"13 Reasons Why"
.... it is worth having a personal trainer and what to look for when hiring one.
I feel a clarification is in order, as to what I actually mean by personal trainer, before going ahead with this blog post.
What is a Personal Trainer?
Personal trainer (or short PT) is that individual who has earned a certification that demonstrates they have achieved a level of competency for creating and delivering safe and effective exercise programs and who works one-on-one with a client to plan or implement (and even both) an exercise or fitness regime.
Why would you need a PT and how can they help you?
.... and here we go:
1. Learn the right way - a good personal trainer is a teacher, they will educate you from the start of your journey, including and most important – helping you in setting your goal, and then many other aspects of health and wellbeing as you go along.
2. The goal(s) you have in mind might not be realistic. This is the most important moment in your personal training beginning. Not setting a SMART goal can lead to disappointment and relapses. Of course, pretty much everyone can say they would want to have “young Brad Pitt’s 8 packs abs”, “Chris Hemsworth’s guns”, “J Lo’s well shaped buttocks”, “Madonna’s toned arms” or “one of James Bond’s girls defined legs” (and the list could go on and on) .... and all these ideally to be achieved in 2-3 weeks of training not longer. What we want and what we need are not always the same things, just as not knowing what it takes and what we can commit to in order to get where we need to be, can hinder our progress too.
3. You don't know what to choose from what is out there – and “Fitnessland” is a vast area of all “the good, the bad and the ugly”. A PT’s knowledge can guide you through whether is nutritional advice, exercise routine or general wellbeing tips.
4. You've been working out for a while but not seeing results – there are many variables in a training program (sets, reps, rest, weight, tempo – just to name few examples). It is not “one size fits all” and doing the wrong things or same routine all over again can lead to disappointment.
5. You have an injury and you might be worry of aggravating it – this is something that you should not mess about and I would strongly recommend a Specialist PT (Level 4) to start your personal training journey with. Old injuries can reoccur, existent injuries could be aggravated and small injuries can transform into big and persistent ones if exercising incorrectly.
6. You really want to understand the exercises you are doing – I am one of those I must confess – I can perform much better if I can get the logic of it. A good PT will explain to you what you are doing, how to do it and how it will help you whatever regime you are applying.
7. You are struggling with the motivation – if only I had a penny for how many times I heard from my clients “I only can push myself like this when training with you” – and I totally get it, some people need someone to push them to achieve their goals.
8. You hit plateau by doing same old things on and on again – yes, you may start following a training plan and you have great results at the beginning, you lose 2 kg in the first week, then another 1 the week after, but then you start seeing no more progress. Our bodies adapt, we need new stimuli all the time, not necessarily huge changes, but consistent, regular even tiny ones.
9. Nutritional advice – PT are trained and have knowledge in nutrition too. No, we are not nutritionists, but we have knowledge and we are qualified to advise on nutrition for weight loss or weight management. However, should you have special dietary requirements, or suffer of any specific medical conditions or allergies, then yes, it would be more appropriate to consult a medical specialist, nutritionist or dietitian – just make sure you inform your trainer as well from the start.
10. You suffer from a medical condition – and there is a vast variety of all sorts out there – some known and some not yet. Suffering of asthma, diabetes, Parkinson or MS (multiple sclerosis) just to name a few? Then, a personal trainer with GP referral qualification would be definitely a much better choice.
11. You are pregnant and not sure what can you do or not to do exercise wise – PTs with Pre and Post Natal studies are armed with more knowledge on this matter and you can maximise your chances of a safe workout before and during pregnancy and even post-partum ( after giving birth).
12. You just need new challenges – some people are “creatures of habit” – like doing same old things, not keen on trying new options during training and feel better within their comfort zone. Other people on the other hand, are keen for the thrill and buzzing after adrenaline rush of seizing a new challenge, being pushed out of their comfort zone, testing their limits and enjoy the dopamine flow (the hormone associated with motivation and reward). A PT can help you with choosing the challenges right for your goal and abilities without being expose to the risk of injuries. Anyone can make a workout / challenge hard difficult, but not everyone can make it safe and effective.
13. You just need to talk to someone - an unofficial therapist that can improve your mental health not just physical. The PT doesn’t have to be someone with a degree in psychology (though this could be a massive bonus if is a good PT too). However, when training with a PT over a period of time, unavoidable you will build up rapport and you will find that during your training, sometimes just talking to someone about something that might bother you, could actually “lift a weight off your shoulders”. Exercise itself helps with release of good feeling hormones, but sometimes even just a simple chat with someone impartial can make us see the world less grim, can make us notice the rainbow, not just the clouds .... and why not .... maybe unicorns running wild on the sunny fields :)
How to choose a PT?
Now, like in pretty much in any industry / business ... and life in general, you will find good people and bad people, skilled people and less skilled, people who know what they are doing and people who pretend they know what they are doing. Where am I going with this you may ask? What I mean is that I can understand people’s concern, confusion or indecisiveness when it comes to trusting your health into someone’s hands and what and whom to choose from what’s out there when looking to get a personal trainer.
If I was to look into getting, what some people would call, a “good personal trainer”, especially when you think you “found the one”, I would expect that personal trainer to have all these 3 boxes ticked off my list:
- Experience - not necessarily just time length, but mainly quality work witnessed, proved by past clients’ feedback. The more the better – this would confirm that that personal trainer didn’t just “hit the jackpot once” but the quality of his/her work has been consistent and I can trust them with looking after my health.
- Qualifications – there are 4 levels (legally recognised in UK) in personal training, with the higher the better: Level 1(Fitness and Physical Activity), Level 2 (Gym Instructor), Level 3 (Personal Trainer), Level 4 (Specialist Personal Trainer on different areas – cardiac rehabilitation, lower back pain, corrective exercise, etc). Bear in mind that level 1 and 2 are not actual personal trainers but only ones who touched bases with foundation courses. Not less important and not be ignored are also the CPD courses Continuing Professional Development which also demonstrate that the personal trainer continued to learn and develop through his/her career.
- Public liability and professional indemnity insurance – just like any health clubs, personal trainers have a duty of care to their clients and they must take out specialist insurance if they really care about their clients and they are serious about their business.
I hope I managed to shade some light and maybe answer some of your inner questions within this post ... but if not, feel free to get in touch and will do my best to clarify and /or develop on the topic.
Thank you for your reading and as always....