With thousands of personal trainers in the San Diego area alone, how does one even begin to choose? The most important thing is to find a trainer who makes you feel comfortable especially when some of your biggest flaws (at least in the gym) may be exposed. Hence the name “personal” trainer, they need to fit with your personality and be genuinely committed to helping you reach your fitness goals. To assist in the search there are some key qualities you should keep in mind.

Here are some tips on what to look for in a personal trainer:


First of all, patience is key. Trainers need to realize that a workout program is not ‘one size fits all’ but, rather, needs to be designed and tailored to each individual trainee. A trainer should offer a pre-assessment to familiarize him/herself with the particular athlete’s needs. Different athletes will progress at different rates so it’s very important to recognize that some may require a faster/slower pace than others.


A personal trainer should not only guide an athlete through workouts, but also educate their clients on why the movements are beneficial and the importance of good form. Communication goes both ways. If either party has a habit of canceling or pushing back workouts, then that’s a sign of a lack of commitment to the client’s goals.


While you may hit it off with your personal trainer, there also needs to be a level of professionalism maintained in the relationship. Keep in mind that you are still paying good money for a professional service. Good personal trainers will treat you as if you are staying at a resort hotel by doing things like carrying client’s water, getting him/her a towel if needed, picking up equipment, etc. The personal trainer should also dress in an appropriate manner. The attention should be on the client and the workout the entire time and not what the personal trainer is wearing.


Since you are seeking out a professional, the personal trainer should be certified by an accredited organization and should have experience in training and/or athletics. Your trainer obviously isn’t required to be an M.D. or have a Ph.D. in exercise science but they should have a pretty good understanding of human anatomy and the mechanics of the body.

The number one priority in a training session should always be safety.

This is important because the trainer should recognize your physical limits based on flexibility, previous injuries, and injury prevention. The trainer should give you that push but not to the point where it would compromise form and safety. Since the fitness world is always evolving with new research and trends, your trainer should be up to date to create the best relevant, fun, and effective workout program for you.


Lastly, personality plays a huge role in establishing what kind of personal trainer you want. Every trainer has his/her own style of motivation so you want to feel comfortable in your training sessions and not overwhelmed. You also want to have trust that you trainer always has your goals in mind and is setting you up for success rather than just going through the motions.

Many factors will contribute to the decision of what kind of personal trainer you want, but the main staples in finding a good match include evaluating his/her personality, education, professionalism, communication style, and level of patience.