Working with the right personal trainer can make all the difference when it comes to your fitness goals. Whether you’re hoping to build muscle or burn fat, working with the right trainer can help you understand how to meet that goal. The wrong trainer can make you feel badly about yourself and leave you frustrated. That will make you more likely to start skipping training sessions. There are certain things you should look for in a trainer that will help ensure you work well together.

A Good Fit in Terms of Personality and Communication Style

Do you need a drill sergeant, someone to yell at you and force you to push yourself? Do you prefer someone who is patient and more understanding? What kind of reinforcement do you respond best to? You and your trainer will likely be sharing a lot of time together in the upcoming weeks and months. You should be looking forward to getting to the gym, not dreading the inevitable interaction with your trainer.

You should be able to quickly and effectively communicate with your trainer about what’s working and what isn’t. People communicate differently, so finding someone that you can easily talk to and understand is important for developing a lasting and companionable working relationship.

Results-Driven Attitude and Accountability Practices

You want to work with a personal trainer because you want results. The best way to see that you’re achieving your goals is to carefully track your progress with them. This can start on your first session, when you weigh in, take measurements and establish your baseline abilities in terms of speed, strength and flexibility. Carefully documenting your sessions allows both you and your trainer to see what’s working and what isn’t. Knowing you’ve made measurable progress can help keep you motivated when you’re thinking about quitting or giving up on your goals.

The Right Education and Practical Skills

Ask about the background and credentials for potential trainers. While a college degree isn’t necessary, you want to work with someone who understands the human body and how to modify exercises for your fitness goals and needs. Hands-on experience and some classroom learning are usually ideal.

You want someone confident in their knowledge but also willing to admit what they don’t know. Whether you’re curious about the muscular mechanics of an exercise or need advice on nutrition, your personal trainer should have connections with people who round out their knowledge base.

Ideally, you want to work with a trainer who has had success with goals similar to yours in the past. Whether they have lost weight themselves or just helped someone else do it safely, your trainer should have a background compatible with your goals. If you’re trying to build muscle, working with a trainer who focuses on helping people reduce their body weight probably isn’t the best choice.

Someone You Can Trust

Do you believe what your trainer says, or do you find yourself second-guessing them? Do you worry about what your trainer thinks about you? Trust is a necessary component for such an intimate role in your life. You should feel comfortable sharing your physical goals and experiences with your trainer. You should also trust both their expertise and their ability to know their own limits.

If you can’t trust your trainer, will you feel safe pushing yourself under their direction? Most likely you won’t, and neither of you will benefit from that situation.

Patience as You Progress and a Positive Attitude

Major changes don’t happen overnight. The right trainer will understand that you’re going to backslide and make mistakes on the path to your goal. They should be able to maintain a positive approach while encouraging you to do better. Sometimes, you can learn a lot by talking to a personal trainer about how they approach mistakes or asking the same of their former clients.

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