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If you’re like most people just starting out on their fitness journey, the idea of walking into a gym without a game plan is pretty scary.
Where do you even begin? What equipment should you use? How can you achieve your maximum potential?
They’re questions that may best be answered by an expert. Personal trainers can play a big role in not only creating a personalized fitness plan, but also in helping you maximize your time at the gym and do so safely and effectively.
Plus, just having one in place holds you accountable. You paid for the session (and they’re not cheap!) — you’re going to show up as a result.
When choosing a personal trainer, you should keep in mind several considerations to ensure that you’re getting someone who will help you reach your goals.
With that in mind, we rounded up the 7 things to look for in a personal trainer, qualities that are sure to help you learn how to make a lasting lifestyle change.

1. Cost – First and foremost, determine your budget. Personal training fees run the gamut. Sit down and figure out what you can afford, keeping in mind that a personal trainer may only be temporary — someone to help you get started and figure out a game plan.

2. Certifications and credentials – Next, make sure you’re hiring someone who really knows what they’re doing. Beware of ads on online listing services. Your best bet is to hire one through your local fitness center, gym or recreation center to ensure they’re the real deal.

3. Availability and location – We all have hectic schedules, and that means you’ll likely need a trainer who can show up early or meet you there late. Make sure to discuss that with them ahead of time so you both are on the same page. You’ll also need one either close to home or close to work, depending on how you want to structure your day.

4. Personality – It’s only going to take one session for you to know whether their personality jibes with yours. Are they flexible? Angry? Yellers or encouragers? We all have different things that motivate us…it’s about finding someone who can tap into yours and use it for motivation

5. Expertise – Most trainers have a general knowledge of how to help someone achieve cardio and strength-training goals. But they also typically have a specialty, too. They may be experts at swimming, running or weight-lifting. If your goal is to, say, run a 5K, work with the running expert. If it’s to lose weight, consider a boot camp trainer or something along those lines. Regardless, be sure to share with your trainer your specific goal.

6. Ideology – What are their principles on eating? Are they paleo fanatics? Do they swear by veganism? Or do they approach wellness with common sense — that being that we should try and eat healthy most times, but it’s okay to let loose once in awhile. It may seem unimportant since they are training you in the gym, but a good personal trainer will also help you create a healthy eating plan. So whichever philosophy they have, make sure it aligns with your own.

7. Progress – Once you’re a few sessions in, are they showing you your progress? Are they giving you evidence that their routines are working? You invested a lot of money into these sessions, it’s more than reasonable for you to ask for proof that your hard work (and theirs!) is paying off. And again, a good personal trainer will do that anyway.