Fitness advice: What to look for in a personal trainer, from education to a adaptability

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There’s a reason all the top sports stars have a coach. Having a professional with you throughout your fitness journey should give you the motivation, accountability and education to push further than you could by yourself.

I say “should” because there are some truly terrible personal trainers out there. Every time I go to a new gym I keep an eye out for what other trainers get up to with clients, and what I see is often unintentionally hilarious, staggeringly inept or, occasionally, downright dangerous.

So what should you be looking for in a trainer? First up is passion: without this, you can probably write off getting the results you want. The most successful trainers love being a part of the health and fitness industry. You can spot these men and women a mile off – they’re the ones enjoying themselves, pushing their clients, congratulating them when they put in extra effort. Being a PT is more than just a job: you have to live it.

Listening to your client

This is something many trainers do badly. The client-trainer relationship should begin at the initial consultation and be a constantly evolving dialogue. A trainer should be trying to find out as much as they can about a new client: why they’re there, what they want to achieve, how they measure “progress” and “success”, what they don’t like, in what time-frame they want to see results, do they have any injuries… If a trainer meets a client and immediately sits them on the rowing machine, alarm bells should start to ring.

Being Adaptable

The best trainers are the ones who adapt. They will all have their specialist areas or go-to exercises, but they need to tailor their routines for the individuals. If a trainer specialises in boxing, and the client wants boxing training, great. But if a client wants to lose weight and the trainer loves Olympic lifting, they will need to adapt their repertoire or they’re setting their client up to fail.

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