Employing the help of a personal trainer can massively increase the likelihood of achieving your fitness goals. A good trainer will provide accountability, focus and demonstrate the know how to help you successfully complete your goals. On the other hand, choosing the wrong trainer could see you frustrated with a lack of results a couple of months down the line and several thousand pounds worse off, having invested in a training program that ultimately did not deliver.
Know Your Outcome - The process of hiring a trainer should begin with you. There is obviously a reason you are considering working with a trainer. You want to get from where you are right now to where you would like to be. Injuries and imbalances aside, this will mostly be in the form of a body composition change, becoming more muscular, reducing body fat etc. You may not know the exact details of what it'll take to achieve your goal, but consider that any relationship with a personal trainer is going to be an equal exchange. Resolve now to commit to regular training sessions, to challenging your previous limitations and to making the necessary changes to your diet that are going to facilitate the changes you desire.
What To Consider:
First Thing First: Are They Qualified? - This may seem an obvious one but you need to determine that the trainer you are going to work with is qualified and associated to governing bodies in your region. Even if they seem to know what they are doing, you must get proof of qualifications before you start because without them your trainer can't get public liability insurance.
Price Can Be Deceptive - You'll come across trainers charging anything from £25-£150+ per session. The investment you need to make will depend on your goal and the stakes you are playing with in terms of a deadline, event etc. For example, if you just feel you need a fitness kick and want to commit to training a couple of times per week, you really don't need an industry leader, you will be perfectly fine with a competent trainer that can deliver a professional and varied workout.
In contrast, if you have a goal that you may only have one shot at, for example an audition, wedding or looming holiday, you may want to invest a little more in a more established trainer to secure a more personalised and specialist approach to your goal.
Don't Judge A Book By Its Cover (To A Degree) - Most people say that if a personal trainer is not in shape themselves they obviously don't know what the are doing. Whilst I agree that a trainer should walk their talk, I must point out an error in this logic. The conventional idea of being 'in shape' i.e reasonably muscular with low body fat is not a fail safe indicator of expertise. For example, on one side of the scale a world class strong man could be considered overweight by many and on the other an iron man competitor could be considered 'skinny'. Both of these coaches could be world level but would not draw any attention in a typical commercial gym in the UK, so researching your trainers background and interests will reveal a lot about their ability to help you achieve your goal.
Specialist Requirements Require Specialist Expertise - If you have a specialist requirement you should seek a specialist in that area, particularly if your goal is sports specific or corrective. The last thing you want is a more 'multi-purpose' trainer willing to 'wing it'. Specialists often charge more but have will have invested in a great deal of career development which affords them a greater level of understanding and ability to command higher rates.
Track Record - A good trainer should be able to demonstrate a track record of delivering results. This could be in the form of testimonials (try to look for written and video testimonials) or a willingness to put you in contact with past and current satisfied customers that can reassure you as to results received and the professionalism delivered throughout the process.
Chemistry - Ultimately you must feel that the trainer is a good personality fit for you. You'll have to spend a considerable amount of time together over the coming weeks so choose someone who you respect, will motivate you and is pleasant to be around. They don't have to be your best friend and, to be honest, your sessions will probably be more productive if they are not, but like any one-on-one communication there must be a certain foundation of rapport for things to work.