Personal training is a huge business, and it’s only getting bigger. In 2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that there were 300,000 “fitness trainers and instructors,” and that the field was expected to grow by 10 percent between 2016 and 2026. Not to mention that Instagram and YouTube have given way to a slew of fitness-minded influencers, many of whom sell programs to their millions of loyal followers through the web. 

With so many options, it’s important to know how to sieve through the BS to find a trainer—whether online or in-person—that can help you, not hurt you. To assist you in finding the ideal muscle guru, we’ve consulted a pair of personal trainers.

The first is Brad Baldwin, CSCS, MS, an NYC-based personal trainer and owner of Brad Baldwin Fitness (bradbaldwinfitness.com). The second is Jeb Stuart Johnston, an NYC-based personal trainer and nutrition coach specializing in body recomposition and lifestyle transformation (jebstuartjohnston.com).

Whatever your skill level or goal, this checklist of key points will ensure your coach is on point and not wasting your time—or money. 

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