The Personal Training Solution
Okay, so you've made the resolutions, read the book, bought the T-shirt and are set to get fit and healthy. But what do you do next? Where do you start?
Over a number of years the UK/personal training industry has been steadily expanding. Personal fitness trainers are no longer exclusively associated with film stars, but are now used by everyday people to gain real results.
What Does A Personal Trainer Do?
If the idea of slogging it out on a treadmill, watching the seconds tick by appeals to you then stop reading now! If, on the other hand, the memory of fitness training gives you instant calf cramp then this should be of interest.
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 in the wrong direction. We each have individual fitness levels and goals, so regimes should take this into account. After discussing your goals a quality trainer will design a programme for you, allowing for any injuries or medical conditions. From then on the fun begins!
Many health clubs now offer a personal training service, whilst freelance trainers will usually visit you at your home or office at a time to suit. Each exercise session is fully supervised with the trainer giving motivation and guidance. As you improve, then the workload is increased gradually to make further gains. Your trainer will provide any equipment that is needed and should also be able to provide basic guidance on healthy eating and safe weight loss (if this is what you want).
Where To Find One
As with many professional services, the best way to find a personal trainer is through recommendation. You can then satisfy yourself as to their suitability before the first telephone call. So, ask around; you will be surprised how many of your friends or colleagues actually use personal trainers. The other options include your nearest health club, the Yellow Pages or local press, although you will find that few trainers advertise in newspapers etc., because most business comes from word-of-mouth.
Qualities, Qualifications and Costs
So what do you look for in a personal trainer? If you believed most of the press and television industry you might expect a TV/Gladiator with a huge smile and an even bigger personality to come knocking on your door (not wishing to belittle anyone that does look like this!). The successful trainer tends to be well motivated, educated and genuinely interested in you and your goals. Obviously personalities vary and you might find that you simply do not get on. If this is the case, don't hang on in the hope that all will work out (no pun intended!) but look for another trainer.
To date there is no law governing who is and isn't a personal trainer, literally anyone can call themselves a trainer with no come-backs. Our industry (in the UK) does not have state registration as say a physiotherapist, so take care when choosing. Qualifications also vary as many are gained through private training centres with little standardisation. Things to look out for are basic fitness instruction and personal training courses as a minimum. More advanced trainers may hold diplomas, sports science degrees or may specialise in areas such as injury rehabilitation or nutrition.
Costs tend to vary between around 25$ to 50$ for a one hour session. This variation is mainly due to the part of the country you live in, along with the experience, ability and knowledge of the trainer. Sadly this is not always the case, with some clients paying over-the-odds for less qualified trainers. Weigh up how much you think the trainer can help you before you decide.
So What Do I Do Now?
If you think you have found a trainer, then it's time to pick up the phone and dial - DO IT NOW, DON'T PUT IT OFF.
Here are few tips of what to look out for in the conversation:
- Does the trainer present a professional attitude?
- Is he/she interested in your goals or do they babble on about themselves?
- Do you sense the the trainer is confident in their ability?
Most trainers will not give prices out over the phone but prefer to meet for an informal chat. If you are getting positive feelings from the conversation then arrange an appointment - it's without obligation so you can easily say no.
When you meet, keep these points in mind:
- Don't be afraid to ask questions.
- Check out their qualifications and liability insurance. Ask to see certificates.
- Ask how they can help you, ie what sort of programme will they prescribe?
- If you have any special needs such as an injury, then make sure they are experienced in that area.
- Get a price quoted.
You must feel confident that you will get along together; a happy training partnership makes for better results.
If you are happy, then go for it! Make your first appointment there and then. Many trainers will start with a fitness appraisal to give you a baseline from which to work. This will usually include all relevant paperwork such as contracts and medical history.
From then on - it's the fitness routine.
There is no doubt that if you develop a partnership with a professional trainer then fitness will no longer be a dreaded chore, but an enjoyable and positive experience.