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Choosing the Right Personal Trainer for You

You want to work with a personal trainer. Awesome! Do you choose the one with the most before/after photos? Who promises quick results? Who has seven different certifications? The best choice requires you to dig a little deeper into what you ultimately need for the most compatible and successful client-trainer experience.

According to a Girls Gone Strong survey, 96% of respondents have fired a personal trainer - oof! - so it’s perfectly normal to “shop around” for a personal trainer before committing to working with one long-term, just as you might do when finding a therapist (and, if you’re like either of us, a hairstylist).

Maximize the opportunity to meet your fitness goals by first considering why you’re seeking out a trainer and what you hope to achieve together. And remember, exercise is something your body needs even after you've achieved your goals, so your trainer should help make working out a positive and sustainable practice for you.

Here are some things to consider as you select a trainer who will help, rather than hinder, your efforts:

  • You are in charge of your own body. You can set goals and change them while you learn what your body needs and what it can do.

  • Feeling welcome and safe in the workout space is important. (P.S. Be proud of yourself for starting a regular workout routine or coming to the gym because that can be intimidating!)

  • Your trainer should listen to you above all other things they do.They should be someone with whom you feel comfortable voicing your thoughts, feelings and concerns. Any information you give your trainer about how you are tolerating a workout allows them to meet your needs.

  • Your trainer works for you, not the other way around. You have the power to rest as needed, stop an exercise altogether, ask questions if you are confused and expect explanations.

  • Every trainer has their own style when it comes to motivating clients, and only you know what works best for you. No matter the style, though, you should not feel like shutting down in your workouts.

  • It’s important to leave your workouts feeling empowered. Is an exercise too difficult? Ask for a modification. If a trainer is unwilling to modify an exercise to meet your skill level, or says YOU’RE wasting THEIR time by not working out “hard enough,” it’s probably best to move on.

It’s also important to know that discussing exercise, weight, diet or nutrition goals can stir up feelings of anxiety and trigger past trauma. Acknowledge these feelings when they surface because they will impact your training sessions and your long-term fitness goals. Do you trust your trainer enough to share this information? If so, do they listen with compassion? Are they willing to adjust your workouts to accommodate your feelings? If the answer to any of these is “no,” you should be looking for another trainer.

You spend your hard earned money for a personal trainer, so be sure you get what you want out of each session.You are always your own best advocate and you are in control!

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