Everything you need to know about hiring a personal trainer

You try. You strive. You push. You compare before-and-after yet you are not getting results. Frustrated?

Fitness journeys come in all forms, but if you’re reading this, you’ve decided to take the next step by working with a professional!.

It’s an exciting idea that could only lead you closer to your fitness goal. A fitness trainer would encourage you to stay motivated and disciplined in your journey, which are important elements when in training. With the knowledge of a professional to guide you, you can hope for safer sessions with effective workouts that would lead to a more noticeable change.

Personal trainers can be beneficial to both everyday people and expert athletes. For those who may not know how to work out effectively, they can provide a service of valuable information and instruction. For those with experience, a personal trainer can help them perfect their form and techniques that they may not have learned from simply watching videos or reading books.

In this article, we’ll break down all you need to know about personal trainers, what to look for, where to find them and how to hire one for yourself and get your fitness goals. This article so long, we make a table of content so you can navigate easily. 

Table of content

1. What are personal training and personal trainer

Personal training is one on one workout session with guidance and assistance from a personal trainer. The workout is personalised to each individual based on their physical fitness level and health conditions. It’s commonly done in one-on-one sessions. We are seeing more and more couples or private groups as well as online personal training.

A personal trainer is someone who is passionate about helping people achieve their fitness goals. These fitness trainers often help their clients make lifestyle changes by creating a program that has many aspects including diet, exercise, sleep and stress. They will also provide you with motivation and encouragement in your fitness journey. Personal trainers spend a lot of time and effort on their work.

2. Types of personal trainers

There are many types of fitness instructors and most personal trainers are able to provide more than one type listed below. There are pros and cons to each type of personal training while the workout would be similar. The big difference is whether the trainer has the experiences and tools.

One-on-one Personal Trainer

One-on-one personal training would be the option that has the most benefits to give you the best results for your goals. You’ll get the full attention of the personal trainer and get personalised workout. The personal trainer will also encourage and motivate you as well as adjust your workout routine based on your progress.

If you want to avoid the crowd or those intimidating showoffs, one-on-one personal training gives you privacy and a sense of comfort. The personal trainer will also keep you in check and not get distracted.

Large Group/Classes Personal Trainer

Class fitness instructor teaches workout in front of a class. Usually with a crowd size of more than 5 trainees. Group workouts provide an entertainment factor that is great for some people. These classes are less flexible with fixed time and place, but it’s cheaper than one-on-one personal training. Due to a large number of trainees, you’ll get less attention from the trainer for about 4-8 minutes, compared to one-on-one where you’ll get 40-50 minutes.

A lot of people go for fitness classes for the community factor. You can find a place where you can work out with a group of like-minded individuals. Working out with a group of people who share the same interests is a great way to sharpen your skills.

Couple/Private Group Personal Trainer

Couple and private group training are similar to one-on-one personal training. With the pandemic going on, this type of training is getting more trending compared to fitness classes. More attention from the trainer, in the mid-range pricing, and still able to get the fun of working out in a group.

Even though one of the partners is significantly different from the other in fitness level or age, an experienced trainer is able to personalize for each of them. The training will be the same personalised workout for all participants and the personal trainer assess each of them and adjust throughout each session.

Online Personal Trainer

Online personal trainers allow for more freedom and can be cheaper than hiring a trainer in person and you can still have a personalized fitness program. An online personal trainer allows you to work with someone who has your best interests at heart without having to travel and is more flexible in scheduling.

More and more personal trainers are adapting and offering online training with the right tools and experience in conducting the workout session digitally.

3. Why do I need a personal trainer

There are many different reasons that people choose to train with a personal trainer. Survey shows that 46.3% do home workout on their own, 25.4% work out at the gym, 20.9% do not work out at all while the rest, they cycle, walk or go to a nearby park. It reveals more than half of the individuals do workouts either at home or at the gym but how sure are we that we are doing it right? There are multiple factors that contribute to our fitness journey. If we do not witness the results, something must have gone wrong.

“I want to get fit”

If you’re looking to get fit, there are a few factors to consider before starting. You’ll need to find someone who is a good match for you–someone who shares your goals and expectations. You’ll also want to find someone who is well-versed in the field and has experience as a trainer.

