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KNOW YOUR TRAINER: What are the qualities of a good trainer?

Updated: Mar 20, 2022

A personal trainer doesn't magically come up with workout programs. They aren't there just to count repetitions or scream at clients to push themselves. They are not drill-sergeants, nor are they there to bury someone into the ground. If your trainer is pushing you to puke and pass out, find a new trainer.

A trainer is there to mentor. A great trainer will do everything possible to get to know you. A great trainer will learn what you do on a day-to-day basis to understand what you can reasonably accomplish when it comes to fitness and #nutrition.

A great trainer will push when needed but understand your obstacles. They will work with everything that stands in the way of your goals. They will not ask for perfection but will ask for commitment and effort. A great trainer will only ask for a good #attitude and some progress, little by little.

A great trainer will listen to what you want. A great trainer will be on your team and will never give up on you. Trainers are not there to expect the impossible, they will help guide you towards what is possible: A better quality of life.

I have had the honor and privilege of mentoring over 300 personal training interns in my career. I feel that this has been the best thing for me and my personal growth as a trainer. During this time, I have noticed five key qualities that great personal trainers possess.


Patience is key to a good client-trainer relationship. Trainers should understand what works for one client might not work for another. Trainers should also find a comfortable pace for their clients. Some clients may progress at a faster pace, while others may require more #coaching and experience.


A personal trainer should always ask the client how they are feeling that day and how their life has been. They should ask if they have some aches and pains, stayed up late working or with a sick child, and any other stressors that may have occurred from the last session. This is critical for the client and trainer to understand how they need to progress with the workout that day and with all of the goals going forward.


When working with a trainer in any capacity, whether it be in a one-on-one, semi-private (up to 4 people), and team setting (10+), the client should have all the focus on them. A trainer should not be texting on the phone or checking their social media feeds or drinking a cup of coffee. Appearance is also critical. A personal trainer should be well-groomed and have the proper attire. And lastly, a client should always keep conversations at a professional level and not debate things such as politics, religion, and the like. We come from all walks of life and that should be respected.


Having a proper certification is a standard that should be met. A four-year college degree in a health and fitness-related field could be very beneficial for a personal trainer's education. There are good trainers out there that don't have a four-year degree but overall it does help tremendously.

What I do feel is an absolute must is that a trainer should have a mentor. They should have spent a significant amount of time with another seasoned personal trainer in an internship or mentorship setting. This is the most beneficial education that a great personal trainer can receive. The more continuing education that I have done with my mentors and peers in these types of settings, along with workshops, seminars, and mastermind groups, the better trainer I have become. A great personal trainer needs to have a network of people in their field that they can continually learn from.


As a client, you want to feel as comfortable as possible with your trainer and know his/her best interests in mind. They should also be happy and fun to be around. No one likes to be around a low-energy and crabby person. A personal trainer needs to leave their personal problems at the door and focus on the client that is coming to them for guidance and help. While the client may be a customer, they should also be treated like a real person.

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