Tips on Finding the Perfect Personal Trainer

Young fit woman working out with a personal trainer

Is your fitness routine feeling a little…meh? Do those marathon rowing sessions feel like you’re kick-boarding in a kiddie pool? Does your bench seem boring, your dumbbells feel dumb, and as for that stairclimber…let’s just say you’d rather take the elevator. In other words, you’re suffering from a case of fitness fatigue. 

And if you find yourself in this perilous predicament, you may want to seek professional help. And no, we’re not talking about a shrink (although that might help too, come to think of it), we’re talking about a personal trainer of course!

Personal trainers can be a useful partner in your fitness journey. Sure, they can be on the pricey side, but they can also bring you some serious benefits. Personal trainers (good ones anyways) can help motivate you through those plateaus, push you to hit those last couple of reps, guide you through proper form, and generally light a match under you when you need it most. Even the simple fact that you’ve paid serious dough can be a motivating factor. 

But finding the right trainer can be a tough task. After all, you’re dealing with a person with flaws like anybody else, and you’re putting your trust in them that they’ll guide you correctly and successfully. So to help you, we’ve come up with a little guide to help you avoid the fakers, showboaters, and time wasters — and find someone who’s right for you. 


First and foremost, you’ll want to find someone who’s got the right resume. Sure, your landlord suggested his great uncle Igor as a source of endless wisdom in the gym. But you should probably check the receipts. Here’s a shortlist of what to look for: 

  • One or more current professional certifications in a reputable agency
  • Some solid background in exercise science, kinesiology, or any other kind of anatomy
  • CPR and first aid certification
  • Liability insurance
  • A written contract that outlines the details of your working relationship

Before you begin your search, you need to identify and outline your specific fitness goals. Are you looking to lose weight? Boost cardiovascular health? Bulk up? Look for a trainer with a focus, expertise, and experience in this field. Maybe any trainer could help you train for any specific goal, but you will probably feel a whole lot better with someone who’s done this type of training before. 


Success stories and glowing reviews can be a very convincing factor in your search. Try to read up on potential trainer candidates by getting some references. Are there proven success stories of former clients of theirs you can look at? If there’s Yelp reviews, go through as many as you can, especially the negative ones. If the complaints are focused on non-training issues (Jack wouldn’t even let me bring my Schnauzer Fifi into the gym…why I never!), then you probably don’t have that much to worry about. 


Any trainer worth his or her salt will be able to describe their personal philosophy of fitness. Ask them, and they’ll probably regale you with a plethora of impassioned quotes, beliefs, and principles. Plus, most of us trainers are pretty chatty anyway, and love gym talk. But while they’re telling you their philosophy, make sure that it aligns with your own. Are they a little too aggressive for you? Are they not enough? These are important factors you don’t want to ignore. 

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Now, we know this might seem a bit esoteric, but stick with us here. One of the best qualities you will find in your perfect personal trainer is a passionate enthusiasm, not only for fitness in general, but in your own success. You want someone on and by your side every step of the way. That means someone that will give you guidance not only while they’re with you, but also for all the other hours you spend working out solo, as well as the time you spend outside of the gym — encouraging you to work on your nutrition, caloric intake, sleep quality, and everything else that goes into your overall well-being. 

Fees, Scheduling, Flexibility

And now the boring, yet vital, nuts-and-bolts of their operation. Practical stuff like fees, schedules, flexibility, cancellation policies and the like might seem small potatoes. But if you’ve got to bend over backwards to fit them into your busy schedule or if their prices are just too steep, these are all annoyances that can grow over time, and could lead to a break in the relationship further down the road. 

Now, if you’ve not had much luck on finding a personal trainer near you, or one that fits your budget, schedule, or goals, you might want to try virtual personal training sessions. An online trainer will be able to get you all that guidance and motivation you’re looking for, but right from the comfort of your living room. And because you’re cutting the brick-and-mortar out of the equation, they’re usually a bit less expensive, too. 


More important than anything, you’ll want to make sure your personality meshes with your new training partner. After all, this is going to be someone you’re going to be (hopefully) spending a great deal of time with, and you’ll want to make sure you get along. When you interview your potential fitness trainer, make sure to include some small talk to see if you two gel. If they seem rushed, pushy, or otherwise anti-social, feel free to kick ‘em to the curb. Unless you like the strong-silent-shifty eyed type. 

Red Flags

As in all relationships, red flags exist, and spotting them could save you time and money, so let’s look at a few. 

  • Supplements: a casual mention of some nutrients you could be adding to your diet is fine, but a whole spread of 20% off, last-chance-at-this-price, buy-one-get-seven free hocking is a no-no.
  • Guarantees: huge black-and-white pronouncements of how successful you will be is a definite sign of a slippery shyster. If however, they tell you something like ‘unless you’re gonna put in the time, I can do nothing for ya’ — you can probably trust them. 
  • Payment: Common practice in the fitness industry is to give a potential client a free or discounted starting rate for your first session. If they’re making you sign a long-term contract from the off, run away fast. 
  • Limitations: Your personal trainer needs to be dedicated to your own needs, goals, and abilities. A good trainer will likely ask you about any past injuries, sore spots, or inflexibilities you may have. If they don’t, look somewhere else. 

One final note: personal trainers are not cheap. Plus, a bad experience with one might swear you off of them forever. If you’re looking for passionate, affordable, and knowledgeable guidance a little closer to home, we’ve got just the thing: Studio SWEAT onDemand! We offer the best in streaming fitness classes, all guided by our star-studded roster of world-class, rockstar trainers. We specialize in delivering the best group fitness classes right into your living room, and explain all the moves in an easy-to-understand way. Not to mention, you can take our classes anytime, anywhere, on any device! And if you want to test the waters a little bit before diving in, check out our 7-Day Free Trial, where you can experience everything we’re about with no upfront commitment. Sign up today, and find your next best-fitness-friend!

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