How To Choose A Personal Trainer

Personal Trainer – Complete Guide For Choosing A Personal Trainer

My name is Adam Cochrane. I have a BSc(Hons) in Sport and Exercise Science, over 15 years’ experience in the fitness industry and have many satisfied clients. I train a wide variety of clients ranging from busy mums, business professionals and even celebrities. Over the years I have had countless people ask me a huge variety of questions regarding what exactly a personal trainer does and what is the best way to find a suitable one for their needs. In response to this I have written the following in the hope I will answer many of your questions if you are considering hiring a personal trainer. If your ready to learn more about me please click here for my homepage to learn more about me and how I can help you

Personal Trainer Question 1 – Why should I hire a personal trainer?

Well a good personal trainer will almost always get you to your fitness and body goals faster and safer than is possible alone. A well-qualified and experienced personal trainer will have a vast knowledge of physiology and exercise routines to ensure your training is kept safe but challenging. Exercise should never be dull or boring with a personal trainer and therefore it is their job to keep you interested (and safe) on every single session. I see it as my job as a personal trainer to also educate the client on why we are doing certain exercises so eventually they are confident of training themselves. A competent personal trainer should also provide you with training plans (for free) that if you want to exercise on your own that your routine is correct for your level of fitness and will develop you as well.

A personal trainer should be able to train a wide variety of clients, from complete beginners all the way to athletes. It is vital that your trainer makes you feel at ease from session one. This all comes down to the qualifications and experience of the personal trainer, more on this later.

Personal Trainer Question 2 – How much do personal trainers cost?

This is a very difficult question to answer as its related to where you live (London is often the most expensive) and on the experience and qualifications of the personal trainer. I have seen prices as low as £15 a session from some trainers and over £100 for a select few. What I can say is be very weary of cheap personal trainers. A one hour session that costs only £20 is often from trainers who lack experience and gained mediocre qualifications (more on this later). I charge on average a respectable £40 per session in my private studio. Personal Training is like anything in life, often when you buy cheap you buy twice.

Personal Trainer Question 3 – What qualifications should a personal trainer have?

Unfortunately over the last 10 years a whole host of companies have jumped on the fitness wagon boom and set up personal training qualifications. Many of these courses are only several weeks in duration and some are even just distance learning. The quality of personal training is therefore very mixed and this can make it very difficult for the consumer to choose a trainer. I have worked with and experienced many other personal trainers and one thing I can say is I am always impressed with those trainers who took their time to gain a relevant degree. When I did my sports and exercise degree it took 3 years of hard study and we covered human physiology, exercise prescription, weight management and exercise psychology in great depth. How this can all be covered in only a few weeks is beyond me. University also gives you presentation and leadership skills that are vital when working as a personal trainer.

Personal Trainer Question 4 – Do I need to go to a gym to work with a personal trainer?

Definitely not! I am rarely impressed by the quality of personal training in big gyms. I have witnessed countless sessions where the trainer looks bored and uninterested with the client. In my opinion if your a competent personal trainer then you do not work in a gym as you have the ability to train people at their homes, local parks or even in your own private studio. Personal Trainers who work in large gyms often have to pay hundreds of pounds to the gym every month for the privilege of using the facility and walking the floor selling their services. Much of the money your giving to the trainer is going towards paying the gym their monthly rent, not a great scenario for the customer. Remember your paying out good money to invest in your body so you want the best possible personal trainer for your budget. On the whole the best trainers have their own websites and can train you at your home or their private studio for the same price as a session at a large gym. Remember that in a large gym there will be other members looking and eves dropping on your personal training session. With a session with a trainer at your home or private studio it is just you and the trainer. This is far better in my experience as it allows the client to relax more which culminates in far more productive training. To find the best personal trainers near you simply type into Google the name of your town or city and you will get a list of personal trainers who have their own studios and work to your home or local park.

Personal Trainer Question 5 – What type of exercises are in a typical personal training session?

This obviously depends on your goals and starting fitness level. Lots of people who hire me tell me that they have not exercised for many years and therefore I start them at a beginner’s level. The most common goal of most beginners is to lose weight, tone their muscles and to feel fitter with more energy in everyday life. A typical program for these goals (if at my studio) will be interval training, make use of the spinning bike, cross trainer and boxing pads. Now interval training is fantastic as, when done at the right intensity, helps the body burn fat for up to 12 hours after the personal training session. It is also perfect for introducing beginners into personal training as it can be designed to include just very short bursts in the first few weeks, for example just 10 seconds and then appropriate rest to recover. This really helps the confidence grow of people who are new to exercise and before they know it they are capable of much longer bursts of exercise on whatever equipment they are using. After clients have completed some interval training it is then advisable to move onto resistance training as this tones and strengths the muscles. In my personal training sessions I use a mix of resistance bands and dumbbells. Finally the end of the session will typically include some exercises for the stomach and lower back (core training), stretches and a gentle cool down on the exercise bike or cross trainer.