A personal trainer will begin by assessing your fitness level, recording your basics, such as: aerobic and muscular fitness, flexibility, and body composition. Once you’ve assessed these metrics, they’ll personalise your workout to a number of sessions and measure your progress by giving you a benchmark to compare with. This way, you can see your fitness goal realistically and achievable.

“I don’t know how and I’m stuck”

It’s great to have goals where you want to work towards but the challenge is, you may be new to this and you have questions swirling on how to kickstart your fitness journey. Or, you have been working out regularly but wanted something new to taste a better result. Either way, a guide to work towards your goals have to be laid out correctly.

A strategy and plan are always needed to bring a task to fruition, likewise your fitness journey. A trainer is there to commit, guide, strategize, support, motivate and work hand-in-hand with you to best ensure your success. With one’s expertise, the right guidance and education from a trainer can take you to milestones in your fitness progress. You’d be surprised.

“I’m not sure if my workout posture is right”

Posture is a big and crucial deal in working out that goes beyond the bubble to your daily routine. If you are not seeing results from your workout plan, your postures could be one of the reasons that drive you to discouragement. Besides allowing deeper breathing, balancing, and preventing injuries, correct postures are surely guaranteed to elevate and boost your performance in your workout.

Everyone’s posture is different. It means that what worked for another might not completely work for you in correcting your posture. This is why having a trainer who uses personalised approach just for you will help you all the more in the long run.

“I don’t have all the equipment”

The aid to achieve maximum results? Equipment. With its variety in place, equipment serves as a great support system in assisting you in your transformation for leaner and stronger muscles. It is an efficient and productive tool especially for bodyweight workouts where it nurtures your body with intensified output and endurance. Besides, it does not get monotonous and dull.

If you are unfamiliar with the equipment to be incorporated into your fitness plan, fret not, you can count on your trainer. Feel free to step foot in your condo’s gym or nearby gym, your trainer will be there. If you prefer your workout at your home, the trainers will bring their equipment over too. Working hand-in-hand with your trainer, you will witness the boundary broken unveiling a better and stronger you.

“I have medical conditions”

An experienced personal trainer who is also a certified physiotherapist will improve your body functions. They have a basic knowledge of anatomy and physiology and can personalise workouts to reduce your risk of injury and avoid worsening symptoms. These workouts also help in dealing with mobility issues, joint pain, or muscle weakness. These personal trainers are also able to provide nutritional advice that will help to manage chronic disease.

In the long run, these corrective exercises can restore full-body movement, give you more energy and improve your overall lifestyle.

4. What qualities do you look for in a good personal trainer?

Anyone can find themselves a personal fitness trainer, but how do you pick the right fitness trainer? Here are some factors to consider.

✅ 📄 Credentials

It’s important to ensure that your fitness trainer has the necessary credentials that allows them to teach you. Don’t hesitate to ask a trainer for paper proof when enquiring about their services. You want someone who has passed the necessary exams and received the necessary certification to be able to rely on them with your health. This assures you that you’re working with a prepared professional – someone who talks the talk and walks the walk.

To be a personal trainer, it is helpful to take courses in health, exercise science, and fitness management to understand the human body. These certificates are offered by many institutes in Malaysia and around the world. Notably, can you look for personal trainers that have certificates from these popular institutes.

Popular fitness training certificates:

Certificates are not the absolute factor to choose a personal trainer. It helps you in searching and narrowing down trainers quicker.

✅ 🥇 Reputation

As important as credentials can be, you also want your fitness partner to be somebody with a reliable history. Check for positive feedback. Trainers’ profiles have a rating and reviews tab for this reason. Hear what previous clients have to say, if they did achieve their goals, and how many stars the trainer has earned in the past. Don’t hesitate to ask the trainer about past clients and their progress; a good trainer would be happy to share their success stories.

If you have family and friends that engaged with personal trainers before, recommendation is the most common way to get reliable personal trainers.

