5 Things to Look for in a Trainer

Whether you’re just starting out or looking to break through a plateau, finding the right trainer can have a major impact on your time, health, and fitness successes. When everything falls into place, the relationship you have with your trainer should keep you safe and progressing toward your goals. The sessions should be fun and challenging and tailored to meet your individual fitness needs. Here are five things I recommend considering before choosing who to trust as a partner in your personal fitness.


1. Certification/education

You definitely want to find a trainer that is certified by a reputable accreditation agency. But with hundreds of certification programs, how can you tell the quality of a trainer’s certification? Fortunately, the answer can be an easy one to uncover. The National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) awards accreditation to programs only after they’ve passed rigorous accreditation standards for professionalism and credibility. For example, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) Personal Trainer Certification is one certification accredited by the Commission, and one that I’m proud to hold.

Before selecting a trainer, it’s worth finding out if their certification program holds up to the rigor of an accrediting body like NCCA. It also adds to the trainer’s level of expertise when they have ancillary certifications that overlap with your fitness goals. I hold additional certifications in suspension and kettlebell training, and lifestyle and wellness coaching. Additionally, having some formal education in a scientific or health field can help your trainer deliver programming that’s more informed and potentially safer. I an educated in the science and health fields, including a master degree.


2. Experience

You want to find a trainer with some first-hand knowledge in the area of training that supports your fitness goals. If you want to focus on injury recovery and corrective exercise you will want a trainer that has recovered successfully from an injury. If you want to run a trail or obstacle race, you want to find a trainer that has run several. Also, finding a trainer with varied experience can be useful in providing a multitude of insights and different training approaches as your fitness develops. Today’s goal may be one thing, but tomorrow’s may be different, you want a trainer who can support you in both, and help you grow your fitness. I have experience and first hand knowledge in multitude of areas some including functional fitness, corrective exercise, weight loss, race training, and strength training.


3. Attitude/personal interaction

Your trainer is someone you will be spending a lot of time with, and who will see you at your best…and worst. You want to feel comfortable with this person and able to open up about your goals, struggles, and aspirations. You also have to be willing to take their advice, pushes, and encouragement. Look for  a trainer who’s attitude and personal interaction you enjoy and that enhances the training. I believe that it is important to find a positive, upbeat, and motivational trainer who you feel comfortable with.


4. Approach/philosophy

You should find a trainer who’s approach and philosophy are aligned with your goals and fitness vision. Looking at the trainer’s services and areas of expertise will give you an idea of their approach and philosophy. Think of what approach you think will best suit you. I believe in a comprehensive approach to assess fitness levels and construct appropriate plans to build well-rounded fitness that is functional and fun.


5. Logistics

Looking for a trainer that meets the priorities that you are looking for in training such as:

  1. Convenience – facility nearby, home visits, or remote training
  2. Services – in-person, remote, training plans, and coaching calls
  3. Price – what price range can you afford (matching what you are looking for from training to the price point)


Jay is such an important part of my life. It was Jay who I worked with to transform my life! He inspired, motivated and coached me throughout my weight loss of over 100 pounds. He not only encouraged me to get stronger by building muscle, but he was committed to helping me change my eating habits and achieve my goals. I will forever be grateful to Jay. Even to this day he continues to send me texts to check in on me. I am also proud to say that is it almost two years since I have lost my weight and it is still gone and I continue to live a healthy lifestyle.

Maria K, Independent Accounting Professional