Lots of us start a new health and fitness regime with good intentions but with daily life, such as work pressures, family obligations, and a busy social calendar, our vow to workout five days a week quickly falls by the wayside. While gym sessions, fitness classes, and running clubs are an excellent way to get yourself in shape, there are those of us that need, well, a little bit more motivation. We require someone that’s going to be in our corner no matter what and, unlike family and friends, feels comfortable pushing us past our comfort barrier to achieve results.
What was once a luxury only the rich and famous could afford, has become an everyday occurrence thanks to a variety of payment plans, session bundles, and individual programs. People are gradually cottoning on to what they spend on snacks, clothes and nights out can also be used to help improve their overall health and fitness. Personal trainers aren’t a new thing, in fact, athletes and sports stars have had access to a fitness coach for years, but for regular people, the novelty of a personal trainer means we’re hiring more of them than ever before. Ironically, thanks to technology the personal training of PT industry is performing better than ever. Fitness data is easier to access, interpret and share with the client while helping trainers pinpoint accurately what’s working well and what needs improving.
Studies have also shown that those who have access to a PT do better than those without but why is this? Firstly, trainers are personal and while they may have many clients on their books the time that they spend with you is solely focused on improving your fitness. Secondly, believe it or not, qualified personal trainers possess excellent communication skills, as well as an understanding of psychology that allows them to motivate, encourage and support clients. Lastly, they have a keen emotional awareness; trainers walk the line between pushing someone out of their comfort zone, and knowing when someone’s reached their limit. However, real results are often seen when both trainer and client work together having established a mutual respect and trust.
Obviously, the best place to start is at your gym as most fitness centres have one, or more permanent personal trainers on staff at all times. Speak to them about your fitness goals; you’re not setting anything in stone here just having a friendly chat to see if you like them as a person. Don’t worry if you don’t get the right vibes, just move on until you find someone you click with. Why not speak to friends and family who already have trainers to see if they can recommend someone or check out fitness forums online where local trainers advertise. Arrange a consultation where you can find out more about their qualifications. This is absolutely vital as they’ll be the one in charge of your fitness program, and if they don’t know what they’re doing, they could seriously injure you!
Be honest about your current level of fitness while asking where they trained and how long they’ve been in the industry. Yes, they may have this information on their website, but it never hurts to have things explained in person. Try to find someone that has a national, or international accreditation as it often means that they’ve had more experience but understand that you’ll be paying a premium for that expertise. Look at what certificates they have, and if they’re up to date, an expired certificate or license is never good and make sure you check their workplace before you sign anything.
Look to speak to their manager or any previous clients to get a feel for how well they perform. Not all personal trainers are the same, depending on what fitness regime you seek some may decide you’re a better fit with a colleague, but don’t be afraid to give them a thorough grilling either. Experts suggest you ask questions about previous clients, their success rates, what their style is, how much their fees are and if they work just one-on-one or in small groups. The last thing you want to do is turn up to your first session, nervous as hell and be met with six other people.
Your trainer should have no issues with you watching a session either; it’s a great way to see how they work, interact with the client and what methods they use to reach the client’s potential. Avoid trainers who seem unusually vain, more into working out themselves, buying
sports wear and showing off their Adidas originals shoes than putting clients through their paces. Another red flag is trainers who spend an inordinate amount of time chatting or who stop half way through the session. You need someone that’s going to be there alongside you every step of the way, not talking on their phone or drinking energy drinks every five minutes!
Get In Tune
Once you’ve found someone you can work with now’s the time to talk about your goals in more detail and why you want to get in shape. Don’t be afraid to share personal weight issues, a good trainer will have heard many of them before and will reassure you. While it’s important to establish a great working relationship, i.e. Doing the homework they set you, turning up on time and wearing the right gear for fitness it’s worth remembering that they aren’t your friend. It’s fine to be friendly, but at the end of the day you are a client, meetings should be kept professional and only when you wish to no longer employ them should you consider approaching them in a social capacity.
A good trainer will understand your limits, any health concerns, and will work with you to achieve your fitness goals and will take the time to learn from you as well as leading the session. If something’s not working for you or you feel like a certain exercise is too risky a professional will quickly, confidently and easily adapt the session and later discuss how to get the around the issue.