Skip to content

How to Choose a Personal Trainer

Check certification and obtain references. Make sure the trainer's approach to fitness is in line with your goals.

For most of us, reversing lifelong habits doesn't come easily. To live more healthfully we need coaching and guidance. This is especially true if we have injuries or physical limitations.

How to Pick a Personal Trainer/Fat2fit

Getty Images

One way to get help in your quest for better fitness is by hiring a personal trainer. But before you do that, you need answers to these questions to learn if he or she is right for you.

1. Is the trainer certified by a credible organization, such as the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), the American Council on Exercise (ACE), the American Fitness Professionals Association (AFPA) or the Aerobic and Fitness Association of America (AFAA)? What advanced education or specialties does the person have beyond basic certification?

2. Does he or she have references?

3. Does the facility where you work out with the trainer provide liability insurance? Or does the trainer have liability insurance if working as an independent contractor?

4. Does the trainer recognize his or her limitations in dispensing nutritional or medical advice?

5. Will the program be tailored to you, taking into account your age, fitness level and any medical or physical problems you have? Or are you expected to follow a one-size-fits-all regimen?

6. Is the location convenient for you? Will the trainer come to your home?

7. Does the trainer set an example by leading a healthful lifestyle?

8. Is the chemistry right? Will the trainer help maintain your enthusiasm for fitness?

If you have any reservations at all, trust your instincts. Keep interviewing personal trainers until you find the right person for you.