You’ve make that all-important decision. You’re hiring a Preston-based personal trainer, but what do you need to look out for when seeking the best professional for you? Are there any pitfalls that you need to look out for and how will you know if you’ve found the right one?

Be Clear

This is the first step. Understand why you want a personal trainer. What have you heard from friends and family and read about the benefits. If you’d like a recap, click here.

Write down all of the reasons why you’re choosing an experienced professional to help you with your fitness and what you hope to achieve in the next three or so months. This will give you a solid foundation on which to evaluate any type of fitness coach you come across.

Experience

How long have they been in the industry and how have they helped people like you? If you’re a single mum with a full-time job who hasn’t really been that active over the past 6 months then you’re not really going to want to choose someone who has trained a load of guys for body building competitions.

They’ll be into lifting heavy weights and eating chicken and broccoli at meal times: not what you want. Ideally, you want a personal trainer who has experience working with and training women in the local area. Asking them for examples of results or testimonials is one way of seeing who they’ve helped before.

Also, check that they’ve got the experience of working with a broad range of people too: if they work with just one type of person (see above), they may think of themselves as “specialists”, but they’d be a little bit naïve to think that: they only have experience with one type of person. Even if you’re that type of person you could run into some issues.

Breath and concentration of experience is important.

male personal trainerr with a female client and TRX machine

Qualifications

Nearly any individual offering personal training out there will have their level 3 personal trainer qualification. It’s important to know that they’ve got this as it’s the certification they require in order to actually offer PT services to the general public.

There are a whole host of other qualifications and certifications, such as a biosignature practitioner, a CHEK certified practitioner, a Master exercise coach and many more. If the individual (or team) looks as though they’ve invested in their continual professional development after their initial qualifications to enter the industry then this is a positive sign that they treat further learning, development and knowledge with the respect it deserves.

This provides you with the encouragement that they look forward to developing their skillset as a professional and forge ahead of their competition. This puts you in a great place if you want to choose the very best health and fitness professional in Preston (or whatever part of Lancashire you’re in).

An additional step you should look for with any individual is that they have liability insurance and that is covers the individual trainer you’re hiring/going to be working with. This is important for the one time out of 100 that something happens and you get injured (which could even be from a falling book). You want to ensure that the individual has adequate cover to pay for any legal or compensatory costs should something happen.

Personality/Attitude

This is important.

You’ll be spending a lot of time with this individual, so you should think about how much you would be able to get on with this person. A lot of this will come from the first time you meet them, but you can also get an impression from them by watching any videos they have on their website or social media channels and by speaking to them directly on the phone.

Their attitude towards you and how you’ll work out is as important to their personality.

Also, what stance do they take to training you and other people? Are they a drill-Sergeant type person who will scream at you to encourage you or do you need a dose of a super cheerleader type for your early morning sessions before work? These two are quite different types of people and only when you meet them can you know the way they work and act.

Testimonials/Reputation

Reputation speaks for itself. Lots of service providers in the health and fitness industry have a lot of individuals who will recommend them. If one of your friends or a family member has recommended someone to you then have a bit of a Google of them, check out their reviews on Facebook, on Google and any other site that is of importance this year.

You want to ensure that not just the persona who is referring you to them has had a great experience with them. It’s also good to ask how long their longest standing client is and whether they’ve been with them from day one.

In keeping with the diversified experience I mentioned earlier, keep in mind to look for testimonials or client stories from a variety of people: lots will include pictures of clients on their websites alongside the testimonial.

Tests and Assessments

Note: the more through the initial test/assessment is the better the personal trainer is likely to be.

In your initial period with the trainer they should complete an assessment of at least 45 minutes. Some may go as far up to 2 hours if it’s a specialist, but anything less than 30 minutes is potentially going to be quite minimal.

If you’re asked to do a bleep test (running back and forth between two cones) then we’d advise walking away. That isn’t a great form of understanding where your fitness levels are now and where you want them to be.

If the individual you’re looking to hire says that until the first few sessions are completed they won’t have an accurate read on where you’re headed then they will be right. Upon assessing your body they will have a good understanding on how your body works as an individual, but it is important for them to understand how your body reacts (by you telling them) on how certain exercises feel.

Costs/Prices

There’s a saying that “you get what you pay for” and that’s quite true in the PT industry. The starting rate for a personal trainer outside of an inner-city area is £30 per hour. Some coaches charge anywhere from £50 to £150 per hour, so get to the costs after all of the information has been acquired about the above points.

Yes, you don’t want to be overpaying for what you’re going to be receiving, but this decision is about your body and your well-being, so it might just be worth the price of restraining from a few extra lattes on your way to the office (or one too many lunches out) and choosing a more experienced personal trainer at a higher rate, than choosing the lower rate one and not experiencing the benefits as much.

Balance

A personal trainer should provide sessions that are both demanding but not overly hard. If you dread coming back to the next one then that isn’t the best place to be: if it’s just for a particular exercise that you don’t like then that’s worth dismissing.

However, if you’re interested in being successful and achieving what you set out to in the initial stages of your thoughts around hiring someone then it’ll be important that you look forward to the time that you’re spending with them.

You might feel a bit overwhelmed when it comes to choosing a personal trainer. The steps to look out for when you’re making a short list have been included above, but it’s always worth trusting your “gut” instinct and ensuring you hire someone who you get along with and who can encourage and motivate you to the fitness goals you want.