What to Expect at Your First Personal Training Session

What to Expect at Your First Personal Training Session

Reading Time: 5 minutes 29 seconds


Date: 2019-05-09T00:00:00-04:00

Wondering whether hiring a personal trainer is worth it? Curious about what the first session entails? Here's what to expect when you invest in your health and hire a certified personal trainer.

First: What Does Personal Training Involve?

A personal trainer's main job is to create a safe and effective exercise program just for you. Your program should be unique to you and your fitness goals. For example, maybe a high-intensity workout routine will help you reach your goals fast. But you have that bum shoulder and your range of motion isn't awesome. A certified personal trainer will help increase your level of fitness without causing additional harm.

A good trainer will keep track of your body composition and fitness measures. These data are collected as part of the fitness assessments you'll do periodically. This information helps predict disease risk and rate overall health.

During fitness training sessions, your personal trainer will watch how you move. They're looking for muscular imbalances, proper form, and good posture. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but it's better that your trainer watches you closely than ignore you. Improper form can cause all kinds of problems leading to pain and injury!

If your trainer finds issues with your movement or posture, they will work to correct those throughout your program. The best part is, they can help you achieve your fitness and wellness goals while they fix those issues.

Ultimately, a good trainer is trying to work themselves out of a job.

Your exercise program should include movement and education. At the end of each workout session you should understand the benefits of strength training and cardiovascular training. At the end of your exercise program you will know how to move correctly. You will learn about the equipment in the gym and how to use it. Finally, you'll learn about diet and nutrition and how to maintain health and wellness for life.

How Much Does It Cost to Get a Personal Trainer?

The cost of hiring a personal trainer varies quite a bit. We won't share specific numbers, but here are some things to consider:

What Are Your Training Goals?

Certified personal trainers invest a lot of money to earn specialized certifications. They're specially equipped to handle problems that arise for different populations. That means they'll be more effective and that the cost may get passed on to you. For example:


Strength training in your 60s is much different than in your 20s. Trainers with this certification understand the needs of senior clients. They will consider your medical history, current fitness level, and fitness goals and create workout routines that fit into your busy life.


Fitness and wellness are not just physical, but mental. A transformation specialist has studied the behaviors and thought patterns that often sabotage weight loss goals. They'll join you in uncovering the reasons why you've failed in the past to ensure your success in the future.


If building a strong, lean body is one of your top fitness goals, you should hire a specialist in bodybuilding. They have an intimate knowledge of the science behind strength training. You'll achieve your goals faster and without spending hours in the gym or denying yourself the foods you love.

In general, athletes, youth, seniors, and those with chronic health issues may pay more for a personal trainer. If you want to lose weight, most certified trainers can help with that.

What Kind of Training Do You Want?

One-on-one personal training is more costly than online training. First, working at a gym has associated overhead costs. Second, they give you undivided attention. Finally, the more in-demand a trainer is, the more they can charge.

The dynamic changes a bit when you choose an online trainer. Online trainers create general exercise programs for a certain population. They know a lot about their clients, so fitness training is goal-specific. It is not a 100% personal program.

Both online and in-person trainers will have training packages available that fit into your budget.

Online training is good if you have exercised before. It's also better for those who are motivated and can keep themselves accountable. If you're new to exercise or need someone to hold you accountable, hiring a local trainer is the best way to get started.

What Should You Expect at the First Session?

You might feel nervous about the first meeting. The trainer feels the same, trust me.

In the end, the first session is an opportunity for you to decide whether the trainer is a good fit for you. They're also deciding whether they can help you achieve your goals or if they should refer you to another certified trainer who might be a better fit.

Before your session, the trainer will send you some forms and a Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire. You'll discuss these during the first session, so fill them out and get them back to the trainer.

When you show up, the trainer will greet you. You might go for a tour of the gym or jump right into "ice-breakers". Small talk helps you both relax and settle into the session. Your trainer might ask questions about your family, work, hobbies, personal preferences, etc. Feel free to ask questions and learn more about the trainer, too.

The conversation will naturally flow to you and your reasons for hiring a trainer. Share your short- and long-term goals. If you want to lose weight, tell the trainer why. And get ready to answer more questions. The more transparent you are, the better the trainer will understand your current level of fitness to help you reach your goals.

Before you go any further, you will have to fill out a few more forms. These might include a liability waiver and informed consent. Don't worry, you're not about to jump into a high-intensity workout.


Next up are fitness assessments. It's important for your trainer to understand your current fitness level. They'll look at a few key areas. Which assessments they choose are dependent upon your answers to those questionnaires. Here's what you might expect:

  • Weight and height

  • Body composition measurements

  • Blood pressure

  • Movement assessments

  • Cardiovascular health

  • Muscular strength

  • Muscular endurance

  • Flexibility and range of motion

  • Posture

Final Summary

Don't expect a full workout during this session. It's a time for you and the trainer to discover more about each other. A good trainer won't want to put you through any exercises until after the assessments, anyway. It wouldn't be safe and could lead to injury. Besides, you two still have some things to talk about.

The end of session comes soon after the fitness assessments. The trainer will ask you about anything that may have come up during the assessments. Then, they'll start their sales presentation which might include:

  • A brief summary of your current fitness level and what it means for your health

  • Suggestions for short- and long-term goals for strength training, cardio, movement, weight loss, etc.

  • The results you should expect and how long it might take to reach your goals

  • The services they offer such as group fitness, online coaching, nutritional guidance, etc.

  • The training packages they have available and the cost for each

After they've shared their offerings, you'll have the opportunity to ask questions. Don't be shy. Ask every question you can think of. If it seems like you two are a good fit, get started! There's no better time than now.

Oh, and expect to be sore a few days after the workout session. Even if you didn't get in a full workout, those assessments will have challenged your muscles enough to make you a little sore!

Does the idea of helping others achieve their health and fitness goals appeal to you? Check out the ISSA's online course in Personal Training to jump-start a career in building healthier lives.

First Personal Training Session Handout

Click HERE to download this handout!

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