How to Choose the Right PT or Coach

The fitness industry is SATURATED right now with personal trainers, coaches, and other fitness professionals. Gyms are filled with PT’s, and you can find hundreds of online health & fitness coaches with one simple scroll of your Instagram feed – but how do you know which trainer/coach to choose?

Firstly, if you’re looking for an online coach, you want them to not only be capable, but also qualified, personable, and a good fit for YOU - at the end of the day the most knowledgeable coach is not always the most supportive, and vice versa, so hiring someone that gets YOU and will help you work towards your desired goals in the most effective way is paramount.


 
 
 
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THE PT/COACH CHECKLIST:

1- QUALIFICATIONS – ideally, look for more than just a PT certification. If you’re also looking for diet advice, ensure they are also qualified in nutrition - most PTs aren’t qualified to give anything more than basic healthy eating advice. Look for an ISSN sports nutrition certification, or degree in nutrition/dietetics if you want evidence based nutrition advice.

2- EXPERIENCE - choose someone who has been in the industry at least a full year before coaching online and has proven results from previous clients.

3- RESULTS - do their clients get the kind of results you’re personally after? Or do they only coach contest prep but you’re after long term, sustainable fat loss? Are they best with female specific training but you’re a male looking to build a significant amount of lean mass? Ensure their methods line up with your goals so you can get the results you’re after.

4- PERSONALITY - you want to click with them! Make sure you trust in them as a person and that their coaching style suits your vibe - hands on if you’re someone that needs support, or if you prefer less contact and just accountability, ensure they aren’t the type of coach to micro-manage. Making sure you can communicate effectively with your coach and have a level of mutual respect is paramount!

5- TRAINING/NUTRITION STYLE - Make sure the way they train, and the nutrition protocols they prescribe align with your preferences. It’s probably best not to pick a powerlifting coach if you are brand new to weight training and just need the basics, or  don’t pick someone who uses flexible dieting if you prefer to rely on ongoing meal plans. Do your homework to check that your chosen coach implements a style of training or nutrition that resonates with you (or that you’re willing to learn).

6- REFERRALS - ensure they have client testimonials as well as photos. If you can, track down their clients – if they are online and you can contact some of their clients, send them a quick DM to ask for genuine feedback on their experience!

7 – EDUCATION – Not theirs, yours! Do you need someone who will walk you through step-by-step instructions to begin flexible dieting? Do you need a coach that has a full online library of training video demonstrations as you’re unfamiliar with a lot of exercises? Have you got no idea where to even start and need someone to help you build a solid foundation of health and fitness knowledge from the ground up? Not all trainers/coaches will offer this information and some will be used to working with clients of at least moderate levels of experience. If you know you’ve got a lot to learn, ensure your chosen fitness professional can be there to help educate you for long term success, not just hand you a program to blindly follow, as this won’t help you sustain those results on your own and become self-sufficient down the track!

8 – FACE TO FACE OR ONLINE – This is a very person-to-person variable, as some clients thrive with more of a DIY approach through an online coach, while others rely on the motivation of having someone physically in the gym to push them. If you’re a brand new beginner and aren’t even sure about correct form – a face to face PT will be invaluable! But if you find you’re quite self sufficient, online coaches can be a more affordable way to cover your training and/or nutrition and it means you can work with anyone, from anywhere, even if they are in another state or country – the options are endless!


At the end of the day, the most important thing to consider when looking for a trainer or coach, is that they are qualified to give sound, evidence based advice, delivered via a method that best suits you. By doing your research, asking questions in your initial referral, and cross-checking that their processes and desired outcomes align with yours, you can find the right fitness professional to help you tackle those goals, not just for the short-term, but for long term, sustainable results!


 
 
 
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Written By Sami Rose

Sami is an Australian EHPLabs Athlete, qualified in fitness and personal training who runs a successful online coaching business. She is passionate about health, fitness, and sustainable transformations, whilst maintaining a balanced and healthy mindset. 

@samirosefitness