✅ 🎯 Specialties

Some personal fitness trainers have specialties, so if you’re looking for specific services, such as kickboxing, it’s important that you look into trainers who have experience in these fields to be sure that your needs will be met. Working with someone who could help you stay dedicated to the form of fitness that interests you would allow you to improve your skills and achieve steady outcomes overtime.

For seniors or people with medical conditions, it’s also important to find personal trainers that have physiotherapy background. They have the expertise and knowledge to create workout programmes that fit your situation and levels. They also can help with diet and nutrition planning.

✅ 💰 Cost

Before you begin looking for a fitness trainer, you need to sit down and consider your budget. How much can you spend, and how often? As much as we all wish we could afford the best players in the game, it’s important to consider the option that would be best for your financial situation, to avoid spending once on a higher-paying session. Instead, it would be smart to plan consistent, affordable sessions.

A personal trainer in Malaysia will cost between RM50 to RM200 an hour, depending on the type of trainer and your needs. Online personal trainers tend to be more affordable, costing around RM200 to RM500 for a month’s worth of sessions. Classes would be the cheapest option around RM20 to RM200 every month. Couple and private groups will depending on the number of attendees but it’ll be slightly cheaper than one-on-one sessions.

Another budget to consider is location. City centres like Kuala Lumpur and Bangsar will have higher prices than Kuala Selangor and Cyberjaya. To have a personal trainer to travel to your house or condo gym will have travel fees, so it’s best to choose a trainer that lives nearer to you. Some personal trainers will include gym entry price and some even have their own home gym, so you can save up some budget there.

✅ 🕒 Timing

Okay, you’ve found a trainer that feels right, great. Reach out to your desired personal fitness trainer and discuss your schedules. What days of the week would you usually be too busy, do they have too many clients at the moment, Is it possible for them to fit you in or are they booked completely? Maybe even ask them about their cancellation policy, as well as how early they’d prefer you book your appointments.

Personal trainers are typically providing workouts in various hours, often starting in the morning and not ending until after 8 or 9 PM. In the current pandemic, gyms might be operating in reduced hours and capacity. Personal trainer can provide you the flexibility of training hours compared to fixed fitness classes. In extreme cases where we are in a full lockdown, scheduling online training would be easier and personal trainers can adapt and adjust your workout programme.

✅ 🎭️ Personalities

We all know that fitness is just as mental as it is physical. It’s important that your head is in a good space for your body to be able to push itself past limits. Consider finding a fitness trainer that shares the same philosophies as you. To be able to learn from them, you’ll have to actually like their techniques and their style. Compatibility is key for a leader and their follower to be able to work together.

Gender and language are also important criteria. Some work better with same gender trainers and some prefer their trainers using native language.

5. Where to find a good personal trainer

Finding the perfect personal trainer can be a difficult task. It is a time consuming process but hiring a personal trainer without reviewing their credentials and details could result in an unsatisfactory experience.

Word of mouth

Word of mouth is the most common way of finding reliable fitness trainers. You hear or see the results from the people you know and you want the same for yourself. This method is highly effective but also a very limited option or you might get no good recommendation at all. Oftentimes, the person giving recommendation may become emotionally involved with their recommendation and not always be able to provide them with unbiased advice.

Nearby gym/fitness centers

Other good places to start include checking with local gyms, health centers or fitness centers and watching trainers with their clients. Ask the front desk person if they know of any good trainers in the area, and they’ll probably be in a position to recommend a few names to you.

Search online

Searching through the web would be the most time consuming way. Research, compare and get recommendations from online platforms or mobile apps. Once you find a few of them, make sure to check out all their details listed above.

This is where SparkFit shines the brightest and is as reliable as word of mouth. Quality is the most important criteria to join SparkFit and every trainer must have one or more certificate(s) from popular institutes along with full bio checking. Once the quality is assured, all trainer’s details are listed in their profile. Everything you need, made simpler in one single view. Biography, history, pricing, location, timing, fitness type and success stories. On top of all these, your payment is protected with our payment policy to trainers and you can also choose to pay conveniently by instalment plan.

