Preparing for Your First Session With a Personal Trainer

By DuBose Fitness

Are you ready? It’s almost time for your first session with a personal trainer. You’re confident you’ve found the right trainer to help you meet your goals, but you can’t help but feel a little anxious. How should you prepare for your first session? What should you expect once you get there? What should you wear?

Relax! It’s normal to feel a little nervous before your first session. Rest assured, though: that nervousness will fade and you’ll feel comfortable before you know it. To help you get ready, here are 9 ways to prepare for your first personal training session.


1. Show up early!

Have you ever overslept, arrived late to work and felt as if your whole day was just somehow “off?” The same is true for your personal training sessions. To avoid that flustered feeling, plan to arrive at the health club around ten minutes prior to your scheduled appointment.

Maintaining the right frame of mind isn’t the only reason you should show up early, though. Prior to your first session, there may be paperwork you’ll need to fill out if you didn’t do so during your consultation. Additionally, while fitness assessments are typically performed during the interview, it may be that your trainer needs to take measurements or otherwise track your pre-program fitness levels.

It’s important that you show up early prior to your first session. However, you may choose to continue to do so every time! You’ll have a chance to pop into the restroom or to change your clothes. Plus, your trainer will likely have you warm up for 10 minutes or so before future sessions; use that time to warm up and enjoy a full hour of one-on-one work with your personal trainer.


2. Show up rested.

In the same way you wouldn’t expect to be productive at school or work without a full night’s sleep, your first personal training session will be less effective as well. An increasing number of medical studies have proven that a lack of sleep (defined as 7 hours or less each night) leads to quite a few health issues. These include weight gain, a decrease in muscle mass and bone loss. It should be noted, too, that if you’re sleep-deprived you’re more prone to exercise-related injury.

Keep your eyes open and your workout safe—be sure to get a full seven hours of sleep the night before your first personal training session.


3. Show up hydrated.

Most gyms and fitness centers have water fountains, bottled water and sports drinks available to clients. Don’t rely on the health club, though. Prior to your first session with your personal trainer, make sure you drink water. A good rule of thumb is that if you’re not thirsty, you’re hydrated enough to begin. Don’t drink too much—you don’t want to spend your entire session in the restroom!

Bring a bottle of water with you so you can sip during your session. Your personal trainer will be sure to allow you breaks to stay properly hydrated.


4. Eat something light.

It’s important that you eat something before your first session with your trainer, but it’s equally important that your meal is light. A banana is a great choice, as is oatmeal. Scrambled eggs or avocado are high in amino acids, which can help speed up your post-session recovery.

Before your session, there are some foods you should consider avoiding. Beans, dairy, broccoli, cabbage and fried foods are a few you should steer clear of. Of course, alcohol prior to a workout is a very bad idea.

If you need help choosing a pre-workout snack, just ask your personal trainer! Follow his nutritional recommendations for the best workout fuel.


5. Have your goals in mind.

You should already have discussed your fitness and health goals with your personal trainer during the interview process. You’ve probably completed a fitness assessment, too. That means that, theoretically, you and your trainer should be able to jump right into the program.

That said, always keep your fitness goals in mind. This makes it easier to communicate with your personal trainer and will also allow you to identify any changes to those goals. For instance, if you’d initially set a goal to lose weight, you may find that you simply love your weight training sessions and would like to fine tune your program.

Of course, keeping your goals in mind provides one more benefit: motivation! But, remember to take baby steps in your training with realistic expectations. 


5. Dress comfortably.

Often, people who are headed to their first personal training session might include their first workout. In that case, you may not be sure what to wear for the occasion.

The best rule is to keep it simple. Wear comfortable, breathable clothing that’s moisture-wicking. Always wear socks when you work out to avoid blistering and don’t underestimate the importance of a good, supportive pair of athletic shoes. Well-fitting, closed-toed shoes with good arch support are critical to injury prevention and comfort.


6. Be open to trying new things.

A qualified, professional personal trainer has many tricks up his or her sleeve. There’s a good chance they will ask you to try something you’ve never attempted before. Technology (and sports science) has advanced to include many options that were previously unheard of—so don’t be afraid to try that suspension trainer!

It’s absolutely critical, however, that you let your personal trainer know if you feel uncomfortable with anything, including pain. Your trainer might gently encourage you once more to give it a shot, but ultimately the choice is yours. This training session is about you and a good trainer will respect your personal boundaries.

Be prepared to learn during your first session, and during all your subsequent sessions! Your personal trainer has knowledge and experience you can learn from, so don’t be afraid to ask questions.


7. Be honest with your personal trainer.

Personal trainers can’t help you reach your goals if you’re not honest with them. That’s not to say you’ve got to share intimate details of your life with your trainer. But it does mean that it’s okay to provide the details of that lava cake that wasn’t on your meal plan.

Your trainer is equipped to work with you and your unique lifestyle, even if that suggests you unwind with a glass of wine each night. Be honest—about your nutritional goals, your exercise habits, and especially about your relationship with your personal trainer! If there’s something you’d like to do differently, open it up for discussion.


8. Trust the process.

Fitness goals aren’t achieved overnight. When you initially met with your trainer, you likely discussed timelines for results. If not, do that during this first session. Remember that you’ll feel terrific after your first session, but you won’t be able to see instant results. Trust the process and stick with it.

Be realistic both with your personal goals and with your personal trainer. Your fitness coach will help teach you what to do, but you’ve got to put the work in! Being more mindful of your everyday choices can help make your personal training sessions more productive.


9. Relax!

Your personal trainer is pretty good at picking up on signals and body language. If you’re nervous or anxious, he or she will recognize that and will give you the time you need to relax.

That said, there’s nothing to worry about! You’ve made a great decision by hiring a personal trainer, and before you know it, you’ll wonder where the hour has gone. Breathe, have fun and laugh. After all, you’re doing great things for your health, body, and mind—what’s not to love about that?

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