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What are the top three qualities a personal trainer should have?

A personal trainer defined by Wikipedia, is a “…fitness professional involved in exercise prescription and instruction. They motivate clients by setting goals and providing feedback and accountability to clients.” That’s easier said than done for it takes more than that to be a ‘great’ personal trainer. Speaking of great PT, we invited Debbie Burdfield of www.shedfit.com.au to enlighten us about the top three qualities a personal trainer should have. This goes to all personal trainers out there, because personal training involves you being a jack-of-all-trades.


Number one is certainly qualifications, and the drive to keep learning (sadly lacking and not a requirement in the industry) and a thorough knowledge on limitations concerning certain medical conditions such as pregnancy, post natal, blood pressure issues. Full medical screening should be done prior to starting with any new client and clearance obtained for anyone with risk factors. There are many good personal trainers out there, but unfortunately there are also those who put their own profits ahead of the well-being of their clients.Number two is a knowledge on nutrition. Our number one statement we make to every new client is “You cannot out exercise a bad diet”. Nutrition contributes around 80% of results. Whether it be weight loss or muscle building, if you don’t get the right nutrients, you won’t get results.

Number three is being adaptable and having a degree of empathy. Not all clients want to be pushed to the brink of vomiting every session. Even those who normally do, will sometimes have an off day. Learning how to read your clients needs and adapt your session accordingly is vital.Sometimes I just need to throw the “plan” out the door. Clients need to know we understand how they feel especially if they are having a bad day. Being a pumped, enthusiastic energizer bunny sometimes has the opposite effect on clients, and just makes people feel more reluctant to show up. I am not suggesting we smother them with sympathy and allow or justify their binges or being a couch potato, however we need to let them know that it is OK to be human, have a set back or fall of the wagon now and then, but then gently steer them back on track.

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