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5 Things You Should Ask Your Trainer

To get the most out of your relationship, find out more about your pro
Written by 
Natalie Gingerich Mackenzie
Canyon Ranch Reviewer: 
Updated on: 
January 13, 2014

Personal training is an investment that can empower you to take your fitness to new levels, provide motivation, accountability and a workout plan designed especially for you. Finding the right trainer, like entering into any one-on-one business relationship, comes down to a combination of skills, experience and personality.

Your gym is likely to suggest an available fitness pro to work with you. After you confirm his certifications and get answers to standard concerns (How much does it cost? How long are the sessions?), be sure to ask these less common questions to get a little more insight before you make your final decision:

Are you CPR and AED certified?

Sure, you know he’s qualified to train you on the treadmill, but can he help you in an emergency? Find out if he’s certified in CPR and AED (Automated External Defibrillator). Trainers work with people of various fitness levels, but anyone could need medical attention during a session. Whether you’re overweight or athletic,, you’re going to be working your body hard. In the event of a medical emergency, you’ll want to be sure your trainer would be equipped to handle it. While certifications in CPR and AED are not a requirement to become a personal trainer, knowing he is may put your mind at ease.

Why are you a personal trainer?

Even if the pro you’ll be working with made a good first impression and you feel like your personalities will jive, inquire about why he chose to get certified. “Oh, I’m just making some extra money” is not an ideal answer, for example. You want someone who is dedicated to helping people achieve their fitness goals and knows that each client has different needs. Keep those reasons in mind when you ask about his intentions and long-term career goals.

How do you stay in shape?

Asking your trainer how he stays physically fit gives you insight on what types of exercises he prefers. If he favors running, he may suggest you log a few miles. Or if he spends time on the mat working his abs, you might too. But that doesn’t mean he’s not a good trainer for you. Talking about his fitness routine gives you the opportunity to ask about other exercises and what he has planned for your sessions.

How do you keep up on the latest fitness and training information?

This is another great question to confirm your trainer’s dedication to wellness. An accredited certification is only the first step in becoming a high-quality personal trainer. The best pros will continue to expand their skills with ongoing workshops and learning opportunities. You’ll know he takes his job seriously if he attends conferences, reads journal articles (not just magazine pieces) and seeks out online lectures from leading fitness sources.

Have you ever had experience with my type of injury?

If you’re working with a trainer because of an injury, ask him if he’s ever worked with anyone in a similar situation. If he has, you’ll be able to hear how he handled it, what obstacles you might face and what the road to recovery could be like for you. If he’s less familiar with your condition, he may be able to recommend another trainer who has had more experience working with comparable clients.

American Council on Exercise
IDEA Health & Fitness Association
National Academy of Sports Medicine
National Council on Strength & Fitness
National Federation for Personal Trainers, NFPT Personal Trainer Certification Handbook
About the author 
Natalie Gingerich Mackenzie is a Syracuse, NY–based health and fitness writer, an American Council on Exercise–certified personal trainer and the author of Tone Every Inch (Rodale).