Choosing a personal trainer is similar to applying for a job or looking for a date. You need to be prepared to ask the right questions to make sure that you are getting into a relationship that is right for both of you.
Your personal trainer will take most of the lead when it comes to helping you reach your fitness goals so don’t be afraid to speak up and ask questions up front.
Here are 11 questions for personal trainers to get you started on your search for the perfect match.
What’s your experience and background?
Asking your trainer for their certifications and specialties is important. “It gives you insight on their passion, style, and education,” says Aaptiv Trainer Ackeem Emmons. “You gain insight into their techniques and will have more confidence in their knowledge. Specialties are also clear signs of a trainer who takes initiative in improving their craft.”
View Ackeem’s workout classes in the Aaptiv app!
Aaptiv Trainer Rochelle Moncourtois agrees. “Asking a trainer what their background experience is can help you determine whether or not [he or she is] the right trainer for you,” she says. For example, if you’re focusing mainly on increasing your running speed, make sure that you find a trainer who has lots of their own experience in running. “Ask a trainer what their fitness goals are. It will give you an idea if that trainer is a ‘practice what you preach’ type of coach. In my experience, those are always the best trainers,” she adds.
How many days should I work out per week?
It’s important that your workout schedule fits in with your daily life. Be sure to be upfront with what your weeks typically include, especially if you have a full-time job and/or kids to take care of. That said, fitness is a commitment so you’ll want to find a trainer who works with your schedule, but also motivates you to make time for your workouts. “[It] depends on personal goals, but generally we should all be moving daily,” says Aaptiv Trainer Jaime McFaden. “Aim for at least 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous exercise.”
Am I too sore?
Muscle soreness comes with the fitness territory. There’s a big difference between good pain and bad pain, though. “[It’s] good to feel what you are doing, but it’s bad if you are so sore [that] you can’t move,” explains McFaden. If you ever experience pain during or after a workout that doesn’t feel right, ask your trainer about it. He or she will be able to provide at least a basic look at what the pain could indicate. If it’s severe, though, he or she will likely direct you to check in with your physician.
Should I be resting more?
Rest days are a critical part of any fitness schedule. Always listen to your body and be sure to find a trainer who values time to rest and recover. “We are capable of a lot, but many [beginners] are so excited and driven for the results [that] they don’t focus on the journey, and try to rush picking up too heavy of weights, running too often, and not allowing our body to rest and recover,” says McFaden. “At least once per week, [you should] give your body a rest day.”
Do you recommend any at-home work?
It’s not uncommon for a trainer to provide some homework. “For most, having a trainer there 24/7 is unrealistic,” says Emmons. “Incorporating homework educates clients and motivates them. There is a lot [that] the trainer and client can accomplish together, and there’s always a little more the client can do by themselves,” says Emmons.
Fitness homework might include practicing your form, foam rolling and stretching, taking an active rest day, or even full-body routines that you can do on days you can’t make it to the gym.
Am I doing this right?
Technique and form play major roles in achieving the results you’re working toward. “Proper form assures you proper results,” says Emmons.
Sometimes exercises feel weird simply because of the way the moves position our bodies. If you ever feel weird about a movement or if you’ve never performed a specific exercise, check in with your trainer to make sure your form is on point. This will help you hit your goals and avoid injury.
In asking some (or all) of these questions, you will get a better feel for whether or not the personal trainer’s fitness perspective aligns with your own. Get the conversation started with these questions for personal trainers to find a trainer that best suits your workout goals.
Aaptiv can help you achieve your workout goals with our fitness classes in the app. Download it today to learn more.