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If you want your dream house, you need an architect. If you want your dream car, you go to a dealer. Yet when many of us try to achieve our dream bodies we go at it alone. Hiring a personal trainer, either online or in person, is a great way to stay accountable and optimize your training and diet programming. A good trainer can help you set and achieve specific and realistic fitness goals. We all have a reason for stepping into the gym, and getting to where we want to go is not always easy. This is where trainers can help. After all, even the best athletes in the world use trainers.

But just as you should be picky about which house or car you buy, you should also be picky about choosing the right trainer. Committing to a trainer is no small decision. Taking some considerations before working with a trainer can help save time, money, and effort. These are five things to consider when hiring a personal trainer.

Similar Goals


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Hiring a personal trainer should be like buying a car. It would not make sense to buy a minivan if you are a single bachelor living in the city who works from home. It would not make much sense to hire a powerlifter as a trainer if your goal is to run a marathon.

On the other hand, if it is your goal to compete in a bodybuilding competition, training with someone who has done a few shows can give you guidance to navigate your preparation. If you are looking to shed fat, hire someone who has experience with weight loss. Or if you want to put on muscle, a bodybuilder with experience in hypertrophy training may be a good trainer for you.

Sharing similar goals with your trainer will give you two something to bond and build a relationship over. You will understand the motivations and emotions each other feel. This will make it easier to empathize with one another and grow the relationship, hopefully leading to better results. Shared goals will get you closer towards your fitness goals.

Chemistry

You will spend a lot of time with your trainer over the course of many months or even years. It is important that you two remain on good terms and genuinely enjoy spending time with one another in order to achieve the best results.

People are often attracted to trainers based on looks or association. You may want to train with a certain trainer because they are “jacked” or because they trained with this or that celebrity. It is easy to get caught up with how a person looks or who they associate with and lose sight as to whether or not this trainer is a good fit for you.

Workouts should always contain a degree of fun. But if there is no connection between trainer and client, it will be difficult to get motivated and gameplan for the future. You are not going to have a good workout if you are miserable in each other’s company. Just like any relationship, it may not necessarily be anyone’s fault that the partnership is not working. Sometimes it just isn’t meant to be.

That being said, you can go too far in the other direction. Trainers are not rent-a-friends. At the end of the day, it’s their job to give you results, not to coddle you. A mistake a lot of trainers make is they are too nice to their clients. They stop pushing clients as hard as they need to be pushed. Or they are afraid to hurt a client’s feelings with some tough love, even when tough love is required. Good chemistry between client and trainer makes for success on both ends.

Clientele

One measure of how a successful trainer is how well their clients end up doing. Successful clients give referrals for good trainers, which only helps a trainer’s reputation. If you are getting ready for your first bikini show and your friend is a successful competitor, they may end up referring their trainer to you.

Trainers are like the rest of us, they learn from trial and error. If a trainer has already trained several competitors, then they will have learned much about what works and what doesn’t. These are lessons you will benefit from.

Good trainers are picky trainers. The best trainers will not take any client that comes their way. Smart trainers will be able to identify if you are be a good match. A good trainer will want you to succeed as much as you do, as your success reflects their success. Good trainers may even refer you to another trainer to better suit your goals. On that note, be wary of any trainer that is too eager to train you regardless of circumstance.

Retention is also important when finding the right trainer. This can make things harder for you, since good trainers have lower availability. Not surprisingly, the worst trainers are those with the most availability. Good trainers tend to retain their clientele.

Reliability/ Accessibility


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You and your personal trainer are going to be working together for a long period of time. It should come as no surprise that reliability and accessibility are vital for success. Your body does not change overnight. Consistent effort and discipline will be one of the biggest factors in determining your success. Things will be more difficult with a trainer who is constantly traveling, taking days off, or moving their schedule around.

Also consider that even if you train with a personal trainer three times a week for an hour, there are still 165 other hours in the week you need to think about. A trainer will help you better manage that time with advice on sleep, stress, recovery, and nutrition, for example. Good trainers will often give their clients homework as part of this guidance. Regular training is important, but it is simply is not the only part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Easy accessibility to your trainer is also important. This will allow you to ask questions and problem-solve with whatever may come up. And if any last minute rescheduling needs to happen, you can manage it appropriately. This will keep you going down the path to success regardless of circumstance.

Flexiblity


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Some trainers tend to be very dogmatic and opinionated in their training styles. But remember that good training is based on good science. We are constantly learning more about nutrition, kinesiology, biomechanics, etc. Your trainer doesn’t need to be an expert in all these areas, but they should at least be staying up to date on the latest research within the fitness world. If your trainer is doing the same workouts and recommending outdated methods, they are not being responsible trainers.

Another part of being a good personal trainer is recognizing the individuality of every client. Trainers need to be aware of this and be able to work around clients’ needs and goals. Avoid lazy trainers who do the same programs with each every client regardless of goal, age, injury, etc. We are all at different levels of our training and have different needs. Our programs should reflect that fact. Someone who is training to get their one-rep-max bench press should be working out very differently than someone who is trying to lose weight for summer vacation, even if they have the same trainer.

The client-personal trainer relationship can be a very strong and rewarding relationship. Finding the trainer that best fits you can be tough. But just as you don’t want a lazy trainer, you don’t want to be lazy when hiring your trainer. Give the process some thought and consideration. A little bit of extra effort at the beginning will reap better rewards in the future.

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