How do I find a Personal Trainer?
When I first got into fitness, it didn’t take me long to realise how much I enjoyed feeling strong and healthy, but that this wasn’t everyone’s experience of exercise. We’re bombarded with images of unachievable body shapes and negative one upmanship, so I became a Personal Trainer because I wanted to help people find their way to a fit, happy and healthy life.
Once the preserve of the rich and famous, Personal Training is now mainstream and accessible to all, as people recognise the value in having a little extra help with achieving their health and fitness goals. Many people find it a great way to boost motivation, confidence and knowledge whilst enjoying exercise in the company of someone who knows what they’re doing.
What is a Personal Trainer?
A qualified fitness professional able to tailor a programme to your exact requirements and coach you through it, using their knowledge and experience. They should keep themselves current and up to date with continuous personal development.
It’s important that your PT is able to help set your goals, and then motivate you to achieve them through a bespoke programme that’s appropriate, safe, progressive and enjoyable whilst taking account of any injuries, imbalances or issues you may have. And it really helps if you get along and can build a rapport!
Personal Trainers work in all sorts of ways and locations – in gyms, in your home, in private studios and outside in parks and community areas.
Am I fit enough for a PT?
Yes! The clue’s in the title – it’s personal! That means that any programme should be designed to start at your level (whatever that may be) and progress you at a rate that you’re comfortable with. You should never feel intimidated by fitness!
What if I’ve got back/knee/shoulder problems?
Your trainer should be able to help you overcome any injuries you have, and fix any imbalances that may have led to them in the first place. This might mean they refer you to another specialist such as a physio or sports massage therapist (if they’re not also qualified as one!) whilst training around the problem.
What if I’m pregnant or I’ve just had a baby?
Lots of PTs are qualified in pre and post natal training. As this is a separate qualification, it should be mentioned in the services they offer.
What else do I need to consider?
What sort of help do you need? How much training are you prepared to do yourself? How committed are you to this? If you’re not going to put the work in and take your PT’s advice, you could end up wasting time and money, and not getting your desired results.
Would you work better with a male or a female? If you feel uncomfortable with one or the other gender then they may not be the best choice for you.
What’s your budget? Look at it as an investment in your health, but you need to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth! If you’re not enjoying your sessions, or don’t feel like you’re getting the results then speak to your PT – then they can make the changes you need.
If you can, get in touch with more than one PT. This will help you identify exactly what it is you’re after, and perhaps open you to ideas and suggestions you hadn’t previously considered.
How do I find her or him?
The first place to look is the Register of Exercise Professionals (www.exerciseregister.org). It’s a government backed charity which self regulates fitness professionals. You can search by area, and then qualifications to make sure you get the right person. You can also try the National Register of Personal Trainers (www.nrpt.co.uk) which works in a similar way.
Use a search engine, and take a look at their websites. This will give you a good idea of what they specialise in, how they train, and their prices. It should also be a fair reflection of what kind of trainer they are. If you’re a member of a gym already, you could try the in house PTs if they have them.