Think Eat Do

PersonalTraining

"Only when you can see it in your mind can you hold it in your hands"

Bob Proctor

Choosing a personal trainer

Now that you have taken the first step toward obtaining a personal trainer we would like to help you to find a suitably qualified, experienced and insured professional.

A training partner who will help motivate, inspire and guide you with a training programme that is both safe and effective as well as progressive in nature. In short, a true professional that can help you to realize your full potential.

Personality

Yes even personal trainers have one and it is fair to say that quite often it is larger than life but not always. You may find that some experienced trainers have two or three different persona's to reflect the diversity of their client base, either way you need to be sure that they are on your wavelength. How can you do this before committing to any financial outlay? Here are one or two things that may help.

  • Remember first impressions are important, whether by phone or in person, take a moment to ask yourself " what is this trainer telling me about their business?"
  • At the initial point of contact are they courteous?
  • Do they come across as being professional?
  • Do they come across as genuinely interested in you?
  • Do they listen and ask pertinent questions of you?
  • If your potential trainer is club based, try to engage them in general conversation before expressing any interest in the service they provide this can be a real 'eye opener'

Only when you are entirely happy should you proceed to consider the following.

Qualifications

There are probably as many fitness and personal training qualifications out there as there are training facilities and you can be sure that within the next year there are going to be an awful lot more. Why? I hear you cry. In simple terms Personal Training is big business and it's about to get even bigger. In commercial terms the provision of specialized knowledge to a growing market is a very lucrative one.

The lure of high profits and low risk has seen considerable growth in training providers over the last 10 years and it is set to continue. In all industries there are many training providers that exist for the sole purpose of creating a sound profit margin from the provision of knowledge without a guarantee of quality and the fitness industry is no different.

The Fitness Industry Association has recognised this and is making valiant efforts through initiatives such as REPs - The Register of Exercise Professionals - to regulate training standards and qualifications but at this stage it is a little way off. In the meantime please consider asking the following question when considering which trainer to use.

  • Do you have any qualifications?
  • What are they ?
  • When did you obtain them ?
  • How long did you have to study for them ?
  • What did your study consist of?
  • May I see the certificates ?
  • How can I obtain verification of the above ?
  • What other area's of fitness are you currently studying ?
  • What is your specialist area ?
  • What qualifications do you have to endorse this ?

Please do not be shy, everyone likes to talk about the good things in their life and personal trainers are no different. Any professional trainer will be more than happy to give you a full run down on the many hours they toiled and the amount of blood, sweat and tears they shed in pursuit of professional excellence. And don't forget the dates, a year is a long time in the fitness industry. Be assured that your potential trainer is working towards Continuous Personal Development with evidence of recent study.

Please also be aware that a 'certificate of attendance' is not the same as a formal qualification, it requires no examination and quite often follows a night out on the beer. Many commercial outlets offer them like confetti to encourage individuals to attend weekend events and workshop's which can, if well attended, be very profitable for the organizers.

In bringing the qualifications section of this article to a close, it is worth noting that as important as paper qualifications are in personal training, it would be helpful to remember the following:

Your trainer can have all the qualified knowledge in the world but if they cannot communicate it to you, you will not benefit from it.

Affiliations

Look for a trainer who is affiliated to a professional body. It will save you a tremendous amount of time in checking out their credentials. It is ridiculous to suggest that the average layperson could even begin to become conversant enough with the myriad of qualifications within the fitness industry to make any sense of them. Let the professionals do it for you. As an organization Activ Health will not accept any trainer on our site who is not on The Register of Exercise Professionals and as a rule neither should you.

Experience

Perhaps the most subjective but most important attribute you should look for in a trainer. By experience we are not referring to the " I have been training in gyms for X years" syndrome. We are talking about specifics. If in doubt try some of these:

  • How long have you been WORKING in the fitness industry ?
  • Who have you worked for ?
  • What positions have you held within these companies ?
  • How much time have you spent working on the gym floor ?
  • How much work have you done in the studio ?
  • What was the nature of this work?
  • Have you any experience of ' Free weights' ?
  • Do you teach / have you taught any classes ?
  • Have you trained people at home or in the office ?
  • Do you deliver / have you delivered seminars ?
  • Have you helped clients with similar goals as myself ?
  • Do you employ any staff ?
  • How many existing clients do you have ?
  • What Social / Professional backgrounds do your existing clients come from ?
  • Have you worked / do you work with any mainstream health care professionals ?

Testimonials

All experienced trainers will have had the opportunity to build up a portfolio of testimonials, accounts from clients as to the quality and benefit of the service provided. Again please do not be afraid to enquire as to whether your potential trainer can provide evidence of such.

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