Finding a personal trainer in Singapore is like hiring any other professional. The end goal is to help you improve your life. You would expect high standards from your airline pilot, dentist, or lawyer.
Similarly, you should have high standards for your personal trainer. He or she cannot just be a fit young person with good genetics. Being young and skinny/muscular is not an accurate reflection of their ability to help you.
Ask yourself: “In what other industry is the most competent person in their early 20s with a few days of training and a few months of work experience?”
Posting photos on Instagram does not count as an actual coaching experience! Especially with the prevalence of steroid use in both male and female “online fitness experts”. Which create unrealistic expectations in many people.
So to help you I have listed down some of the things you can consider when looking for a personal trainer.
6 things to look for in a good PT in Singapore
# 1- Make sure your PT is not just a person that likes exercise.
Anyone can diet for a few weeks and get leaner. Or really enjoy lifting weights to get stronger. It is a completely different concept to have the love, and desire to help others achieve their goals.
Many personal trainers join the fitness industry because they themselves are passionate about being in the gym. This does not always mean they put the same passion into helping clients.
The number of personal trainers playing handphone games DURING client sessions would be evidence that this passion is missing in some PTs.
An analogy would be like a person who enjoys driving cars. Enjoying driving does not automatically mean that they also enjoy repairing cars, servicing cars, or building cars. The skillsets are not mutually exclusive. But they are very different.
#2 – Make sure your Personal trainer does not “work alone”
Unfortunately, the personal training industry in Singapore has some “ego” involved with it. Among personal trainers, you will hear things like “this client likes to train with me” or “my program is the most effective”.
While it is good to take pride in your work. There is nobody in the world who does better alone than they do as a team. The racing driver has a team of engineers making sure the car is working well. The top surgeon has a team supporting the surgery to make sure the patient has a good result. The bravest soldier has a team supporting his mission.
The case is the same for personal trainers. Nobody can be a world-class expert in every single area of health or fitness. That is why a trainer should have a team who helps him in specialzied areas. Perhaps he has a team that helps with with nutrition, supplementation, injury prevention, habit formation or even research into the latest information in the fitness field.
Also a personal trainer must know when to refer to a professional. A good personal trainer must have the humility to know when they must refer to medical professionals. Perhaps for laboratory testing, medical imaging like MRI, or help with serious health conditions.
#3 – Make sure there are signs of continuous education
There is a saying that the big difference between the top 5% and the bottom 95% in any field, is only 4 education events per year. You do hope that your trainer is a top 5% trainer right! So make sure they are continuously growing personally and professionally.
This means a dedication to continuous education. If your trainer is always training themself, or their clients for many hours a day… this means he has probably comprmized his ability to put time into learning. You should also be hearing the things they have learned recently. And how these skills can apply to your personal training programme and achieving your fitness goals.
Continuous education of your trainer is not just beneficial to you in the area of fitness. A trainer who is growing personally will also understand more about you and your situation. So will be able to design fitness plans that are best suited to you in terms of time, recovery ability, health history, and work/family commitments.
#4 – Your personal trainer is not afraid of being “out of a job”
Many personal trainers in Singapore face a dilemma. If the teach too many skills, and too much knowledge to a client. The client may not feel that the trainer is necessary any longer and the trainer will lose the client. Because the client will be able to do things on their own.
The response of most trainers is to teach the bare minimum so as to keep the client dependent on them. Some signs of this are…
Not allowing the client to see their training programme sheets
Not being willing to explain how the programme was designed.
Having a “just shut-up and do what I say” attitude
Trying to replace client education with more chit chat during sessions
#5 – Your trainer knows that your exercise during the session is just a part of the big picture.
When you take up personal training, my suggestion is that you consider how much the session affects your entire lifestyle. It is quite simple to push a client for 60 minutes.
Counting reps and saying “you can do it” is low skill labor.
The skill comes in how the personal trainer helps you find ways to optimize your entire week or month to help you achieve your goals.
During the session, it is critical to examine the trainer’s skills in observation and correction of your movements. Not just their ability to be a cheerleader.
Out of the session, how much is the PT able to provide life skills that will overcome obstacles you may be facing outside the gym?
Here is an example. Many Asian families gather for family meals a few times per week. At these meals, you may not always be in control of the food being served.
Which items should you eat? How should you arrange your day around these events? What can you do to prevent overeating your mother-in-law’s fried carrot cake?
#6 – Make sure your trainer is not “married” to a single fitness method
Beware of the trainer who calls him or herself a “XYZ trainer”. Where XYZ could be “powerlifting”, “weightlifting”, “CrossFit”, “HIIT”, “core strength”, “functional training”, “yoga” or “pilates” or any other training buzzword in the fitness industry.
In terms of diet, XYZ could be “paleo”, “low-carb”, “low-fat”, “intermittent fasting” , “vegan”, “carnivore” or “flexible dieting/IIFYM”.
A new personal trainer who has gone for a certification or course in XYZ is likely to believe that that method of diet or training is the best one. This is because the teachers of those certifications often paint their method as the best.
But, this begs the question of why each of these methods has their success stories?
The reason is that this method could have been an ideal method for the people who succeeded on it. I’m very sure the people who did NOT get results, or got injured from the method are NOT featured on the website or sales brochure!
That is why you need to make sure that your trainer studies many methods. And that the PT understands the pros/cons of each method. Finally, the PT should be able to apply the correct one to your situation. Make sure they are not “married” to any method. But that they are “married” to getting you RESULTS.
I hope this has helped you in your search for a personal trainer in Singapore. At Genesis Gym our entire coaching system is designed around these ideas. So that we can give clients the best chance to reach their fitness goals in a safe, sustainable way. By empowering them with the method and mindsets that they can keep as life skills for long term success.