Fitness Articles

What You Forgot to Ask Your Personal Trainer

7 Questions to Find the Very Best Trainer for You


4. Are you CPR and AED certified? You probably already asked whether the personal trainer is properly certified by a personal-training association, but double check that he is currently CPR and AED certified. AED stands for automated external defibrillator and if you or someone else at the gym has a heart attack, it can save a life. Make sure your personal trainer knows how to use it and is properly trained to respond during potential emergencies.

5. Are most of your clients long term or short term? If a personal trainer has mostly long-term clients, then you know that he or she is probably good at relationship building and at keeping workouts fresh and challenging over time. On the flip side, if they're all short-term, this might signify that the personal trainer is either brand new to the industry (you should definitely ask about previous training experience) or fitness facility. At worst, this could signal an underlying training or personality issue. If you're just looking to invest in a few personal training sessions and you really like a personal trainer who has mostly short-term clients, that's OK. It's when you're looking to invest in a large package of sessions that you need to be careful whom you choose to work with for the next six months. When all else fails, go with your gut.

6. How many times per week do you train clients? A lot of personal trainers train as a part-time job, so if this number is below 10, don't be afraid. Just follow up by asking whether they have a full-time job. If they don't have another job, then ask why they train so infrequently. If they do 30-plus sessions a week, ask them how they keep things fresh and how they avoid burnout. Most trainers who do more than 30 sessions a week are working very long hours from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., almost every day of the week. With that much training, burnout is inevitable, and you don't want it to happen during your session!

7. Why are you a personal trainer? Similar to, but different from, question No. 2, this one addresses why the trainer got into the fitness field. If it's to see people transform their bodies, then you know the trainer focuses on the physical. If the trainer says it's to help people transform their lives, then you know they'll probably have your well-being in mind. If the trainer takes a few minutes to answer or isn't sure, run far, far away!
Continued ›
‹ Previous Page   Page 2 of 3   Next Page ›

Advertisement -- Learn more about ads on this site.

More Great Features

Connect With SparkPeople

Subscribe to our Newsletters

About The Author

Jennipher Walters Jennipher Walters
Jenn is the CEO and co-founder of the healthy living websites, and A certified personal trainer, health coach and group exercise instructor, she also holds an MA in health journalism and is the author of The Fit Bottomed Girls Anti-Diet book (Random House, 2014).

See all of Jenn's articles.

Member Comments

    I've never had a personal trainer, either. I've never even had an impersonal trainer, but I slog along goal... - 3/25/2014 9:13:23 PM
  • Great article but never had a trainer. - 6/21/2013 9:08:10 AM
  • According to this article I have found myself a superb trainer. I have never asked him about any of this, he himself has told me most of it.
    He is helping me in so many ways and always with a smile on his face and humor on the side. Ready to make me feel like I can achive anything I set my mind to! His help is also on the mental side which I find really important.
    Im sure that one of the reasons I have come this far is because of him :)
    Can hardly compliment him enough - 6/13/2012 11:27:12 AM
  • I had the most wonderful personal trainer while living in Michigan. I had never worked out before, was physically limber but overweight. I thank God for him and miss him every single day I don't see him (because I am in Illinois.) We stay in touch! I did not ask any of those questions, because I didn't know ANYTHING about fitness. I told him I wanted my beach body back. And he took it from there. I owe it all to Tony, to Spark People, and of course, to God. - 5/3/2012 3:05:14 PM
    I agree with Rhoadan about a trainer who will listen to your statements about limitations. I left a trainer once for that reason. I told her that I had back problems and an old injury to my left knee, both of which flared up when I did 'jumpy stuff'. I think she thought I was a whiner; and, after I got injured trying to do elements of plyometrics that she worked in my routine, I refused to do it anymore. It took weeks to get over the injury, but then when she asked me to an exercise that I knew was plyometrics in nature, I flat out refused and said she would have to find another way to work those muscles. When the block of sessions was done, I cancelled my gym membership and moved on. I now have a trainer that I love and who has got me to within 5 lbs of my goal weight. - 5/3/2012 7:18:01 AM
  • Another important question is how does the personal trainer respond when you explain your physical limitations. For that matter, does the PT even ask about such issues before putting together a plan?

    I ditched one guy who a) didn't bother asking me about health issues before putting me on a particular cardio machine and b) didn't listen when I told him that said machine was hard on my already injured knees, and that there were other types of cardio that I was fine with. Basically, we did not get past the first session. - 5/3/2012 5:24:22 AM
  • I tried a personal trainer once, but I was really uncomfortable with them just hanging out watching me workout. I don't need a babysitter, just a plan. Perhaps if I try it again I will know to ask more about things like that. - 2/18/2011 3:32:25 PM
  • Today at my gym, there were signs posted that they were hiring new "fitness counselors." I guess they're not calling them trainers anymore? - 11/19/2010 9:29:12 PM
  • I've been with my pt now for two years and as long as I can afford him, will continue.
    I now meet with him about every 4-5 weeks to assess and get new sets. Best investment I have ever made. - 1/3/2010 1:13:35 PM
  • Excellent article - I have been training with my PT for 3 years now and I just LOVE her. There was a period of several months that she needed to back off her schedule for personal and health reasons. I asked most of these questions to a group instructor at my gym who's class I really enjoyed. After 2 sessions I told him that although I loved his group class I was unhappy with his one on one style. He never gave positive reinforcement (which I thrive on) and the sessions were always more about what I couldn't do instead of what I could do. He made a few changes, but it was never the endorphin high I got with my regular trainer. We parted company - no hard feelings - and I just waited for my favorite PT to recover and pick me up again. - 8/19/2009 11:05:51 AM
  • This article is just what I needed! I have recently joined a gym and would like to find a personal trainer to meet with just once a week for guidance. There are TONS of trainers at my gym (All independent contractors in a way... They are allowed to conduct business there and the gym takes a cut but the gym doesn't pay them hourly to be there.) So with all those trainers around, its hard to figure out who to go with. I have met a couple (like I said, they don't get paid so they are always trying to find new clients) but I never knew what to ask them to nail the one down that I want! Perfect. I am going to print this out and put it in my gym bag! - 8/19/2009 8:28:28 AM
    I stumbled on the best trainer ever for me by accident and I could not agree more on what the article said about the questions to ask.
    My first trainer was totally wrong for me because her goals did not match mine at all and she was still learning how to be a personal trainer. She took what her trainer taught and tried to use it on me and the excercises were much too advanced for me. The trainer I have now varies workouts and carefully evaluates what I am capable of before giving me an exercise. I have worked with her for over a year once a week and although I do not look all that different, my strength and stamina have increased as well as my balance. Her goals for me match what I have though. I did not want to be super fit , but I needed strength and balance.
    Those questions would have been handy to have when I met my first trainer. It was only by luck that I got a trainer perfect for me. - 8/18/2009 2:43:50 PM
  • Very interesting article. My brother in law is a personal trainer...I want to ask him these questions just to see what his answers are. - 8/18/2009 11:16:26 AM
Popular Calories Burned Searches: Rugby  |  Frisbee - general  |  Frisbee - ultimate

x Lose 10 Pounds by January 3! Get a FREE Personalized Plan