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How To Choose The Right Personal Trainer For Your Goals

January 21, 2020

how to choose a personal trainer 

Let’s be frank. It would be pretty easy for me to tell you that I’m the right Personal Trainer for you – but being realistic, everyone has unique needs, requirements, and availability, so what works for one individual may not work for another.

Here’s a couple of factors you need to consider when you’re choosing which Personal Trainer you’d like to work with, looking at whether you need someone with specialist qualification, interests aligning with yours – or maybe you just want someone you can have a laugh with! Read on and make sure you’re clear of what you need before you start your search.

Why Do You Want A PT?

First up, you need to think about the reason you’re actually getting a PT. If you feel like you need a little help with movements or building confidence around the gym, if you just need that little spark of motivation a few times a week so you can go back to your own health routine with a renewed vigour, or if you just want someone to guide you through all the nonsense around fitness with some more experience and knowledge, then these are all great reasons to get a PT. If you think going to your sessions once, twice, or even three times a week will do all the work for you without you needing to work on your lifestyle outside of these, then maybe you need to take a step back and think about how much time and commitment you can dedicate the other 23 hours in a day. Start walking for 10-20 minutes, three times a day, getting to sleep at a reasonable time, and eating five portions of fruit and veg along with protein with each meal, then once you’ve done that for a month reassess the reasons why you’re looking for a trainer.

What Are Their Qualifications?

Surprisingly, there’s no government standard you have to meet to be able to practice as a Personal Trainer – someone could wake up tomorrow and decide to start up as one without having even stepped in a gym. There are lots of PT courses though, so to keep yourself protected make sure they’ve done their Level 3 PT with a reputable provider. Mine is with Lifetime Training, which is REPs accredited, although there are a number of other providers including but not limited to, Premier, YMCA, Train Fitness, and No1.

Additionally, if you’re classed as a special population you’ll want to ensure they’ve done the extra qualifications to help you out. If you are pre- or post-natal, you’re under 18 or consider yourself elderly, ask your PT if they’ve done the appropriate CPD course.

how to choose a personal trainer

What Is Their Personality Like?

You might like a laugh when you’re out with your friends, but take your training time seriously, so you don’t want a PT who’s full of banter. You could be full of confidence during work time but the gym makes you feel nervous, so a PT yelling orders at you is not going to sit right.

It’s going to be difficult to tell whether you’ll truly get on with a PT unless you have a trial session, week or month with them, but as you’re working out, try peeking at the sessions they’re conducting, or having a nosey on their social media to see if they post about their sessions – is that the sort of person you feel you could spend an hour working out with, potentially more than once a week? If the answer is no, there are plenty more fish in the sea – or PTs in the gym!

What Are Their Specialities and Interests?

I’m really into functional fitness, as the benefits of functional strength extend far out of the gym, so my programmes will often be based around movements that easily transfer to real life as well as almost every other challenge you could possibly think of. It also benefits weight loss by building metabolically-active muscle. If you dread the thought of pushing a sled, deadlifting, or jumping on a box, then I do encourage you to at least give it a go – however, if you still hate it, I may not be the PT for you.

Speak to different Personal Trainers in your gym to find out whether their interests and what they specialise in align with how you want to train. It’s your time and money, remember, so ensure you’re spending it how you want to.

how to choose a personal trainer 

What Is Their Availability Like?

This is a pretty simple one but often overlooked – make sure the PT has sessions available when you’re available to train. If you know you’re not an early morning exerciser but the PT you’re speaking to only has 7am appointments, think whether that’s sustainable long-term for you. Another option may be to look into small group training where you get the benefit of Personal Training, but working with others, and a number of people can book into popular slots.


I’m always looking to speak to people who are excited about strength training and functional fitness, but I also know so many others in my area and around the country, so drop me a line if you’d like some advice. Make sure you ask all the questions you need to feel comfortable of your PT at your consult – you’re investing your time and money here, so make sure you’re happy with your decision!

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Sarah fitness blog Manchester

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Welcome to That Squat Bot, established 2013! I'm Sarah, a fitness professional based in Manchester, UK.

I love feeling strong and lifting heavy, but I also love trying different types of movement and using my fitness to adventure outside of the gym. I'm also a massive Marvel nerd!

Find out more about me here.

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Opinions expressed are solely my own and do not reflect the views or opinions of my employer.

Occasionally I get sent products for review or work with brands on a mutually beneficial basis; this will be made clear in the post and will have an asterisk (*) next to any gifted items. My opinion is honest and will never be bought. Read the full disclosure policy here.

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