Tips for Working With a Personal Trainer

I have said it again and again, I love my gym. One thing I have never tried there – personal training. I did small group training in the beginning, but never their one-on-one option. I noticed a flyer at the gym the other day saying if you brought in a coat ( for donation to a charitable organization in our area) that you would receive 2 free personal training sessions. Since I routinely donate our old coats, I was all over this.

I had a lot of hesitations going in. I have had both good and bad experiences with trainers in the past (from multiple gyms). I didn’t know the trainer who would be training me. I was worried that “weight” would be the main issue. And on and on. Boy was I wrong. Today I am going to share some tips for working with trainers.

Tips for Working with a Personal Trainer

Be prepared. Wear workout clothes and shoes. Take some water. Take a notebook to make notes of exercises you like.

Go in with an open mind. I was so sure I would hate the sessions and they could not have been any better. I am not sure why I was so negative or expected it to go so wrong.

Speak your mind. When filling out the fitness assessment it asked for current and desired weight. It also asked something about food/diet. Since I had no desire to discuss that, I just marked through them on the form. While the trainer asked if I was sure I didn’t want to talk about it, he didn’t push the issue. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or not give out information you are not comfortable giving.

Know your goal(s) going in. What helped most is that I knew exactly what my goals were – bench press 150 pounds and gain more upper body strength. I think the more specific you can be, the better the trainer can help you. These should be YOUR goals, not the trainer’s or the gyms.

Let your trainer push you. My trainer knew the issues with my foot and shoulder before we ever got to a weight. I let him set the weights on the bench press and never asked what they were. In turn, he asked each set how I felt and made sure I had the correct amount of rest time. The result? I bench pressed 80 pounds last week – a new record for me. I might not have pushed myself that hard going it alone. In turn though, let the trainer know if something hurts. When doing dumbbell work, my shoulder/arm really hurt with the 20 pound dumbbell, but was fine at 15. I told the trainer this and we stayed at 15 pounds.

Their focus should be on YOU. While I did hear the trainer speak to a couple of people during my rest times, he never left my side and his attention was solely on me and my form. This is how it should be. If the trainer is too busy socializing with other members or on their phones, get a new trainer.

Your focus should be on THEM. While yes this session was FREE for me, I know that training time is costly. I left my phone in the locker, brought a notebook, and gave him my full attention. I learned a few new to me exercises and got in a great workout.

Sadly I won’t be signing up for any additional training sessions as they want you to sign a 3 year commitment (something I am not willing to do). I enjoyed both of my sessions and came away with a two great workouts for upper body strength.

Have you ever worked with a personal trainer? What did you like most? What did you like least?



10 Responses to “Tips for Working With a Personal Trainer”

  1. Be honest. About your goals. About how hard you’re willing to work. About what you want to get out of this. About how hard you’re willing to work ๐Ÿ™‚

    • yes, yes, and YES! so very true. don’t commit to 5 days per week when you know you can only commit to 3. be realistic and KNOW YOUR GOALS! (this being why i refuse to sign a 3 YEAR commitment for this).

  2. #INSANEBALLS! 3 year commitment?!?!?! That is just crazy. What about injuries, what if PT changes gyms, or you do, etc. I don’t see how or why anyone would commit to that. But, great post and advise about working with a PT!

    • you hit the nail on the head. i had to sign a 3 year commitment to the gym. i am 23 months in now. i don’t want to extend that at all. i would do month to month, 3 month, or 6 months.

  3. As a personal trainer I want to say these are great tips. If the client does their prep, it helps make the experience so much more fruitful.

    • yes! knowing my goal (and sticking to it) seemed to really help the process. and i did whatever he told me (as long as it didn’t pull on my shoulder)

  4. I am always interested in people’s experience with this. I see the trainers at my gym doing things with people that are beyond their current level that make me cringe inside. I think you have to be an advocate for yourself & speak up when you don’t feel right about doing something.

    • absolutely! i feel like the exercises he had me do were fairly simple but just with heavier weights and/or more reps than i would have used myself.

  5. Wow, I couldn’t imagine a trainer trying to work with you while being consumed with their phone. Also, I couldn’t imagine a client doing that either. Respect – that’s all I can say. ๐Ÿ™‚