How To Choose a Personal Trainer

By: Matt Weik
The IML Blog

Are you ready to kick things up a notch and hire a personal trainer to put you through the ringer? Or, maybe you’re just starting out and you want to make sure you have the proper form before you start conquering the gym alone?

Either way, you’ll want to make an informed decision on which trainer is going to be the best for you. We are all different.  We have different needs and comfort levels.  If you are a shy person, more than likely you aren’t going to want a personal trainer who is known for having a drill instructor mentality and on the flip side, if you are a go-getter, you don’t want a trainer that you need to bring a cup of coffee before each session.  Finding the right balance is just what you need to hit the ground running and achieve your goals.  This article will teach you a few things you should consider during your search for a trainer in your area.

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If you already are a member of a gym, then you know the location of a trainer. The issue arises if you don’t like any of the trainers at the facility or maybe the facility doesn’t even have any trainers on site.  Either way, you need to be aware of how far away your trainer is from your house or work or wherever you’re coming from when you head to get in a workout.  Some trainers might even travel to you depending on the type of services they offer.

The reason why I feel location is so important is because time is money. You don’t want to waste your time driving 45 minutes away just to fit in a workout.  It might be fun the first couple times, but you’ll soon grow tired of the drive time.


I can’t stress this enough, please make sure the person you are training with is certified and not someone who just stayed in a Holiday Inn Express last night. It might sound stupid to think that a gym would hire someone who truly isn’t qualified, but unfortunately it happens—especially if they are a competitor or someone who has an amazing physique.  Ask the trainer you are interviewing if they are certified.  Ask them who they are certified with and what they are certified in.  Again, it might sound dumb asking these questions, but I’ve seen and heard trainers say they are certified, when in actuality, they are certified in something like CPR and not for personal training.  Never assume, always ask follow up questions if you must.  While the person wasn’t lying about being certified, they’re definitely misleading.

Do they specialize in anything? Is their specialty weight loss?  Or sport-specific training?  Etc.  If you are looking to lose weight, try to find someone who specializes in weight loss.  If you are looking to bulk up, look for someone who specializes in hypertrophy or bodybuilding.  It only makes sense, right?


Look at their schedule and look at your schedule. Are they compatible?  Are there only certain days you can train with them?  Are they working on the days you are planning on coming into the gym?  No?  Then clearly, this trainer isn’t going to work out.  The more you have to change around your schedule in order to make things work, the less likely you are to meet with your trainer.  Find a trainer that fits into your schedule.  Remember, personal training is a service based business.  You shouldn’t have to completely change your schedule and life around just to fit in time to work with your trainer.


Do you feel comfortable around this person and their personality? Are you a reserved female and the trainer at the gym is a 275-pound beast with tattoos and piercings?  Maybe not the best fit for you?  Or maybe it is if you’re into more of a hardcore personality —it’s totally up to you.  But, the bottom line is, you need to feel comfortable around this person and be able to trust them.  After all, you are putting your health and fitness goals in the hands of a stranger along with your hard-earned money.


Let’s face it, everything comes down to the almighty dollar. How much is training with this person going to cost?  Are you living in Los Angeles?  Expect to sell your first born to work with a trainer.  Do you live in the middle of nowhere?  Expect the cost to be more reasonable.  Your location plays a huge roll in the costs of trainers as well as their experience and expertise.  If you live in the sticks but a trainer works with the wealthy businessmen in the area, don’t expect them to lower their prices to accommodate you.  Shop around for trainers as most of them have the ability to make their own rates so it allows for some flexibility in pricing depending on where you go and what trainers you work with.  Not every trainer is going to be the same price or have the same rates in the area—there will be fluctuations.


Has anyone you know worked out with this trainer? Do they have a reputation (good or bad) in the gym or area?  What are others saying about them? Nothing sells a trainer better than results.  If they are getting people in the gym into the best shape of their lives and changing their health, that’s about as good as gold.  Trainers can talk a good game, but results trump all.  If a trainer can get people the results they desire, that individual then becomes a walking billboard for that personal trainer.  And in the end, that might be the best reason to choose a trainer.

In the mean time, be sure to visit the Training Blog here at for some great training advice!