Congratulations on taking the next step on your fitness journey by deciding to work with a professional that can help you reach your health and wellness goals. Not only does having the support of a personal trainer keeps you stay motivated and accountable when it comes to weekly workouts, but he or she can also play a role in helping you maximize your time at the gym, prevent injury and see more consistent results, all while working towards your specific goals.

But there’s a fine line between making a sound investment in your future fitness success and simply throwing money out the window on something that doesn’t work. The difference? Knowing how to choose the right person who will help you set the correct goals to achieve your desired results.

Take into consideration the following 7 criteria when you’re selecting a personal trainer.

1-Credentials. No ifs, ands or butts, a trainer should be able to show you a fitness certification in their particular area of expertise.

2-Experience. Practice makes (near) perfect, so a trainer who has been around the block a few times has likely tested and perfected his process for providing the best cues to help you get the most out of every single rep. So unless you’re okay with playing guinea pig, it might be best to resist the urge to cut a deal with a freshly-certified trainer in favour of one who has some previous experience.

3-Personality. What motivates you? Some people do well with positive reinforcement peppered with cheerleading, while others like to get screamed at and scared into doing a few extra squats. Either way, talk to the trainer and get a feel for her style to see if it jives with what works for you.

4-Philosophy. This is a subtle — yet critical — point of differentiation because it can end up making or breaking your experience. How does the trainer develop his program, and on what beliefs will it be based? Is it gym-based workouts or meant to be done outside? Will you be using machines or sticking solely to free weights? Ask about philosophy and see if it makes sense for your goals and preferences.

5-specialities. Ever heard the saying, “Jack of all trades, master of none?” Well, if you’re looking for something specific — say, hitting a new 5k PR — you’ll want to work with a trainer who specializes in running over, say, Olympic weightlifting. Not only will they have more expertise in your desired area, but chances are she’ll be more passionate about it if she knows the nuances of the sport and has a vested interest in it, as well.

6-Progress. In addition to a personalized training program based on your goals and fitness level, your trainer needs a method for tracking your progress so you can see, incrementally, that your hard work is paying off. Benchmarks such as PRs, weight loss, strength gains and other achievements can help you not only stay on track, but also ensure that your trainer is doing her job.

7-Reputation. The best compliment a trainer can receive is a referral, but having people see results of their clients firsthand comes in a close second. Getting people to achieve their goals (especially if those goals are similar to what you’re wanting to achieve) is the ultimate proof here, and good trainers will happy to share success stories, testimonials and references.

Although you might be feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of choosing a personal trainer, it’s important to note that the criteria above are just guidelines — not hard and fast rules. If you feel strongly about some items and don’t have a preference on others, it’s not a problem; you can streamline your search by keeping one thing in mind: Above all else, trust your gut. Look for a knowledgeable and experienced personal trainer who feels like the most natural fit. That’s the one to hire because she’ll not only help you reach your goals, but will also keep you feeling comfortable, motivated and inspired throughout the process.

We would love to meet you to talk about how our team of Personal Trainers can help you achieve your goals.

Click HERE to schedule a FREE “No Sweat Intro”.