Fitness Articles

What You Forgot to Ask Your Personal Trainer

7 Questions to Find the Very Best Trainer for You


If you've been working with a trainer for awhile now and ask these questions without receiving the answers you were hoping for, here are some more tips on how to break up with your personal trainer. Asking these questions and breaking up may be hard to do, but your fitness journey is all about you, so ask away!

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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 AM a Personal Trainer, and completely AGREE with this article!
    When I first meet with a potential new client, I first ask them about themselves, then I tell them about me, my personal struggle with weight, my training view, my certifications, and how long I've been training!
    I usually can tell, at the beginning, if we're a good fit! If not, I ask one of my co-workers/traine
    rs, if they would speak with them!

    I train each of my clients based on their own fitness levels. I train a lot of overweight people. My theory is, which should be EVERY PT's thinking, is to start a client where they need to be! Meaning, you don't start an obese person out doing plyometrics, or running a mile! They need to be walking...or better yet, eliptical or stationary bike, and working on basic balance!

    I do NOT train my clients based on how I train! I have a Personal Trainer, that I pay, to get me, and keep me in tip top shape! He trains me in a Body Building format! Unless someone ASKS me to train this way, I do NOT take this route!

    Every trainer should be compassionate to your goals!
    Personally, I believe that the best trainers are the ones who have had weight issues! They (we) can relate to the struggles and obstacles of the journey!

    Ask questions! Don't be afraid to ask to speak with another trainer, BEFORE signing that contract!

    Most of all, communicate with your trainer, AND Be DEDICATED! We can only push you for an hour or two a week! YOU have to do the work OUTSIDE of the session, if you want to see results! Just hiring a trainer, will NOT make you fit and healthy!

    Have FUN and Best Wishes on your journey!
    - 8/8/2015 2:40:26 PM
  • Me being me I know that if someone isn't beating me, I would never work out ... never. I know me and no amount of motivation will have me working out at home. In comes the personal trainer. Is it expensive, sure not OMG expensive but enough. I've been working out with PT for probably 3 years and, for me, it is worth it.

    I've had two PTs a man and a woman, both excellent. The guy worked me, built strength and stamina. The woman gave me a woman's body slim and lean - like a dancer. I had surgery this year and was working with the guy trainer at that time and had to stop while recouperating.

    Once I received the OK to start working out again, I thought did I want the male trainer or return to the woman? The woman won out because in my opinion a woman knows what parts of our body needs to be trained to achieve a woman's sleek body. I've been training with her again for 4 weeks and am so glad I chose her to retune my woman's body. There is a difference between a male and female trainer and how they approach working a woman's body. I'm sure many folks would disagree, but this is what I believe is best for me.

    Have I "broken up" with the male trainer ... not officially, but I cannot afford to have two PTs. It will be a difficult conversation because I consider him a friend and he gave me good strength and stamina with his workouts. Arghhh - 5/19/2015 1:37:29 PM
  • I've actually compared finding a personal trainer to dating... sometimes you know right away that you don't "click;" sometimes it takes a couple months to realize things just aren't working... but then, you find that right one. I didn't go to a trainer for a long time because of some bad experiences, but after suffering some injuries thought a trainer would be the right way to go to make sure I didn't do anything that aggravated the injuries... I now have a great trainer and it has been one of the best investments in myself I have made. - 2/9/2015 7:59:01 PM
    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

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