Besides motivating you, a personal trainer can teach you skills and techniques to maximise the efficacy of your workouts. But don’t just settle for anyone; look at a few candidates before deciding. “Whipping yourself into shape is not going to be easy, so having a good trainer will make the ordeal more bearable,” says Edmund Choy, fitness director and personal trainer at Performance Fitness. Here are three factors that you should consider before getting a trainer on board.

PERSONALITY AND TRAINING STYLE

“A good trainer is one who is able to connect with the client on a personal level. Rapport is key – you need to feel comfortable discussing sensitive health issues with him,” says Edmund. You should also hire someone whose training style motivates you. “If you crumble under harsh criticism, avoid personal trainers with drill sergeant-type mentalities,” he advises.

A good trainer should also be an effective communicator. “Your trainer might be up-to-date with the latest advancements in the industry, but he must be able to deliver the knowledge in a way that you can comprehend,” Edmund says.

RATES

“Rates differ, often staggeringly so, from trainer to trainer and also from gym to gym. You should figure out how much you’re willing to spend on personal training, and for what duration. Once you have that sorted out, you’ll be able to estimate how many times you’ll be seeing your ‘worst nightmare’ every week,” laughs Edmund.

Also, don’t be afraid to sign up for a smaller training package at first. It might be less value-for-money, but if your personal trainer turns out to be incompatible, you can take comfort in the fact that you won’t be tied down for too long, says Edmund. Requesting for a trial session before signing up will also help you to assess your potential trainer.

QUALIFICATIONS AND CREDENTIALS

Your trainer should possess credentials from recognised institutions like the American Council on Exercise (ACE), American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and The Federation of International Sports, Aerobics and Fitness (FISAF). 

“A good trainer is one with a balance of knowledge and experience. When in doubt, seek recommendations – nothing shouts ‘effective’ more than seeing a friend lose a few dress sizes,” Edmund shares.

This article was originally published in Simply Her April 2015.