, here are three questions to ask before you commit:
Question #1: What are their certifications?
It’s possible to become a personal trainer in as little as a weekend. Which is scary! (I can’t tell you how many certified trainers I’ve interviewed that don’t know basic anatomy or injury-prevention principles.) So it’s important that your trainer have more than a basic certification – look for someone with a college diploma or university degree in a health-related subject, and the more additional/specialized training the better. Also, CPR certification is a must.
Question #2: What’s the plan?
A plan, with mini goals plotted out along the way, is critical for long-term success. Which is why we track, measure, and goal-set on the regular over here. So ask your trainer how all that works. Will you start with a goal setting session? How often will you be re-assessed? What does success look like?
Question #3 (for you, not them!): Do you like this person?
This one’s a question for you, as opposed to them. And it’s a simple – but oh, so important – one: Do you like the person sitting in front of you? Are they respectful? Do you feel understood? Are they friendly? If all goes well, you’ll spend a fair bit of time with this person, so you want to choose a person you’ll look forward to seeing, who makes you feel comfortable.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, these are three of our main criteria when we hire our trainers at Nielsen Fitness. If they aren’t fully certified, don’t pass our (difficult) practical exam with flying colours, can't demonstrate strategic, big picture thinking in addition to their exercise and anatomy know-how, and aren’t someone we’d want to welcome into our own homes at 5:30am, they don’t make the cut.
This criteria has served us well over the course of more than a decade in business – and we're confident it will for you too. If you'd rather to take the guess-work out if it, contact us today to schedule your free first workout, anywhere in Toronto.
Poul Nielsen is the owner and operator of Nielsen Fitness, Toronto's leading team of in-home personal trainers. He has 18 years' experience in the fitness industry and has taught courses in Fitness and Lifestyle Management at George Brown College.
In addition to exercise (obviously), he loves spending time with his family, playing the guitar, strong coffee - and dark chocolate!