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5 questions to help you choose the right personal trainer

May 1, 2024 - By Karine Larose, M.Sc.

Temps de lecture 5 minutes

Are you currently looking for a personal trainer? Are you looking for motivation, new challenges, or a change in your training routine? In addition to increasing your level of commitment, a good personal trainer should help you achieve your goals effectively, while respecting your physical condition, interests, and injuries, if any.

However, the title of personal trainer is no guarantee of quality. Many people claim to be “trainers” simply because they’ve been training for a long time or have completed a weekend course! Since there are no regulations governing the practice of personal trainers, it’s up to the customer to assess their qualifications by asking the right questions.

Before investing, make sure you choose a professional who will offer you quality coaching without compromising your safety or the ability to achieve your results. But how do you choose a good personal trainer? Here are 5 questions to help you make the right choice.

1. Does he or she have a university degree in physical activity or kinesiology?

Does your personal trainer have a university degree in kinesiology or physical activity? For better coaching, your trainer should have completed, or be in the process of completing, a bachelor’s degree in a field related to physical activity or kinesiology, e.g. physiotherapy, kinesitherapy, athletic therapist, sports intervention, physical education, etc. This level of education should be at the top of the academic ladder. This level of education should be your number one requirement.

Bonus: If your trainer has completed his or her studies, you can ask if he or she belongs to a professional order, federation, or association in his or her field. For example, some kinesiologists belong to the FKQ or AKKOMQ and can issue tax receipts. An advantage worth considering!

2. Do they have any other certifications or training?

If they have completed their bachelor’s degree and has a few years’ experience, it may be interesting to know if they hold any other training certifications. Have they completed certifications to further their knowledge in a specific field, such as running, training pregnant women, heart problems, etc.? This could be relevant if you have specific goals or a particular condition. You could also ask when they last time received training in this field. A trainer who takes part in annual training courses will keep their knowledge up to date. Another interesting asset to validate. If your trainer is currently studying at university or has just graduated, we can conclude that he’s already up to date with his training. This second question applies to those trainers with several years experience under their belt.

3. Have they taken the time to assess your situation and discuss your lifestyle?

Right from the start, your trainer should ask you questions to get to know you better. This discussion will help target your goals and detect the presence of any injuries or special conditions. They should also take an interest in your lifestyle, to suggest workouts and exercises that will fit in well with your routine. In short, a good personal trainer shouldn’t “just” give you a generic program. It should be made to measure.

4. How often should they evaluate their clients’ progress?

In addition to building a training program tailored to your physical condition and goals, a qualified personal trainer will make sure to follow up your results with periodic evaluations to ensure that you are progressing optimally and achieving your objectives.

Trainers must be able to guide clients through the short and long-term strategies of any exercise program they recommend. They must be able to clearly explain why you are doing a specific exercise, and this must be related to your fitness goals and/or needs. They must also be able to explain how the exercise program evolves over time, which is essential for continuous improvement in your physical condition.

5. Does it click?

In addition to the above-mentioned elements, you should develop a good relationship of trust with your personal trainer. It’s all about finding the right fit. Beyond his skills and knowledge, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Are you comfortable talking about your situation and sharing your issues with him/her?
  • Does he/she listen and answer your questions satisfactorily?
  • Is he/she respectful and sensitive to your needs?
  • Does he/she offer follow-ups in accordance with your objectives?
  • Do you understand when he/she explains the exercises to be performed?
  • Does he/she motivate you to work out and continue your program? 

In short, does it “click”? If you answer “yes” to all these questions, it’s a perfect match! Sometimes, the first person you meet isn’t the right one for you. Don’t hesitate to let us know, so that you can obtain the services of someone with whom you feel a better connection and in whom you have confidence.

Ask questions to help you find the right trainer!

I hope these tips help you choose the right personal trainer. On your next visit to the gym, ask questions first to assess your personal trainer’s skills and make sure you’re in good hands. Then, have an initial meeting and give yourself some time to try out a few sessions and get to know your trainer better. Above all, feel free to change trainers if the fit isn’t right! After all, you’re paying for the service, so you should be well served!


Parasiliti, Peter D., ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal, Vetting Your Next Personal Trainer, 2022

5 questions to help you choose the right personal trainer is a post from Nautilus Plus. The Nautilus Plus blog aims to help people in their journey to fitness through articles on training, nutrition, motivation, exercise and healthy recipes.
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