Frequently Asked Questions


What is a private studio?

A private studio is usually a smaller gym, that only works with clients by appointment. Many personal training clients are new to exercise or have been away from it for an extended period of time, and don’t feel like working out in front of 100 fit strangers, in tight clothes, at a big gym.

Private studios have fewer distractions, tend to lack weirdo gym rats and provide a more laid back, welcoming atmosphere than a huge, smelly gym.

Private studios are also much safer during our current COVID-19 crisis. There are never more than a few clients in the gym at one time and they tend to be much cleaner. It’s easy to schedule clients in a manner that minimizes interaction with other clients and much easier to maintain social distance.

What qualifications should I look for in a trainer?

1.     A related degree. So many trainers have degrees (if they have a degree at all) in unrelated fields of study- English, Philosophy, Communications, etc. You want someone that committed to learning about how the human body moves and functions and studied something like Exercise Science, Kinesiology, or Physical Education.

2.     A Good Certification. What is a good certification? One that you didn’t get in a weekend online. There are so many poor online certifications that any putz can get online way too easily. It’s actually kinda scary. Look for established, evidence-based certs like NSCA, ACSM, ACE, and NASM. There are a few more decent certs out there, so if not sure, look up the cert on Google and make sure it’s an intensive course of study that takes months, not days, to get. Also, feel free to message me. I put my email address at the bottom of the article. I’ll let you know if a person’s credentials look solid without pressuring you into signing up for sessions at Live Fit. I just want to make sure you don’t waste or time and money, or worse, get hurt.

3.     Experience. Regardless of education and certification, there are good and bad trainers out there. Look for ones that have a little experience. There is so much to learn about helping people get fit in a smart, healthy manner than what is learned in school and during certification. It takes time to learn all this. Also, poor trainers tend not to last past the first year. They struggle to keep clients and are forced to move on to another line of work. If a trainer has passed the 1-year threshold, they’re doing something right and are probably committed to helping their clients.

4.     Look for people that make training and coaching their full-time job. To me, it’s a red flag if someone is a part-time trainer that also works another job unless they are just getting started. They are usually not committed to their profession, not qualified, and/or having a hard time getting their training career off the ground because clients don’t stay with them for very long. Beware.

5.     Read reviews. Sure, you can fake a few reviews by having your mom or grandma help you out, but once a trainer gets past about 10 good online reviews it gets much harder to fake. A trainer with 15+ good reviews is almost certainly making their clients happy. Take any one particular review with a grain of salt and look at the general tone and sentiment of all the reviews.

How do I pick the right trainer for me?

1.     Good chemistry. It should just feel right. If you don’t enjoy your trainer’s company, you’re unlikely to stick with working out. Many people that get a trainer do it because they don’t like working out. If you like your trainer you’re 100 times more likely to stick with your program. Good trainers know most people dread exercise and they’ll do their best to make your workout realistic and fun. Trust your gut, if you’re not feeling it, find another trainer.

2.      It’s also important to find a good fit. It might not make sense for a 40-year-old mommy to train with a 20-year-old bodybuilder that has two hours every day to work out and carries an enormous cooler of chicken breasts and broccoli everywhere they go. It works for them, but likely isn’t going to work for you.

3.     Be honest with yourself and think about what you really might be able to achieve with your busy lifestyle. Many trainers, especially at big box gyms, are bodybuilders that do long, grueling workouts. Most clients are never going to become a bodybuilder and are lucky if they can set aside 30 minutes for a workout. Consider looking for trainers that offer functional workouts, corrective exercises, dynamic mobility, and who have realistic mindsets.


What should personal training cost?

$30-40 per half-hour session. If you’re in this range and have found a highly qualified trainer, you’ve found a good deal. If it costs less than $30/ session you should be a little scared. Does your trainer have good qualifications? Do they carry adequate insurance? Do they have routine maintenance performed on their equipment?

Being intimately familiar with gym/ studio operations and finance, I have a hard time seeing how anyone can charge less than $30/ session and do all the right things to keep their clients safe and healthy. If they charge more than $40/ session and aren’t considered a top expert in their field, you should run. They’re just trying to rip you off or spend way too much money on silly equipment, you probably don’t need.

If they charge more than $40/ session they better be highly bought sought after, have advanced degrees and certifications, or maybe have authored some good books about exercise and nutrition. A few good reasons to pay a premium would include if they are an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, an NASM Certified Exercise specialist or Performance Specialist, or a TPI Certified Golf Fitness Professional. These certs provide a lot of value to clients, especially those with specific needs, and are often well worth paying for. They aren’t easy or cheap certifications for your trainer to get. They signify a deep commitment to their profession and helping clients.

What is online (virtual) training like?

We often work with clients via FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, etc because it’s more convenient for the client. Maybe they are trying to minimize COVID-19 risk or need a more convenient option because of their busy schedule. A good trainer can come up with fun, creative ways to workout at home with minimal equipment. This is a great option if you’re circumstances or geography makes it hard to work with your favorite trainer in person.

What should I expect when I meet with a trainer for a consultation?

First thing first, they’re going to have you fill out a standard gym waiver. We want to make sure you’re healthy enough to exercise and know about any medical concerns or injuries that may influence you’re training. The number one goal should always be training you safely.

Next, there should be a discussion about your goals. This is a good time to start getting a read on your potential new trainer. Are they listening closely? Are they asking good questions? You should have the feeling they are really trying to get to know and help you. It shouldn’t feel high-pressure sales. You're not buying a used car. 

Third, you and your potential new trainer should go through an assessment or workout together. They should be taking you through exercises that match your goals and work around your injuries. If something hurts, tell the trainer. They should immediately tell you to stop and make adjustments to the exercises you are trying. It’s a huge red flag if they don’t! By the end, you should have a good feel for the trainer, the environment, and how they can help you. The trainer should have a good feel for your fitness levels and abilities relative to your goals.

Lastly, the trainer should sit down and give you feedback on your workout/ assessment. Again, this shouldn’t feel like high-pressure sales. It shouldn’t feel like sales at all. The trainer should simply be letting you know where you are at relative to your goals, what obstacles need to be overcome and give you an idea of what an exercise plan might look like for you. 

If everything seems in line, then great! Go ahead and explore pricing and package options. Again, this shouldn't feel like sales. It should seem the trainer has your best interests at heart. 

If not, don’t force it. I know it’s a pain to meet with other trainers, but it’s a good idea to take the time to do it. You likely won’t be happy if you don’t. If you’re not happy, you won’t do your best.

What is it like to work with a trainer?

I’m a little biased J, but I think it’s great. It forces you to block out a time for exercise, which can be the toughest part. You also get a personalized workout, so you know you’re doing the right things, and you have someone to take you through the exercises step-by-step. You feel confident you are doing the exercises correctly and have someone there to give you a little push or assistance if needed. Admittedly, not the cheapest exercise option, but if done right, the best exercise option. It’s a great way to go if you’re busy and want to put your workout program on autopilot.

If you have any questions or need help please feel free to email me at Even if you're not considering Live Fit, I'll do my best to help you out. All the best! - Mark

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Finding the Right Personal Trainer for You

Live Fit

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