If finding time for fitness ranks high on your 2018 resolution list, you may be thinking about hiring a personal trainer. Working with a fitness professional provides benefits such as increased program adherence, motivation, customized routines specific to your goals, and a reduced chance of injury.

However, before you go signing up for a pricey personal training package, ensure that you have found the right one with these three questions:

1.  Is the trainer certified?

This should be the first question you ask your prospective trainer.

Anytime you exercise, there is a risk of injury. Reduce your risk by choosing a coach who studied the proper curriculum and passed the exams necessary to become a personal trainer.

Check for one or more of these accredited certifications:

  • ACE (American Council on Exercise)
  • NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine)
  • ISSA (International Sports Science Association)
  • ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine)
  • NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association)

Trainers are also required to have CPR and AED certification.

To ensure you are getting a fitness plan tailored to your individual needs, ask whether your trainer specializes in any one area. If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, work only with a trainer who has a specialization in osteoporosis (yes, they exist). If you suffer from arthritis, hire a trainer who has done extensive work with other arthritis-ridden clients.

As with any certifications, these do expire, so ask your prospective personal trainer to confirm that all of the certifications are up-to-date.

2.  Are your personalities compatible?

There is a reason why it's called "personal" training. Before picking your trainer, you want to make sure you are comfortable spending an hour-long session together.

Most trainers will offer a complimentary first session. This is a good time to assess whether your personalities mesh well. If you prefer a silent sweat session and your trainer is a Chatty Cathy who asks you a million questions, shows you selfies with her cat, and asks you for relationship advice, perhaps this isn't the right coach for you. If you don't like your trainer, chances are you won't enjoy your sessions and, ultimately, you won't adhere to your fitness program.

A healthy client-trainer relationship should consist of mutual respect, good listening, patience, and understanding. Your trainer should also recognize your limitations.

Don't throw in the towel too quickly. Finding the right trainer is like dating. You will know when you have found your perfect muscle-making mate.

3.  What about communication and commitment?

Communication and commitment are key to any successful relationship, and personal training is no different. If you are new to the fitness scene, understanding each exercise is essential for making gains and preventing pains, sprains, and strains. If you are someone who needs a mentor to demonstrate each move, you need a trainer who has patience and makes your safety a priority. You don't want to wait until you are holding heavy weights over your head to ask for clarification.

To build trust, loyalty and dedication, the trainer and client need to establish their level of commitment. You can usually tell from your first conversation how much time your trainer is willing to devote to you. If that person's schedule is vague, or the person doesn't return your calls, shows up late, or cancels your first meeting, this isn't someone you want to waste your time or money on.

Trust the process. Ask the right questions now to avoid the wrong trainer later.

Ashley B. Greenblatt is a certified personal trainer and wellness coach. To learn more, visit ashleyblakefitness.com.