5 Non-Negotiable Traits Every Personal Trainer Should Have

Eugene Adams


Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

Have you ever thought of hiring a personal trainer?

Whatever your fitness level, a personal trainer can help. They can plan a safe and effective workout program, help with your diet, provide the extra motivation you need, and much more.

However, personal training is not cheap, typically between $21-$37 per hour.

If you are going to spend your hard-earned money on a trainer, here are five traits to look for to ensure it is money well spent.

1. Qualified

Most good personal trainers are certified. There are many certifications out there and it can be hard to differentiate the good ones from the bad. The good news is that you don’t have to, any certification will do. 

As a certified personal trainer myself, I can attest that getting certified is not difficult at all.

Getting certified is little more than a hoop to jump through. If someone is not willing to jump through this basic hoop, the chances are that they will cut corners in other areas as well.

Personal training certification is a bare minimum standard. It doesn’t guarantee quality, but it is a start.

At the very least, you can rest easy knowing that a certified personal trainer knows how to write programs that are at least safe.

2. Goal Focused

All good trainers are goal-focused. They don’t merely throw workouts together randomly based on what looks cool on social media. They measure your starting point and then plan to get you from where you start to your stated goal.

The most important part of being goal-focused is picking the right goal. It should be your goal, not theirs. Pick a trainer that really listens and clearly defines your goal without trying to steer you towards theirs.

3. Passionate

You can fake a lot of things in life, but you can’t fake passion. Never settle for a trainer who is merely going through the motions. If a trainer spends half the workout session on his phone, run. 

Passion is contagious. Your trainer’s passion will often give you an extra push during a challenging workout.

A lack of passion can have a negative effect. Being around a trainer who doesn’t want to be there will slowly drain your motivation to workout. There is no reason to pay someone to negatively affect your motivation. 

4. Teaching Ability

If a trainer is using “big” fitness words you don’t understand, that is probably not the trainer for you. Your trainer’s knowledge doesn’t help you if you don’t understand what they are saying.

A good trainer can explain exercises clearly and simply. They can also explain to you why they are asking you to do specific exercises.

5. Practices What They Preach

Personal trainers do not need to be in perfect shape. However, they should have some real experience working out, also known as skin in the game. 

Learning something from a book is great, but it is not the same as experience. A trainer who has actually done the things they are trying to teach you will understand the concepts better. That understanding will allow them to teach you better. 

Why would you trust their advice if they aren’t willing to take that same advice themselves?


Anytime you decide to spend some of your hard-earned money, it's an important decision. There are many personal trainers out there. Make sure to pick the right one for you. 

There is no foolproof way to discern a good personal trainer from a great one. However, there is a simple way to eliminate the bad ones and give yourself a better chance of not wasting your money.

They should:

  • Be certified
  • Be goal focused
  • Be passionate
  • Be a great teacher
  • Practice what they preach

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Southern California raised Henderson transplant. I write about sports and other events in the area.

Henderson, NV

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