Personal Trainer of the Year 2019 - Abhinav Malhotra

It is a delight when not only athletes but trainers from India reach international acclaim. Here are the excerpts from interview with Abhinav Malhotra, A Master Trainer in Dubai about his commendable feat!

Personal Trainer of the Year 2019 - Abhinav Malhotra

I am Abhinav Malhotra. I am 35 years now. I belong to New Delhi, India.I have a joint family living with my wife, daughter, parents, brother and his family.

I am working as a Master Trainer at Fitness First Middle East (Dubai).  I was recognized as the 'PERSONAL TRAINER OF THE YEAR 2019 - UAE & GCC' in the recently concluded FIT AWARDS UAE.

Certifications, Education and Achievements

I have done many certifications (India & International academies, including REPS level 3 & 4) on Personal Training, Advanced Personal Training for Special Population, Strength & Conditioning, Nutrition, Kettlebell, Neuro-fitness & brain health to name a few. In India, I had my own academy called Ballistic Kettlebell Fitness Academy through which I used to take Kettlebell certifications all across India. The manual I wrote is now also ACE approved and used by Classic Fitness Academy to conduct kettlebell certifications through their Master Trainers.

I am also India's first International Kettlebell Sport athlete. I took up Kettlebell Sport when it was not popular in India and I trained with the world's no. 1 coach - Sergey Rudnev. All that training and learning gave me great insights on strength & conditioning. Later I took recreational bodybuilding and strength training as my training and currently I am training for my first PowerLifting meet in Dubai, under coach Mohammad Azmat from India. 

All these studies and training experience has helped me work with different client base ranging from bodybuilding to athletic strength & conditioning to special population. My knowledge in Nutrition & Supplementation has specially helped a great deal while taking up all sorts of cases including medical cases like diabetes, PCOS etc. I work hard on my skills and knowledge in all domains with a lot of self-study to deliver 360 degrees result based training.

I did my B.Com from Delhi University from Sri Venkateshwara College. I also did a Post Graduate Management course from Indian Institute of Management, Indore (IIM, Indore). 

Career in Fitness Industry

My career in Fitness Industry happened by chance and to be honest no one among my family and friends approved of it. The only people who encouraged me were my teachers who thought I was really good grasping the scientific concepts of anatomy, physiology, kinesiology and nutrition and I had a very inquisitive mind.

In 2011, I took up my 1st Personal Training course in Pune just as a hobby as I was curious to understand the science of fitness. It quickly followed by Special Population course, Kettlebell course and CrossFit and by that i knew that i would like to venture into fitness as a second career (first one being logistics - family business). I networked with the peers in Fitness Industry at that time and also opened a small functional training studio in Pune and my kettlebell academy in 2013. In 2014, I opened a gym management company in Delhi. I was doing really well in Fitness Industry in India at that time with great networking and a promising career.

In September 2015, I had to shift to Dubai (almost overnight) with my family and again I had to start from scratch again. 

I got the job of a Personal Trainer for Fitness First Middle East and started grinding myself again. In 4 years from since then, last month I got the UAE PERSONAL TRAINER OF THE YEAR  2019 award.

The entire journey has been full of challenges,especially, earlier in my career and when i moved to Dubai.

The biggest challenge while getting into this industry was the criticisms of people around that I am wasting my time. Fitness is still not considered a mainstream profession and fitness professionals are not as well respected as other professionals like doctors, lawyers, managers etc. Things are changing now but still a long way to go. Even to convince my own family that I was not wasting my time was tough. Apart from my wife, no one was very supportive. Things have changed now since I am doing well in Dubai and have made a name for myself. 

The only way to overcome the challenges was to ignore the criticisms and work hard to prove myself - especially to my parents. After years of grinding, I believe now my parents are proud of me and that’s the only thing that matters to me.

I have worked with all kinds of clients in my career ranging from fat loss, bodybuilding, sports performance, injury rehab, posture correction, medical conditions like diabetes, PCOS , mental health, kids strength & conditioning, senior people (60+) etc.

I kind of training is strength training and that is where I have found all my success in all kinds of clients. Keeping progressive strength training and mobility as the base, it is possible to achieve all the desired results in any sphere of fitness. Strength training is classic, evergreen and there to stay. There are other training protocols also that I use which to be honest are goal specific and cannot be generalized to write in here.

About Experience of Winning Personal Trainer of the Year 2019 UAE & GCC in FIT Award UAE

The first round was the application round. The judges see everything from background, experience, professional development efforts, the rates that we charge, a normal work day, our own training protocols, the training philosophy, the results of clients that we have worked with, how we track results, client retention factor, our achievements through the year etc.

The second round is presentation round where each nominated finalist displays his skills and knowledge to present a mock case study given by the judges. The judges are experts in their fields and they take a thorough Q&A round after listening to our case studies.

Overall there were 8 nominated finalists among 15000+ personal trainers in the Middle East. I was the only Indian in that list.

In 2018, also, I was among the 10 nominated finalists (again the only India) but couldn't win the award. This year I am glad I could bring home the trophy. This is also the first time ever that any trainer from Fitness First Middle East has won this award.

About clients

I would like keep my client cases private. But I do want to say that I really enjoy cases like extreme obesity cases, medical conditions and challenging rehab cases to work with. These are the cases where I really believe I am making a difference to their families. I enjoy working with all my clients though.

Message to the Aspiring Trainers

2 things I want to say:

1) Knowledge is power. Always keep educating and developing yourself. What will set you apart, as a coach, from the rest is the education, not your bodies or athletic capabilities.

2) You are in this industry due to your passion. Always remember that while working with your clients. Don't be a trainer who is just counting sessions in a day and not bothered about the client results.


About The Author


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