How to choose a personal trainer

I have just read this article on choosing a personal trainer on my friend Ben Gray’s website –   I’m sharing it as I think it is important that everybody works with a personal trainer to get results and not just to have somebody hold their hand in the gym.  

Follow Ben’s advice to ensure you get value for money when selecting your fitness and nutrition coach. 

Looking through the fitness profession I have become extremely disillusioned with the quality of training offered to the general public, particularly where I live! Too many trainers are not learning, not training and not in a healthy enough state to be offering the kind of advice that is needed to truly change your life around.

Year after year more and more hopeful young trainers are entering the industry with their 3 month premier badge and the knowledge that they now know everything that is needed to change your life, I know how it feels, I was one once.  However from the day I entered the industry it became very clear to me that the level of knowledge I had was akin to a school child let loose in the wild, if I did not learn quickly I was not going to be able to help myself never mind anybody else.

Unfortunately not enough trainers feel this way and spend year after year dishing out the same old shit week after week, not really noticing or to be honest caring if they get any really significant changes with their clients, just as long as they get paid!

I think the time has come to make trainers accountable, so I have compiled a list of the top 5 ways you can make sure your trainer is giving you the best they can and offering value for money.

So what should you look for if you are looking for a new trainer?

1.       Results
Success leaves clues, and if you meet with a trainer who consistently gets amazing results time and time again, and has the proof to show this in form of video, pictures, etc etc, then you may be onto a winner.  At the very least make sure he has some written testimonials, these should include a picture of the person writing it, if not then the chances are the trainer has written that himself.

Without previous success then how can you expect the trainer to get results with you?

TIP: Success leaves clues and a good trainer should leave a trail of success wherever he works, and will have evidence of this.

2.       Passion / Inspiration
Your trainer should be an inspiration to you, their lifestyle, physique, training methodologies, everything about them should scream success, and inspire you to do the very things that are not only going to make you lose weight but increase your energy levels, health and vitality.  If you come across a trainer and they seem down in the dumps, a little overweight ( if your trainer cannot even get himself into real lean shape then how is he going to achieve your success) or looks unhealthy then the likelihood is you will suffer the same results. Most trainers will prescribe the very thing they are doing at that moment in time, and if it is not working for them it is not going to work for you, remember success leaves clues? Well so does failure!

As well as being inspirational your trainer should be passionate, unbelievably passionate, just being in their company should leave you feeling a whole new level of passion for health, fitness and if I am honest, life. You should leave feeling vitalised and barely be able to contain your excitement about the new road ahead, if you leave feeling anything less than this then maybe you should look elsewhere.

TIP: The level of the enthusiasm your trainer has the ability to instil in you will directly correlate with their ability to get the results that you are looking for, if he isn’t inspirational and passionate then you are simply not going to get results

3.       Nutrition
You should be blown away by your trainers’ knowledge in this field, not just impressed or glad he has some, but literally blown away. Quite simply it is their knowledge in this field that will determine whether or not you will achieve your results, the better his knowledge the better your results will be, period.

70% of all results in this profession are diet related and you will never be able to out-train a bad diet, so if he isn’t eating ridiculously healthy or prescribing a health based nutrition plan that is a million mile away from the normal food pyramid then your results are going to suffer, your motivation is going to reduce, and eventually this attempt at getting fit will end up the same as all the previous attempts.

TIP: Your trainer should come across as a bit of a health freak, he should drink funny weird green coloured drinks and bang on about the benefits of eating big raw salads for breakfast, if he doesn’t then he really does not know nutrition, this is not to say he does not enjoy the odd drink, or curry, just not regularly, he should still be human.

4.       Training
You would expect your trainer should have an in depth knowledge in this area, however this is not always the case; in fact if I am honest it is usually the exception rather than the rule.  Luckily, and most trainers know this, as long as we get the above three elements correct then results are easily achievable.

You will often find it is the very trainers with the least knowledge that seem to prescribe the most complicated training plans, with the most ridiculous number of exercises. I was going to put an example below but to be honest it is pretty simple if there are much more than 4 or 5 exercises in your main program (not including warm up), your client does not know too much about training.

Training really is pretty simple; work hard using basic principles and movement patterns such as , the  squat, deadlift, lunge, push, pull and twist, and you are likely to get great results as long as your nutrition is correct.

TIP: The best trainer will often be the one who stands out as having different training methods and does not overcomplicate matters, whilst still getting effective results time and time again. Your trainer should  rarely feel the need to turn to the ridiculous training gimmicks in the industry such as swiss balls, viper (whatever that is meant to be),wobbly stick thingies, and do not get me started on vibro plates, or that ridiculous vibro dumbbell thing that I swear is only a joke to see how many people buy one.

5.       Education
Your trainer should be studying, and studying hard, the fitness and health profession is moving forward at an alarming rate and unless your trainer is away monthly on some sort of training course then there is no way they are giving you the best information available at that time. Knowledge, or more importantly applied knowledge is power and the more knowledgeable your trainer is, the more they will be able to apply with you, the greater your results will be.

TIP: Ask your trainer what the last 3 books he read were, on fitness, nutrition, and business, educating himself he will be able to recall them in an instance, also ask who the last person was he mentored or interned with he should have an answer very quickly, and these people should be at the top of the game.

Mine are Phil Richards (Nutrition and Training)  and Paul Mort (Business)

Books: enymes for health and longevity, lights out and crush it (All this month)

So unfortunately just because your trainer has the premier badge or is has level 3 REPS advanced trainer status,  it really does mean Jack, it is not sufficient information to show he is able to get you the results you desire, in fact, many trainers could possibly train you and offer dietary advice that could be detrimental to your long term goals but still manage to get you some results in the interim, masking the trainers inadequacies.

Test your trainer out, let’s see how good they really are?

A new company is coming to Ipswich that is at the top of the game, look out for it and I cannot wait to help you all on your path to your long term goals!

Ben Gray –

My answers to Ben’s questions – Phil Richards and Dax Moy; books – transdermal magnesium therapy, the pH miracle, the e-myth revisited.

At Achieve Coventry, we offer a 200% money back guarantee on our services because we know our principles work with every client we work with, irrespective of their goal, we get results!  You should not select your trainer based only on price, you get what you pay for and it often works out to be a false economy, taking you longer to achieve your goals.

To see how we can help you, complete our consultation form at

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