5 Things to Consider Before Working with a Trainer

Hiring a personal trainer is, like so many things in life, a gamble. You don't really know if it's going to work out, but you put your trust into someone and their promise that they will deliver the results you want. Unfortunately, we live in a world where becoming a "certified" personal trainer requires very little in the way of expertise. Most certifications only require that you pass a test. Only a handful of them require hands on experience. There are certain things you want to look for in a personal trainer in an effort to minimize the risk of bringing someone on board to help you change your lifestyle. Consider these five things before hiring your personal trainer.

1) Commitment

The body is a stubborn thing. It doesn't like to change. Period. If your goal is to lose weight, it is going to take time. If you want to put on muscle, it is going to take time. If you want to look like the woman on this magazine, it is going to take plastic surgery...

Which also takes time...

Which also takes time...

You have to decide how much time you are truly willing to commit in order to reach your goals. Are you willing to dedicate three hours per week working with your trainer? How about travel time to and from the gym? Not to mention the time it takes to prepare your meals. There is a serious time commitment that goes into achieving your health and wellness goals, and before you hire a trainer you need to be okay with making that time commitment.

There is also a commitment to change. Just because you want to become the best version of yourself, doesn't mean everyone else does. You are still going to get invited to the office holiday party where the egg nog flows and the donuts run rampant. Are you willing to commit to your lifestyle change to the point where you no longer gorge on chocolates and pizza? There's nothing wrong with having a piece of cake every once in awhile or having a burger at the summer cookout, but realistically if you want to reach those health goals you are going to have to eat well 90% of the time. Really be honest with yourself and decide whether or not you are ready to commit to these changes.

2) Why

In his best-selling book Start With Why, Simon Sinek says that all great leaders are able to articulate why they do what they do and help those around them understand why they are doing what they are doing as well. This is because knowing why evokes emotion. Many leaders who only understand what they do tend to fail because knowing what is only motivational to a point. This concept holds true in the lives of people trying to make healthy changes. Knowing what you are doing isn't enough, you have to know why.

If someone is trying to lose weight, what they are doing is working out and eating healthy. That is fantastic but soon enough the motivation derived from knowing what your doing fizzles out. If that same person were to focus on why they were working out and eating healthy, that would carry them through the ups and downs of their fitness journey. Maybe their why is to live a healthy lifestyle so they can stick around for their grandchildren as they get older. Maybe their why is to avoid the heart disease that claimed their fathers life. Emotions drive humans, and knowing your why will do wonders for keeping you on track if you decide to hire a personal trainer.

3) Budget

Budget is a tricky one because it really depends on how much you value your health. When you hire a quality personal trainer you are not just hiring someone to hand you weights and count your reps. You are hiring a life coach. Your personal trainer should be able to empathize with what you are going through in all aspects of your life. It is the nurturing of this relationship, and the trust that springs from it, that creates the support necessary to really make an impactful change in your life. And to make such an impactful change isn't cheap. When developing a training budget and researching the prices trainers charge, always remember... 

You get what you pay for...

You get what you pay for...


To start seeing any real sustainable results takes at least four or five months. Training three times a week this is anywhere between 48-60 sessions. A reasonably prices session with a decent personal trainer (in central MD) will run you anywhere from $70-$85. That's anywhere from $3,360- $5,100 before you start seeing REAL results.

Why does it seem so expensive? 

It really isn't when you consider the service you are receiving. You are having someone help you figure out the healthiest way to live your life. A good trainer will help you maximize the time you get on this planet and the quality of that time. You are essentially buying your health back. With that in mind, the prices should sound pretty reasonable.

Besides, it's a lot cheaper than a potential hospital bill...

Sorry, that was dark. But in all honesty you have to decide whether or not you can afford the luxury of a personal trainer. If you can't with your current budget, are there other costs you would be willing to cut? Do you need to save up for a few months so that you can afford it? Should I use my black card or travel rewards? :P

These are all good questions to ask yourself when considering working with a trainer.

4) Style Of Training

Every trainer has a different style of training. Some take the drill sergeant approach, while others are much more laissez- faire. Typically the best trainers fall somewhere in between. They are empathetic but will also hold you accountable. If you know what sort of person motivates you, keep that in mind when considering hiring a trainer. 

If you spent 10 years in the military and someone barking orders at you doesn't scare you, then try and find a trainer with that sort of attitude. If you are a gentle soul that runs for the hills the moment someones tone sharpens, you may want to find a gentle trainer that compliments your personality. Chances are their actual training program will be reflective of their personalities so keep that in mind.

You also want to make sure that regardless of their personality, they have a proven track record. There are trainers on both ends of the spectrum with fantastic track records so make sure you consider finding a trainer you think you would get along with that knows how to help clients reach their goals.

Think of it like dating. The initial thrill can sometimes lead you to ignore all of those red flags... don't. If you decide to give it a shot and go on your first date (consulatation) with the hottie you met at the book store (trainer at the gym), and he/she tells you he/she hates puppies (wants you to do burpees until you puke), you better book it back to your computer, log onto your eharmony (progressive-athletics) account and find the person (trainer) you can see yourself with for the long haul.

5) Coachability

This is a huge one that a lot of people don't take into account. You have to want to change before you decide you want to bring on a personal trainer. If you are a know it all type who "eats organic" and "has a treadmill at home" and already "knows what to do, but just needs someone to hold them accountable" then please please please check your ego at the door. People who are not coachable are their own worst enemy. 

You are hiring an expert for a reason. Presumably the reason is you were unable to accomplish your goals by yourself. Trust your trainer and listen. If you don't think you would be willing to follow the advice of a professional then you are probably better off taking the money your would use on a trainer, throwing it in a garbage can, and lighting it on fire. The outcome would be the same and you would save everyone involved a lot of time.

Columbia Personal Training


If you do some soul searching and realize that maybe you aren't the most coachable person in the world, maybe it's time to work on that part of yourself. Hiring a trainer could be beneficial to becoming a bit more coachable which will inevitably help you out in other avenues of your life. A good trainer will be patient and not only help you develop physically, but mentally as well. If a trainer lets you do whatever you want, whenever you want to without calling you out on it, they are probably just training you for the money. That's no bueno...

In Sum:

There are a number of things to consider before hiring a personal trainer. Are you ready for the commitment required to see real and sustainable results? Why do you really want to hire a personal trainer? What is your emotional driving force behind doing so? Do you have the money? What style of working out do you enjoy? Is it slow and methodical, or fast paced and hearth thumping? And last but not least, are you coachable? Are you willing to listen and act on what your trainer tells you to do? If you can comfortable answer these questions and everything checks out, you are ready to make the leap and hire a personal trainer. 

If you are interested in taking the next steps and want to know more about the services we offer here at Progressive Athletics, don't be afraid to reach out via email or phone.