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How to pick the right trainer to help you workout most effectively

John Platero NCCPT CEO & Spokesperson, Premier Personal Trainer National Council of Certified Personal Trainers

Need help with your workouts? A personal trainer can help you target areas of your body that you want to improve, teach you how to exercise properly to help prevent injury, and provide motivation to help you achieve your fitness goals. It is important to choose a professional who has the right credentials and is certified by a credible organization. You also want to pick a trainer that can design a customized weight training program that is individualized for your specific weight loss or fitness goals.


Do check their education

Just like any other professionals, there are good ones and bad ones. The internet provides an easily accessible way to confirm a personal trainer’s credentials. If they are certified, you should be able to confirm this on the certification company’s website. For example, the National Council for Personal Trainers website has a registry on their home page, that lists their personal trainers and when their certifications expire. Like accountants or realtors, personal trainers must obtain a certain amount of continuing education to maintain their certification. This keeps the trainer abreast of new information, trends, techniques, and health and fitness.

Do know that not all degrees or certifications are equal

If a trainer has a degree in botany, it won’t help you, unless of course, you’re a plant. Not all certifications are created equal. For credible certifications go to or or If you don’t see the certification on either of these websites, it’s not a credible organization.

Do find someone you like

It doesn’t matter how knowledgeable they are, if you don’t like spending time with them, you probably won’t go. Ask them questions. Interview them before you hire them. If they try and intimidate you by overworking you on your first session; walk away.

Do look for a professional

Would you still respect your dentist if he showed up in his fishing gear? It might not make him a worse dentist, but he or she should maintain a professional standard. So should a personal trainer. Be careful… a gym is not a professional environment so its easy for people to let professionalism slide. Would it be strange for a doctor to take one look at you and prescribe a medication without an assessment? A blood test, urine sample, something? The same goes for a personal trainer. A professional personal trainer will have you fill out a questionnaire and perform a variety of fitness assessments prior to designing your program. Try to stay away from talking about politics and religion, keep the focus on the workout.


Do not pay too far into the future

Make sure you know whether the personal trainer is an employee of the gym or an independent contractor. If he or she is an independent contractor, then they should have a business license and liability insurance. Be careful not to pay the trainer too far in advance. The gym won’t be responsible if the trainer leaves town with your money. Search reviews of that personal trainer online. Check the Better Business Bureau as well.

Do not date your trainer

It’s easy to get develop a relationship with someone you meet with two to three times a week. Unless you plan on marrying them, stay away from any kind of amorous relationship, especially if they’re making sexual innuendos. That would fall under the heading of another profession.

Do not have any pain while working out

Don’t be afraid to tell your trainer about pain. There is good pain and bad pain. Trainers need to well versed in the musculoskeletal system, specifically joint structure and functional anatomy. If there is pain, they need to know about it.

Do not necessarily follow nutritional or medical advice

Be careful when accepting nutrition advice or medical advice from a personal trainer. Most personal trainers have basic knowledge of nutrition and medical conditions. They can offer you some guidance, but you are the captain of your ship. Be accountable and responsible for researching information on the advice they give. Just like any other professional, they can make mistakes.

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Personal trainers are empathetic professionals who work long hours with little security and rarely any benefits. A good personal can change your life in a positive way. Just do your homework.

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John PlateroNCCPT CEO & Spokesperson, Premier Personal Trainer

John Platero is the founder and CEO of the National Council of Certified Personal Trainers (NCCPT) which has certified thousands of personal trainers both nationally and internationally. As if starting and growing a thriving business wasn’t e...

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