6. Things to look out for while communicating with a personal trainer

If you have any doubts about the credentials of a potential trainer, request to see proof of their education and experience. A lot of trainers can be untruthful when they claim to have more experience than they really do. Look for any warning signs that a trainer may be untrustworthy, such as lying or exaggerating their experience.
Don’t do any pre-workout screening before a workout.

⚠️  They can’t or won’t give proof of their professional credentials.

⚠️  Try to force you to sign a contract before you have a chance for the first session.

⚠️  Try to get you to take or buy a supplement or diet program as part of your program.

⚠️  Prescribed dietary advice which he/she was not qualified to give.

⚠️  Late to workout sessions, and difficult to reach by phone or e-mail.

⚠️  Promises of immediate and splendid success.

When you experience any of these red flags, be sure to run the other way.

7. Next step: How to start your fitness journey with a personal trainer

After you narrow down all the personal trainers to your best single bet, have a chat with them and getting ready to start exercise with them, here are 3 things to do to make sure you start it right.

Set a clear fitness goal before start

Whether it is losing extra KGs or improving certain body functions, you need to set a clear goal and discuss the goal and timeline with the personal trainer. This is very important to get it right from the start, and your personal trainer will plan and help you get to your goal while keeping it fun and rewarding. Also, be honest with them. If you are not eating healthy and you have not been working out for years, tell them that. Experienced personal trainers have gone through multiple cases and they have seen it all.

First workout session

Just like any relationship, your first workout session will be very important. Both you and your personal trainer will spend one quality hour together communicating and observe each other to find out whether this relationship is a good fit. Refer back to the above section for the qualities you need to pay attention from your personal trainer and also the things to look out for. At the end of this first session, you’ll be able to decide if you want to take up more sessions or find another personal trainer.

Discuss long term plan earlier

After your first session with your personal trainer, they’ll access and share your personalised workout plan with you. The next few sessions, you’ll be learning the foundation of proper form and technique. At the same time, the personal trainer will continuously motivate and push you. The common number of sessions to take are in between 12 to 24 sessions. The more you take, the cheaper your overall price due to package discount from the trainer. You can also turn big purchases into smaller payments through instalment plan offer from SparkFit.

[BONUS] After hired: Getting the best out of your personal trainer

In most cases, your first few sessions will be pretty tough and you might not see any results. It’s too easy to blame the routine and personal trainer when we don’t do our best in the gym or kitchen. Here are some of the things to do to get the best out of your personal trainer.

Be honest

If you are not the type who drinks protein shake every morning or cut down on certain food, be honest and tell your personal trainer. Or if you are feeling sore at certain body parts, there’s no macho credit in hiding this. Tell your trainer everything about your health and fitness habits. Your personal trainer is not a magician. It won’t work if you hire a personal trainer and expect them to magically grant you your fitness goal while you do little to achieve this.

Give critical feedback on the workout

Different trainers will have different training and communicating styles. Some will really push you and yell at you like the Biggest Loser style while some give a lot of positive encouragement. By 2 or 3 sessions you can already see this and make it clear to the trainer which style you prefer.

This also applies to workout difficulties. The best way is to listen to your body. If you feel your body is taking too much stress from the workout or your fitness goal doesn’t align to your body fitness level, tell your trainer. Your personal trainer will help and adapt to make sure you get the best outcome.

Go on or move on

There’s no one size fit all in personal training. With all the factors we talked about above, you either will really enjoy working out with your trainer or calling it quit. Give your personal 4 or 5 sessions before a decision about the quality of their training. This is also after you had an honest conversation and shared critical feedback to them rather than watching this all from the sideline.

Trust your intuition and listen to your body. If you truly enjoy the company and results from the personal trainer, let them know, give them the review they deserve and continue your workout with them. If it’s the other way, that’s okay too. They’ll appreciate all your honesty and wish you the best in your fitness journey.

Let’s gooooooo get it

Now that you know what you need to do in your search for the right person, look around and get the best out from it. Remember that this is a guideline, not a rule book, and at the end of the day, doing what feels right to you on your journey is what matters most.

So, ready to get results? Why not start today? Find your personal trainer that is near you, fit your timing, within your budget and contact them right away. Contact one of our support team if you need recommendations from us. Our team is ready to get your results you always wanted.

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