How to Pick the Right Fitness Coach (In 4 Steps)

There are a metric ton of personal trainers, and now, thanks to CrossFit, fitness coaches who can help you break your unhealthy cycles and see results faster.

That’s a recent problem for our generation. In the ’90s and early 2000s, you walked into a gym, asked for a trainer, and viola! The person behind the counter “knew a guy!” If you were a girl who didn’t want your trainer to hit on you, they “knew a girl!” 

That’s changed. Now, you can compare trainers on location, price, experience, and reviews from the convenience of your Blackberry or Palm Pilot. I’m kidding; your iPhone.*

You’d trust this trainer to babysit your kids, right? (They’ll learn how to do kickflips)

That’s a lot to consider. So, here’s how to find the right one.

  1. Ask yourself, “What do I want?”
    1. Coaches have specialties. My former nutrition coach worked with bodybuilders and pro fighters. That was perfect for me because I wanted to keep muscle but still last through a Ju Jitsu match. Others spend their time mastering fat loss. Some focus on fitness-defined (capacity to move and live well). Others teach clients to break bad habits and self-destructive patterns. Instead of starting with “Who looks the best?” Start with “What do I need? Who looks the best for me?”
  2. They have to walk the walk.
    1. If you’re a dentist trying to convince me I need to floss and brush, I want to see your teeth, and they better not look British. If you’re coaching me to win a Ju Jitsu tournament, I want to see your color belt. We say, “People shouldn’t judge a book by its cover,” but THEEEY DOOO. Trainers don’t need a six-pack per se, but they must practice what they preach to you. Every year I get older, but somehow get fitter and make the quarterfinals in my sport. Trainers shouldn’t teach theory; they should teach what they know, and it should show.
  3. Their clients should talk the talk.
    1. If there are a ton of 5-star Google reviews for a trainer, there’s a reason. If there’s a handful that seems like their best friend’s mom wrote them, there’s a reason. Look for pictures and testimonials from people who’ve worked with them. If you’re working on dropping 50lbs, and every picture is someone with shredded abs transforming into someone with a tan and slightly more shredded abs, do you think this trainer is right for you? Get proof. Word of mouth counts too. 
  4. Finally, Price.
    1. More specifically, don’t get hung up on the price. I’ve had great trainers work for me, and we didn’t charge much when they were starting. But guess what? They still wowed their clients. They still delivered results hand, over fist. So, don’t let a low rate stop you from contacting a potential match. BUT, Points 1-3 must all line up. If they don’t, you may be deciding based on price alone. If they don’t have points 1-3 and charge a budget price, there’s a reason. Buyer beware.
    2. Premium trainers- Why do some trainers charge more? Their time has become that valuable, plain and simple. We know our clients cannot afford costly mistakes. That leads some trainers to seek out EVERYTHING to help them solve their client’s problems and build their service around solving those problems. That’s what expert coaches and trainers do. This is different from buying a car. We’ll pay more to be seen driving a Lexus when deep down, we know it’s just a Toyota. When we buy time with the expert, we buy speed on solving our problem. We remove turbulence. We’re buying the difference between them and the amateurs. 
    3. Budget and beliefs about money will affect our choice to hire someone. My only advice here is to look at where your current behaviors and beliefs have brought you and ask, “Is this where I want to keep going?”

My first business coach cost $5000 to talk to. At the time, I believed that was an insane investment I couldn’t afford. However, I wanted to get from “here” to “there,” and points 1-3 aligned when I researched him and his clients. 

I accepted that I had to change what I was doing, so I got a credit card (don’t do that) and bought time with him. I won’t tell you the amount I turned that $5000 into with his coaching, but it’s been an insane return on investment. Plus, I’ve traveled the world, teaching people about training and the business I built. I’ve hired employed full-time coaches away from jobs they didn’t like and showed them how to make an impact and a living doing something they love. I needed to bypass the hyped-up Instagram coaches and amateur mentors to make it happen.

Sometimes the new trainer can work out great for you. Sometimes, you know you need an expert. Use points 1-3 to decide.

*You know you’re reading this from a laptop if you have an Android phone.

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