Find Best Personal Trainer Santa Fe Style

You are lucky. Santa Fe is blessed with an abundance of great trainers. I have learned from many of them.

How do you find the best personal trainer? Well, what if each trainer is the best at what they’ve chosen to do? As with diets, the idea that there’s a ‘best’ trainer, as if each client’s needs, goals, preferences, and personalities are the same; as if trainers are a commodity who can be evaluated quantitatively, is mass-production Industrial Age thinking.

Personal training is more art than science.

We live in the Information Age. There are over 300 certifications in over 100 specializations in our rapidly growing, evolving field.

The key is to search not for the best trainer but for the best match, the best training relationship that will help you reach your goals: Find the trainer who’s best for you given your current needs, goals, preferences, and personality as well as each trainer’s unique skills and gifts they bring to the practice of personal training.

Pre-interview objective criteria indicative of potential


A bachelor’s or master’s degree in a fitness related field.


Certified by AFAA*, NSCA*, ACE*, or ACSM* in that order of preference.

*Nationally accredited certifications. AFAA (Aerobics and Fitness Association of America), NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association), ACE (American Council on Exercise), and ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine). The AFAA is the most comprehensive in scope and holistic in approach, while the ACSM is the narrowest in scope and conventional in approach, but it’s still a good certification if you’re looking for a conventional medical approach.


With professionalization comes specialization in every field. Look for additional specialized certifications of expertise appropriate to your needs, such as weight loss, post-rehab, pre/postnatal, etc.


Several years of experience, the more the better.

Interview criteria indicative of actual results with clients


Client testimonials and success stories documenting actual client results, the more the better.


Before and after photos documenting actual client results.

Education and certifications demonstrating potential are more useful regarding inexperienced trainers while testimonials and photos demonstrating actual results with real people are more useful indicators for experienced trainers.

Credentials are great, but documented results with real people are better. Training is more an art than a science. How do you gauge the quality of an artist, by looking at their credentials or their art? Likewise, evaluate trainers and coaches by looking at success with their clientele.

If they have a track record, look at it. Look at the results they’ve gotten with clients as expressed in testimonials and photos. A trainer should have testimonials, letters of recommendation, or references documenting actual results with clients commensurate with their education, certification, and experience.


Do they train part-time or is this their primary livelihood?


Are they a staff employee at a gym or are they an independent self-employed trainer? Staff training positions are entry-level positions in our field. Experienced trainers and coaches tend to be self-employed.


What’s their approach? If this is what they do for a living, they should have developed a somewhat unique perspective based on their education and experience and should be able to articulate their approach with passion. Does their approach match your views on health & fitness and your philosophy of life?

Worldview & Paradigm

From which worldview do they see reality? From which enactment paradigm do they operate on reality? Do they operate out of a Biblical-era traditional religious paradigm, an Enlightenment-era modern medical/scientific paradigm, a 20th century postmodern holistic systems paradigm, or a 21st century integral paradigm? Do they see the body as the temple of the Lord to be honored with clean living religiously, as a machine to be measured and fixed scientifically, as part and parcel of a complex adaptive system to be optimized holistically, or some sort of synthesis or integration of these interpretations that gives due respect to each?

Do they define health as an absence of sinful living, an absence of overt disease symptoms, as positive fully functional flourishing, or as an integration of these dimensions of health? Since real lasting change occurs from the inside-out, you have to start with the ghost in the machine: Choose a trainer who shares the same worldview so you’re speaking the same language and enacting the same paradigm in the service of your goals.

Change happens from the inside-out:

worldview > thoughts > words > actions > practices > habits > lifestyle > body


How much experience do they have with your particular needs and goals? If you're trying to lose weight, what success have they had helping people lose weight? Look at their actual track record with clients who have goals similar to yours.


How much do they customize their approach for each unique person? Is their approach a ‘one-size-fits-all’ cookie-cutter mass production assembly line? Or is it a ‘one-size-fits-me’ approach? If they do customize, what customization variables do they use to prescribe customized protocols? Push them for details: “How will you customize it for me?” Many make vague claims of customization without using any real customization variables such as your muscle-fiber type ratios, your metabolic type, body type, personality type, preferences, past injuries, goals for the future, etc.

Post-interview subjective criteria indicative of likely results with YOU


Did they ask you about your goals? Did they ask you about your health & medical history? Were they interested in you or were they just talking about themselves?


Did they listen to you?


Did they answer your questions?


Did they know what they were talking about?


Were they confident in their abilities? A confident trainer will not feel the need to pressure you into hiring them and will encourage you to interview several trainers until you find the right match for what will be a personal relationship requiring personal chemistry beyond objective criteria.


Do you share similar worldviews? Do they speak in a language you're comfortable with?


Do you like their personality? Do they have a good, positive, optimistic attitude? Listen to your intuition.


Are they still excited about health & fitness or are they burned-out? Are they enthusiastic? Someone who's burned-out will not be able to motivate you regardless of a sterling track record.


Do they motivate you to achieve your goals? Do they excite you or stress you out? Do they seem supportive or competitive? Kind or critical? Motivating or militant? Do they give you energy or drain your energy? Listen to your intuition and how you feel as you walk away from the interview for a clue to how you might feel as you walk away from your workouts with them: is your walk animated by hope for a brighter future?


Would you look forward to seeing and working with them several times a week?

Compare Santa Fe weight loss programs

For a comparison of the most common weight loss and fitness options in Santa Fe, including conventional exercise options such as joining a gym or hiring a personal trainer, and conventional dietary options such as Weight Watchers Santa Fe, Jenny Craig Santa Fe, or LA Weight Loss compared to Santa Fe Way see: Compare Weight Loss Options.

Client Success Stories
To see how Santa Fe Way has made a difference in people’s lives, including people you may know, see some inspiring success stories or if you have questions: Contact Me

  1. The soul that has no established aim loses itself.

  2. Montaigne

  1. In the long run, people hit only what they aim at. Therefore . . . they had better aim at something high.

  2. Thoreau

  1. For what is most choiceworthy for each individual is the highest it is possible for him to achieve.

  2. Aristotle

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Santa Fe Way                                          Weigh different.

Trainers different.

Find the best personal trainer for you.

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