What to look for in a Personal Trainer

Getting fit and healthy is always a good idea, but it can be challenging to achieve without the right guidance, motivation, and support. That’s where personal trainers come in, offering customised workouts, nutritional advice, and accountability to help you reach your fitness goals. However, finding the right personal trainer can be overwhelming, especially if you’re a novice to the fitness world. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the essential qualities, qualifications, and questions you should look for in a personal trainer. By the end of this article, you’ll have the confidence to make an informed decision and get started on your fitness journey. 


What do you need? What are your goals? 

Before embarking on your search for a personal trainer, it’s crucial to take the time to fully identify and understand your fitness needs, goals, and preferences. Are you looking to shed a few pounds, build strength and muscle, enhance your endurance, or perhaps improve your performance in a specific sport? Do you thrive in one-on-one training sessions, enjoy the camaraderie of group classes, or prefer the flexibility and convenience of online coaching? By clarifying your objectives and preferences, you’ll be better equipped to find a personal trainer who specialises in your specific area of interest and who can accommodate your schedule and budget. 

Equally important is being honest and realistic about your current fitness level, health history, and any physical limitations or past injuries you may have. Providing this information upfront to your trainer will enable them to design a bespoke program that is not only safe and effective but also tailored to address your unique needs and circumstances. 

Remember, the journey towards achieving your fitness goals is a personal one, and finding the right personal trainer who aligns with your vision and approach can make all the difference. So take the time to reflect on your goals, preferences, and limitations before embarking on this exciting fitness journey. 


What qualifications should a personal trainer have? 

The fitness industry in Australia requires personal trainers to hold qualifications to ensure their expertise and competence. When looking for a trainer, it is important to ensure they have a nationally recognised Certificate IV in Fitness from registered training organisations (RTOs) like Onfit Training College (RTO 32107), the Australian Institute of Fitness (AIF), or the Australian Fitness Academy (AFA). These certifications demonstrate completion of a comprehensive curriculum covering anatomy, exercise science, program design, and client assessment, as well as successfully passing a thorough examination.

Additionally, a personal trainer holding a membership with a registering body such as AUSactive or FITREC provides extra assurance in ensuring their education and credibility are quality-checked.  A good personal trainer should also hold liability insurance, stay updated with the latest research and trends, and engage in continuing education. Before hiring a trainer, don’t hesitate to inquire about their qualifications and experience. 


Questions to ask a personal trainer. 

When interviewing a potential personal trainer, here are some questions you should ask to gauge their suitability: 

  • What is your fitness philosophy? This question aims to understand the trainer’s approach and values towards fitness, helping you determine if it aligns with your own goals and beliefs. 
  • How do you tailor your programs to meet individual needs? By asking this, you can assess if the trainer takes a personalised approach to fitness, considering individual abilities, goals, and limitations. 
  • What kind of assessments do you use to track progress? This question helps you understand the trainer’s methods for tracking progress and if they prioritise data-driven results. 
  • What is your experience working with clients like me? Asking this allows you to gauge if the trainer has relevant experience and expertise in working with clients who have similar goals or needs. 
  • What are your rates and packages, and what are your policies on cancellations, refunds, and rescheduling? This question helps you understand the financial and logistical aspects of working with the trainer, ensuring transparency and clarity. 
  • Can you provide references or testimonials from previous clients? By requesting references or testimonials, you can get insights into the trainer’s track record and the experiences of past clients, helping you make an informed decision. 


What are the red flags in a personal trainer? 

While most personal trainers are knowledgeable and ethical, it’s essential to be aware of the red flags that could indicate a trainer is unprofessional, inexperienced, or unsafe. These include: 

