Many of us hate exercise, we hate sport and we hate the gym environment. When we think of personal trainers we often think of young athletic men with biceps the size of our heads, and this can be a little off-putting for many of us, especially women.
We don’t go to the gym as we don’t like the environment, we don’t know what we’re doing and feel awkward and embarrassed trying new things so we just don’t go. What we tend to end up doing is the odd exercise class here and there and we might try the couch to 5K programme with limited success.
What happens when we don’t exercise or watch what we eat?
Despite what the advertising says, you don’t need a gym to be healthy but you do need to be active and physically strong. There are shocking statistics about women in their 50’s who can’t even stand up on their non-dominant leg, so if you want to stay as active as possible in your later years, you need to put in a little work now. Cancer Research also recently published statistics stating obesity is now the second largest cause of cancer and this is down to what we eat, or don’t eat, and the amount we move.
If you’re short on time, if you’re confused about what’s the best nutrition and exercise for you and you need the knowledge to help give you the confidence to achieve your goals then a personal trainer is a good option.
Izzy* a client of mine, spent years of this flip-flopping between dieting and not dieting, being really active and then not doing anything and this really took its toll on her health and weight. Izzy was really put off by the gym and personal trainers as her experience with them hadn’t been enjoyable or overly successful so she hadn’t seen the value. Izzy knew she needed to make a change as she was starting to ache, starting to have less energy and really felt uncomfortable in her clothes. When Izzy and I started working together, we created a bespoke plan that took into account her past, her current lifestyle and what she wanted to achieve. The plan worked so well for Izzy, it bypassed all her expectations of what she thought she could achieve in terms of strength, flexibility, healthy, eating habits and confidence.
How to find the best personal trainer for you
Whenever I meet someone who is telling me they are working with a personal trainer or are looking to work with one, there are a few things I always ask them about their trainer to assess whether it is worth their money and efforts.
1. Have they taken the time to learn about you?
One of the most important things a trainer can do is learn about you. Has that trainer taken the time to get to know you? Do they know what you’ve done before, your history with health and fitness, do they know where you’re currently at and your challenges? Have they asked about your life goals and not just your weight and body goals?
Health and fitness are more than what you weigh or how you look. It’s about how it makes you feel and normally when one of us wants to make a change, it’s down to a trigger, you saw a picture of yourself or there’s a big event coming up. Your trainer should know all of this, they should have asked everything about you and your life to create a programme that is right for you, your life and your goals.
2. Have you agreed on clear and achievable goals?
If your trainer has taken the time to know you, then you should have clear and definable goals which are regularly benchmarked to check you’re on track. If you’ve got a rough idea of a goal but no time frame, no action steps, no benchmarking or the promise is a pie in the sky, then your trainer is looking after their cash flow rather than your health.
3. Is the work bespoke to you?
If you turn up to a session and it’s different every time or they make it up as they go along, then your personal trainer has not created a plan, they are essentially winging it. This plan should be based on you and your goals. If they haven’t guided you through it and shown how it helps you achieve your goals then you may as well just pay £5 for a fitness class and you’d probably get more out of that long-term.
4. Are they working with you on long-term health or quick weight loss?
Short term goals are great, they are great for motivation to get some serious results but what happens next? Most people regain all the weight they lose or gain even more within two years and that’s just not good enough. Yes, if you have an important event or race you want to train for, then excellent but your trainer should be putting in place long-term strategies that help you maintain all of your hard work.
5. Do they just charge you as pay as you go?
If you are a "pay as you go" with a trainer, they know full well, it’s highly unlikely you will achieve what you want to achieve in the time you want to achieve it. They know they can’t fully support you either. If they’ve taken the time to know you, then they will know, how often is best for you to work together and if you will be motivated or confident enough to do some work independently. They will know you and know what you need. If they don’t have that conversation with you then it’s highly unlikely you will get the results nor stay working together to change your life and health as they are just filling a gap in their schedule.
6. Are they supporting you outside of the sessions?
There’s a reason group weight loss programme work so well and that’s because of the support and accountability. Some people love group sessions but if you want a more personalised service or have underlying conditions and injuries than the 1-2-1 training is for you. Most personal trainers will sadly trade time for money. You book 5pm-6pm, you get 5pm-6pm but what about in those times when you’re confused or feeling off? Do they support you? Can you contact them for support? Are they showing you how you’re progressing? Exercise is only one prong of health, so if they’re only trading your slot for your money you’re only getting half the service.
7. Are they only focusing on exercise and a cookie cutter diet plan?
This follows on from the previous question, and you will find some trainers will work purely on exercise, and some purely on a bit of basic nutrition and exercise, but what about the rest?
Health is more than exercise and good nutrition, it’s your life. It’s your mindset, it’s your sleep, your stress levels, your body confidence, your hormones. You’ll know a good trainer when you find one as they will focus and take an interest in all elements of your health. So if you want to feel strong, feel healthy and confident in life then find a trainer who wants that too.
If you would like to speak with me about your health and fitness call me on 01323 453231 and we can arrange a time to meet and discuss your specific training needs. Want to know more about my business Be Valkyrie click here where you can also sign up for my reminders and fitness tips.