I wrote this post for my upcoming personal training website, Great Expectations Fitness, which will feature a blog of its own. On that blog, I will offer a number of instructional series, including a “How To” series as well as reviews, nutrition advice, and spotlights on specific techniques or workouts. Many of the posts will appear on both this blog and the Great Expectations Fitness blog, but I wanted to give you loyal followers a head start. So without further ado, I give you the first of the How To series; How to choose your personal trainer. I hope you find it interesting and helpful!
Despite the economic crisis and the skyrocketing unemployment levels, it seems that there is no shortage of personal trainers all vying for a slice of everyone else’s disposable income.
I say “despite”, but it’s really no surprise – it really isn’t that hard to gain some form of qualification in the fitness industry, and even if you have no qualification or insurance, let alone any experience of business know-how, most clients won’t really know what to look for or how to check up on it.
Quite worryingly, as well as the usual array of terrible advice I have read on personal trainers’ websites and magazine columns, I have even seen some very swanky-looking personal trainer websites in which the photographed client was performing the technique incorrectly! When the average going rate is anywhere between £60 and £100 per hour, how are you supposed to know who to trust with your not only your heard-earned money but also your health, wellbeing, and safety?
Obviously, I know it seems a little loaded for a personal trainer to be writing an article on how to choose a personal trainer! So I will not be giving you any hard-and-fast rules, but instead I will aim to give you a sense of ownership over your decision in choosing your personal trainer.
1. Personal connection
You are going to be spending, on average, anywhere between 1 and 5 hours a week with this person. So you better get on well with them on a personal level! Sure, it will be a professional relationship, and I am not suggesting that you need to work with someone that you feel you could invite to your birthday party, but you need to feel you can talk to them about potentially sensitive issues, and that you can raise any concerns with them that may come up throughout your training. It should be somebody you can talk to openly and honestly about your goals, hopes, fears, medical history, current mood and stress levels. Trust your gut instinct on this one
2. Personal connection
Yes, I know I have just said that. And of course, their qualifications are important too – but how do you know that they’re not making them up or embellishing them? You don’t – unless you trust them. So again, somebody that you instinctively believe and trust is the number one priority, and everything else should flow from there.
3. Personal connection
That was a little predictable, I know, I apologise – but again, no matter how much relevant experience they display on their website or in their initial conversation with you, you have no way of knowing how much of it is truthful. Of course, if you are looking for a bodybuilding coach and your personal trainer looks like they have never lifted a weight in their life, then you may have a bit of an inkling that they might not be the right man or woman for the job. But the reality is we have all seen overweight nutritionists, doctors who smoke, and dentists with bad teeth – who all do their job exceptionally well. So once again, it comes down to trust – do you feel that they know what they are talking about, and that they understand your needs, and that maybe they just don’t have the same goals as you at present? If you feel like you want to listen to what this person has to say, and that you would be happy to spend a few hours a week with them, then go for it.
On the flipside, things that will not indicate a better personal trainer are:
- ludicrously expensive rates: if someone is in high demand, they may have higher rates – but higher rates do not mean a better trainer
- a slick and professional-looking website
- an extensive collection of photos of themselves looking immaculate
- a tediously long list of random qualifications
So you see, I’m not trying to tell you that I am the trainer for you. I might not be, and as someone who really does just want to see a healthier society developing, I would rather we established that early on so that we can have a happy and productive professional interaction.
I hope this has given you a little more confidence in choosing the person you believe will get you fit and healthy, but if you have any further questions or concerns, please do get in touch with me!