It's one of the most important decisions you will make - choosing the right personal trainer can help accelerate you towards your health goals and help you stay injury free. Choosing the wrong one can keep you spinning your wheels without much progress, and worse, fritter away your motivation.
So, based on my experience here are a few things to bear in mind. This is by no means a comprehensive list but hopefully it will give you some things to think about.
Do You Like Them? Do They Listen To You?
This might seem like a strange question to begin with but I have found it to the most vital. The first trainer I worked with was "assigned" to me when I signed up for a series of sessions at a gym I had joined. They looked the part, had plenty of relevant qualifications, and were considered by many of the people who used the gym to be a great trainer. The problem was, though, that we just didn't "click".
I found his style to be just a bit too pushy, I felt he was dismissive of what I was telling him, and that he was more interested in pushing his agenda than actually listening to me. Perhaps the fact that the wages were being paid by the gym rather than by me directly meant that he was less attentive. Who knows?
Once I had finished my series of 16 sessions I felt relieved that it was over. In the end I left the gym a few weeks after that because I never felt truly comfortable after my experience.
So, finding someone who you feel comfortable with and who listens and understands what you are communicating is vital. Your personal trainer is someone who you will be placing a lot of trust in, and working closely with. It's important that the relationship feels good.
You may go through a few trainers before you find your guy or gal, but when you do find the right one the quest will seem worth it.
Do They Walk Their Talk?
This seems obvious but I've put it in here nonetheless. Do they look fit, strong, and healthy? Do they seem happy? To be brutally honest , if someone can't motivate themselves enough to stay on their game and exercise and eat healthily, how do you expect them to be able to motivate you? Congruence and integrity are vital.
Do They Have Track Record Of Success?
It's important to have confidence in your trainer's abilities and the simplest way to discover this is to check out the experiences of their previous customers. Check their website for reviews and testimonials, and before/after photographs.
If they have a Google page read the reviews on that as they have not been filtered by the owner and may be more representative than the ones of their own website.
Do They Offer Trial Sessions?
By this I don't mean free. No personal trainer worth their salt gives their services for nothing, but do they have an option where you can try one or two sessions before you book a series? As I mentioned I bought into a sixteen session package which turned into an unhappy experience and it was obvious to me from the first one that the chemistry just wasn't right.
Don't put yourself in a position where you are tied into a relationship you don't want.
These few pointers should help you get clearer on choosing the right personal trainer for you. The good news is that in Edinburgh we have a very big choice, not just in the gyms but in freelance trainers who work from home, who will visit you, or who rent spaces in hotels and sports clubs. There's bound to be one in there who is a good fit for you. In the next article I'll list a few of them so you can choose.
Hi, my name is Brian Whittaker. I've lived in Edinburgh since 2011 and I love keeping fit.