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How to pick a great Personal Trainer

When picking a Personal Trainer, it can be a bit of a minefield out there. As with any occupation there are the good, the not-so-good, the average and the elite. A great trainer is worth every penny (and of course I’m biased!). They will work with you to help you achieve your goals, but along the way help you understand so much more about yourself and improve your life in more ways than you can imagine. So how do you find one of these kinds of trainers and avoid wasting $1000?!

10 Top Tips

Here are 10 things to look for when selecting your next Trainer.

  1. Qualifications – of course it goes without saying that they should be qualified and trained in all areas they are specialising in.

  2. On-going learning – what have they done recently to ensure they are up to date with the latest developments in the industry?

  3. Experience – what qualifications do they hold and have taken additional steps to gain real-life experience to back up and reinforce what they have learnt?

  4. Nutrition – ask about how they address nutrition with their clients. A good trainer understands that exercise alone won’t help you reach your goals (and vice versa). You should expect some level of discussion about this. Bear in mind, however that not every trainer will have had the chance to gain an in-depth knowledge of the subject, which is perfectly acceptable. In this case they should be able to offer you some resources or a referral that can help them fill in the gaps.

  5. Change psychology – having lectured on the subject I know first-hand how valuable this often neglected area of the fitness professional’s tool-kit is. You may already have an idea of the sorts of things you should/shouldn’t be doing or eating, but for some reason you just can’t seem to sustain any good habits you embark on. A great trainer can help bridge this gap and perhaps even do so without you realising it!

  6. Client-centred approach – Okay, so trainers in this equation are the experts in fitness, but YOU are the expert of you. Look for trainers that talk about ‘working with you’ and it being a partnership. Trainers need to use your knowledge of yourself to work with your strengths, utilise your skills and be mindful of your personality when designing programs in order to have any chance of success. Avoid the coach that that simply want to tell you want to do, what to eat and how to live without giving you opportunity for you talk about you!

  7. Added value – what else do they offer their clients to add value to their service? Are you simply paying for your weekly sessions and that’s it? Or, do they include other tidbits as part of their service, such as weekly motivational or informative emails, additional resources to take home, do they offer to check out restaurants in advance to offer meal suggestions, do you get access to a member’s area, recipe ideas, body composition analysis and so on? Remember their success is based on you achieving your goals so a good trainer will be mindful to include a few extras to help ensure you get there!

  8. Adaptable – There are some trainers who have great success but with a single-type of client (usually ones that are just like them). If you’re not one of these then this could be a problem! So consider asking about the types of clients they are currently training or have trained recently. They won’t be able to discuss personal details, but you should get a feel for the variety of people they are able to help. Great trainers are well-trained and adaptable and know how to help a range of clients be that a 65-year old sedentary woman, a 25-year old active young man, a beginner or an elite.

  9. Genuinely care – how do they make you feel after your initial meeting with them? Even after just one meeting you should feel confident, empowered and excited to embark on the next stage of your fitness journey.

  10. Testimonials – Do they offer testimonials from previous clients? A good trainer will have nothing to hide. They will have documented client success stories which you could ask to see, or better still ask to speak to a previous client.

They are many more things that I could put on this list, and perhaps you’d like to offer a few ideas yourself below! Hopefully though, these help give you a good place to start when selecting your next trainer.


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