9 Things to Know About Personal Training Sessions

To keep your motivational mojo going, we here at FBG thought it would be fun to share the inside scoop on a few of our favorite things — from workouts to races to healthy eats. So if you’ve been wanting to try out a new healthy thing but are a bit intimidated or afraid to try it, have no fear, the What to Expect series is here!


If I could afford it, I’d love to work out with a personal trainer once a week — twice a week even. But alas, I cannot afford the extravagance as I’m not a movie star, so I go without and do my own thing, getting workout guidance elsewhere. I love the personal trainer experience though because it’s a guaranteed push beyond what your normal workout routine is, and how hard you work during a typical workout. Like I’ve said before, I tend to go blank about what exercises I should do even though I’ve got years of workout experience (much like I cannot recall the name of any song, ever, nor who sings anything). So I love having someone doing the planning and thinking and counting reps for me and I just have to show up and do the work. (Just! Showing up is enough.)

I had the opportunity to do a 6-week personal training program with an Equinox trainer when I lived in California, and then when I joined my current gym, I signed up for a few sessions to give myself a kick in the pants to up my workout ante. Signing up for those sessions can be intimidating though, which is why I thought it’d be a great topic for this week’s What to Expect series. Read on if you’re considering a personal training session but have no idea what to expect!

9 Things to Know About Personal Training Sessions

1. You’ll likely need more than one session. Oftentimes the first session is taking stock of your current fitness level, exercise and eating habits, and goals for what you want to accomplish. There will be a weigh-in and a measurement of body-fat percentage. You’ll likely take your resting heart rate and calculate your target heart rate. You might fit in a workout, too, but that first session is more of a get-to-know-you-and-your-strengths meeting rather than an all-out sweat session.

2. Pinching the fat? Don’t worry about that! Don’t worry about the weigh-in or body-fat measuring as it’s no big deal. You’ll likely either be in a private room or out of the way somewhere, and your trainer should be a total pro who has the professionalism of a doctor when it comes to this stuff. It’ll give you a great way to measure progress.

3. You should feel comfortable. If your trainer comes across as judgy, salesy, pushy or otherwise incompatible, don’t hesitate to seek out another one. You’re paying big bucks for the service; you should feel comfortable with your trainer.

4. You’ll feel uncomfortable. That said, the point of personal training is to try new things and push your body to new heights. You will likely be sore after sessions and feel like you’re giving it your all during sessions.

5. But you shouldn’t feel too uncomfortable. A good trainer should know to push you hard but not too hard. Particularly if you’re a newbie to the workout game, you shouldn’t feel like you’re about to keel over. If you do, don’t hesitate to speak up and remind them of your fitness level.

6. You’ll be super proud of yourself. You’ll likely be surprised at how hard you can actually push yourself. You’ll be impressed with how quickly you can improve. And you’ll find that when someone urges you to do five more, you’ll dig deep and eke out a few more reps.

7. It’s your session. If you want to try the TRX or resistance bands or a specific weight machine, speak up! You should view your sessions as classes — learning what you need to know so you can spread your wings and fly, little bird!

8. Embrace the hands-on stretching. It might seem a little awkward at first to have a trainer help you stretch, but it’s amazing how helpful assisted stretching can be and how good it feels!

9. It’s about what you do outside of the gym that matters most. Personal training sessions are but a tiny fraction of your entire week. Personal trainers can give you guidance, but if you’re only working out that one time a week, you’ll likely not see the results you want. You have to use their guidance as a jumping off point to push yourself on your own, and remember: diet matters so much.

Have you ever worked out with a trainer? What advice would you give someone who never has? —Erin

FTC disclosure: We often receive products from companies to review. All thoughts and opinions are always entirely our own. Unless otherwise stated, we have received no compensation for our review and the content is purely editorial. Affiliate links may be included. If you purchase something through one of those links we may receive a small commission. Thanks for your support!


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  1. Stacy says:

    You bring up some great pointers about what to expect when working with a trainer. I have worked with two trainers in my life and they have both pushed me beyond what I thought I could do. I especially agree with what you said in #9. Once you leave the gym, it is so important to continue to live a healthy lifestyle so you don’t undo what you just worked so hard for with your trainer. I enjoy your blog!

  2. Toni says:

    All of these are true. The money spent on a trainer is well worth it.