If you’re considering hiring a personal trainer to help you get in shape, that’s great. Most people who have used trainers will tell you that having someone show you, in person, how to correctly perform exercises that help you to quickly and safely achieve your fitness goals works wonders. A certified personal trainer who is willing to learn about you and develop a personalized plan to help you reach your goals can be worth his or her weight in gold. So how have satisfied personal training clients found the right trainer for them? The obvious, and probably most effective way to find a good trainer is via referral. If a friend or family member can recommend a trainer, that’s a great place to start. If you don’t know anyone who can refer a reputable trainer, the next best thing is to look for a trainer online. Or, if there’s a private gym near you, call the manager or owner and ask if they know of any trainers who might be a good fit for someone your age and gender.

Once you’ve found a prospective trainer, either by getting a personal referral or doing an online search, the next step is to interview that person to determine compatibility. It’s usually best to meet with a prospective trainer at a Starbucks or some other neutral location. A few minutes of chatting will allow you and he/she to exchange relevant personal info and to briefly discuss your fitness goals. If, at this point, the person sitting across from you is giving you a good vibe, it’s time to ask some specific questions about their approach to personal training. A trainer’s answers to the following 5 questions should provide you with plenty of food for thought and help you decide whether or not they’re right for you.

1. How do you plan to help me reach my goals? An appropriate answer to this question might be: “To help you reach your desired weight, I would work with you to create a diet that consists of 500 fewer calories per day than you’re currently consuming. Cutting 500 calories per day will cause you to lose around a pound per week and you’ll never feel hungry if you eat the right foods. To help you reach your strength and body-toning goals, we’ll be doing a strength training workout when we meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I’ll also encourage you to do a workout on at least two of the days when we don’t meet. Every Tuesday I’ll make adjustments to the workout based on your progress, including adding new exercises and/or discarding exercises that are too difficult or unpleasant.”

2. Will you create an exercise program for me to do on days when we don’t meet? This is an important question because the trainer’s answer should give you an idea of whether they truly want you to succeed as opposed to just wanting to get paid for every session. A good trainer might give you this answer: “I’m glad you asked that, because what you will do on days when we don’t meet contributes more to your success than what you do when we train. Few people can afford to have a trainer train them 5 or 6 days per week, and the truth is that I can’t make you fit training you for one or two hours per week. I’ll be happy to develop a weekly program for you that will be easy to follow without my help.”

3. How do you help to motivate clients who have difficulty motivating themselves? There’s no correct answer to this question because every trainer has their own unique approach to client motivation. If you’re someone who does not respond well to an aggressive, “drill sergeant” approach, then of course you’ll want a trainer who uses positive encouragement as a motivator. If, on the other hand, you know you’ll achieve better results with a trainer who is demanding and tough, that’s fine too. Just keep in mind that if being berated is a necessary motivator, it might be difficult to motivate yourself when your trainer is not around. For most people, long term fitness success is possible only when they’ve embraced a new, healthier lifestyle. More often than not, positive associations to exercise and diet yield the best long term results.

4. How do you define professional success for yourself? Here’s the only type of answer to this question that you should accept: “My goal as a trainer is to help my clients get fit and stay that way for a long time. When a client “fires” me because they’ve learned how to maintain the level of fitness we’ve achieved together, I feel that I’ve succeeded. I’m happy to train someone for as long as they want to be my client, but my In Home Fitness Training NJ is for my clients to become self-sufficient. This approach is consistent with my definition of success and it’s smart business because my satisfied clients give me lots of referrals.”

5. How do most of your clients find you? If the person responds with: “Most of my new clients are referrals from current or previous clients”, then you’ve probably found an excellent trainer. If they reply by telling you about their website, online ads, or promotional deals then that might be a bit of a red flag, although not necessarily a deal-breaker.

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