4 Rules for Hiring a Personal Trainer

How to find the right trainer for you.

— -- intro: In my experience, everyone can benefit from a personal trainer—even personal trainers have trainers! Having a pro by your side is not only a way to stay motivated, he or she can also keep you safe from injury when you’re taking your fitness to a whole new level.

The problem: a good trainer is hard to find. Once you decide to spend the money, it’s very important that you hire someone with the right training, experience, and personality. It’s like finding a good doctor all over again. That’s why I’ve created a list of the 4 essential steps for hiring a personal trainer.

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quicklist: 1 category: 4 Rules for Hiring a Personal Trainer title: Research, research, research url: text: Most people start by asking after trainers at their local gym. It’s not a bad way to go, especially if you like your facility and the people there. But you should still do some extra due diligence.

You also want to note what they say about their training style. Look for someone who offers a customizable approach, and stresses how they’ve helped people with a variety of different goals. This suggests they have plenty of experience and they know how to adapt.

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Next, ask the trainer for references. A pro will be happy to provide you contact information or testimonials with a few happy customers. Even better, though, is if you have friends or friends-of-friends who’ve trained with this person. So ask around! This way you can find out what people are saying, both good and bad.

quicklist: 3 category: 4 Rules for Hiring a Personal Trainer title: Book a consultation session url: text: When you believe you’ve found someone you want to work with, book an introductory session with the trainer to see if it’s a good fit. Most trainers will do an initial session for free or at a very reasonable price. This is a good time to ask questions and get a feel for their training style.

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Don’t be afraid to “shop around” if something doesn’t feel right with the first person you see. After all, if you’re going to pay someone money to train you, you want to make sure you get along well and that they are there to help you achieve your goals, not theirs.

And if, for whatever reason, you’re not seeing results after a while or it turns out she shows up late or he’s not pushing you hard enough. Repeat this process as needed until you find your perfect match. While having a personal trainer year-round may not be necessary, when you’re looking to kick things up a notch, are stuck at a plateau, or just in need of some fresh ideas, having the right personal trainer can be one of the best investments you’ll ever make.

This article originally appeared on Health.com.