When you’re shopping for new running shoes, you know it’s never going to be a one-size-fits-all situation. You need something that suits your training style, offers support, doesn’t rub you up the wrong way, and just feels right.
Funnily enough, these criteria are equally relevant if you’re in the market for a personal trainer. Finding a PT who suits your needs, goals and personality – as well as budget and location – isn’t always straightforward.
“It’s a very saturated industry and there are a tonne of people to choose from. It’s imperative to know your trainer leads by example, has been in the industry for a while and can prove to you that they have your best interests at heart,” says Andrew Pap, personal trainer and IsoWhey Sports Ambassador.
“[Clients] need to look at their budget, whether they’re looking at training outdoors or indoors – so a gym, or outdoor training – and their location,” explains Ali Cavill, personal trainer at Fit Fantastic. Let’s be real here: if a trainer is based several suburbs away from your house or workplace, or isn’t available at the times that are best for you, you’re not making it easy for yourself.
Cavill also recommends finding out what a trainer includes in their sessions, like whether it’s outside or and what equipment is provided.
Watch: A simple legs-focused exercise from the Paper Tiger team. (Post continues after video.)
Qualifications, experience, certification
You can ask a trainer for this information outright, otherwise Cavill says you can usually find it through their website, referrals, or Fitness Australia’s registration list.
Personal trainers usually require a Certificate 3 and 4 in Fitness; however, some might have university degrees in exercise science or exercise sport, or sports-specific training like coaching certification.
Andrew Pap says a good trainer will also work alongside other allied health professionals like physiotherapists and dietitians. “Unless they’re qualified in those fields, they should be referring you so you can get the most out of the money you’re paying,” he says.
The right trainer will offer programs and have the relevant training to suit your individual goals, circumstances or medical conditions.
"If you are a new mum it is important that your trainer is qualified to work with you and keep you safe during this time, whereas if you were training for a triathlon you would need a trainer with a completely different speciality," says Nadine Veverka, personal trainer and founder of Her Master Plan.
That said, experience with different kinds of clients and methods is also valuable. "It's important to look for someone who has experience with both males and females, and in an array of different training — weights, endurance, strength, cardio," Andrew Pap explains. (Post continues after gallery.)