  • Lack of qualifications or credentials: When a fitness professional or trainer lacks the necessary qualifications or credentials, it raises concerns about their knowledge, expertise, and ability to provide safe and effective guidance. 
  • Unwillingness to listen to your goals, concerns, or feedback: If a trainer is not willing to listen to your goals, concerns, or feedback, it indicates a lack of personalised approach and may result in a training program that does not align with your needs or preferences. 
  • Pushing you too hard or too fast, leading to injuries or burnout: A trainer who pushes you excessively and disregards your limitations can increase the risk of injuries or burnout. It is important to have a trainer who understands the importance of gradual progress and respects your physical limits. 
  • Using unsafe or outdated techniques or equipment: Using unsafe or outdated techniques or equipment can pose serious risks to your safety and hinder your progress. It is crucial to work with a trainer who stays updated with the latest industry practices and uses safe and effective training methods. 
  • Overpromising results or using unrealistic expectations: If a trainer promises unrealistic results or sets unreasonable expectations, it can lead to disappointment and frustration. A reputable trainer should provide a realistic and achievable plan based on your individual circumstances and goals. 
  • Unethical behaviour, such as pressuring you to buy supplements or products: Trainers who engage in unethical behaviour, such as pressuring you to purchase unnecessary supplements or products, prioritise their own financial gain over your wellbeing. It is important to work with a trainer who has your best interests in mind and provides unbiased advice. 

If you happen to observe any of these warning signs, it is highly recommended that you seek out an alternative trainer who can offer a safe, enjoyable, and personalised training experience tailored specifically to your needs and goals. Taking the time to find the right trainer can make a significant difference in your fitness journey and ensure that you receive the support and guidance necessary to achieve optimal results. 


How much should a personal trainer cost? 

The cost of personal training can vary significantly based on several factors. These factors include the location where the training takes place, the trainer’s level of experience and qualifications, as well as the program options available. In Australia, for instance, personal training rates can range from $50 to $150 per hour, depending on the specific geographic area, the trainer’s credentials and expertise, and the type of training you prefer. 

It’s worth noting that group sessions and online coaching options may offer a more affordable alternative, with rates typically ranging from $10 to $50 per session. These options can be particularly beneficial for those looking for a more budget-friendly approach to fitness. 

Before committing to a personal trainer, it is important to thoroughly understand their pricing policies. This includes familiarising yourself with any potential cancellation fees, accepted payment methods, and the availability of package discounts. Taking the time to consider these details can help ensure that you make an informed decision and find a personal training solution that suits both your fitness goals and your budget. 


How to find a good personal trainer. 

Finding a good personal trainer requires some research, but it’s worth the effort to ensure a positive and successful experience. Here are some ways to find a qualified and compatible trainer: 

  • Start by reaching out to friends, family, or acquaintances who have previously worked with personal trainers. They can provide valuable insights and recommendations based on their first-hand experiences. 
  • Take advantage of the vast resources available online and on social media platforms. Conduct thorough research on personal trainers, read their detailed bios, delve into customer reviews, and consider their ratings. This will help you gain a better understanding of their expertise, training style, and client satisfaction. 
  • Explore the local fitness centres, gyms, or specialty studios in your area that offer personal training services. Consider requesting a trial session or consultation to get a feel for the trainer’s approach, personality, and suitability for your fitness goals. 
  • Look for personal trainers who have specialised knowledge and experience in your specific areas of interest or goals. Whether it’s weight loss, strength training, yoga, or sports performance, finding a trainer who aligns with your aspirations can greatly enhance your training experience. 
  • In addition to traditional in-person training, consider the option of online coaching or virtual training. This offers the benefits of flexibility, affordability, and accessibility, allowing you to work with a trainer remotely and tailor your sessions to fit your schedule and preferences. 

By following these steps and considering these factors, you can make an informed decision and find the perfect personal trainer to support you on your fitness journey. 



Choosing a personal trainer is not just a decision, it’s a substantial investment in your health and fitness journey. To make the most out of this investment, it’s crucial to do your due diligence and find someone who can guide, motivate, and inspire you every step of the way.  

By following the guidelines discussed in this comprehensive article, you will be able to identify the essential qualities, qualifications, and key questions to look for in a personal trainer. It’s not just about finding someone who is knowledgeable and experienced; it’s about finding someone who is truly passionate about helping you become the best version of yourself.  

A great personal trainer not only possesses the expertise and skills to design effective workouts, but they also have a genuine empathy and understanding of your unique challenges and goals. They will be your biggest cheerleader, providing unwavering support and encouragement throughout your fitness journey.  

With the right personal trainer by your side, you can embark on a transformative journey of self-improvement, holistic wellness, and lasting happiness. They will empower you to push past your limits, celebrate your successes, and overcome any obstacles that come your way. So, take your time, do your research, and find the perfect personal trainer who will be your ultimate fitness partner and ally.