What’s the Role of a Personal Trainer? 5 Key Qualities
It’s a new year and you’re already finding it hard to keep up. We all know the mantra that comes every January – new year, new me – but it can sometimes feel impossible to get some perspective on the expectations you have for yourself.
If it’s your health you’re focusing on as you come into the new year, it’s worth weighing up the role a personal fitness trainer could take in your life. And if you’re curious about kicking off a new career in personal training, understanding what a PT can offer can help you figure out if it’s a good fit.
Maybe you need a personal trainer to help you meet your fitness goals by bringing more energy and activity into your everyday routine. Or maybe fitness is already a big part of your life, and you’re thinking of starting your own personal training business.
Either way, it’s important to consider how personal training could fit into your life: what are you looking for in a trainer, and how does their role relate to you?
Whether you’re interested in introducing a trainer into your life or interested in becoming one yourself, there are 5 essential parts to effective personal training:
1. To communicate & collaborate with the client
What separates a qualified personal trainer from a fitness junkie? While a regular at the gym will probably put their headphones in as they head straight to the weights, a personal trainer will work with you; they’re not just there to help, they’re there to listen. The ability to communicate well and work collaboratively is essential to effective personal training.
It’s a personal trainer’s responsibility to communicate and collaborate with their client; they must communicate their expectations of you clearly and concisely. Likewise, it is just as important that your trainer doesn’t just tell you what to do – they should be listening to you too.
Your trainer’s role is to work with you one-on-one to determine what you want and need throughout your progress. This all comes down to communication. To do well, they need your feedback to move forward: if their instructions aren’t clear enough, let them know. If you need to slow down, tell them. You won’t get anywhere if your relationship with your trainer isn’t communicative and collaborative. Remember, it’s a personal training session, not just a training session.
2. To ensure the client’s safety
Effective communication is not only essential for teamwork; your personal trainer should also be communicating the intricacies of your exercises in detail so that they can ensure your safety.
This comes down to their instructions, which should be direct – your trainer should be explaining your body composition to you and telling you how your workout routine should look and feel. Your exercises must be explained accurately and well so that you can perform them without hurting yourself.
A U.S. health statistics report published in 2016 listed the average annual estimate of sports and recreation-related injuries at
Your personal trainer is there to keep statistics like this down, making sure you’re not alone in the gym, working with equipment you don’t understand.
3. To evaluate and tailor exercise programs
It is your personal trainer’s responsibility to know your needs as a client. Every client’s exercise plan will look different, tailored by their trainer to their fitness level and their end goal.
To help you achieve your goals your trainer should initially assess your fitness level when you begin and then continuously monitor and reassess as you go. All of this information will be used to evaluate your progress as you adapt so that your trainer can continue to tailor your exercise program accordingly.
By keeping track of your fitness level, your trainer can monitor your development, showing them how much to push you so that you can continue to grow week by week rather than staying stagnant.
4. To motivate & support
As your routine gets tougher throughout your fitness journey, it can begin to feel like really hard work to keep up the pace. It’s your personal trainer’s responsibility to not only offer physical help when it comes to your routine, but also to offer mental health support.
They should be motivating you by offering advice and encouragement.
A good personal trainer will give you tips – not just fitness tips, but a range of health and wellness tips. This can be as simple as giving good nutrition advice; they will have studied things like this throughout their career as health professionals.
5. To inform & educate
While all of these qualities make a great personal trainer, there is nothing more important than quality education and ample qualifications. In Australia, personal trainers are expected to complete a nationally recognised course equivalent to a Certificate IV in Fitness or a Diploma of Fitness to become officially qualified.
First aid training is also required. Completing a required course recognises qualified personal trainers for their knowledge and skillset; equipping people with the hands-on skills they need to effectively fulfil the role of a personal trainer.
So, what makes a personal trainer more than just good – what makes them great? It’s more than their specialisation in exercise science; it’s their ability to connect with their clients.
At the end of the day, we hire qualified personal trainers because they’re personable.