So you've checked out all the necessary credentials, you've discussed rates and you've even gotten a few good references. Now, the only question that remains is whether this is a fitness trainer that you could work with – you know, really work with. Unfortunately, even the best set of qualifications can't guarantee that a trainer will be able to gel with your personal fitness style, and there's no way to find out besides digging in deep for a session or two. So what's a girl to do?
First, see if you can negotiate a trial workout or two before making a commitment. "Ask for one or two free no obligation workouts to see if you match up with the trainer and that you are feeling comfortable with them – then make a 10 or 20-session commitment," suggests Andrea Metcalf of the Huffington Post. "They should be willing and confident enough to make this work for both of you!"
Next, be sure you come prepared to these sessions with the knowledge of what to look for. Here are a few red flags (and green lights) that should help you on your path to good decision-making.
Talking the talk: Before you pick up those dumbbells, there should be a lengthy getting to know you conversation. According to the Washington Post, the right trainer will obtain a 360-degree view of your lifestyle, including sleep habits, diet, activities and more.
Lunk alert: A good trainer will listen to your requests and take your fitness goals into consideration, but he or she should also be ready to exercise the judgment to gently guide you away from investing all of your time on the treadmill (or, in my case, the rowing machine). Some trainers may also personally favor weights over cardio, but you shouldn't have to worry that you're going to wind up looking like Hulk Hogan when it's a ballerina body you're envisioning. If your workout feels off, speak up! A lack of balance in your routine is generally not in your best interest.
Walk softly or carry a big stick?: If this is your first time working with a personal trainer, you may not know whether you work better under pressure or whether it's sweet, encouraging words you need. That being said, try to get a read for your trainer's motivational style and pay attention to the effect it's having on your workout. You don't have to take pleasure in a drill sergeant type to benefit from a firm hand, but if it's getting in the way of your progress, it may be time to seek someone who practices positive reinforcement techniques.