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What to Look for in a Personal Trainer

personal training self improvement strength training Dec 05, 2022

I'll just say it : Looking for a personal trainer or strength coach can be really overwhelming! Asking for help feels vulnerable to begin with, not knowing what to ask can make those initial consultations or sessions feel intimidating ... then there's the dreaded end of the meeting where you know they're going to ask you to whip out your credit card.

Having someone walk along side you as you work toward you goals is WORTH IT. We promise! (I know. I'm biased. But seriously... when the going gets tough, the tough get help.) Being prepared for your initial session and staying aware as you build a coaching relationship can make it invaluable.

Before you go into the first session, start with three things:

1. Write down your goals. (You should be asked in advance for intake forms with your goals and health history -- fill these out with intention!)

2. Have a list of questions ready so that you don't have to think them up / remember them during the session.

3. TRUST. YOUR. GUT. If you know the vibe or energy isn't a good fit, "No thank you!" is OK! Don't say yes to something you know doesn't feel good.

and as you move forward with the relationship, you can always reassess!

Before we get into what to look for in a personal trainer, let's start with


If you see these, say NO THANK YOU and politely leave the coaching or training relationship.

  • Emotionally or verbally "dumping" on you during sessions
  • Teaching movements or skills they cannot safely regress, break down or demonstrate
  • Operating out of their scope of practice (e.g. doing massage, prescribing, or writing meal plans)
  • Is consistently late, cancelling or asking you to reschedule sessions
  • Programming overly challenging workouts that leave you excessively sore, sick, or feeling unsafe
  • Gives you the sense that THEY are successful as a coach....rather than YOU are successful as a client.

Here's what we recommend looking for in a personal trainer!

  • Asks open ended questions and listens actively
  • Checks in on your experience throughout the workout and program
  • Reviews and reassess your goals and needs regularly
  • Teaches appropriate exercises and skills within their scope, experience and ability
  • EMPOWERS and EDUCATES at a level that meets your needs
  • Respects your time and asks that you respect theirs

Obviously, no one is 100% perfect as a professional 100% of the time. Strength coaches and personal trainers are humans too. AND. You should feel respected, safe and empowered in the relationship no matter where your gym is.

What are your red flags and green lights when it comes to a coaching relationship??


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