Not All Fitness Trainers Are Created Equal

by | Updated: December 3rd, 2016 | Read time: 2 minutes

Dear Mrs. Fitness,

Do you have any advice for choosing a personal trainer?


Choose carefully, because just about anyone can be a personal trainer. When you go to the gym, you’ll see plenty of people walking around on the floor, looking very “official.” That doesn’t mean they are certified or qualified.

Here’s what to look for:

  1. Credentials””ask to see their current accreditation: ACE, IFPA, ISSA, ACSM, NASM, NCSF, NFPT.
  2. Current CPR certification.
  3. Do a reference check. Learn what their clients have to say about them.
  4. Do a gut check. When you meet for the first time, do they ask you about your goals? Your current health conditions? If not, stay away. (And this initial consultation should be free.)

Say you find someone who meets all these criteria. Choosing a personal trainer isn’t like getting married! Make sure your trainer is doing all of the following””and if he or she isn’t, find someone new:

  1. Your trainer should watch you closely to correct technique errors and watch for signs of overexertion.
  2. You need to learn how to use and adjust the equipment on your own””this should be part of the fitness knowledge that your trainer imparts.
  3. Your trainer should be monitoring your warm-up and cool-down sessions, too. If you’re left to fend on your own, that’s not the sign of an attendant trainer.

And one last note: the trainer should look like he or she works out! (It’s not a good sign if the trainer could stand to take his or her own advice.)

Southern States Championships top contender Melissa Transou, a figure competitor, wife and mother, blogs about the unique sports nutrition needs of female athletes exclusively for