How to Prepare for a Personal Trainer

Personal trainer assessing a client's goals an...

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One thing that works wonders for me is personal training. I understand that it’s not for everyone, but I desperately need the external motivation, both from the trainer and the fact that I’m paying for someone’s time. Since I’m paying for the session, I want to get the most out of every session, including the first one! Having moved several times, I’ve had to find a new trainer more than once. Making the first session as productive as possible always makes me feel good.

Chat with your trainer on the phone when you set up your appointment. See if (s)he has any specific questions for you to answer during the session. Trainers usually have a set of questions they like to ask or that they are required to ask (for trainers associated with larger gyms).

If there isn’t a standard set of questions, volunteer to bring a list with you to the first session. This list should include things like

  • Fitness goals, both long-term and short-term
  • Appearance or weight loss goals
  • Exercises you really enjoy doing, like body weight exercises or interval workouts
  • Exercises you don’t like doing, like crunches or tricep dips
  • Areas you’d like to focus and improve on, like eating better or getting to the gym 3 times a week
  • Any workout quirks you want to share. For example, I swim, so my shoulders are able to take over quite a few exercises that are meant to work my back. I need to concentrate really hard when I’m working my back to ensure that the correct muscles are engaged. Because of my concentration level, it’s really difficult for me to multi-task back exercises (squat/lunge with a row) and usually both exercises suffer.
  • General expectations for the partnership. I told Grady that I’m looking for a positive motivator in the gym and I’ll also need help when I workout and he’s not there so a workout plan would be perfect.

Let your trainer know you’ll bring a list of useful things to your first session and that you expect to spend some time chatting about the list and you want to get in a workout during the session too.

The most important thing is to communicate and be honest! If you set things up for success from the beginning, then good things will happen!


4 thoughts on “How to Prepare for a Personal Trainer

  1. Great advice! I can see how a trainer would be helpful for motivation AND expertise. Especially with weights. I often have to wonder if I’m doing things exactly right.

    • When I work my back, I need a lot of guidance. I’m really thankful for things like pushing my shoulders down and putting a finger in the middle of my back and telling me to try to squeeze it. I know there are some trainers that will travel (to work out in your home or meet in a park). Maybe that would be a good reward for yourself at some point. If you meet in the park, maybe you could make a play date out of it and ask the accompanying party to watch your boys while you fit in a quick session. I don’t have kids, so it’s just a thought :).

    • Thanks!! Maybe for summer/Christmas/name-your-favorite-reason-for-getting-stuff you could go in with a few friends and do a couple small group training sessions. Nifty alternative to “let’s do lunch.” I’ve always wanted to do that, but haven’t found just the right friends (who live near me :)) yet.

      P.S. Glad your back 🙂

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