Every industry has its dubious practitioners, and unfortunately, the fitness industry is no different. The fitness industry is definitely growing and so is the amount of personal trainers.

Having a personal trainer can be very beneficial, especially if you are a newbie that just got bitten by the fitness bug, however, not all of them are worth the investment.

Even if they have studied a proper course through a reputable academy, some personal trainers become lazy and concentrate more on making money than actually doing their job. You will notice this often when they are training 3 or more people at one time and making them train and eat the same. So how do we sift the good personal trainer from the bad?


Just because you belong to a high-end gym, it doesn’t mean that you will be getting a high-end personal trainer. Before signing-up, ask to see the success stories of their clients. Surely ‘before’ and ‘after’ pics would be something that they would have strewn up all over their office wall to boast their achievements and entice new clientele.

Besides this, also ask to see their credentials and their certificates / diplomas. I mean, you wouldn’t trust a ‘doctor’ who studied at a sub-standard varsity, so why should a personal trainer be any different?


Depending upon who you see and which gym they are based at, some personal trainers may want you to sign a contract before you even get your assessment done. My advice – RUN!!! You may even get more benefit from this cardio than working with these personal trainers.

Although, many of these trainers are good and your money will be well spent, if you happen to land up with a sub-standard personal trainer, you will be locked in for a certain period and it probably would have been more beneficial to burn your money to keep warm this winter season.

I would stick to personal trainers who allow you to book one session at a time. This way, you can test out the trainer’s expertise before committing to numerous sessions. In general, a good trainer should assess your goals, body fat percentage, measurements as well as things like movement patterns, flexibility and posture. Without keeping track of these baseline measurements, how would you track your progress.


This one is a bit tricky because a number of gyms don’t allow their personal trainers to dish out meal plans to their clients. We all know that achieving your goal in the gym is 70% nutrition and 30% training, so my question to them is ‘how are your clients going to achieve their goals if they don’t know what to eat?’

For those that do offer nutrition plans, a good PT will give you both a personally tailored workout and nutrition plan. They will find out your likes and dislikes, allergies, what times you are able to eat and how long you have to prepare meals. Without this info, how are they going to give you a plan that is sustainable and fits into your lifestyle?

A pet peeve for me is when personal trainers don’t practice what they preach.

If they are eating meals that can be bought from a petrol station, it is most likely that your nutrition plan won’t quite be up to par.


Focus and attention, and I’m not taking about yours. If your PT is more concerned about what’s going on around them, like the cute girl or guy that just walked past, or quickly messaging another client back while they are supposed to be training you, then how do you know you are doing the exercise correctly? Besides being rude, your personal trainer should also be scrutinizing every rep and making adjustments to improper technique.


The fitness industry is full of fads and methods of training which means most personal trainers will have a personal preference and area of expertise. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. However, it is does become a problem when they use this method as a one-size-fits-all approach to their clients.

This may be the only method they know and while it may be effective for some, it might not work for others. What I would suggest is to ask your personal trainer why they want you to do this or eat that. By doing this, you can establish whether the hard work you are putting in, is getting you to where you want to go.


This one I have seen with a number of personal trainers, their client arrives for their workout not knowing what they are going to train, and scary thing is, neither does their trainer. So they end up doing the same moves every session. It’s your trainer’s job to keep pushing and challenging you. Doing the same thing week in and week out for months on end is a tell-tale sign of a useless and possibly clueless trainer.

To test this, watch your trainer with their other clients, if they are doing the same routine with you and a woman in her seventies, there is a serious problem when it comes to training knowledge.


Something that is just as important as your initial assessment is your progress assessment. This should be done every few weeks in order to gauge if you are moving closer to your goals, and if not, why not? Your PT can then make the necessary adjustments to help you back onto the road to success.

If your trainer comes across as disinterested in helping you achieve your goals, it is because they are most likely more interested in seeing their bank account grow than your arms.

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