So, you’ve decided that you’re taking your fitness to the next level this year and will stop at nothing. To achieve this, you’re considering contracting a personal trainer and have found a few that seem promising. Hold up! Ask your prospective personal trainer these questions before signing on the dotted line.

1. What’s your style of encouragement?

The way a trainer treats you in and out of the gym contributes to how you will feel about exercise and can make or break you. Ask to observe one or two sessions with the trainer’s other clients so that you can suss out their encouragement style. Being screamed at by an ex-army soldier might not be quite your style, but you wouldn’t know if you don’t see your trainer in action.

2. Do you have pictures of your past clients?

Before and after pictures of clients will show you the trainer’s ability and commitment to help clients get results and reach their goals. You know what they say; the proof is in the pudding.

3. How long does your program take to get me results?

This is not a silly question. Don’t be shy to ask. This question will also help you suss out con artists who overpromise but never deliver. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

4. What if I don’t see results?

This is another tough question that must be asked. Ask your prospective personal trainer what he/she has done in the past when clients did not see results? Does he/she have an associate nutritionist who can help you with a healthier eating plan or similar? This will also show you how committed this trainer is to see their clients to the finish line.

5. What is your cancellation process?

Personal trainers charge differently for their work. Others work on a retainer – where you pay upfront for a number of sessions, and others are paid by the hour. Find out if you will be refunded for the sessions you did not attend, or if there are penalty fees for missing sessions.

You might also want to read this post on power tips to help you stay focused on your fitness goals.