Things to consider when choosing a coach

Looking for a trainer can be a daunting task, it seems that everywhere you turn, someone claims to be a personal trainer, especially on social media right?
The health and fitness industry is no different than any other industry. There are many qualified people of all levels and also many people who claim to be qualified just to make money. If you are one of those poor souls that is tired of wasting their time in the gym and want to hire a coach or a trainer, then how do you know that you are hiring the right person? What if you already have a trainer and are not quite sure you are getting your money’s worth, or you’re not completely satisfied with the services being provided?

Based on our experience’s in the industry over the past 20+ years, I have brought together some information that may be of interest and what 4D look for themselves when hiring a coach. My intent is to help you reflect on the subject of trainers or coaches and hopefully have you asked all the right questions to get the help you need and deserve.

Looking the part

Anyone working in the health or fitness industry should practice what they preach if they are to be taken seriously. There are many personal trainers and aerobics instructors in the industry that are either fat or look totally out of shape. Although they may be qualified and have the knowledge to help others achieve their goals, it just might be a little easier for them to gain respect and credibility if they look the part.

The opposite is also true. Just because people look great physically does not always mean that they know what they are doing in the gym or have the proper knowledge to help you achieve your goals. If something works for them, it does not mean it will necessarily work for you. Many people are blessed with great genetics and would look good no matter what they do.

It is often said that you can’t judge a book by its cover. This also holds true in the fitness industry. Although a trainer’s physique might get your attention at first, there might be some more important questions that you need to get answered before deciding if that person is right for you.


A person’s credentials are an important clue about their competence as a coach or a personal trainer. A university degree or certifications from various organisations are a great start. However, although certifications and university degrees form a solid foundation of knowledge, there are also many great trainers and coaches in the industry that don’t have either one.
Depending on your specific requirements, there may be other important questions whose answers will help determine whether a coach is qualified to answer your needs. For instance:

• How much experience does this trainer or coach have?
• Is he or she knowledgeable about a specific medical condition you might have?
• Does he or she know anything about nutrition?
• Are you looking for someone who is knowledgeable in the training of a specific sport?
• Does he or she still study and take specific courses, attend seminars or do research on a regular basis to stay on top of the latest research when it comes to training, nutrition, injury prevention, injury management, supplements, etc?
• Is this coach available to help me?


A person is not instantly qualified to teach or train someone just because they won something. The title simply means that they were better (or looked better) than other people on a given day. Yes, people win competitions through hard work and dedication, either by doing some research on their own or by hiring a coach or a trainer.
Yet many people also win because they are gifted genetically, regardless of what they do in the gym. They may not understand how to work with people who are genetically average, or who are just trying to get into better shape.
It takes a lot more than a title, trophy, or medal to be able to help people achieve their goals and look their best.
Have they achieved something unimaginable to you and that actually inspires you?

Learning experience

Most people want a basic understanding of nutrition and exercise. They want to know what they should eat and do to be healthy. The problem is that there are so many misconceptions, contradictions, and half-truths coming from scientific studies, magazines, books, the internet, and the media that people do not really know what to believe. This is one of the primary reasons people turn to a coach or a trainer.
The services provided by a trainer can be defined in many different ways and should involve more than just handing out training programs in exchange for money or holding someone’s hand while they are trying to work out.
Although most clients seek a trainer to guide them through training programs, you may actually want or expect more than that. Perhaps you want to learn about proper lifting or spotting techniques, how to increase intensity, improve cardiovascular fitness, eat better for health, eat better for improved performance, manage or rehabilitate injuries, or maybe just someone to motivate you. The experience with a personal trainer or coach then also becomes an educational one.
People generally have a thirst for knowledge. It is quite reasonable for a client to have several questions at the beginning of the client-trainer relationship, or when a new training program is introduced. You may want high-level answers to help you understand the reasoning behind the decisions that are made about your training plan. These kinds of discussions can help establish trust, cement commitment, and form a better relationship.
Although you may not completely figure things out on your own, as you learn from various sources, you will eventually develop some basic knowledge, putting you in a better position to eventually understand what you read on the subject. In time, the acquired knowledge will also give you the ability to form an opinion and certainly put you in a better position to understand if the information you are getting makes sense.
In other words, trying to educate yourself will improve your relationship with your trainer.

Service quality

Beyond the basics, there may be other factors that may influence the quality of the services a trainer offers, ultimately determining whether or not you will be satisfied with that particular trainer. These factors certainly depend on your personal needs and expectations.
How will the training program be presented or given to you? Will the program be hand-written on a napkin or will you receive a binder with everything clearly laid out, easy to follow, where all that is left to do is enter the date, along with the reps and weights? How much effort has gone into the planning of the session or have are they just making it up on the spot?
Will your trainer or coach follow up with you regularly to ensure that you are happy or that you are progressing the way you should? Does the trainer expect you to occasionally or regularly provide food logs or show your training logs? Is your trainer available to answer questions or concerns as they arise?

What happens if you do not particularly like your routine, you start feeling pain in your knees, shoulders, or back, you get injured, you feel you are gaining weight or not gaining weight, or you aren’t completely happy for whatever reason? Is it going to cost you even more to get another programme or will they modify your current programme to best suit your needs?

On days that you are not in the mood and feel like quitting, or you feel like you do not have any time to exercise, will your trainer be able to motivate you? Will he or she be able to help you figure out a way to make time to work out or offer alternatives?
Although you may not be able to get answers right away, answering these kinds of questions can show whether a trainer or coach cares about your needs and is dedicated to helping you achieve your goals. If you are unhappy, then you need to discuss the issues with your trainer or start looking for help elsewhere.


Again, a good coach should always do a consultation with you before you start training. This is a perfect opportunity for the trainer to get to know you and vice versa and also an opportunity for you to ask questions by where the answers will allow you to gauge if he or she is the correct coach for you and your goals.
If you know people who are already training with a particular trainer or coach, it may be worthwhile to ask them for feedback. Are they happy with their trainer’s services? What do they like? What do they dislike? If you don’t know any of that specific trainer’s clients, then ask him or her for references. Information you get from other clients is often more valuable than what you hear directly from coaches that are trying to sell themselves.

Before committing to anyone, do your homework. You will minimise your chances of being disappointed and maximise your chances of getting exactly what you need.


A trainer can be an excellent guide. But you are the only person who truly knows what you want.
If you don’t think you’ll be happy with a particular coach, keep looking. If you already have a trainer or coach and are not happy with the services that you are getting, do not feel like you are getting any results, or simply do not feel that you are getting any value for your hard-earned money, then save your money. Look for someone who will give you what you seek.

• Does the coach lead by example?
• Do they practise what they preach?
• Are they personable and do they communicate well?
• If needed, can they modify your programme to make sure it best suits your needs?
• Do they have the credentials and qualifications?
• Have they got a good amount of experience in the industry?
• Are they always presentable?
• Professional in their work?
• Genuinely care about their client’s overall well-being?
• Try and work with their client’s to improve other lifestyle factors outside of the gym?

Believe in the process and enjoy the journey.
Team 4D Fit
Instagram: @4dfituk
Facebook: @4DFitUK

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