What to look for in a Personal Trainer

A few of you have asked if I can recommend anywhere or someone you can train with.


Unfortunately the Fitness industry can be a little mediocre and basically you can become a personal trainer in a few weekends.


Anyone can make you sweat, but not all trainers really understand what it takes to get results, adjust and modify workouts, measure progression and provide accurate and proven advice on nutrition.


With all the questions I have been asked about where to train I decided to put together a checklist of what to look for when deciding who your going to train with.


I am sure there are some great trainers out there so this should help you find a trainer that’s right for you.


  • Your decision should not be based on who’s around the corner but more on whether or not that place or trainer is right for you, your goals and if can they deliver the professional standards you deserve.


SO the first thing you need to think about is:


What is your goal and what do you want to get out of training


1)     Lose weight in a specific time frame

2)     Drop body fat and Tone up

3)     Increase Fitness and strength


I am guessing for most of you it is all 3


So do you need to train with someone?




Are you ready to train at a gym on your own or at home and follow structured programs with nutritional advice updates.


Basically part of my new business gives you access to:

  • New workouts every week,
  • Structured training programs with online videos,
  • Diet plans and nutritional advise
  • All of the above not only from me but from experts in these areas from all over the world
  • A Q&A forum where I answer your questions
  • FREE registration to my Transformation contests to win huge prizes from my sponsors
  • All of this for just $9.95 per month –


I will send you more info on this SOON


So heres my criteria for choosing a trainer: –


1.      Find a trainer that meets your needs


If your goal is Weight loss – Look for a trainer that specialises in fat loss


The most important thing to identify is do they get Results – Do they have examples of before and after pics of clients they have worked with and have helped achieve results?


I have never met a client who has said  “I do NOT want results”…..


If they are a trainer that specialises in fatloss and have been doing it for a while, they will have heaps of before and afters and their programs will incorporate comprehensive nutrition programs, advice and assessment.


This shows how professional they are, how experienced they are and that that they can work with a client long time.


Most of all it shows they can get results and should be proud of that if they really care about what they do.


A trainer that claims to do it all for example- fitness, rehab, weight loss, athletic conditioning, muscle gain, cross fit, will not have the focus you require to get weight loss results, as it’s not their true passion.



If your goal is Lean Muscle definition or Building size and Shredding fat – Look for a place or trainer that specialises in this area


It’s really important to find a trainer that knows their stuff or you can be wasting your time and money.


A good trainer in this area will be a no bulls*#t trainer and will tell it like it is.


They will be pretty clued in to weightlifting techniques and body building nutrition – if they have been involved in body building comps themselves then that’s even better as they will know first hand the true extent of what’s required to achieve an awesome physique.



2.      Find a trainer that measures your progress


You might be surprised to hear that very few trainers actually do any measurements before they start training you.


It’s usually all about the workout and giving you a hard session.


So if changing your body is your goal and your committed to working out and following a fat loss nutrition program then you must continue to measure your progress weekly or fortnightly via scales, measurements and body fat.


Body fat should NOT be measured on scales they are just not accurate enough.


Body fat should be measured with callipers by someone who is experienced in using them or via a DEXA scan – cost about $85-$100 a scan.



3.      How experienced and professional is your trainer


Are they experienced enough to modify workouts to accommodate an injury, mix up your session so your not doing the same thing every session and adapt a session to your varied energy levels?


Most of all think about your favourite workouts ever and what is it you really love doing in your workouts.


Is it boxing, cardio, weights, high impact?


Whatever it is make sure your trainer is experienced in those training methods.


There is no point signing up with a trainer that does heaps of high impact movements and running if you absolutely hate that type of training.


Like everything – if you hate it you will not continue on with it so make sure your training program matches your likes and energy levels.


* I definitely recommend you always get a trainers terms and conditions from them in writing.


A professional switched on trainer will conduct their training business like any other professional business and will give this to you before your first session..


Do not leave it to chance – find out about cancellation policies and changing session times as many trainers charge for this.


If your going to buddy a private session find out what happens when one of you cant make it.


The general rule is that if your buddy cant make it they will forfeit that session so do not expect a makeup session at another time.


Another big TIP is to ask what happens when the trainer changes a private session time on you or cancels a private session at last minute..


