Hiring A Personal Trainer?

What you need to know:

  • You are entrusting someone with your body and are spending your hard earned money- take the time to research the trainer. 
  • What does certified mean? Is it current? Ask them to show it to you. Have you done your research to know what the trainer had to do to pass the certification? 
  • Does the potential trainer conduct an assessment? Do they have a relationship with the medical community? 
  •  Do they understand the protocols if you have an injury, surgery. Medications? 
  • Insured? 

There are myriad reasons that you may want or need to hire a personal trainer. It may be that you are trying to “jump-start” your fitness routine, a trainer can get you on track. Likewise, if your current program is not yielding the results you are desiring and you’re wanting to take it to the next level, a personal trainer can provide the extra bit of push and motivation needed to achieve your goals. Another reason that you would want to hire a  trainer has to do  with your busy life. A trainer can either make your workout at the gym or studio time efficient or can meet you at your home.

If you have a medical needs that  can be helped by fitness training, a personal trainer that has specialized training in Post-Rehab or holds a Medical Exercise Specialist certification would be best.

With  more than 150 different personal training certifications available, how is the  consumer that is interested in hiring a personal trainer know how to  select the right trainer?


Are they certified? What does a certification really mean? The National  Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) is the gold standard in certifying personal training organizations. At this time, there are only ten organizations that have gone through rigorous evaluations to qualify for the national recognition. (at RLF I accept 6 of the 10 certifications.)A personal trainer certification is designated for the trainer to work with ‘apparently healthy’ individuals.  If a client has a compromised health history, then it would be best for them to select a trainer that has completed the courses recognizing the red flags and understands  proper exercise protocol for post rehab or medically necessary exercise.

While a trainer with an NCCA-accredited certification is the professional credential you should look for in a personal trainer, a college degree in an exercise science is a definite plus. This lets you know that the trainer has a solid educational base in exercise programming.

Professional Liability and Business Policies

Many trainers work as independent contractors and are not employees of the fitness facility. Confirm that the trainer carries professional liability insurance. The trainer should also have established written policies that include items such as the cancellation policy (usually 24 hours) and billing procedures.

What is a Session Like?

Your first meeting should be dedicated to assessing fitness level, body measurements, health history, PAR-Q, waiver, policies and goals.  At this time, the trainer can gain the information and recommend the exercise plan that is appropriate for you.

Leave a Comment