How to choose a good personal trainer and what to avoid

Have you ever received questionable nutrition or exercise advice from a physiotherapist?

Alex Thomas, the founder of Sports Nutrition Association, says it’s likely that many of us know when the advice given to us seems just a little…wrong, but advises that it’s best to check in if you have any concerns about your PT’s advice.

“If the advice you’re receiving seems a bit far-fetched, consider speaking to another expert to double-check or write to us at Sports Nutrition Association, especially if it’s nutrition or supplements.”

How do you know you have the right personal trainer for you? Photo: Getty

the Sports Nutrition Associationwhich is a new educational and governing body that regulates personal trainers, exercise physiologists, strength coaches, exercise scientists and clinical nutritionists, seeks to add sports nutrition and supplementation programming to its guaranteed scope of practice.

The association exists to create best practices within the industry to try to weed out misinformation and dangerous advice. But how do you find a good PT? And do you even need one?

Benefits of having a PT

Alex says there are so many benefits to having a personal trainer.

“For starters, because you’re spending a bit more money on them than on a group class, that’s a good incentive to show up!” he says.

“The personal trainers are also great in that if you’re one-on-one, you have their full attention, which means there’s no slacking.

“They can schedule training based on your needs and goals, they can help you build healthy habits, and if they’re also skilled in nutrition, they may even be able to double up with nutrition counseling. “

personal training class

There are so many benefits to having a personal trainer. Photo: Getty

Signs your PT is not working

But he warns there are definitely red flags to watch out for.

“If the coach doesn’t respect your injuries and your training likes and dislikes, you may need a second opinion,” he warns.

“Although, keep in mind that if you are a client who tries not to do every exercise, that should be taken into account.

“But if they make you feel uncomfortable, you might also want to look for someone else.”

What to look for when hiring a PT

Whether you prefer a soft approach or a boot camp feel to your workout, Alex says there’s a PT for you.

“First and foremost, you want to find someone who matches your goals and personality,” he says.

“If you’re not someone who likes to be yelled at, then don’t go for a drill sergeant. If you don’t like weightlifting, find a trainer who has a similar style to how you like to train. This is the first thing, because if you don’t align with the person training you, you’re unlikely to stick with the training.

Alex says it’s also essential to check qualifications.

“If you’re pregnant or post-natal, you want a trainer with experience and credentials that say they’ve done ongoing training for mothers. If you also want nutrition counseling, which many clients want because nutrition is kind of part of the picture when you have a body goal, you also want to find a qualified trainer to provide nutrition counseling.

Three fit woman in bootcamp.  They put in a lot of effort in side-by-side boards.  Copy space.

Questionable advice and disregarding your needs are some red flags for a PT. Photo: Getty

The Sports Nutrition Association accredits professionals who have done the proper study to provide services around sports nutrition. They also educate coaches who may have gaps in their training.

“Once they know, they can become members and it will give them access to ongoing research and manuals every year,” says Paul. “We also ask them to take annual reviews and audit them every year to make sure they are giving sound and best practice advice.”

Alex also advises making sure they have insurance too.

“All businesses should have insurance, but you want to know that if for some reason, although it’s rare, you get seriously injured, they’re covered.”

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