1. Arrival Promptness
Your first meeting will set the tone for the rest of your sessions. Have you heard the saying, "early is on time, being on time is late and if you're late do not bother"? This should be your motto when you meet your trainer for the first time. Part of the reason that most clients hire personal trainers, yoga teachers and Pilate's teachers is so that it helps them stay on track. If the person who is supposed to be keeping you on track shows up late, what does that say about how the rest of your experience will go? Fitness professionals should be 5-10 minutes early and prepared to begin on time as scheduled. This saves you time and money. There is nothing worse than a client showing up before the trainer and the client using part of their paid session while the trainer gets ready to begin. Make sure to address how important your time is and how you expect promptness for your sessions. If you live in a region where you can expect weather restrictions at certain times of the year or traffic issues at certain times of the day, make sure to discuss back up plans for if these issues should arise. Such as if there is a snow storm, hurricane, extensive backed up traffic at rush hour etc. Make sure you have exchanged contact information so that you or the trainer can contact each other to let the other know that you may run a couple minutes behind schedule due to extensive circumstances.
2. Responsiveness to Emails / Calls
We recommend that trainers respond to client inquiries, questions, issues, concerns and scheduling ASAP. Meaning we recommend as little time as immediately to no more than 24 hours. Trainers should respond to emails, calls, texts etc. within a 24 hour period at max. Your time is IMPORTANT! Trainers should fully understand that clients have busy lives which are typically why they hire a trainer in the first place. Do not be afraid to speak up if your trainer is taking longer than 24 hours to respond to your requests as you are paying for their service and your time is valuable.
3. Social media
Ask your fitness professional if they utilize social media to stay connected and get important information out. This is a great method to stay up to date with the latest fitness plans, programs and workouts as well as notified of weather cancellations etc. Many trainers use this to deliver helpful information to clients to help them stay motivated such as workout videos, daily fitness motivation and more. Make sure to ask if they have twitter, pinterest, Facebook, wordpress, blog or instagram and connect with them before you begin services.
You can also use this to vet for the quality of service that they offer by looking at their comments, feed, friends, followers and posts. For example, if you go to their Facebook page and you see them smoking and eating a cheeseburger you can imagine this does not really say "motivate me". They should take their profession seriously as this will mean that they take your time, money, results, their job and your well being seriously.
Remember that all great relationships are built on communication and trust. This should be your marker for great service. You should be able to discuss with your fitness professional if you do not like a specific exercise, feel uncomfortable, have physical limitations, medical limitations, scheduling needs, an issue with your service, customer service issue, lack of results or any additional concern. Personal trainers, yoga teachers and Pilates teachers understand that it is a "personal" business that they need to deliver quality service in order for customers to be happy and they should place great significance on your opinions. Many will even ask your feedback, offer surveys, questions and your opinion to make sure they are delivering the best service and meet your needs.
Trainers who offer little flexibility in their schedule should be a no go! As you would think wow this trainer has so many clients that they are booked solid this should be a red flag. You will want to make sure that trainers have availability for multiple time slots that should schedule your change in the future. Ask if they work nights, weekends, early mornings, holidays etc. Make sure you check in advance before signing up as life does happen and there is nothing worse than having signed up and not being able to book a session with your chosen trainer. Most trainers understand that clients typically are hiring them because they have limited time and a tight schedule so they are flexible to work around you as your schedule should change.
Ask what equipment will be used during your sessions. Some gym trainers focus on machines which others free weights, some boot camp instructors offer body weight exercises and others bring small apparatus to mix it up. Ask what equipment is to be used as well as ask for demonstrations and to try it out during your first session. You want to make sure you enjoy the style of the trainer and use of their selected equipment before you chose a program. Each session should be catered to each individual clients specific needs and not a predetermined generic program.
The most common question we get about trainers is "How do I know if I will like them?" Do you have an idea of what type of personality motivates you? Do not be afraid to speak your mind. If you know you want a trainer to yell at you, or if you want a workout buddy, or if you like a compassionate personality, or if you need lots of positive encouragement there are many personalities to suit any training need. The trick is to have an idea of who is best suited to motivate you. Take a look at who your friends and co-workers are and reflect on what will be the best fit to make sure you will be motivated. Every client has unique needs for those motivates them and that is okay since no two people are the same. We want to make sure clients get the most out of their services and enjoy their sessions since your time and money is valuable. We are here to help you design the best fitness program for your goals.
8. Client Testimonials, Reviews and References
Get real time feedback from current and old clients about their experience with your chosen fitness professional. Ask for phone numbers, written reviews or testimonials and online reviews so that you have all the information you need for making a decision. Do not be afraid to ask their customers questions about their experience, their success, any issues that may have arisen, if they are currently training, how often they train, and how long they have been with a specific instructor. Remember these are opinions so you can always make your own decision about the professional but it is usually a good guide for any major red flags.
Remember your first session with your fitness professional should be a measured on the same scale that you would judge a meeting with a coworker or business contact. You should feel that you are able to vocalize your opinions, be able to express yourself and get the most out of your meeting. Do not forget one of the most important factors is that you should HAVE FUN! Fitness does not have to be stagnant and neither should your workout! You should be able to develop a professional relationship and have fun while you get results.