By Lauren Williams
There are so many options when it comes to fitness — new fitness boutiques and techniques are popping up every week. The same is true about personal training; trainers come in all shapes, sizes, and philosophies. So, the question is how to find the right one for you. As a trainer, my initial meeting with a new or potential client includes an assessment or an interview of some sort. This is an opportunity for us to get to know each other, and see if we are going to be a good fit. When you’re coming up with your own list of interview questions for your trainer, think about key things that are important to you. I have 3 baseline questions that I always ask my clients. Once you clarify these questions for yourself it will be easy to spot the right trainer for you, and also the right workout. Be choosy, find the right fit for you, and you will enjoy your workouts, and see the changes you are looking for in your body as a result!
1. WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS?
When I ask this question, I am looking for any and every goal the client has on their mind. They don’t just have to be directly fitness-related. Maybe you want to learn how to do a pull up, or maybe you want to have more confidence when you’re leading your board meetings. Perhaps you want to compete in a CrossFit competition, or you just want to be able to wake up in the morning without your usual Starbucks red eye. There are no wrong answers, we just want to get to your core motivation. As the trainee, trying out new workouts or interviewing trainers, once you know your goals it can help you narrow down the list. If your main goal is to run a half marathon, perhaps you want someone who has experience in training runners. How about finding a trainer that will run with you once a week? If you want to get into CrossFit, it’s time to look for a trainer that can teach you the Olympic lifts.
2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU HAD A FITNESS ROUTINE YOU LOVED AND/OR YOU WERE GETTING RESULTS YOU LOVED?
I love this question because I think it’s so important to do what you love in every aspect of life — and fitness is no different. If you love it, then you are going to keep doing it. It’s as simple as that. This question also gives people a chance to think about positive memories they have of their own wellness and athleticism. Usually this is when I find out about the sports people used to play, or even the recreational sports they are currently playing. When you answer this question for yourself, maybe you will have an “aha” moment. Maybe the last time you loved working out was when you were on the varsity basketball team in high school. Maybe it was your college running club getting you up early three times a week, but you haven’t been able to get back on a schedule since graduating. Whatever memories come up for you, tell your trainer, and ask them how they could incorporate something similar into your program. Or think about how you can introduce that type of exercise back into your life. Of course, there are some people who have no positive memories of working out ever. So think about a time when you loved the results you were getting. And of course add falling in love with fitness to one of your goals. This is a great opportunity to break the cycle and change your experience. Having a fun trainer might suddenly jump to the top of your list!
3. HAVE YOU EVER WORKED WITH A TRAINER BEFORE? IF SO, WHAT DID YOU LIKE AND/OR DISLIKE ABOUT THE EXPERIENCE.
Outlining what has and has not worked in the past is a great reference point for both you and your trainer. Are you the type of person that feeds off getting a lot of verbal positive re-enforcement in your sessions? Perhaps having someone who can coach you on daily nutrition, in addition to training, really helped you reach your goals in the past. Even if you haven’t worked with a trainer, reflect on your own personality and what you like in a coach or a mentor. Then ask the trainer about their coaching style or technique. These three questions are just a jumping off point. If you have special needs or health concerns be sure to discuss these with your trainer. Also, you want to make sure to talk about your trainer’s certifications and experience in general. As a trainer, I have worked with all types of clients with widely varying goals. As a trainee, I have worked with many different trainers with different philosophies and backgrounds. So, I don’t think this is only one perfect fit.
Lauren Williams is a certified personal trainer at Equinox and a Wilhelmina fitness model in New York. She is also the creator of Chisel Club, a bootcamp and wellness website. Her training and coaching styles are influenced by her love for movement, strength, and her background in psychology.