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3 biggest mistakes to avoid when hiring a personal trainer in Vancouver

Hiring a personal trainer can be the best decision of your life. Especially when you hire the RIGHT one.

Luckily Vancouver is home to some of the best personal trainers, so how do you find them?

This blog will reveal the 3 biggest mistakes people do when hiring a personal trainer or an online coach.

There is nothing more frustrating than realizing 3 or 6 months down the road that the only thing that changed since your hired your trainer is your bank account balance.


Mistake no.1

1.  Not having a specific goal

define your fitness goals

Without knowing your fitness goal, how can you choose a trainer to help you to achieve that goal?

Be specific what do you want to achieve?

Lose weight, get rid of belly fat and flabby arms?

Build more muscle, get abs …or even six pack abs?

Do the first pull up?

Run a 5k and feel great

Whatever your goal is make sure it is what you REALLY want and then share it with your fitness coach.


So many times I hear from clients “Well, I just want to improve my health and fitness” but once we dig deeper and find out what would be their ULTIMATE, “dream come true goal” it ends up looking like “I want to feel happy and proud when I see myself in the mirror. I want to see lines on my legs and definition of my abs”

Be honest. Own your goals. They are yours. Don’t wait for a fitness coach to tell you what your goals are. You tell him/her.

Sometimes it’s not easy, though. You may think, “Gee, I don’t know what my goals are, I just want to be healthy, live pain-free and have more energy”

Great. That’s an awesome goal.

You can probably break down this general goal into areas that can be measured so you know you’re progressing. Blood pressure, resting heart rate (great checker for overall cardiovascular health) subjective pain and energy levels, quality of sleep etc. Many of these are subjective, however, you can still measure them and assess progress.


Mistake no.2


2.  Not asking questions and not being asked questions

personal trainer asking questions

During an interview/consultations there should be a lot of communications going on between the potential trainer and a client.

The best personal trainers in Vancouver ask questions.

At Iron Lab (link) Strength and Conditioning prior to the consultation, we ask a client to complete a questionnaire with preliminary questions to get a better idea about the client’s goals, medical history, current work/life balance etc.

So during the actual consultation, we can go even deeper and ask better questions.

What question should YOU ask?
  • Have you personally achieved or helped your previous/current clients achieve the same goal?  

You’re not going hire a personal trainer who is a prenatal specialist if you want to squat 500lb and vice versa. It doesn’t mean that one trainer can’t help you do both but it is very unlikely he/she will excel ! in both.

Hiring a trainer who has experience achieving what you want for themselves and their clients will greatly improve the chances he/she can repeat that success plus knowing all the struggles and challenges that come with the process.

  • How will you help me to get my goal and how will I know that I’m improving?

The sign of a top fitness coach in Vancouver is that he/she always has a plan and a way to measure progress.

No training program is perfect and will always need adjusting but there must be a thought process behind every workout, diet, tracking sheet etc.

Just throwing a quick workout or a meal plan with no thought pattern behind it is a sure sign of a newbie trainer or a trainer who does not care about the long term progress of a client.

You can easily find a personal trainer near you either on Craigslist or asking friends who can do that in 5 minutes.

Your certified personal trainer should be able to explain in very plain English how you can get from your current fitness level to your goals (in the big picture) and what tools will be used to measure that progress.

The last thing you want to to buy into a 20-pack session only to find out at the end you have no idea if you’re closer to your goal than when you started.


What questions should your trainer ask?
  • Questions about your nutrition.

There are very few fitness goals that do not involve considerations of healthy/balanced nutrition. Literally what you eat will affect how you look and perform. So any trainer who does not ask you about your current eating habits is not really helping you to reach your goals

  • Asking your expectations

Everyone wants to be ripped and shredded in 90 days. We all want to build muscle and lose fat at the same time. Good trainers will listen to what you want to achieve but also be honest about what you can expect in terms of results and how fast you can achieve them.

  • Asking about your work/life stress level

You only get stronger if you recover from a workout. If you are constantly under stress and lacking sleep adding more exercise to your schedule will only hinder your progress.

A good trainer will establish first your stress level and starts you at a slower pace rather than “killing you” in the first workout so you can’t walk for two days.


Mistake no.3


3.  Being afraid to “test drive” personal trainers

Iron lab personal trainer Vancouver

What a better way to find a personal fitness trainer in Vancouver than to experience his/her service first.

There are many personal trainers in Vancouver that offer free consultations and assessment but I urge you to go beyond that and ask the trainer for 1-3 follow up personal training sessions before committing to a long term contract.

Most gyms or fitness studios will not offer it but keep looking.

It is a bit challenging to find out how you will work with a trainer only from a 45 minutes consultation/assessment when both of you sitting comfortably on a sofa.

You want to know how your trainer will respond/react when you actually train together in a real training session.

You want to know if your trainer can teach you how to do an exercise correctly, if he/she can correct your form, push you harder yet stay within your limits, create a workout that matches your current fitness yet is designed to reach our goals and challenges you.

You can’t find that during a personal training consultation or a “mock-up” session that only happens in sessions after that.

If your trainer doesn’t offer individual personal training sessions and wants you to “lock in a long term contract” walk away.

There are many fantastic personal trainers in Vancouver who will be willing to do so.

The Vancouver top personal trainers who are obsessed with helping clients reaching their goals will be always client-driven first not sales driven.

I hope you find this blog helpful on your quest finding your personal trainer.

Please ask questions and if you would like to experience what personal training feels at Iron Lab schedule your first session HERE