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Personal Training - So What Is All The Fuss About?

Updated on January 18, 2018
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At one time personal trainers were only to be found as accessories of the rich and famous. Hiring a personal trainer became a fashionable 'must have' that almost overshadowed the hard training and dedication that these fitness professionals had invested into their careers. The cynical would say "Ah yes, but if I had the time and money to spend on a trainer then I too would have a body like Cyndi Crawford/Goldi Hawn/George Clooney/fill in the blank!"

Take away all the hype, and the truth is fortunately very simple. These people are successful people, and successful people do not waste time or money investing in things that do not work. Personal trainers are no longer just associated with film and music stars but are increasingly being used by real people to gain real results: people of all fitness, age and economic levels. All over the world, such people are now making positive lifestyle changes that they could not achieve by themselves.

What Can A Personal Trainer Do For You?

1. Improve your overall fitness Surveys show that the primary reason that people hire personal trainers is to get professional guidance and tuition to improve strength, flexibility, endurance, posture, balance and cardiovascular fitness. Each exercise session is fully supervised with the trainer fine-tuning your programme as you progress.

2. Reach or maintain a healthy weight Body fat reduction and weight management can be achieved with the aid of a qualified trainer, who can help set realistic goals and provide the encouragement that you need. The trainer should also be able to provide basic guidance on healthy eating and safe weight loss.

3. Learn to stick to it Personal trainers provide the motivation that many exercisers, particularly new exercisers, find difficult to muster themselves. Trainers are full of useful tips to help clients reach their goals despite any obstacles that their lifestyles may throw at them.

4. Focus on your unique health concerns Whatever your particular need whether it be recovering from injury, pre or postnatal, arthritis, obesity or low back pain, a qualified personal trainer can help you achieve your goals safely and effectively.

5. Find the right way to work out Learn how to exercise correctly and without injury by using the right equipment and correct form.

6. Stop Wasting Time Most of us do not enjoy the thought of wasted time but unless you are following a professionally designed fitness programme you might be channelling your energy into the wrong direction. We each have individual fitness levels and goals so regimens should take this into account. Get maximum results in minimum time with a programme that is specifically designed for you.

7. Learn new skills As well as improving your overall conditioning, an individualised programme can also help to improve specific skills needed for tennis, golf or skiing, for example.

8. Benefit From A Training 'Partner' What could be better than making a regular commitment to meet with someone who will provide you with individualised attention and support for YOUR training programme.

What To Look For In A Personal Trainer

The successful trainer tends to be well educated, highly motivated and genuinely interested in you and your goals. Unfortunately at present there is no legal requirement before someone can call themselves a personal trainer, so here are some things to look out for:

  • Qualifications should include a basic fitness instruction and personal training course as a minimum. More advanced instructors may hold diplomas, sports science degrees, or specialise in areas such as injury rehabilitation and nutrition.
  • The price a trainer quotes should reflect their experience, ability and knowledge. Sadly it is not unheard of for clients to pay over the odds for less qualified trainers. Weigh up how much you think that trainer can help you then decide.

Where To Find A Personal Trainer

As with most professional services the best way is through a recommendation. Ask around: you'll be surprised how many of your friends or colleagues actually use personal trainers. There are also many trainers who advertise on the internet. Spend your time browsing through to obtain as much information about them as possible, and draw up a shortlist of suitable trainers in your area. The other options include phone directories, local health clubs and local press.

Making Your Enquiries

When you have your shortlist of potential trainers it is time to make an appointment for a (usually free) consultation. First impressions count. Here are a few things to look out for during that initial telephone conversation:

  • Does the trainer present a professional attitude?
  • Does the trainer seem genuinely interested in your goals or do they babble on about themselves?
  • How does the trainer operate? Do you have to go to them or will they come to your home/office?
  • Do you sense that the trainer is confident in their ability?

Do not be put off if the trainer does not give out prices over the phone - most of them will not, but will instead arrange to meet you for an informal chat (consultation). If you are getting positive feelings from the conversation then arrange an appointment: it is without obligation so you can easily say no even after meeting them.

During The Consultation

  • Take a list of any questions or particular concerns with you to the consultation so that you gain as much information as possible.
  • Check out the trainer's qualifications and training. Ask to see certificates, client testimonials or professional references.
  • Ask how the trainer can help you. What sort of programme do they have in mind.
  • If you have any special needs or injuries make sure that the trainer is competent and confident to deal with them. Do they have any experience in that particular area?
  • Get a price quoted.
  • Go with your gut feeling. Do you envisage getting along with this person? A happy working partnership is crucial for success.

After the consultation you can take time to think things over or book your first session there and then. However, before you engage in any exercise your trainer should take time to go through the training contract/terms of business, and take a medical and health questionnaire from you.

Stuck For Life?

One of the reasons that personal training appeals to so many people is its flexibility. Whilst some clients are happy to see their personal trainer once or twice a week, every week of the year; others may only see their personal trainer once a month for programme updates. Also. It is not uncommon for people to see personal trainers for a set (short term) period, say 3-6 months. Such clients include those recovering from injury, returning to exercise after having a baby, or in preparation for a special occasion such as a wedding or a holiday.

Time To Leave

There is no doubt that if you develop a partnership with a professional trainer then fitness is no longer a dreaded chore, but can be an enjoyable and positive experience. However, as in all walks of life, sometimes personalities can clash. If you find that you simply do not get along then get another trainer. Suffering in silence will not improve your exercise adherence.

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