Fitness Column: Finding the Perfect Personal Trainer

Finding the perfect personal trainer. Feel like you need some professional help to kick your workout up to the next level but don’t know where to start? Fitness expert Richard Milne tells us what to look for when searching for an exercise guru. By Anand Mathai

Everybody wants to get in shape, but not everybody has the willpower to make that happen. Even if you are motivated, the demands of work, family and friends can lead to things like gym memberships that go unused for months at a time. The problem with willpower is that you can’t simply will yourself to have more of it. But, when it comes to working out, you can pay somebody else to be your willpower for you, in a manner of speaking. For those with fitness woes, a personal trainer might be the best solution to your problem.

To some, a personal trainer may seem like an unnecessary luxury, something only celebrities and status-conscious types would shell out for. But what is the worth of a gym membership, or any other type of exercise program, if you don’t stick to it?
The job of a personal trainer is, essentially, to keep you motivated and moving towards your fitness goals. Obviously they should also have a wealth of technical knowledge and practical experience to back up whatever exercise regime they come up with for you, but more than anything, they have to be attuned to your personal needs and what keeps you coming back to the gym.

Richard Milne is a highly-experienced personal trainer working in Australia. In addition to running his own personal training business in Melbourne, he also delivers lectures and conducts workshops for students working towards their own certifications in fitness training. He said,”The main benefits of having a personal trainer is that you are committed to a regular time slot each week so that no matter how busy your lifestyle, you can stay committed to yourself and a regular exercise regime. Other benefits include motivation; variety of exercise; tailored programs and being able to learn from the best in the industry.”

Milne went on to make the point that, “I believe that if someone wants to achieve their full potential in anything in life, they look to a mentor or industry specialist to assist them with their goals. Personal training is no different.” The fitness guru said that you shouldn’t be worried about your ability level if you’re interested in getting a trainer. “My clients all vary with levels of capabilities. Some are experienced lifters looking to maximize their workouts with a tailored program or to train at sports specifically to compete at the highest level. Others have no prior background in the gym and look to me for guidance and support in what can be a dangerous environment for the untrained. Others look to me for motivation and variety of exercise. So really, I feel that everyone can benefit from having a personal trainer.”

So if you are seriously considering getting your personal trainer, where do you start? Milne said, “I believe that selecting the right trainer is a two way process – to form a lasting relationship between a client and trainer it must be a good match. From the client’s perspective, they should look into a trainer’s qualifications, experience level, industry achievements and specialities as well as observe how they operate with other clients on the gym floor.”

Milne emphasizes that the choice of personal trainer should not be taken lightly. “It is important to select a trainer with a specific skill set who is aligned with your desired goals. It is also paramount that you strike up a common ground with your trainer as a clash of personalities will not work out.” Of course everybody judges personality differently, but qualifications should provide a baseline for evaluating possible personal trainers. The best personal trainers will have much more than a great body – they’ll have a great deal of professional education in the fitness sciences.

Milne holds an Honours Degree in Sports Studies and Business, a Certificate IV in Fitness and Personal Training and a Certificate IV in Workplace Training and Assessment. “These are the qualifications required to be a personal trainer and lecturer as an industry specialist here in Australia. I have also obtained numerous other specialist qualifications in my field and my learning and development is continuous.”

Milne said that while everybody can benefit from a personal trainer, not everybody who gets a personal trainer has them for the right reasons. “I love to train clients who are motivated and dedicated in achieving their goals as this is a two way investment. But I dread the sort of client that turns up late and unmotivated to a session consistently with a blase attitude. Some just like the status of having a personal trainer with no intention of achieving their goals or getting fit and often complain at every exercise you give them.” Another bad reason to get a personal trainer is because you’re attracted to them. “I think that this may often occur and I have clients that I know have a crush on me, but I am always strictly professional and never over step the mark,” Milne said. But he added, “I suppose one good thing is that they keep coming back!“ But if your reasons are pure, then getting a personal trainer may just change your life.

Just listen to what Milne describe as his biggest achievement. “The greatest success I have had as a trainer was turning someone’s life around. He had major depression and anxiety. Within a year of working together he had gained self confidence through training, physically looking better and mentally feeling better that he gained a promotion at work. He came off his medication, met a girl of his dreams – who he is now married too and have just had their first child. His words of thanks in a card he wrote to me are still with me to this day, six years on.”


“It is paramount that you strike up a common ground with your trainer as a clash of personalities will not work out”.

Richard Milne is the owner of Motive8, a fitness and personal training business based in Melbourne, Australia. He is also a lecturer, trainer and assessor at FIA Fitnation, where he helps to train the next generation of personal trainers.