Having had many conversations with people who simply do not know where to start when choosing a trainer, I was inspired to put pen to paper around some of the basics to ensure your trainer is safe, effective and someone you can trust to motivate you and deliver the results you want.
The first thing most people consider when choosing a trainer is the cost. Rates vary, but are usually around £30 - £40 per session. Although some people consider this to be on the high end, what you get for this, should be more than a fitness session! What should you expect for this?
Consultation – you should expect a thorough consultation process, where the trainer sits down with you for a discussion and asks you to complete basic paperwork, such as a health questionnaire and informed consent form. If any major health issues arise, they should ask for confirmation from your doctor that the proposed exercise route is safe for you. Often you will be asked to complete a food and activity diary and consultation document, prior to your first meeting. Your trainer will discuss your goals, then agree mini-targets with you, that you can achieve along the way. The trainer is likely to take measurements (body fat, weight, blood pressure, measure your body parts, etc) or do some fitness testing, to establish a start point for your journey. These should be reviewed every few weeks/sessions.
Sessions and Support – your actual training sessions should be absolutely amazing! I have never understood trainers who ride side saddle on a treadmill, pressing buttons and telling stories whilst their client is running on it. The trainer should be interactive and the session should be all about YOU! It should be varied and kept interesting, with the trainer using every tool in their toolbox to get you working. Support wise, your trainer should identify exactly what you need to change, then help you get there. So, if you need to change eating habits, they should advise you on healthy nutrition. If it is lifestyle changes, they should provide solutions to help. You should always be provide with an activity plan to do when you are not seeing the trainer, as the good work on starts in the session. Regular contact is the sign of a great trainer - most clients should expect a text or email from their trainer to see how they are getting on or to offer encouragement.
Review and Education – throughout your sessions, your trainer should be reviewing your progress and helping you find ways to overcome any stumbling blocks. They will gather regular feedback on how you feel and regularly check that the goals you both set out are being met. Part of being a personal trainer is not only to help clients achieve their goals, but we should be giving our clients the tools to be able to do it on their own. I always think clients should eventually be able to wave goodbye to their trainer when they feel the time is right and feel comfortable to be able to touch base again, if they need a re-boost.
Ok, so we now know what service a personal trainer offers, but what about the trainer themselves – what do we expect them to offer?
Rapport and Trust - most importantly, you need to “click” with them, as you are going to ask them to support, advise and motivate you to make some real changes in your life. You must be able to trust your trainer completely and feel secure in the knowledge they have discretion and respect for you at all times.
Qualified and Experienced - they also need to know what they are talking about and have the experience to make it all happen. You can check they are fully qualified and insured by checking the Register of Exercise Professionals at Level 3 or 4 (www.exerciseregister.org) or ask to see original certification. Ask your trainer about their background and what experience they have. Trainers should have a list of success with their clients or a good history in health and fitness or sport. Feel comfortable to ask for testimonials from their clients or colleagues.
Transparency – your trainer should be clear from the start regarding their terms and conditions, including rates, availability and cancellations policy. There should never be any hidden costs along the way or extra services you were unaware of.
There are literally thousands of great trainers out there, but there are a few cowboys! So, ensure you check their credentials, go through a good consultation and why not do a trial session to ensure you “click”. Often good trainers will offer a free or reduced rate trial session to ensure you are both happy before signing up for more.
Trainers are not just for celebrities! If the cost seems a bit out of reach, then speak to your chosen trainer to see if there is a solution. Share the cost of a sessions with a friend – it is as easy for a trainer to train two people as one. Why not negotiate a reduced rate for a block booking or do 30 minute sessions, instead of 60 minutes.
If you would like more advice or information, please contact April at www.personaltrainingscotland.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
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