What You Should Look For In A Personal Trainer

By Edeline Anne Goh

Bored of the same old fitness routine at the gym? Not seeing the results you desire even after weeks of working out? Maybe it’s time to get some ‘personal’ help!

Personal trainers will assist you in meeting your fitness needs and goals but how do you know if the personal trainer you’re talking to is the right one for you?

Urban Health speaks to Saiful Nizam Omar, Assistant Fitness Manager at True Fitness, Jaya 33. With 7 years of fitness training under his belt, Saiful explains all you need to know about personal trainers.

Why Opt For A Trainer?

One of your first questions will probably be, “Why should I opt for a trainer in the first place?” An important point to keep in mind is that personal trainers provide you the benefits of a customised fitness training programme tailored to meet your individual needs and goals.

Whether your aim is to lose weight, tone up or recover from an injury, personal trainers will personalise your fitness routine so it’s exactly right for your body and your physical abilities. Besides that, they also help track your progress and most importantly, they can be your number 1 ‘fitness cheerleader’!

The invaluable advice that you get from your personal trainer won’t just be about fitness either. “Your personal trainer will also be your nutritional and lifestyle adviser. They will take care of your overall wellbeing, encourage healthy eating and adequate rest and may even help you quit smoking if you’re a smoker,” says Saiful.

There are several good reasons to opt for a personal trainer. These include:

  • Lack of knowledge about training and how to use the equipment at the gym
  • Pre-existing medical conditions or injuries
  • Hitting a fitness plateau which basically means your workouts have ‘flatlined’ so you don’t see improvements
  • Lack of motivation or discipline to stick to your workout

Trainer Traits to Look Out For

“Knowledge and professionalism are the 2 most important traits of a good personal trainer,” says Saiful

When it comes to knowledge, it is important to ensure that your personal trainer is equipped with the right credentials, skills and training. Saiful, who has a background in sports science, emphasises that a certificate in a related field is essential and years of experience are definitely a major plus.

Other than certification and experience, the right attitude is also essential. “A professional attitude is vital when training a client and it is extremely important for a trainer to focus on the client,” he explains For Saiful, professionalism translates to various personal rules that he follows during working hours. For instance, the use of mobile phones is a big no-no when he is with a client.

Other important attributes of a personal trainer include being a good ‘people person’, an effective motivator and being able to understand the client. It’s a good idea to keep these qualities in mind when choosing a personal trainer as they will help you identify a trainer who’s not just professional and skilled at what he does but who is also genuinely interested in helping you reach your fitness goals.

Saiful offers additional tips. “Get to know your trainer a little better before signing up for a personal training package. Also, if you are given trial passes when you join the gym, use them to evaluate your trainer’s qualities.”

How About Injuries?

Some gym members who have been through an illness or surgery choose to hire a personal trainer to guide them during their rehabilitation process and to ensure that their workout regime is safe enough to follow, given their medical condition.

Saiful reveals that he has trained a client who is reliant on the oxygen machine and wheelchair. In situations like this, the right personal trainer will guide and reassure you about working out in the appropriate way. He relates that after several training sessions, his client could see an overall improvement in various aspects of his physical fitness including his strength.

All in all, if you want to be sure you’re on the right track to improving your overall wellbeing and fitness but lack motivation or knowledge, you might want to give personal training a try.

Now that you know what to look for in a personal trainer, what should you give them in return?

  1. Discipline


  1. Commitment

Saiful says that it is all about helping yourself at the end of the day. After all, it takes two to tango!

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