How to Find Your Ideal Personal Trainer

I’ve had a few different fitness mentors in my life and I’ve learned something from each one of them.  From how to do the perfect squat, how to get comfortable being uncomfortable and re-framing my goals and objectives regarding health and athletic performance.   I think it’s important to always be learning and growing, so if you are thinking about taking your fitness to an athletic level, having a fitness mentor to guide you, stay focused and on track, can be essential. A fitness mentor can can be anyone from a group fitness instructor, a training partner or the more common role, a Personal Trainer.  There are lots of great Personal Trainers out there, and they all have varying degrees of experience, skills and their unique coaching style…so how do you decide who’s right for you?

Krista with her triathlon coach/personal trainer, James Corcoran, at the Milton race.

I’ve been on both sides of this relationship as a client and a Personal Trainer to other plus size athletes.   So I know first hand you need to ask yourself, “What do I want a trainer to help me with?”  Most people think that Personal Trainers only develop and conduct 1:1 strength training programs, but their skill levels extend far beyond that.  In fact many trainers have participated in various sports and have even become coaches of the sport. Considering all this, you may be surprised at what a Personal Trainer can help you with. Do you want to learn a specific athletic skill for a team or individual sport, are you looking to increase your strength, build muscle endurance and participate in your first 5km, develop a strong core to better enjoy salsa dancing, or become a better golfer? The options are endless.

Now if you’ve read this far you may be feeling like this perspective is a bit of a foreign one  - “I’m not the athletic type”.  After all, the media doesn’t do a good job representing plus size athletic woman, so it can be hard to imagine seeing yourself this way.  This is why I created Born to Reign Athletics.  To share my story of how I transformed into a plus size athlete and inspire and guide plus size women to discover their own inner athlete .

Krista with triathlon camp coach, Joe Okuley, training in Arizona

But if you’ve only had the experience of a trainer who viewed you as a plus size woman who needs to lose weight, you are with the WRONG trainer. You want a trainer who sees beyond your plus size body but knows how to modify and adapt to a different body shape.  Someone who respects and understands your goals and can support you in achieving them. A complimentary conversation with a Personal Trainer to learn more about their style and services, is the industry standard.  To help you prepare, here are a list of questions I’ve accumulated over the years, to ask a potential trainer:

  1. Training Style & Philosophy
  2. Communication & Personality
  3. Experience
  4. Fees

Training Style & Philosophy

  • How does the trainer prepare your program?
  • How often will your program be changed?
  • How has the trainer expanded their knowledge in the fitness or athletic area you’re interested in, in the last year?
  • Do they have referrals from other clients with similar goals?
  • What is their general philosophy in training – high volume training, interval workouts, strength training etc?
  • What hours are they available?
  • How do they keep their clients motivated during challenging times?
  • In addition to Personal Training certification, what other credentials does the trainer have that may be an added bonus to the type of trainer you are looking for? – Spinning Instructor, Medical Exercise Specialist, Pilate’s Instructor etc.
  • Does the trainer compliment their services with online coaching or group training? With the success of heart rate & periodization training (dividing the calendar year into periods , with different intensity workouts), working with a Personal Trainer who has this specialized knowledge can be very beneficial as they will a) monitor your program, b) make adjustments along the way to make sure you are training at the right intensity, building strength and endurance, c) schedule recovery time to ensure you get plenty of rest to avoid injury and burnout and d) provide mental training to help you achieve your athletic goals.

Communication & Personality

  • What level of communication is available - daily, weekly, responses within 24 hours?
  • Do they communicate in a respectful and professional manner, yet are approachable?
  • Do they generally possess a positive mental attitude and have passion for what they do?
  • Do you feel a click with them?  I trust my intuition a lot and you’ll know right away if you will get along.


  • How long have they been a Personal Trainer?
  • What personal athletic experiences does the trainer draw upon to help their clients achieve their goals?
  • What is the biggest challenge/accomplishment they’ve over come in fitness and athletics?


  • What is the trainer’s hourly rate or online coaching, monthly fee?
  • Do they provide other services for additional fees, such as group training?
  • Is there a discount for purchasing multiple sessions at once?
  • When is payment due?
  • What methods of payment are accepted?
  • Do you receive a receipt?

I hope the above information has helped.  I want to hear your thoughts on additional questions and ideas. You deserve to find your inner athlete and let her take on new athletic challenges. Get the support you need to make this happen.

Find a trainer.
It's a power move.

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One Response to How to Find Your Ideal Personal Trainer

  1. Jan Chapman April 28, 2015 at 8:39 am #

    Thorough, concise, relevant. Thank you!

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