What if you are not a beginner and want to step up your current fitness level or even train for a specific fitness event or sport? Well a well-educated and experienced personal trainer should be able to write and implement a wide variety of programs for all fitness levels. These types of programs will often involve more intensive sessions to take the client to the next level of conditioning. Interval training techniques can again be used to great effect but often with less recovery to ensure the body is pushed hard enough in order to make significant changes to fitness levels. I personally have been involved with training footballers, rugby players, triathletes and long distance runners to achieve optimum fitness for their chosen sport. Celebrities also hire me and sometimes they are not beginners and just want to take their fitness and body to the next level. In a nut shell, pretty much everyone can benefit from working with a personal trainer whether starting as a complete beginner or more advanced level of fitness. The key point for the customer is to ensure your trainer is fully aware of your starting fitness level and creates a program that is unique for your goals and ability.

Personal Trainer Question 6 – I have an injury, can I still work with a personal trainer?

This is a controversial issue in my opinion as many of those personal trainers who have gained poor qualifications also attempt to work with people who have pre-existing injuries. I am quite passionate about this subject as learning only a few weeks about injuries is nowhere near enough to identify the type of injury a client has let alone prescribe a exercise plan. I studied sports injuries for all 3 of my university years and have also worked closely with top Osteopaths and sports injury professionals for 15 years. Even after all that education and experience I still refer every client that visits me for a consultation to a injury specialist before they start an exercise program. Don’t get me wrong that does not mean that I cannot train the client, on the contrary most of the time we start training after they have seen the injury specialist for the first time. The key is that I work alongside the specialist for the duration of the training (until the injury is healed). Injury specialists have trained for many years at university (often gaining Master Degrees) in purely the assessment and treatment of injury. These people are the only ones trained to deal with the initial diagnosis and treatment advice, not a personal trainer having completed a course of a few weeks. Once the injury has been successfully diagnosed by a fully qualified professional the personal trainer can then work alongside the injury specialist to write a successful exercise program that will assist in healing the injury and get the client to their fitness goals. Please be wary of any trainer who claims they can diagnose your injury and help you treat it, if they have not got significant and recognised qualifications in this area please avoid at all costs as they could well make your injury worse! Seeing a fully qualified injury specialist alongside a well-qualified personal trainer however is still an option for most people.

Personal Trainer Question 7 – Do I have to continue with a personal trainer indefinitely to maintain my fitness and physique?

The answer to this question is very easy, absolutely not! In many cases the role of the personal trainer is to make themselves redundant. This means that a good personal trainer will not only teach you how to train yourself over time but will also inspire you to make that step to exercise without the need of a personal trainer. Don’t get me wrong, I have many clients who have got to a healthy weight with me and continue to use my personal training services for year upon year. In most cases this is because they enjoy the presence of a trainer to get the very best from their body and to take the hassle from having to write their own exercise programs. I do fully appreciate that to have a personal trainer week after week for year after year is obviously a big financial commitment and therefore I see it as my job role to help many clients to eventually have the confidence and knowledge to not need a personal trainer to look after their health and fitness. I have seen some people just book five personal training sessions with me, loose a stone and then have the confidence to not need a personal trainer and go on and train themselves. This actually is a great feeling as it means I have helped that person to become self-sufficient from an exercise perspective. For those clients that train for many months and years with me it is important to generate an excellent trainer and client relationship. This means the sessions must always have a fun element to them as well as having short specific goals to work towards, such as 5K runs or general fitness for a walking holiday. If you are looking for a personal trainer who is going to inspire you for months and maybe even years to come make sure they have a personality that you click with. The amount of lifeless personal training sessions I have seen at large gyms is unbelievable, no wonder many clients do not sign up for a second month with those trainers. I know I have mentioned it before in this article but a personal trainer with an exercise related Degree is always a good sign. University develops your personality and presentation skills and in general will make for a fun and personable personal trainer. Conversely a personal trainer who has done a short course after having a job that required no people skills is probably best avoided.

Personal Trainer Summary

Well I hope that has answered some of your questions if you are considering hiring a personal trainer. When you’re ready to invest in a personal trainer I have a private studio in Bedford and also cover most of Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire for home visits so please contact me to arrange your first session! If I am out of your catchment area please remember to research your personal trainer in depth. Make sure they are highly qualified (ideally BSc Hons) and have references from happy clients. Prices can vary a lot over the UK but its far better to do just one session a week with an accomplished personal trainer than twice a week with a cheap imitation. I hope to see some of you soon and the very best of luck for all your future fitness!