What to Look For In a Personal Trainer or Online Coach

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Average Read Time: 2 minutes 38 seconds

Have you spent hours and hours in the gym spinning your wheels and getting no results? Do you want to hire a personal trainer or online coach, but don’t know where to start? In this post, I’m going to cover what you should know before handing over your hard-earned money.

What are you goals?

Before starting your search for a trainer, first ask yourself what your goals are in order of importance. Do you want to lose 50 pounds, lift more weight, be better at basketball, or shave a few minutes off your 10k time? Knowing what you want to accomplish will influence who you go to for help.

Just because a trainer is good with one type of client, doesn’t mean they’re good with another. For example, I primarily work with clients who want to build muscle, burn fat, and get stronger. If you want to lose inches off your waist, grow your arms, or bench press more weight, I can help you with that. If your primary goal is running a triathlon, I’m not your guy.

How to Identify a Good Trainer

Once you’ve found a trainer or online coach who’s expertise lines up with your goals, you should have an in-depth conversation with them. Here are some things to look for during the conversation:

They should ask questions specific to you.

A good coach should ask you questions about:

  • your goals

  • your workout experience

  • your nutrition habits

  • your schedule

  • past injuries or health concerns

  • things that have tripped you up in the past

If these things don’t come up in the conversation, it should be a major red flag.

A coach must know specific information about you in order to provide a program that is specific to you.

If they don’t ask questions about you, it means they’ll be giving you a cookie-cutter program that they’ve given to a few dozen other people already.

They should explain how their program works.

After asking questions about you and listening to your answers, a good coach should explain how their program works and how it can solve your problem, specifically addressing any concerns you’ve expressed.


They should encourage questions from you.

After all, your training experience is supposed to be about you. You should not leave the conversation confused. If the coach doesn’t encourage questions or avoids answering the questions you do ask, it should be another major red flag.

Good coaches have the heart of a teacher. If they try to dodge questions, it could mean they’re guarding their knowledge to keep you signed up as long as possible or even worse, they may not even know what they’re doing.

Do they require a contract?

You’ve found the ideal coach, you’ve talked through the program, and you’re ready to sign up. If it hasn’t come up yet, there’s one more question you should ask. “Do I have to sign a contract?”

While requiring a contract isn’t necessarily a red flag in-and-of itself, my personal belief is that good coaches don’t require contracts. If you stay with a trainer long-term, it should be because you love working with that person, not because you’re legally obligated to.

BONUS: Ask around.

Do you know anyone who has hired the coach you’re considering? How do they feel about the program? How do they feel about the coach. What kind of results have they gotten?


Trust your gut. After going through all the steps above, you should have a pretty good idea if the coach you’ve been in contact with is the right coach for you. If you’re unsure, ask follow-up questions. If it still doesn’t feel right, maybe you should just move on to the next person on your list.

Next week, we’ll talk about how to know if you’re already working with a bad trainer.

Thank you so much for reading! If you found this information helpful and want to help the Treadaway Training blogcast grow, simply share this post with a friend. If you like what I have to say, sign up below to become a Treadaway Training insider or check out my YouTube channel. I will be back here Saturday with another body transformation topic. As always, God bless you AND your family and I'll see you Saturday.