- 1. What are your personal fitness goals?
- 2. Do I suffer from fitness apathy?
- 3. Be picky – your personal trainer needs to be the right fit
- 4. Do you go to a gym, join an athletics club or road run?
- 5. Be safe
- 6. Try before you buy
- 7. Agree a plan and stick to it (and subscribe to our courses)
“Up Down, Up Down – Faster Faster!”
“Come on, keep going, you can do it”
What kind of fitness or personal trainer suits you?
Do you need drill sergeant style personal trainer, or just a gentle encouragement from a professional?
What ever you need, make sure you check our 7 top tips for picking your personal training.
First, ask yourself why you want a personal trainer. It should be because a personal trainer can help you start a new fitness programme, or improve your current fitness regime if you’ve hit a plateau.
Stephen Tongue, regional fitness specialist for Virgin Active Health Clubs, says personal trainers can really help you power through gym apathy: “Most of us have constant battles with our own intrinsic motivation. Personal trainers offer extrinsic motivation, which is often the difference between making the effort, or not. With a trainer you have a social commitment to an appointment which if not attended will often make both parties feel let down.”
Don’t hire a personal trainer because you’re hoping to pass off responsibility for all future fitness or weight maintenance on to someone else. The idea of a personal trainer is to get you to a position where you no longer need a personal trainer, giving you the help and advice you need to train by yourself. Tongue explains how a good personal trainer will “make you more independent over time by helping you to understand the basic principles of healthy exercise and nutrition. You will be inspired to try new types of food and exercise and, more importantly, understand why you are doing so.”
There are lots of personal training options available, from hiring out a dedicated personal trainer just like the celebrities, to just getting some simple, and often free, online advice.
Be clear why you want a personal trainer.
Is it to help you with a particular training routine for a sport you compete in, because you’re just starting out on a fitness plan and want some advice and support, or because you feel you’re not really getting the most from your workouts? It’s important that you’re able to tell your personal trainer what you need from them – remember that you’re the one paying so make sure you get the maximum benefit from your sessions.
A good relationship is key to the personal training experience: “Exercise should be fun and a good trainer will show you how you can become active and enjoy doing so. Your personal trainer should interact with you throughout the session and there should be smiles all round. You should look forward to sessions, not dread them.”
Most gyms offer a personal trainer service of some sort so, if you’re already a gym member, it may be cheaper to ask what services they can offer, or if they can recommend some local trainers. Most personal trainers will offer trials. If not, ask for a trial period, and consider trying someone else if they refuse.
Be picky and don’t just go for the first name to hand. Check out at least three personal trainers and contact them either via email or by phone. Ask them for a brief run-through of the training they’d propose for you, based on your fitness goals. If you don’t like the way they propose to train you, just say: “No thank you”. Tongue says you need to feel like you’re developing a good, professional friendship. “When looking for a trainer, first of all pick someone who you think will inspire you for one reason or another. Your trainer will become your role model.”
Go for safety first. If you’re hiring a personal trainer completely independently then meet in a public place, ask to see credentials and insurance documents and, if something doesn’t sound right, always ask.
Check some credentials. Good personal trainers should be on the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPS) and the National Register of Personal Trainers (NRPT). Funded by the Department of Health, REPS provides the public with a guarantee that the fitness professionals on its books meet required standards and possess acceptable qualifications. Search the NRPT directory for trainers in your area.
Work out your budget in mind when you’re looking for suitable personal trainers.Typically, personal trainers range from £20 – £40 per session. This can be higher for specialised trainers.
To get the most out of a training proramme, you should budget on three or more sessions per week .
Aim for long-term benefits. Although you won’t expect any personal trainer to be there for life, view your personal training experience as a lifelong, healthy change, not just a short-term kick.
“Once you have experienced the benefits of working with a trainer you realise just what you can achieve and the progression can be addictive, clients often start with simple goals of weight loss but are motivated to go beyond that and compete in events or activities they would never have dreamed they would do before. As you learn more about exercise, you may see less of your trainer but a great many prefer to stay in touch.”