19 December 2009 ~ 0 Comments

Women and Personal Trainers – Part 1

Last week, my guest spot topic on Carl Lenore’s Super Human Radio Show was about Women and Personal trainers.  (The link to the show is posted at the end of this blog post.)  The topic is so broad and deep, and on the show we covered a small part, so I have this pent up need to share more.   And specifically, cover some things that women have spoken to me about or asked me about.

Figured I would break it into three parts:

  1. Choosing a Personal Trainer
  2. Getting the Most out of your Personal Trainer
  3. When to Part Ways (and how) with your Personal Trainer

This blog post is part 1 –  How to select a personal trainer. 

I could start with the run of items you will find anywhere and likely know, but I want to get to some things you might not think about and some things specific to women.  So  let’s get the standard stuff out of the way, and feel free to comment or email me (info@sixpackatsixty.com) if you want more information on this upfront laundry list:  Select someone with a recognized certification (recognized by one of the governing organizations such as NCCA), ask friends about their trainers, ask at your gym, get a doctor’s checkup if you have any doubts about your health/injuries, make sure they or the gm carry insurance, and check the cancellation policy.

OK now let’s focus on what can really help find a good match in a Fitness Trainer:  Select the trainer – don’t let the trainer select you!!

  •  You want to go into this trainer-client relationship in control of the situation.  If you are in a gym with many trainers ask management to tell you a little about the style of each (gathering information).  If you are talking to independent trainers ask them to describe their style; the ages and gender of their clients; how they work with injuries (if this is pertinent) etc.   Let them know you are ‘just asking” ad interview to gather information.  This will help you develop your checklist for when you narrow it down to a couple of trainers worth checking out further.


  • Think about your goals.  You will be asked, and thinking on the spot is awkward.  Think about whether  you want more stamina, greater endurance for an upcoming backpacking trip, more strength, etc.  Usually women “want to lose weight” and if this is the case ask yourself:     “am I wanting clothes to fit better (hips, stomach, where?)”, “am I wanting to tighten up some jiggly bits?”, “am I wanting to see less of me in general….?”.  Pinning this down will really help in achieving a successful result.


  • If at all possible take the opportunity to check out part of a session the trainer has with someone else.  If you belong to a gym it is really easy to watch the trainers in action.  See how they interact with clients – especially a woman in your age range.  Do they seem to really motivate or just put the client through the motions; do they push more than you’d be comfortable with; do the exercises look complicated; what is the expression on the client’s face?


  • Develop a checklist for your face-to-face discussion  –  items you want to cover to give you comfort that this is the person you want to put your faith in; that you’ll entrust your body to!  The checklist is usually questions you want answered –  such as  how long the person has been training since certified; do they have a set routine or mix it up each session; will they give you a written copy of the general routine so you can do it on your own as well;  how will they adjust for a specific injury; do they have many female clients; do they have experience with your age group; can you set up milestones and check progress against these; what is their nutrition training; etc.  And look at their appearance – if the trainer is out of shape that is likely not a good sign.

You may do some or none of the above – but at least know your goals – and you may decide right off to assess one specific trainer you heard about.  The guidelines below apply.

  • When you have narrowed it down to say two trainers you like, ask for an initial meeting to discuss and to get a sample of a session with them.   It is unlikely trainers will refuse to do this.  All trainers will agree to a discussion session (if not, run)  and then if you ask for a sample training session during the discussion, they would rather do this and risk losing you as client.   And it is amazing what a smile will do when you ask.


  • Discuss the type of commitment you will make.  Don’t leave this open-ended with something like “every Tuesday and Thursday ongoing…..”.   Agree to 3 or 6 months with specific goals at the end of that, with no agreement beyond that.  This way you have an agreed end date and no issues of trying to end the relationship when things are no longer working, or if you decide to work out on your own for a while etc.   Again this keeps you in control of the relationship.  Yes, during the session you are in the trainer’s hands and he/she is in control.  But don’t confuse that with the business relationship itself. 

Think of this in the same way as hiring a resource for your business – you ask a lot of questions and establish the working relationship and length of contract.  How much more important is this when it pertains to your health, muscles and body.

The trainer who is the best match based on the checklist of questions is likely the one with whom you will have the best relationship and thus achieve the best results.

Stay tuned for Part 2.

Link to radio show:   Super Human Radio  Show  – Women Choosing a Personal Trainer   http://bit.ly/8czeqw

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