10 Tips on How to Choose a Personal Trainer

posted by Momo Fali on January 24, 2012

On the heels of my How Not to Make a Dog Vomit post, I thought I’d go with another “how-to.” This pretty much means I’m an expert…in everything.

My husband and I recently splurged for the cost of a personal trainer. First of all, it’s not as expensive to hire a trainer in Ohio as it is in more metropolitan areas and secondly, I figure the money we spend on it will save us in doctor bills later.

Other than the cost, I can’t say anything negative about this experience thus far. Even the pain feels great. I know I’m getting stronger because of it and the self-torture reminds me that maybe I don’t really want that cookie (oh, okay…or those four beers) (who am I kidding? those eight beers). If there’s been one thing that I have been able to lift while overweight and out of shape, it’s a Corona Light bottle to my mouth.

Without further ado, here are my tips on how to find a personal trainer who’s right for you:

1. Ask for recommendations. Or, better yet, when your friend gets a trainer and promptly loses 20 pounds, follow her to the gym and find out who she’s working with. Try not to get arrested for stalking.

2. Get someone who is flexible. I’m not talking about time or their yoga positions, but rather personality. My husband likes to be pushed around and told he’s weak when he’s working out. I prefer more positive reinforcement. Like, “Gee, your face is really red. It looks like a rose.”

3. Choose a trainer who is strong; the kind who can catch you and your flab when your size 11 feet catch the edge of a step that you’re supposed to be jumping onto, but instead you go flailing and almost break your face. Hypothetically.

4. Preferably, get someone who doesn’t know the word, “Plank.”

5. Also, “Plyometrics.”

6. Your trainer is going to see you at your worst, in order to make you look and feel your best. Don’t hire someone with whom you’ll feel embarrassed. There will be a lot of sweating and, quite possibly, blood, tears and vomit. You have to be able to put your shame aside. Did I mention that you get weighed and measured? Yeah, that.

7. Make sure your PT is bigger than you, so that when you want to punch him in the neck for almost killing you, you’ll think twice about it.

8. Before you sign a contract, find out if your trainer minds the use of bad language and insults; the kind that will come flying out of your mouth like you’re Regan from The Exorcist. Also, he needs to understand that it’s a form of apology when you say, “I know I said I hate you, but you MADE me say it!”

9. Get someone who won’t let you cheat by dropping your knee during a plank or doing half-squats when you should be going low. Actually, this means getting someone who won’t walk away or turn his back for a second.

10. And lastly, choose a trainer who you don’t think will punish you for writing blog posts about them.



  • Kelly Kinkaid

    I have one more to add.
    11. Pick a trainer that doesn’t spend more time looking in the mirror at him or herself than he does watching you making sure you don’t hurt yourself. (Not that I don’t enjoy watching a hot body pose in front of a mirror. :))

  • Lisa @ Oh Boy Oh Boy Oh Boy

    just joined the gym this month but haven’t pushed THAT hard yet. With some much to lose I’m taking it slow. But have a friend who’s sort of acting as my trainer and trying not to let me kill myself while using the weight machines 🙂

  • ascapecodturns

    12. Have a trainer who will give you an icy cold Corona Light at the end of your hour.

    Good for you Momo!!!

  • Jessica

    I wish your posts had a like button. I like it. It made me smile during an otherwise dull day. It gave me a distraction for the minute or two it took me to read it. But I don’t actually have anything constructive to say. I just want to hit the like button to let you know I was here, enjoyed a moment with you, and moved on.

    I’m just sayin’. 🙂

    • Momo Fali

      Jessica, YOU made MY day!

  • meleah rebeccah

    You crack me up! My favorite on the list is this one:

    4. Preferably, get someone who doesn’t know the word, “Plank.”


  • Melisa

    Sending a Ben Gay wagon.

    Also, I wish you and I could work out together.

    Also, I HATE planks and plyometrics.

    Also, ow.

    • Momo Fali

      I wish you could work out with me too!

  • Zippy Sandler

    You hit the nail on the head with #8 (have you heard me curse??)

  • Heather

    Oh goodness. I am too scared to go with a trainer just yet- BUT I am thinking that as soon as I get the “okay” from my dietician to start working out again, I am SO GAME for one. I need someone to kick this skin into toned goddess 😉

  • Ally

    So #6 means that the trainer should be someone like my OB/GYN? Cause she’s pretty much seen and done all that. LOL
    I agree whole heartedly. The plank – longest 30, 60 however many seconds of your life.

  • Twenty Four At Heart

    Understanding I will blog about him and swear excessively is a must with anyone I work with. : )

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