How To Choose A Personal Trainer: 5 Foolproof Rules

5 Mins Read

Finding a personal trainer in Hong Kong feels like choosing your future life partner through Tinder: the options are limitless, the pics are photoshopped and there’s a lot of style but not much substance. With the exponential growth of Hong Kong’s fitness industry, the personal trainer population has mushroomed. From trainers in large gym chains to freelancers working in smaller studios, the choices are endless. It’s easy to feel intimidated and unsure of how to make the best decision when choosing the right personal trainer for your needs. So we decided to talk to an actual personal trainer to find out what to look out for when searching for the ideal one for you. Below, certified personal trainer Daniel Yeung shares his five top tips.

1. Check The Visuals: Results Matter

It goes without saying that results speak for themselves, you just can’t deny facts. So when looking for a personal trainer, I would look to see if they have any track record with current or previous clients. This could be written testimonials, progress pictures or speaking to people you know who have worked with them. What I would also do would be to ask to see their own personal transformations. At the end of the day,  they can’t just talk the talk, they have to walk the walk.

2. Six Degrees Of Reputation

One thing I always value is the opinion of my friends and the people I respect. If I’m looking for a good healthy restaurant somewhere in Causeway Bay, I’d reach out to my network of friends, read websites like Green Queen or check out reviews on OpenRice. Asking someone who has had first hand-experience with the person is always a good way to find out specific details about the trainer in question, as well as what they are like to work with overall, so do your due diligence when possible. If that isn’t an option, check out their social media pages to see if they practice what they preach and if their philosophy is aligned with what you’re looking for. Happy stalking!


3. Rapport Building

You are going to be working with this individual closely so when it comes down to it, you’re going to have to like them. It’s ideal to meet them in person for a ‘consultation’ first to see if you gel personality-wise. During the initial meeting, the quality of their questions will be a good indicator of their abilities. They should obviously help you to identify your overall goals, but they should also ask about your lifestyle choices and be flexible about adjusting their recommendations to your requirements. The more questions they ask around you and your life, the better. The additional information they collect should enable them to create a program tailored to your needs, both inside and outside the gym.

4. It’s All About The Questions

Just as they should ask you questions, you should feel comfortable asking your personal trainer anything to do with their professional background, the program that has been designed for you and general nutrition and fitness questions. A good personal trainer should always be more than willing to answer any questions and address any concerns you may have. If they are not sure about something, they should be upfront about it and try to connect you with someone that can help.

A great approach is to put together a list of specifics you want to ask the trainer about before your initial consultation so you arrive prepared. This could be anything from specific training advice for your goals to realistic milestones for your progress to the trainer’s availability in terms of scheduling sessions. It’s also worth finding out a little more about then: I would ask them why they’re in the field that they’re in, what got them started and what their own fitness ambitions are. Knowing their story will give you a better insight into what truly motivates them and what they’re like as individuals.


5. The Importance Of Knowing What YOU Want

Everyone is different and has unique goals, so it’s vital to find a personal trainer that is suited to yours. In order for this to happen, you need to figure out what your goals are. Make sure to ask yourself what results you want to achieve, how you want to go about it and most importantly, WHY you want to embark on this journey. Are you looking to make a lifestyle change? Are you after a quick 8-week turnaround in time for a holiday or special occasion? Be honest with your trainer about what you want, so they can work to help you achieve your goals and benchmark specific milestones for you.

Bonus Tip: Specialization Count

As with professionals from all industries, personal trainers tend to have specializations, ie areas that they have experience and specific training in. For some, that’s strength and conditioning, for others it’s pre & post pregnancy workouts, for others still, it’s rehabilitation. Whether you’re looking to prepare for a marathon or shed some body fat, it’s important to pick a personal trainer schooled in that specialty. 

When To Run…Away

Here are the types of trainers you want to watch out for and avoid at all costs:

  1. The ‘used-car salesman’ personal trainer who will try to sell you an expensive package before getting a thorough understanding of your situation, goals and interests.
  2. The personal trainer who promises to deliver results that sound too good to be true (they usually are).
  3. The personal trainer who suggests you take supplements right from the get-go, before any discussion about your nutritional requirements or current lifestyle has occurred.

Remember: when you invest in a personal trainer, you are investing more than your time and money: you are trusting in someone’s ability to deliver a service. So don’t be afraid to meet a few trainers before choosing the right one for you!


Daniel Yeung was born and raised in the UK and began his Asian journey in 2014 when he moved to Hong Kong. He has been training for over seven years, became a certified personal trainer in 2013 and then established a freelance personal training business in the UK, which he has recently launched in Hong Kong. As a personal trainer, Daniel’s focus is on delivering body composition transformations and postural correctness through habitual lifestyle changes and proven scientific approaches. You can follow him on Instagram, email him or Whatsapp him at +852 9223 4440.

Image credits: Daniel Yeung.


  • Sonalie Figueiras

    2021 Women of Power, 2019 GEN T Honoree, V Label Global Hero, 2 x TEDx Speaker: Serial social entrepreneur & trends forecaster Sonalie Figueiras is a sustainability expert, food futurist and eco-powerhouse who has been inspiring global audiences for over a decade with practical steps on how to fight climate change. Known as the Green Queen of Asia, she is the founder and Editor in Chief of the award-winning Green Queen - the region’s first impact media platform that educates millions of readers on the connection between health, sustainability and the environment and showcases future solutions. She is also the co-founder and CEO of organic sourcing platform Ekowarehouse and climate tech SaaS Source Green, which helps consumer brands quit plastic packaging thanks to proprietary plastic reduction software. In addition, Sonalie is a global keynote speaker and an advisor to multiple mission-driven startups and NGOs, and a venture partner to several VC funds.

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