How do I find the right trainer?

So you’ve decided to get fit, and the last piece gave you a rough idea on how to begin, but you’re looking for more. So you decide to look for a personal trainer to help you further your journey. Good for you!

But it’s tough! You have the floor trainers in the commercial gyms, and their ‘master’ or ‘platinum’ trainers’ who do purely personal training. Then you have personal training studios, offering higher quality trainers with purely personalised programmes. You also have a variety of ‘other’ trainers, such as outdoor-only trainers, or crossfit trainers, or Muay Thai trainers. How do you choose?

  • Knowledge
  • Energy
  • Chemistry

The basics:


This is a two-pronged criterion. Your trainer should have credentials and / or experience. In fact, experience sometimes counts for more. Most commercial gyms will offer you their floor trainers and most commercial gyms have their own in-house certification. Both could be okay provided your trainer is reasonably experienced. The Catch .22 situation for new trainers is that if no one gives them a chance, they will never get experience. So if you’re easy going, maybe a new trainer is alright…

However, you need to remember that you only have one body to live in for the rest of your life. So your trainer should at least know basic anatomy, kinesiology and CPR / First Aid. If you have any issues, e.g. hypertension, tennis elbow, low back pain, please let your trainer know. If he / she is experienced enough / knowledgable enough, he / she would know what to do.

Most trainers at personal training studios in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Bangkok are certified through ACE, NASM, ACSM, FISAF etc. You might expect better quality here, and probably more interesting programming too. Here, you can expect to fix issues such as low back pain, golfer’s / tennis elbow, gain more insight on nutrition etc.

So check your trainer’s credentials and years of experience. If he / she has a website, or an IdeaFit profile page, take a look. See if there are any referrals and what kind of fitness activities he / she has specialised in.


Some trainers are great with energy and this is sometimes what you need during a workout. A great programme can be totally wiped out by a lack lustre lazy kind of energy from your trainer. Of course, if you’re having an ‘off’ day but you still want to exercise, your trainer should be able to deliver an interesting programme while keeping within the perimeter of your frame of mind. In fact, if you are totally stressed with a throbbing migraine, your trainer should be able to change whatever he or she planned to something that suits your requirements for the session, along with the correct tone / energy for your needs.

This isn’t as trivial as it seems. Your results depends on the energy your trainer gets out of you. And in order for that to happen, your trainer needs to be able to drive up the energy of the session. He / she needs to know when to build up, when to tone down and when to stagnate the drive of the session.


Let’s face it, you’ll be working out with your trainer for at least ten sessions, so your chemistry with him / her needs to be good. You need to be able to get along and work together, because it is a partnership. So be at least reasonably sure that he / she is the right trainer for you when you have the initial interview.

Additional Pointers

  • Some trainers look good – this doesn’t mean they are good!
  • Some trainers have the right credentials – this doesn’t mean they are good!
  • Some trainers have great experience in a certain craft, for example, Muay Thai or MMA – this doesn’t mean they can give you the programme that suits you best
  • Try to find out what excites you so you can tell your trainer.

All the best to you, hope this helps!