Finding out how professional a personal trainer is can be a challenge, especially if they haven’t been referred to you by a friend or you haven’t been able to observe them working with clients. In this post, I’l tell you what questions you can ask a trainer before you decide to take them on.

The questions you can ask are:

  • “Can I use a mobile phone in the gym”?
    • Any well-respecting trainer will tell you “no”. If they say, “yes, you can, I use mine all the time”, then it’s time to walk away.
  • Lunge on Ball1A“How often do YOU workout”?
    • I would suggest a minimum of 3 times per week, if not ask why. It might be they’re re a single mum for instance. In the whole, trainers should prioritise time for their workouts just as they would expect you to.
  • “What kind of exercise do YOU do”?
    • This should elicit a passionate answer.
  • “What kind of diet do YOU eat”?
    • If their answer is vague, this is a tell-tale sign, they have no real plan in place.
  • “What time do YOU go to bed at night and how long do you sleep per night on average”?
    • Any later than 10.30pm is not good practise! A minimum of 8 hours sleep per night is required to stay on the ball.
  • “How much alcohol do YOU drink”?
    • Less is definitely more when it comes to alcohol!
  • “Do you smoke”?
    • Smoking just isn’t acceptable for a personal trainer!
  • “How will you devise my exercise programme? What assessments will you do before designing my programme”?
    • Just asking you what your goals are, is not sufficient. They should do anatomical and/or biomechanical analysis. This might include postural assessments, range of motion assessments and movement screening.
  • “Will you include dietary advice or refer me to someone else for dietary advice”?
    • They should be able to offer you one or the other.
  • MT Results Screen Shot“How do you workout my dietary needs”?
    • If they start talking about your 5-a-day, balanced diet, low-fat, low cholesterol, Paleo, vegetarian or any other generic diet, then go elsewhere for your dietary advice.
  • “Do you work alongside a massage therapist or any other type of body-worker”?
    • Any trainer should at least be aware of the importance of regular massage alongside your exercise programme.
  • “How regularly will I be assessed”?
    • The body is always changing and without re-assessing, you could be on the wrong programme, which will limit results and could be increasing the likelihood of injury.
  • “How regularly will my programme be updated”?
    • If you stay on the same programme for more than 6 weeks, you will be going backwards. The body adapts to exercise very quickly.
  • Software Front“What are you reading/studying right now”?
    • Again, you should get an immediate and passionate response.
  • “What was the last course you attended and when was it”?
    • Again, you should get an immediate response as it should have been less than 12 months ago.
  • “What was the one prior to that”?
    • Ask to see certificates. ALL trainers MUST also have insurance and first aid qualifications.
  • “What are your future education plans”?
    • I always have my plan mapped out for the next 3 years. A good trainer’s education never stops!
  • “What techniques do you have up your sleeve to ensure I will stay motivated”?
    • They should be familiar of motivational interviewing, a particular coaching model (I use the S.C.O.R.E. MODEL) or a specific technique such as Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP).

Any “ums” or “erms” and vague answers might indicate things are not quite what they should be and you might wish to interview other trainers before making up your mind.

In Part 5 of this post, I will help you determine whether your potential trainer has the knowledge to help you achieve your goals and keep you injury free, stay tuned…