5 Signs of a Good Personal Trainer

It’s the new year, many people are going to either start training or start taking their training more seriously.

As a result, gyms are going to be more busy, and personal trainers are going to be in demand

So if you are considering getting a personal trainer, here are some thoughts and criteria I think you should be aware of in order to get the most out of your experience.

What makes a “good trainer”

1. Over everything else, your personal trainer should care about you. Every violation a trainer can make against you will likely come down to this.

Not every personal trainer is a good match for every client and that's okay, if you are going to a bigger, commercial gym, you likely have options and if you do not feel comfortable with a trainer or if you feel like your trainer does not care about you, ask for another one.

As a personal trainer, your job is first and foremost to be personable and then be a good trainer, you have to be able to relate to the person you are coaching, it is not enough to be a cheerleader, it will be worthwhile to read books on how to be more empathetic and communicate better with clients to better address their concerns. Personal training has a mental or emotional component. Training is pretty easy after you establish good form and working hard, but its getting people to buy in that is the hard part.

2. They should track your training.

Most gym franchises and commercial gyms have their trainers carry a clipboard or they provide you a notebook. This is to track your progress and how you are feeling each session.

If they are not tracking anything, if they do not disclose to you a plan and a goal and then are unable to relate what they are making you do in order to get to that goal, they don’t care about you.

3. They should not be going outside their lane

Remember, there are limitations to what a basic CPT can do. With just a basic CPT:

  • They cannot diagnose injury
  • They cannot prescribe medication
  • They cannot make you a meal plan
  • They should always make that clear with any advice they give you

4. They should not be telling you to take drugs

If their answer to you goal is drugs, full stop, get a new trainer, maybe get a new gym.

People can achieve a lot naturally if they are willing to be patient and consistent.

5. They should tell you that it is going to take a lot of work in and outside the training session

If you are a trainer, do not promise that all they need to make progress is the session. If you are a client, do not believe a trainer who tells you that. You trainer should tell you how important diet and nutrition is.

For the best results you need to maintain a regular amount of meals every day, same kinds of meals every day, drink water at regular intervals, get 8+ hours of sleep, and maintain regular activity outside of training (e.g. 8K STEPS MINIMUM)

If a trainer can do all this and teach you how to have good form, they are a good trainer.

What makes a “great trainer”

They should be able to answer your questions in a way that addresses BOTH pros and cons. If they are unable to give a nuanced perspective, they likely do not understand what they are telling you. There is definitely a time and place to rely on more simple understandings and only disclose as much as they are able to understand in that moment, but people are generally a lot smarter than we would give credit. So, as someone they trust to be an authority,  your trainer should be an authority, they need to take that responsibility seriously and learn about things.


They should be confident but skeptical, a great trainer is learning about you while you are learning about training. They should be willing to try new things, modify their methods, and make adjustments for you. If they are so sure that their way is the right and only way and everyone else is wrong, they are a bum.
Lastly, they should not bash on any other coach in order to sell themselves.