3 tips for choosing a personal trainer

Many people want to hire a personal trainer but are unsure exactly what to check. What are the important criteria? How exactly do you choose a personal trainer?

We caught up with personal trainer and nutritionist Ondrej Matej to ask him for some tips. Check out the video and transcript (and bonus followup answers) below.


Hi, my name is Ondrej. I've been a personal trainer and nutritionist for many years now. And I would like to answer a question, which is how to choose a personal trainer.

So, I think there are a few factors that you need to consider. The first one of them, and actually I think the most important one, is that you need to make sure that you actually get on with the person.

If you have different views on diet or even on lifestyle, you probably will not get along. And that's one of the most important things, so firstly make sure to meet the person, set up a short meeting with them, and see if you get along, because you need to be able to build trust. Which will actually help the trainer to be able to push you forward.

There are a few things to consider, you know, money, and all these different things. The other thing also is qualifications. So you need to make sure that the person actually has all the knowledge that you are looking for. That you have some kind of reassurance that actually they know what they're doing.

And another thing that is bound in with that as well is, when it comes to injuries and stuff like that, you need to make sure that they've got insurance in place as well.

So, I hope this is helpful, and good luck with searching for the best trainer.

Bonus answers

Making sure you get on with the trainer, building trust, and ensuring they have qualifications are three great tips. But this provoked some followup questions off camera, and Ondrej was kind enough to answer those too:

Personal Trainers London: You said that if you have different views on diet to your trainer, you might not get along. But isn't part of the trainer's job to help and influence the trainee to eat more healthily?

Ondrej Matej: Yes of course that's true, but at the same time most trainers I know are "meat heads" and I have heard from many of my clients who want to go vegetarian or vegan that they had consultations with these trainers and have been told bluntly that "if you don't eat meat you cannot build muscle mass," and that it will be harder to lose fat.

Many trainers don't keep up with the latest nutritional trends and don't actually know that there are other ways apart from taking chemical supplements, enhanced whey protein and eating chicken and broccoli 5 times a day.

The sad fact is that most trainers complete the basic nutrition course within their overall personal training course and never go beyond this to find out much information beyond their initial studies.

On the other hand there are many amazingly educated and knowledgeable people in the industry, which one can learn a lot from.

PTL: It can be hard for a client to assess the knowledge of their trainer. Do you have any tips?

Ondrej: I am sure every trainer does their best to help their client but some just wouldn't have the right spectrum of information and experience to help their client.

If you constantly argue with your trainer during the session about what you should be and shouldn't be eating, it might be time to change something.

Be honest. Say what exactly you need and want and see how your trainer responds . You can see their qualifications that might help. Try few sessions and see if the trainer is the right one for you.

PTL: We are talking about basically how to recognise a good trainer, which is also advice for people who want to get into the business, on how to be a good trainer. But the client has some responsibility here too, right? What would you say are the most important qualities for a great client?

Ondrej: A great client will pay on time ;-) They will be punctual, respectful and will be aware and respectful of cancellation time and notice. And of course you will always have a great conversation during your session.

PTL: Lastly, are there any great trainers who have influenced you, and what impressed you about them?

Ondrej: Yes, I have met some great trainers who have really impressed me with their lack of ego; one of them is Mike Causer from The London Weightlifting Academy, his knowledge, humbleness, and style is just great – I have learned a lot from him.