People use personal trainers to assist them reach their individual health and fitness goals. A personal trainer will tailor an exercise program to meet your goals and personal health needs, teach you the best way to exercise and motivate you.

Importantly, if you are returning to exercise after a long break, if you’re overweight, aged over 45 years or have a chronic medical condition, you must consult your doctor before starting your new fitness regime.

A good personal trainer can:

  • help you make the best use of your exercise time
  • motivate and inspire you
  • improve your technique (efficiency and safety)
  • monitor your progress
  • adjust your exercise program in response to your changing fitness level
  • offer sound information on good nutrition.

Anyone can call themselves a personal trainer, so make sure you find one who’s qualified and registered.

  • Certificate IV in Fitness – Personal Trainer is the minimum qualification for a personal trainer. They may also have a specialisation: older adults, children and adolescents, and/or advanced aqua training.
  • Diploma of Fitness – some Certificate IV personal trainers go on to complete this more advanced qualification.
  • People with an exercise science or human movement degree can register as a personal trainer if they can demonstrate they have competence in required areas.

Registration with the health and fitness industry associations, such as Physical Activity Australia is not compulsory for a personal trainer, but it is a useful gauge for the client. To be members, personal trainers must be qualified, have current industry-approved first-aid and CPR certificates, and continue their professional development.


Personal trainers should have public liability and professional indemnity insurance. Physical Activity Australia’s preferred insurance provider is Marsh.


Factors to discuss with the personal trainer include:

  • How much does it cost to hire their services and what types of payment options are available?
  • What about other fees, such as extra services or cancellation fees?
  • Will they offer a discounted trial period before you commit? It is important you feel comfortable training with this personal trainer.
  • Are they available at the particular times and days when you’re free to exercise?
  • What range of physical activity options do they offer? Would you be working out in a gym, at home or outdoors?
  • Ask how they tailor exercise programs for clients. What sort of services do they offer to support you in achieving your goals?
  • What allied health professionals networks do they have (for example, dietitians, physiotherapists) and work closely with?

Consider some more personal aspects that relate to the relationship with your trainer. Trust your instincts about the impressions the trainer makes upon you.

  • The personal trainer should be someone you like. Ask yourself if you think you could get along with the trainer and whether you think the trainer is genuinely interested in helping you.
  • A good listener – a good trainer will listen closely to what you say. Make sure they understand your goals. Make sure you feel comfortable asking questions.
  • Attention – a good trainer will be focused only on you during your sessions.
  • Tracking progress – a good trainer will regularly assess and monitor your progress and change your program as required. They should also provide regular reports to you on your progress and associated health outcomes.

Reproduced in part from the Better Health Channel and Choice.