personal trainer

Is a Personal Trainer Right for You? A Guide to Help You Decide

It’s that time of year again when we take stock of the past 12 months and resolve to make improvements for the next 12. One of the main areas of focus that usually comes up in this process: fitness.

For those who hit their goals this past year and like where they’re headed, congratulations. But for anyone who might want to get on a better track or even take their fitness goals to the next level, it might be time to consider a personal trainer.

In the spirit of starting new, we’ve put together a guide to help you decide if a personal trainer is right for you — and what you should look for if the answer is yes.

Is a Personal Trainer Right for Me?

personal trainer

For anyone struggling with their fitness goals, or even looking to step up their game, the idea of a personal trainer may have crossed your radar. They can help motivate you, keep you accountable and personalize a workout program that will get you where you want to be. Whether or not a trainer is right for you is a personal decision, and it’s one that needs to make sense in terms of lifestyle, schedule, budget and goals.

Lifestyle and schedule — One of the benefits of working with a personal trainer is that you usually do so on a regular, committed basis. Do you have dedicated time to commit not just for training sessions, but for the plan a trainer puts you on? If so, a trainer may be right for you.

Budget — Personal trainers have to eat, too, so you need to size up your budget and see if one makes sense financially. Rates can vary widely: one Seattle-area trainer presently charges $65 for a one-hour session, with a discounted rate for multiple sessions; a Portland-area national chain gym charges $35 per session on top of monthly membership fees. Check out rates for personal trainers in your area to get an idea of how one could fit into your budget.

Fitness goals — Personal trainers can help you size up your fitness goals and put a plan in place to get you there. If you need motivation, consistency and encouragement to stay on track, a personal trainer might just be the key.

Now What?

Once you’ve decided to go the personal trainer route, these tips can help you find the right fit.

  • Ask Around — Most gyms have personal trainers on staff, but don’t hesitate to get recommendations from friends and family on trainers they’ve worked with and liked.
  • Check Credentials — Reputable personal trainers will be happy to share their professional experience, references and certifications with you. Associations that certify trainers include the National Academy of Sports Medicine, the National Strength and Conditioning Association and the American Council on Exercise.
  • Interview — Talk to prospective trainers during an initial consultation about their approach. Are they the drill sergeant type or more of an encouraging nudger? Share your goals and ask how they’ll help you achieve them, and don’t hesitate to ask about rates, deals, scheduling, cancellations and any other details that arise.

Do you have any other tips for selecting a personal trainer? Let us know on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter!

Jon Bell

Jon Bell writes about the outdoors, fitness, health, and a range of other topics from his home in Lake Oswego, OR. He is also the author of "On Mount Hood: A Biography of Oregon's Perilous Peak."