Questions to Ask a Trainer Before Hiring

What You Don’t Want

You don't want a biological specimen with shredded abs to sell you their 10 minute Killer Ab workout. You don’t want an Insta-trainer that will give you instant results promising you that you will have to put forth minimal effort. You will not get fit quick.

Just like any product or service, if it is too good to be true, it probably is.

You want to avoid the salesman. The trainer that has the perfect supplements for you before they know what your goals are. A sign of this is that every supplement they offer is from the same company. There are some great companies out there, but those companies don’t have the best supplement for you. Not every supplement can be the best. Period.

If you are a beginner, you will see a rapid increase in strength gains. You need to understand that your numbers will not continue to increase at that rate and you need to stick to your program after the initial adaptations.

What You Do Want

You want someone who has gone through real life behavioral changes and personal experience. You want your trainer to have walked in your shoes or have someone very close to them that has. It is important that you ask your potential trainer about his/her own fitness journey. Questions like, “Why did you start working out yourself?”, “What made you want to train others?”, “Did you undergo your own transformation?”, are very important to start to understand where they are coming from and will serve as the building blocks to your relationship with them.

Are you looking for a teacher, coach or mentor? Is your potential trainer just a trainer or are they a fitness professional?


Someone who will give you the information and walk you through the process from point A to point B. You will be tested and be required to talk (report on your findings).


Someone who will get down and dirty with you. Think of a drill sergeant yelling at his soldiers. These guys/gals are result-driven and do a damn good job at it.


You will be brought to the lake and taught how to fish. You will be given all of the proper tools, maybe even have to create your own tools based off of principles you have been brought to understand.

Fitness Professional

Does your trainer look like he is about to exercise himself with his dry fit shirt and shorts or does he/she present themselves well with a polo and khaki shorts? Do they have a plan for you? Are they well groomed? Although not necessary, do they look the part? This part is tricky. You don’t have to know fitness to be fit and you don’t have to be fit because you are a fitness trainer. Are all doctors healthy? No.


Training Philosophy 

Ask about their training philosophy. What do they believe in? Are you going to be working out or are you going to be training towards a goal? Are you going to get fit quick or is it going to be a gradual onboarding process including progressive overload and hard, grueling work?

You should ask what a sample training block will consist of AFTER discussing your goals. If you are straight off the couch and you are briefed that you will be sprinting, performing back squats at bodyweight and MURPHS, you should probably look else where.

A brilliant plan is nothing if not completed.

My training philosophy is this.  I use a research-based and understanding approach of coaching.  I don’t ask you to do anything I wouldn’t myself.  I don’t only write your program but I do everything I can to make sure that you adhere to it. 

Be Prepared

  • Come with a list of questions about your trainer and potential program

  • Ask how you will be held accountable and ask about the availability of your trainer to you

  • Have a price in mind and have goals in mind

It’s okay if you don’t have all the answers. A good trainer will help you find them!


Be sure that you have a good relationship with your trainer. Make sure that you can bullshit with them and be able to be 100% honest with them. If you are hiding things from yourself and your trainer, you will not be successful.  

When I was in a position of hiring others I always made sure to check for two things.

  1. Can they get the job done?

  2. Can I grab a drink with them?

I think these apply to a good trainer/client relationship.

Disclaimer: Keep in mind that when you ask these questions with your trainer, that they are doing the same with you as well. They are feeling you out. Do they think that you will be a good fit for THEM. It is not uncommon to be referred to another trainer they will better fit your needs.

Shane JenneComment