Kate Bielefeld is a personal trainer certified by the American Council on Exercise. She is an ICF certified coach practitioner by the Certified Coaches Alliance and the Approved Coaching Specific Training Hours program. She has a bachelor of science degree in exercise science and is a successful weight loss and behavior change coach. This powerlifting, coffee-chugging, mom of five has an expert knack for unlocking the untapped potential of the women she coaches. She’s helped hundreds of women reach their health and fitness goals so that they can live healthier, happier, and more fulfilled lives.

Choose The Right Personal Trainer For You

choose personal trainer

Was I really the ideal Personal Trainer 12 years ago? 

There is not a chance in “H” “E” “double hockey stick” that I would have paid for 12-years-ago-me to be my personal trainer. 

And yet, before I had even completed my certificate courses and passed my exam to be credibly identified as a personal trainer, I had clients. 

And they were paying me (uneducated, inexperienced and postpartum) to let them come over and spend an hour in my dank and cramped basement? It didn’t make sense.

I didn’t make sense because, while I was clearly far from being the “ideal personal trainer” people sought out for these services. I had five clients. That was five more clients than other personal trainers I knew with more experience, better training, and a gym contract!

So what made me the “right” person for the job?  Something called “ideal fit.”

7 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Personal Trainer

choose personal trainer

Clearly, there’s much more to consider when choosing the right personal trainer for you that just the fancy framed paper they casually display somewhere in their office. Speaking of which, I’ve been meaning to hang that up since 2008! 

In addition to education and experience, what are past clients saying about this trainer? Do the trainer’s current clients have things in common with you? 

What’s this trainer’s style? You don’t want some military drill sergeant if this is your way of making life fun and loving exercise.

What about demographics? Are they close? Are they available? Can you afford their rates?

It’s a lot to think about when looking for a great personal trainer. So let’s break it down, together.

Credentials 

Remember that fancy framed piece of paper I mentioned certified personal trainers have hanging in their office? It’s pretty much worthless information to you when deciding on your trainer if they aren’t applying what they know. And if they aren’t continuing their education to maintain that title, run!

Here’s a shortlist of accredited personal trainer certification programs that would be a good indication your trainer has a general knowledge of anatomy, physiology, body mechanics, and programming techniques. These programs ALL require continuing education and are only presented after your trainer has passed a proctored exam.

In no specific order, look for NASM, ACE, ACSM, ISSA, NSCA. In the industry, these are the top 5 most respected personal training programs. The best personal trainer for you starts with the education necessary to help you reach your goals. It’s OK to be picky!

Personal Trainer’s Experience

Remember 12-years-ago-me, experience-free training clients in my basement? We all start somewhere!

A new personal trainer doesn’t necessarily mean no go. For new trainers, their knowledge is fresh, they are excited and learning (which means they are probably studying hours before and after you get in front of them to give you their best – I know I was!), and they are bending over backward to keep you happy and coming back session after session.

An experienced trainer, think 10 years or more like all of the LadyBoss® Personal Results Coaches, will be the bang for your buck.

You can expect your sessions to be dialed in after years of her learning from mistakes, finding efficiencies, and bringing to the table experience that’s not just her own, but every client struggle and success and the process they took together to be successful.

A good personal trainer learns from the experiences of others she’s worked with as much as she learns from herself. 

So, while she may be small chested (and have absolutely zero idea how painful it is to run with a giant set of breasts bouncing between your chin and abdomen even though you’ve tied them down with three well-placed sports bras), there’s a good chance that sometime during her years and probably during at least one of her thousands of sessions she’s trained, she met a client that had the exact same problem. 

And, chances are, she knows just the right place to send you to buy the best high-impact sports bra to finally keep those girls in place. 

Even better, she knows how to relieve the chaffing. She knows how to alleviate the soreness in your neck and upper back you have from carrying them around, too!

Experience trumps credentials every time. There isn’t a question on the exams about where to store a tampon while you’re running your first marathon, but the answer is NOT IN YOUR BRA!

Reviews of Personal Trainer

personal trainerReviews are an excellent way to find a personal trainer, and also they’re not. Be careful. Online reviews can be paid for, so whenever possible look for personal training testimonials from people you know and trust.

LadyBoss has a ton of success stories and happy client reviews and none of them are paid for. We are so proud of our clients, it makes our hearts explode when a member of Personal Results Coaching shares her story and her coach gets to gush with pride every time she reads the review!

At the gym, request client testimonials from the trainers you are considering for hire. 

Please ask! Personal trainers spend a lot of time working to collect client testimonials and have them available. We love it when people are willing to let us share them and have someone bragging about our services.

Personal Trainer’s Philosophy

Philosophy. This is where most of a client’s decision comes from when choosing a personal trainer. That “ideal fit” I mentioned earlier begins here.

Make sure the philosophy of the trainer you select is in alignment with your needs! 

Here are a few personal training philosophies to listen for:

  • Working out doesn’t have to be boring.
  • Fall in love with moving your body.
  • Invest in your body.
  • Follow the 80/20 rule, the Pareto principle, in which you choose healthy foods 80% of the time and allow for indulgences up to 20% of the time.
  • Moderation is key.

Choosing a program is less about what seems ideal and more about what you actually will do. 

Don’t focus on restriction, focus on life enhancement.

Working out is a form of self-care and self-love, not a punishment.

Did one of those resonate with you? What if I told you those are the philosophies of our LadyBoss Personal Results Coaches?

Availability of Personal Trainer

Availability is pretty straight forward, but let’s talk about it anyway. 

Find a personal trainer who is available and has open personal training sessions at a time that works with your schedule! 

Certified personal trainers often have early morning and later evening availability. We do this so that your workout routine can become a habit!

Fight the urge to schedule sessions with a certified personal trainer at times you’ll let yourself make an excuse not to go! 

Cost

The national average for a personal training session is between $45-125.  That’s quite a range!

Thirty-minute sessions are typically between $25-50, more if the trainer is coming to your home.

Sixty-minute sessions range from $40-75, again more if the personal trainer is coming to your home for these private sessions.

Ninety-minute sessions are charged at a rate between $60-125. For redundancy purposes, more if your personal trainer is coming to your home for private sessions.

Hiring a personal trainer is an investment in your health. The money you are investing to work on you is always worth it!

Personality

The best personal trainer for you is the one whose energy can match yours. 

A great personal trainer will naturally lift you up and motivate you beyond your comfort level. 

Successful personal trainers are able to help you break past limiting beliefs, overcome personal obstacles and create workout programs that meet your needs for both personal and performance reasons.

If a trainer drains your mental energy, leaves you feeling embarrassed with your current circumstances or just doesn’t have a great personality, don’t hire them.

Find Your Ideal Personal Trainer, Your Ideal Fit

It can be overwhelming to choose a personal trainer when you aren’t sure what to look for. It can be tempting to lean toward a trainer who looks good on paper, but remember there’s always more to a person than what can be included in a short bio or on their resume.

My clients shared this piece of advice for knowing if a trainer is your ideal fit:

“You’ll know the trainer is right for you from the start, definitely by the time you’ve been through a session or two with them.”

“Don’t let price be the deciding factor, I made a huge mistake thinking because I was paying $75 for sessions I was getting higher quality training that when I switched and started paying $40 per session.”

Above all, I think you’re a rockstar for making yourself a priority and learning how to hire the right trainer for you!

Coach Kate, BS, ACE, ACSTH
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