2016 Update: We stand by the advice below, but you can also check out our newer discussion with 7 tips to help you hire a personal trainer.
As warm weather approaches, people everywhere are rethinking their fitness routines. For some, that may even include hiring a personal trainer. But finding a good personal trainer can be a slightly difficult proposition: it’s expensive, so you want your money’s worth — but you also want to make sure that your limited time and energy is “spent” well at the gym. So let’s talk about it. (Pictured: study in annoying eddie II, originally uploaded to Flickr by hmmlargeart.)
My own experience with a trainer was less than stellar: It was January 2008, and I was gearing up for a trial with a very small trial team — so I knew a lot of late nights and early mornings were in my future. I went to my gym and requested a trainer, and took the first person they recommended who could meet my schedule. I think I wound up paying about $75 per session for 10 sessions. It was worth it, I figured, if I could still fit into my suits come trial time.
My trainer, a youngish man named F, was a nice enough guy. But throughout our 10 sessions, we floundered. Sometimes he would kick my @!#$@#$ (oh, I still ache a bit from the one-legged walking lunges across the room). Other times, though — actually, a lot of the time — I felt like F was wasting my time, overestimating my coordination (no matter how long I tried, I was apparently incapable of hitting the little speedbag boxing thing with any regularity), and treading on my patience. I left most of the sessions feeling like the 60 minutes spent at the session and the 15-20 minutes walking to/from the session would have been a lot better spent with one of my FIRM videos, going to a spin class, or doing a long run outside by myself. (I ultimately caught a truly nasty cold — right in the midst of trial, too, joy — and ate so little that I wound up fitting into my suits just fine.)
For those of you who’ve had success with personal trainers: how have you chosen a trainer? How have you communicated with him or her to ensure an amazing workout?