5 Things To Look For In A Trainer By Dietician and Personal Trainer Baraa El Sabbagh

What To Look For In A Trainer

What to look for in a personal trainer, Baraa Sabbagh dietician, nutritionist, personal trainer Dubai

Finding the best trainer in Dubai for you can take some time, but it’s so worth it! There are so many factors when it comes to choosing the right personal trainer to guide you through your workouts and make an actual impact in your fitness and health. Each person is looking for different qualities from a trainer that would fit into their lifestyle, preferences, and needs. If you’re living in Dubai, you’ll soon notice that there are so many personal trainers to choose from that it’s almost overwhelming to come up with a decision! The health and fitness scene in Dubai is ever growing, which is a good thing, you just have to decide on what’s the most suitable option for you. 

Maybe you’re looking for a type of trainer that doubles as your therapist. Maybe you need someone that’s firm and unbending so you never cancel sessions. While those are great points to consider, find out what the 5 most important things to look for in a Dubai-based personal trainer. 

A Personal Trainer In Dubai Speaks From Experience

What to look for in a personal trainer, Baraa Sabbagh dietician, nutritionist, personal trainer Dubai

As a personal trainer in Dubai, I’ve come to learn that people’s lifestyles and personalities vastly differ, which means not every trainer and client pairing is going to be a match made in heaven and that’s completely normal. But I also learned what people really want and genuinely respond to, which is why I’m sharing my findings with you to find your own ideal trainer that will push, encourage, and be there for you. 

I won’t make this part of the 5 points, because naturally, the very first thing you want your trainer to have is certification. In the world of fitness, it’s very common for someone who’s had over 15 years of experience at the gym to offer personal training services even if they didn’t take any personal training courses. It’s true that experience is very important, but not having the proper qualifications comes with a risk of not understanding proper mechanics, approach, mindset, and the professional tactics that come with a certified personal trainer. This increases your risk of injury and lowers the chance of having a successful health journey. 

Here are some accredited organisations to look out for in a personal trainer in Dubai:

  • ACE (American Council on Exercise)
  • NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine
  • NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association)
  • REPS (The Register of Exercise Professionals in the UAE)

Without further ado, let’s begin!

#1: Choose A Personal Trainer To Inspire You 

Most of my clients have seen my videos, recipes, or blogs (on Instagram or website) before they got in touch with me. Or they might have heard about my approach from a friend or colleague. I’ve rarely worked with clients that found me through an internet search looking for a personal trainer in Dubai. Doing a little research makes a huge difference when you choose a personal trainer, because you can tell whether or not you vibe with them beforehand. When that happens, the results are way better:

    • You have a clear idea of their approach to health in exercise and nutrition, so no surprises!
    • Better communication, which means better outcomes. 
    • A much higher chance of sticking to your workouts and developing a long term healthy agreement to reach your goals. 
    • A much smaller chance of quitting because you already have an idea of what you’re getting yourself into.

If you’re not sure about your trainer or want to get an idea of their training methods, it’s  a good idea to do a one-time personal training session with the trainer before you get started.

#2: A Trainer That Looks At The Whole Picture 

Baraa El Sabbagh, Dietician, personal trainer, nutritionist Dubai

So many factors come into play when it comes to your exercise abilities, capacity, motivation, dedication, and reasons of why you commit or not. Your personal trainer has to take your external factors into consideration when they’re guiding you through your health journey. By asking you about your eating habits, lifestyle, and workout history, they can establish a personalised routine that works best for you. 

For example, if you have a week where you’re working late at the office and won’t be able to make it to your 6 pm sessions but you still want to commit to your program, your trainer should help you come up with ideas that will help keep you active to reach your goals. Time management is a skill that your trainer should always help you with as this is one of the main reasons people give up on training so fast. 

Another example is if you’re having a tough day or you’re feeling low, a trainer should take these things into consideration and help you increase your energy levels to get you going on the right track. If your trainer can look at the big picture, they can make all sorts of adjustments on a day by day basis to get you where you need to go. 

#3 A Trainer That Keeps Your Progress In Mind 



If you’re not sure if the trainer you’re choosing will keep your progress in mind, here are a couple of things to look out for:

  • Did they ask you about your goals right off the bat? If yes, it means that they have something that they will be evaluating your progress to. So, good sign!
  • If one month into the training, they haven’t assessed your progress and asked how you’re feeling, then I recommend that you have a chat with them about monitoring your progress to help you reach your goals. 

Progress is why we’re in this game, whether it's to reduce risk of disease, improve overall health, physique, or mental health. The only way to progress is by evaluating the previous month’s training and/or developing a new one if it’s not working. 

A trainer should be attuned to your interest in the workout to see whether you’re getting bored or not. It’s the trainer’s job to get creative with keeping your body and mind stimulated throughout your sessions. 

#4: A Trainer You Can Openly Communicate With

It’s also worth noting that there can be no progress without communication. Not comfortable doing a certain move because of an injury? State your concerns. Want to workout on a business trip? Ask for tips on form and workouts to do while you’re away. This isn’t meant to be a super professional, “all-business” type of relationship, there are trainers out there that genuinely care about your wellbeing and want you to achieve your goals.

Don’t be afraid to point out anything that concerns you, like if the trainer is cancelling too many sessions or seems distracted during your time together. Voice your concerns and see if you can work past any issues that come up. It’s better to go that route than avoiding the things and end up parting ways because there was no communication.  

#5: Background In Nutrition & Personal Training in Dubai

Baraa El Sabbagh personal trainer, dietician, nutritionist in Dubai

Nutrition and exercise go hand in hand so it’s important for your trainer to have background insight on nutrition. As a dietitian and personal trainer in Dubai, I’m more than happy to guide my clients on the proper meals to go with their workout program. Always check with a registered dietitian about the adequacy of your diet for the best results when starting any new program. 

It’s unfortunate, but I’ve seen my fair share of inadequate recommendations from personal trainers who are not qualified to share meal plans, so always make sure their advice is coming from a qualified place. A personal trainer should give you a general guide on the foods to choose or avoid, but they’re not trained to provide you with detailed meal plans. 

The benefits of having a trainer with a background in nutrition is they can point you towards the food that will help with specific goals, like muscle gain or fat loss. It’s up to certified dieticians in Dubai to keep learning to give you an updated and comprehensive meal plan. People are unsure what to eat for fat loss, muscle gain, before a workout and after a workout, that’s when doing research and trusting your sources whether its a trainer or a dietitian comes in handy. 

Bonus tip: The Best Personal Trainer In Dubai Will Be Flexible

It’s important for the trainer to understand your current situation and see what’s a win-win deal for both. The trainer you choose should help make training more convenient and easy for you. If they’re not lenient about where they train and you live too far to commit to their timing, they’re probably not the right trainer for you. 

If you have a gym in your building, you can find a trainer that will come do sessions there! Or if you have an existing membership at a gym and they allow, you can ask to get passes for your trainer on the days you workout with them. 

Start Looking For The Very Best Personal Trainers In Dubai

What are some additional things that you look for? Let me know in the comments. 

Now that you know the qualities that make up a great trainer, you can start looking for someone to reach your health and fitness goals. If you happen to be in the UAE and want a personal trainer AND nutritionist in Dubai to pair up with, I would love to guide you. I can also guide you through my online program services wherever you are around the world.  Get in touch and we’ll take it from there. Looking forward to hearing from you! 

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