1) Are you qualified? Probably the first question you need to ask is about qualifications. A qualified PT will have a Level 2 gym instructor qualification and a level 3 personal trainer qualification as well as a first aid certificate. Through these qualifications, they will have studied anatomy and physiology, so will understand how the body works. They will also have learnt how to design personalised training programmes, know about health and safety and understand how to conduct fitness assessments.
2) Are you insured? Once qualified, personal trainers will be eligible to get insurance. So, your second question should be if they are insured. Their PT training will have taught them the fundamentals of training you safely and correctly, and in an individualised way. Like with anything though, having insurance in place offers that protection for you and the personal trainer if something goes wrong, such as you injure yourself whilst working out with the trainer.
3) What is your specialism? After the basics are out of the way, you can ask the potential PT what their specialism is. Most PTs will start off as generalists but with experience will develop one or more specialisms that they focus on like muscle building or fat loss. These are their ‘specialist subjects’ and they will tend to have more expertise/interest in these areas. This question can help you to understand whether the PT has the specific expertise in your particular fitness goal.
4) Can you tell me about your success stories? This is your chance to find out about your PTs client experience. Maybe they helped a client to lose 2 stone, or they’ve worked with x number of clients on transformation packages. If they’ve helped clients with similar goals to you, then they will have the knowledge of how to help you get there too.
5) What’s your motivation style? If you commit to working with a PT, you are going to end up getting to know them pretty well. You could be spending around 3 hours a week with them, so this question is designed to work out whether you’ll get on. If you’re someone who is best motivated by gentle encouragement and praise, then a PT who is more about the tough love might not be the best fit.
6) What would you recommend for me? A good PT wouldn’t recommend anything until they’ve had the opportunity to meet with you and take a detailed history. Be wary of a PT who promises too much, or recommends anything without understanding more about your fitness experience, health and so on. A professional PT will ask about your medical history, such as whether you have recently had an operation, given birth or been unwell. They will ask what medication you are taking. They will also ask about what fitness experience you have and about your fitness goals.
7) Do you offer nutrition advice? The most effective fitness programmes are ones that work as part of a healthy lifestyle. A professional PT will also be willing to offer nutrition advice in terms of the types of foods you should be eating, alongside your fitness plan. They will be as invested as you in getting you the results you want, and achieving your results means considering both exercise and nutrition together.
8) What availability do you have? The last question is a simple but necessary one. To get results from your personal training, you will need regular personal training sessions and if the PT is spreading themselves too thinly client wise then this just isn’t going to happen. Check typical appointment times too so you can ensure these work with your own, like evenings or weekends.