I have had trainers work for me and cancel clients at last minute as they had a dinner to go to .. It made me furious.


4.      Does the trainer have Self knowledge


If toning up and getting stronger is your goal then you MUST lift weights.


I have interviewed trainers to work at my studio who have said they have experience with weights and within 5 mins of my witnessing how they handle weights I knew they had never lifted or engaged in a weight training program in their life.


Cardio will NOT get you toned or give your lean definition…


Ask what weight and strength training methods they use!


Ask what training they personally do and love doing – the training the trainer does themselves will usually be reflected in the workouts they give you.


* I also believe that if you’re an overweight woman then most skinny young male trainers will not be the best for you – they just cannot relate or understand your struggles and will spend the session engaging in small talk rather then helping you overcome your obstacles. – I know this from personal experience and from stories my clients have told me about past trainers they have used.



5.      Personality


To keep your workouts full of variety, challenging, motivating and fun, I recommend you train with a person that has an engaging personality.


You need to be able to relate to the person you can be honest too and tell all your deep secrets.


TIP: Look for someone with high energy and enthusiasm.


A trainer that gets pumped and excited talking about training and nutrition is going to go out of their way to make sure your session is fun and your getting the most out of it.


They are going to find ways to make sure your session is fresh, enjoyable and benefits based.


Working out with a Personal Trainer with the personality of a piece of wood will be boring and de-motivating and you will start skipping workouts and eventually quit.



Some other thoughts:


Group training v’s personal training


Group training is cost effective and working with others can be quite motivating.


Group training is great if done in a controlled environment where different fitness levels and needs can be managed


However, group training on a beach or park with 30-60 other people is not ideal or suitable as a long term solution and can lead to injury due to lack of attention to detail in your form and technique.


If you love group training then look for a group that’s on average no larger then 10 people per group


Group training is usually offered as unlimited sessions at a rate of $55.00 – $150 per week


The cost like most things in life is – “you get what you pay for”


The lower scale is often just a workout such as an outdoor bootcamp in groups of 20+ offered on average 3 x per week.


You miss a workout – too bad its gone for good


Bootcamp is mainly suitable for fairly active and injury free people as they usually involve a lot of running and high impact movements.


An outdoor bootcamp also runs rail, hail or shine so make sure you really love getting down and dirty in the environment.



Personal Training is ideal if you have a specific need or training for a specific event.


BUT I cannot stress enough if you get private sessions make sure the trainer can match your needs and provide you with all the necessary tools and information to get you results.


Private sessions cost anywhere from $50 – $140.00 per session


The lower prices range usually gets you a new trainer still learning and experimenting with how to work with clients – this price range often means training outdoors – so very little equipment.


The higher range should get you a professional and well established trainer that has been working solidly in the industry for more then 5 years and has a proven track record – this price range should also grant you access to training in a gym or studio.



Studio, Gym or Outdoors


Studio – more personalised attention and you usually work with the owner who has invested heavily into their business and committed to making it a success so they will work harder to keep you a happy client.


Gym – Just find one you like – the glitzier does not make it better.

10 years ago before I started my own business I worked at a massive commercial chain gym that had everything – the thing is I only ever used about ¼ of the equipment with clients.


So before spending big bucks on a monthly membership think about what services and equipment you will use.


If using a personal trainer at a gym find out if you need to become a member of the gym as otherwise you may need to pay a surcharge every time you access the gym.


Outdoors – NOTE: training outdoors sucks for most of the year – its dark, cold, the grass is wet and its very de-motivating – often the comfort of a warm bed wins.


So really think about the environmental conditions you will be up against.


Going for a run every now and then or doing some stairs is great but relying on only working outdoors can be limiting.


Every summer I get so annoyed when I see a trainer with an unfit, overweight client at the park making them run laps in the hot sun whilst they watch under a tree – so NOT motivating


–         The thing it never lasts, the client looks miserable and the workout has been based on the environment and not on the clients needs and abilities.


The client gives up, hates exercise based on their experience and it’s a real shame


The above is based on my personal opinion,


My experiences having been a personal trainer for 10 years, having had many personal trainers work at my studio, mentoring with sports psychologists, and as well as being on the other end as a client.


Got any further questions – just ask