Many people feel the need to hire a personal fitness trainer to help them achieve their fitness goals. Perhaps you lack motivation at the gym and want someone with you to push you along or more commonly nowadays, you want to train at home and need someone to set up your workout program plus give you some encouragement along the way.
As a personal trainer myself I’ve been through the interview process many times. Hopefully the tips below will guide you as to what you should be asking them and just as importantly, what they should be asking you.
1. How Long Have They Been a Personal Fitness Trainer?
You should ask how long have they been taking on private clients and would they be happy for you to contact a couple for references?
2. What Are Their Qualifications?
Don’t just ask if they are qualified but also what qualifications they have. There are plenty of online courses a person can take, get a certificate at the end of it in the post and call themselves a fully certified personal trainer. Check out their qualifications by doing an online search if they don’t have a degree in physiology, exercise science or similar (depending on your whereabouts).
3. Do They Work With a Dietitian?
It is becoming quite common to find highly qualified personal trainers who also have dietitian qualifications too. If this is the case you won’t have to worry about this one but if they aren’t, you want to know if they work with one or will you be expected to find one?
This isn’t a deal breaker BUT if they aren’t a qualified dietitian and don’t work with one then you will have to go and see one once your trainer has worked out your exercise program if you are to get full value. A dietitian will work out for you exactly what fuel and how much of it you need to be taking on board now you are training regularly.
4. Do They Require a Long Term Contract?
I charge monthly up front and offer a full 30 day refund policy if a client isn’t happy with the results and there is no contract to sign. Avoid at all costs trainers wanting anything more than a 30 day agreement. Any trainer wanting a 3 or 6 month contract or payment is not confident he can achieve results and probably has a track record of being fired after a few sessions – hence the need to get you to commit to a long term contract.
5. Can They Accommodate You?
A good trainer is a busy trainer so be prepared to be flexible to get the one you want. They will want to work with you 3 times a week – or at least twice a week – to start with so they can get you established with a routine. The chances of them being available for the 7:30 until 8:30 Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning you were hoping for are not good but he may be able to do Monday morning, Wednesday in your lunch break and then either Friday after work or Saturday morning.
A thing to keep in mind is that the 3 times a week training will drop to once a week by mutual consent if your trainer is confident you are committed to the workout.
6. Were They Genuinely Interested in You?
This one is crucial. When I visit a potential client they are always surprised to find that I ask far more questions about them than they do about me! Knowing that I have at least a chance of helping someone is essential to me just as knowing that the goals they have set themselves are achievable.
Someone going into it half hearted because ‘the wife wants me to get into shape’ is much less likely to put any effort into the program I set them and then more than likely blame me for their lack of success.
On the other end of the scale we have the over enthusiastic guy who sets himself unachievable goals which is another way of saying he’s set himself up for a fall.
Neither of the above two scenarios wouldn’t necessarily mean I didn’t take the client on though. For the first I might explain I need 100% effort while pointing out the many advantages and benefits he will gain if he gives me that sort of commitment. For the second type of guy I might gently explain how the six pack and V shape he craves isn’t possible in 6 weeks as he’s far too out of shape but if we set smaller goals such as drop 2 trouser sizes within 3 months, we will get to his ultimate goal in the end.
The above two examples might be extreme but you get the point. A good trainer will want to know about your previous physical activity, why you feel they will be able to help you, what your goals are, your health and so on. Don’t feel you need to not be honest, he can only help you if he knows where you are.
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