Trying to find the right trainer is really no different than trying to find the right lawyer. You seek out both in times of need, a good portion of them see you as no more than a wallet with legs, and picking the wrong one can have disastrous results to your finances and health.
There’s what you need and what you want out of a trainer and BOTH are equally important. What do you need? Before even taking a trial run, ask questions – does he make personalized workouts for individual clients or does he just seem to follow one standard template of exercises for everyone? Is he interested in your goals and the road to get to them? Take a trial with the trainer if you can. Does he check your form or is he busy chit-chatting with other members of the gym? When you ask if you did something right is he constantly “Yes-manning” you or is he giving you valuable critiques? Does he keep a written log of your progress? Is he driven by the clock or the workout? When that hour is over is he like smoke in the wind or did he plan time in your session to sit down and prepare for the next steps of your journey?
Does he explain what to do and why to do it? Sometimes workouts can seem random. If he can’t answer why you do certain exercises, it may be because the workout is random. Beyond that, if you don’t know why certain facets of exercises are important, like keeping your shoulders back in a squat, you are less likely to do them – which could lead to injury – then you’ll ALSO need a lawyer.
Now, there’s also what you want. Make sure your trainer is equipped to help you on your specific journey. If you want to work with barbells, find a trainer certified in barbells. TRX? Take a class and ask the instructor if he personal trains – quite often class instructors have PT certifications as well or they can direct you to a trainer that specializes in the area. Oftentimes, a fitness facility will assign a trainer to you – was this assignment made BEFORE they asked your goals or was it made with your specific vision in mind? Many trainers can do many things but at the end of the day, some are more equipped for hypertrophy, or powerlifting, or cutting weight than others. You want one passionate about your goals. Imagine needing a lawyer that specializes in criminal law and getting one that specializes in copyright instead. You’ll probably wind up in jail.
If you don’t treat the selection of a personal trainer with the same attention to detail, you may wind up imprisoned in a body you don’t want, with an empty wallet and a resentment towards fitness. But if you find one you do like, it can be absolutely life changing – and feeling healthy, happy, and fulfilled is just as freeing as a good lawyer that gets you off the hook for those five hundred dollars in parking tickets you got for neglecting the parking meter at your gym.