How to Find the Right Personal Trainer for You


The right trainer can accelerate your progress and get you results much more efficiently than doing it alone. They’ll help you create a plan to reach your goals, stay motivated, and stay accountable to get results. 

But there’s nothing worse than investing time and money only to find out that you and your trainer aren’t a good fit for each other. Taking the time to research beforehand can help you find a trainer who’s a good fit for your needs.

Here are some tips to find the right trainer for you. 

First, figure out what you need from a trainer. What are your goals, and what kind of support do you want? For example, are you looking for an all-in-one trainer to help with nutrition, fitness, and lifestyle changes? Or just someone to help with your workouts?

Do you want your trainer to have any specialities, such as prenatal and postpartum fitness, powerlifting, or marathon training? 

Next, get clear on how you want to be supported. Do you want in-person support, or virtual support? Do you want to workout at your gym or at home? 

Paint a clear picture of your needs, and the type of person you’re looking for—including any specific qualifications you’d like them to have.   

Do your research to find candidates. Most gyms have a listing of their trainers, their qualifications, and experience. Check out this list at your gym, and take note of any trainers that catch your eye.  

You can also ask friends and family for names of trainers they have worked with in the past to find recommendations. 

In addition, check out social media. Local hashtags (like #sanfranciscopersonaltrainer) can help you identify trainers in your area. 

If you’re looking for an online trainer who can help with both nutrition and fitness, you’re less limited by geography and can find someone online through social media.

Many post tips and videos showcasing their personality and training style on social media. This can give you a preview of what it would be like to work with them. 

Make sure they’re certified. The personal training and fitness coaching industry isn’t well-regulated, so there are many people practicing without a proper certification. Ask your trainer for their qualifications. NCSA, NASM, ACE, ACSM, NPTI, and NETA are all well-known and popular certifications, but there are many others. 

Schedule a consultation. Once you have a list of two or three potential trainers, schedule a consultation or session to get to know them. Some gyms offer a free first session with a trainer; others let you pay for one trial session. 

Understand the trainer’s personality, their coaching philosophies, and experience. 

Take some time to assess: 

Do you feel they are listening to you and your needs?

Have they worked with people like you before?

How, specifically, will they help you overcome your struggles? 

Do you enjoy spending time with them? Do you like their personality? 

Are they setting realistic expectations for you?

Make a selection, and remember to share feedback once you get started.
Once you’ve found a trainer you like, start working with them. If you don’t like a specific aspect of their service, provide feedback! Your trainer is there to support you, but they aren’t a mind reader. Be honest with how you’re feeling and ask for any changes if you need to. 

Remember that a relationship is a two-way street. While a trainer can help provide a plan, guidance, and accountability, it’s ultimately up to you to put in the work. So if you’re not seeing the results you want, before you switch trainers, ask yourself if you’ve been consistently putting in the effort on your end. If you have, and it’s genuinely not a good fit, you can always try a different trainer. 

Hiring a personal trainer can help you reach your goals and stay motivated. But do your research before spending money to make sure that your trainer is going to be a good fit for you and your needs. By asking the right questions, you can find the perfect trainer for your needs. 

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