5 Essential Qualities of a Personal Trainer

There are several traits that separate great personal trainers from the rest. What should you be looking for in a fitness instructor?

The job of a personal trainer is far more than simply ordering you through rigorous exercise plans to get into shape. It’s about putting you in a position where you can truly be successful by providing the motivation, education and support that you need. Of course, knowledge is a crucial element, but the best personal trainers are more like fitness consultants, psychologists, teachers and motivators wrapped into one package. Have you ever wondered what qualities make a good personal trainer? Here are a few essential qualities you should look for when screening for a personal trainer.


They Walk the Walk

It would be hard to follow the fitness and dietary advice of a personal trainer who doesn’t practice what they preach. A personal trainer should ideally have a genuine passion for fitness and living a healthy lifestyle overall. While being fit doesn’t automatically make a great personal trainer by any means, it’s a good start to find somebody who embodies the lifestyle you’re aiming for. Passion, determination and dedication are all crucial elements in the fitness journey, and they’re often contagious and keep you moving forward.

They’re Focused on Your Goals

If your primary goal is to lose weight, squats shouldn’t be the focus of your workout plan. A good personal trainer doesn’t project their own values onto a client. This is a big no-no. Instead, they remove their ego from the equation and keep in mind the needs and goals of the client, which involves asking questions and understanding your situation. It’s essential for a personal trainer to list just as much as they talk.

Do they take the time to really hear what you’re saying and what you’re looking for exactly? Or do they talk over you as they hurriedly push their own agenda? Alongside your personal instructor, you should be working together as a team to reach everything you want and more. Remember, you’re looking for someone to help you move along your own journey to better health, fitness and wellness.


The fitness journey is a continuous learning experience. A personal trainer should work with you to help you to understand fitness, anatomy and nutrition without lecturing too much. Between proper form, optimal recovery, diet and exercise selection, they should equip you with the knowledge to make informed decisions when they’re gone. Technical knowledge and know-how is certainly an important aspect, but this isn’t to say you should choose a personal trainer based on where they got their degree from. It’s one thing for an instructor to be informed about the Xs and Os of fitness but it’s an entirely separate skill to communicate that knowledge effectively. The best personal trainers are able to convey this in a way that’s easy to understand and makes logical sense;


There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to personal training. Another crucial element to look out for is flexibility. Whether that’s the flexibility to alter a fitness plan that isn’t working or the flexibility to adjust to a client’s new schedule, this should be a fundamental trait of every personal instructor and coach. Rigidity isn’t something that pairs well in this space and fitness trainers should be looked at as problem solvers.

People Person

First and foremost, personal training is all about people. With education being said, personal trainers should provide much more than just know-how. A personal training session shouldn’t resemble a science lecture. It’s about providing the motivation, care, accountability and support that’s necessary to push your beyond your limits. Whether it’s a busy schedule at work or adjusting your nutrition plan, this involves a healthy understanding of the human side of things. They should have your back and best interests at heart.

They should also be armed with excellent communication skills to know when to push, when to pull and ultimately when to let you thrive. Empathy is key in piercing through the disconnect that sometimes occurs between trainer and client, helping to forge meaningful connections. A personal trainer doesn’t have to have a history of being overweight, injured or obese to relate to your struggle. However, an effective trainer is most certainly one with patience, empathy and compassion.