Want to get your body in enviable shape? With the help of a great personal trainer, the chances are you will. But how do you find the right trainer so you get real results.
Jonathan Lomax, London's most sought after trainer and creator of The Lomax Way, reveals what to look out for ...
With the government focus on the spreading obesity crisis and the medical profession championing the need for us all to do a lot more “moving” about, new low-cost gyms and boutique fitness options are opening daily.
Emphasis on hot new fitness classes fill our social media streams and one can’t open a magazine without reading about the latest celebrity fitness programme.
However, all of these things have one thing in common – personal trainers. Whether it’s the spin instructor, Pilates teacher or bootcamp coach – fitness professionals are enjoying a boom in the requirement for their skills.
But, and it’s a big but, not all personal trainers are created equal.
Many courses are easy to complete and take very little time, so qualifications aren’t always an accurate way to select the individual you want to help you kickstart a new fitness regime, hone your squats or perfect your tennis swing.
And some PTs out there don't even walk the talk themselves! Stay away from the ones out of shape themselves!
Here are some boxes that need ticking before you engage in the world of personal fitness, or before choosing the class you wish to attend. I have listed them in order of importance!
1.) Insurance and affiliation are important.
Ensure the trainer is properly backed with the correct paperwork or speak to their manager to make sure.
Once you’ve established this, you can at least ensure that if you unfortunately suffer an injury as a result of something you were told to do, will have recourse to seek compensation from the individual or gym where they work in the unlikely event it is serious.
2.) Ask A Friend.
Start by asking around and selecting fitness professionals your friends have worked out with. Referral is the most important way to generate business for personal trainers.
If your friends have had a good experience with someone, then this is usually a very good guide that you will too. NB – the experience doesn’t necessarily mean results.
Motivation and understanding are key to keeping you on the path to perfection. If your friend hasn’t shed the pounds yet, this doesn’t necessarily mean the personal trainer isn’t good – it probably means your friend is still clinging to old habits.
3.) Ask the trainer what their experience has been.
Ask them where they have worked and for examples of past-client success. Good trainers have worked in a number of different gyms, private fitness boutiques and most likely worked as a private in-home personal trainer.
Trainers who have run their own business going to clients’ homes have a very high level of respect and understanding, and tend to focus more on you rather than you as a number in their working day.
Ask for proof of results with clients similar to yourself, as this is a very good indication that you could achieve the same things
4.) Don’t get hung up on qualifications.
Look for what the trainer is studying now. It is a good idea to make sure your selected professional has the qualifications they claim to have, however far more important is to understand what’s their personal fitness program and goals.
Fitness professionals who are interested in a specific area of fitness often find it hard to approach your goals without infecting your program with their personal interests. You wouldn’t ask a vegetarian to cook you a steak.
Make sure you pick a professional with a similar view to the activity you want to get into – be it spinning, Olympic lifting or triathlon training.
5.) Try Them Out
Lastly, always ask for a free trial session and ask lots of questions about what your trainer or instructor would do next.
Ask them to send an outline of their proposal.
Remember you are paying for a service. If the professional is good at their job they will know very quickly what the next step is and be willing to offer you a plan of action for free.
More importantly, a trial session will tell you very quickly if you are going to get on with this person.
Remember point 2 – you are much more likely to get a good result if you feel motivated and enjoy what you are doing.
According to psychologists, it takes 21 days to form a habit for a lifetime and if you hate the first session, you aren’t likely to get to day 2!
I suggest you find a gym or health club that allows you to work with different trainers. This will help you keep your appointments, even when your diary clashes with your instructors.
Furthermore training with different members of a team gives your training regimen variation, and variation is key to enjoyment.
Please feel free to share the ways you successfully picked your personal trainer.