You want to get fit, you want to look and feel your best, and you’re willing to put in the work. So what’s next? If you really want results, sometimes you need to enlist the help of a personal trainer who will be totally dedicated to helping you push yourself and reach your fitness goals. You need a personal trainer, but with so many people out there claiming to be fitness experts, how do you know who the right trainer is for you? According to the US Labor Department in an article in the NY Times, “from 2001 to 2011, the number of personal trainers grew by 44 percent, to 231,500.” The fitness industry is growing rapidly due to an increased focus on health and wellness, which means that no matter where you live and what your goals are, chances are there are several personal trainers in your area to choose from.

So what should you look for? What makes a personal trainer the best? What is a deal breaker when it comes to your personal fitness coach? There’s a lot to consider, and at the end of the day most of it boils down to your personality, your goals and your preferences. Here are some tips to help you find the right trainer to best match your body, your life and your fitness goals.

Read Related: This is Why You Need a Personal Trainer!


Think About What Motivates You
Do you like to be yelled at or praised? Do you respond best to criticism and tough love or compliments and encouragement? If you want your personal training sessions to be effective you need to find a trainer who will understand your strengths and tap into what motivates you so that you can work harder and be your best.

Interview Other Clients
The best way to know if a trainer is the type of trainer you want to work with is to ask other clients. Ask for references, call them and find out about their experiences with your potential trainer. Did they see results? Did they enjoy their time with the trainer? Did they feel challenged and rewarded? Ask for details and honest opinions so you know what to expect.


Ask Them to Explain a Typical Training Session
At the same time, ask the trainer to give you an idea of a typical training session based on your goals. Most people want to know what they are getting into before they drop the big bucks, so trainers should be able to give you examples of how a typical session would go, what kinds of exercises they like to start with, what kinds of improvements they hope to see etc.

What are Their Credentials?
All personal trainers need to be trained and properly to be certified as a personal trainer, and to be qualified to lead your fitness routine. Education typically covers everything from knowledge about the human body, exercise physiology, nutrition, weight management, injury prevention, motivational tactics and more. Without that expert knowledge, you might still get a good sweat session, but you won’t necessarily be safe or getting your money’s worth. So what credentials should you look for? According to ACE, “while an NCCA-accredited certification is the professional credential you should look for in a personal trainer, a college degree in exercise science or a related field is a definite plus. This lets you know that your personal trainer has a solid educational foundation in exercise program design.”


Decide if Your Personalities Mesh
Above all, in order to stick to your training sessions and enjoy your time with your trainer you need to actually like them as a person. You need to be able to communicate what you like and what you don’t like, you need to feel comfortable talking to your trainer when you are frustrated or when something doesn’t feel right, and they need to be able to push you but also support you. It’s like finding a best friend or a romantic partner—your personalities need to mesh if you want the relationship to be mutually beneficial and enjoyable.

Consider Your Schedule and How They Like to Work
In order for you to not only start a new exercise routine, but also stick to that routine, you need to make sure it’s a realistic goal considering your schedule. If you think that you want to work out every night but you work long days or you love putting your kids to bed then evening workouts will never happen. So think about your schedule and make sure your trainer’s schedule coincides with your timing. They need to be willing to work when you want to work, and vice versa.