How to pick a good personal trainer and what to avoid

How to pick a good personal trainer and what to avoid

Have you ever received dodgy nutrition or exercise advice from a PT?

Alex Thomas, the founder of Sports Nutrition Association, says it’s likely many of us know when the advice we are being given just seems a bit…off, but advises it’s best to double check if you have concerns about your PT’s advice.

“If the advice that you are receiving seems a bit far-fetched, consider speaking to another expert to cross check, or write into us at Sports Nutrition Association, especially if it is nutrition or supplement related.”

woman working out with personal trainer in gym
How do you know you have the right Personal Trainer for you? Photo: Getty
The Sports Nutrition Association, which is a new educational and governing body that is regulating Personal Trainers, Exercise Physiologists, Strength Coaches, Exercise Scientists, and Clinical Nutritionists, is looking to add Sports Nutrition & Supplementation Programming to their insured scope of practice.

The association exists to create best practice within the industry to try to stamp out misinformation and dangerous advice. But how do you find a great PT? And do you even need one?

The Benefits Of Having A PT
Alex says there are so many benefits to having a personal trainer.

“For starters, because you are spending a little more money on them as opposed to a group class, it is a good motivator to show up!” he says.

“Personal Trainers are also great in terms of the fact that if you are one-on-one, you have all of their attention which means no slacking.

“They can program the workout to suit your needs and goals, they can help you build healthy habits, and if they are also qualified in nutrition, they may even be able to double up with nutritional advice as well.”

personal training class
There are so many benefits to having a personal trainer. Photo: Getty
Signs Your PT Isn’t Working Out
But he warns there are definitely some red flags to look out for.

“If the trainer is not respecting your injuries, likes and dislikes when it comes to training, you may need a second opinion,” he warns.

“Although, keep in mind, if you are a client who tries to get out of doing every single exercise, that needs to be taken into account.

“But if they make you feel uncomfortable at all, you may also want to look for someone else.”

What To Look For When Hiring A PT
Whether you prefer the gentle approach or more of a boot-camp feel to your workout, Alex says there’s a PT out there for you.

“First and foremost, you want to find someone who aligns with your goals and your personality,” he says.

“If you are not someone who likes getting yelled at, then don’t go for a drill sergeant. If you don’t like power lifting, then find a trainer who has a style similar to how you like to train. That is the first thing, because if you don’t align with the person who is training you, you are unlikely to stick with training.”

Alex says it’s also vital to check qualifications.

“If you are pregnant or post-natal, you want a trainer with experience and credentials that say they have done further education training mums. If you also want nutritional advice, which many clients want as nutrition is kind of part of the picture when you have a body goal, you want to find a trainer who is qualified to give advice on nutrition too.”

Three fit woman in bootcamp. They put in a lot of effort by planking side-by-side. Space for copy.
Dodgy advice and not taking your needs into account are a few red flags for a PT. Photo: Getty
The Sports Nutrition Association accredits professionals who have done the appropriate study to provide services around sports nutrition. They also educate coaches who may have some gaps in their education.

“Once they are up to scratch, they can become a member and that will give them access to ongoing research and manuals each year,” Paul explains. “We also get them to sit yearly exams and audit them annually too to ensure they are giving safe and best-practice advice.”

Alex also advises to make sure they have insurance as well.

“All businesses should have insurance, but you want to know that if for any reason, although it is rare, you get seriously injured, they are covered.”

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