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Getting The Maximum Benefit From Your Personal Trainer

Getting The Maximum Benefit From Your Personal Trainer

Having worked in the fitness industry for nearly a decade, it’s fair to say that I’ve had considerable exposure to Personal Training experiences within a health club environment. My interest in PT mainly grew during my time managing teams of Personal Trainers, which allowed me to develop an understanding of how best to approach the subject of 1-on-1 training. So, here are some tips to ensure that you get maximum bang for your buck from your PT and the results you're chasing.

1. Affordability

Over the past few years, I’ve witnessed a dramatic change of direction with regard to personal training. From a tool utilised by the ultra-rich, it's become a service that is affordable and accessible to everybody. The reason? Competition. With so many Personal Trainers out there and health and fitness being one of the most talked about and viewed topics across the media, PTs have had to adapt their model to create income. Remember, PTs want business as much as you want results, so when speaking with a trainer, always discuss your budget and see what you can get for your money. For example – if your PT recommends four sessions per week, you could suggest receiving 1-on-1 training on two of these with the additional sessions being completed on your own, using specific programmes written by your trainer with your goals in mind. Alternatively, you could substitute the two additional sessions by attending classes that fit your goal instead. That way, the four sessions you were prescribed are being completed, but you’re also making it affordable long term. And the longer you stick with your PT, the more sustainable the results should be!

2. Results

For any Personal Trainer worthy of the title, results should be the bread and butter of their business. When paying for any service, we expect to receive a product that meets a certain standard. Don’t get me wrong, results relating to your health and fitness aspirations aren’t as clear cut as going to a shop and buying a loaf of bread. With Personal Training, many factors affect the outcome, which is why it’s imperative that as many variables as possible are controlled.

Therefore, I recommend using the SMART goal method with a Personal Trainer, as it’s a proven and foolproof way to ensure that results are measured, realistic and achievable. Here’s a brief example, based on somebody who’s trying to lose a stone of body fat: -
  • Specify – Target - 1 stone of body fat reduction
  • Measurable – Skinfold callipers and before and after photos are a great way to measure progress
  • Attainable – The goal can only be achieved by completing 4 sessions per week and following a specified food plan, written by the trainer or nutritional expert
  • Realistic – As the amount the client wants to lose is only one stone, and they weigh 14st with over 30% body fat, the goal is realistic
  • Time – I want the client to lose 1-2lbs per week and at least 12lbs after 3 months, with the full 15lbs (1 stone) loss after no longer than 6 months.
Remember, this is only a brief example. Your SMART goal can be much more detailed than the one above!

3. Motivation

Lacking motivation can wreck your training-related goals and even your long term health, as it can make you feel lazy, lethargic and depressed, feelings you can do without when pursuing a goal. If you have the right PT by your side, and a service in which you’ve invested both your time and money, you’ll be surprised how much this can dramatically improve your level of motivation. I’ve always believed that as human beings we’re more inclined to let ourselves down rather than others, and when you have a PT, you’re not only attacking your goals for yourself, but also for your trainer. This means a missed gym session, major lapse in healthy eating or throwing in the towel completely, affects not only you, but also somebody else as well. Remember, we are all creatures of habit, and if you create a strong team bond with your PT, a determination to succeed will follow.

4. How to choose your PT

I always suggest that when choosing your Personal Trainer you use a three-pronged approach, and they are the first three points I’ve mentioned already in this article. Firstly, the prices your PT charges is the first point you need to look at if you are to sustain and continue your sessions long enough to reach your goals. The second issue is their track record in achieving results, as actions most definitely speak louder than words in this industry. Does the trainer you’re considering have a record of previous successful clients or testimonials that are believable and realistic? Lastly, you must spend time looking at how well a PT can motivate you. A trainer worth his salt should make you feel as though you could walk through fire whilst fighting off a lion with one hand tied behind your back. If they can’t make you feel that impossibly motivated, then maybe you need to look a little further!

5. Enjoy the Challenge!

If you follow the above points and find the PT that’s right for you, try not to forget to enjoy both the challenge and the journey, on which you're about to embark.When we physically and mentally push our bodies to places we’ve never been to before, it’s quite easy to focus too much time on temporary feelings and sensations like the exhaustion, sweat and hard grind - so never lose touch or forget why you're putting yourself through so much effort in the first place. As the big man Arnie Schwarzenegger says, “You can’t climb the ladder of success with your hands in your pockets”, so prepare for some hard times, but always remember that the present challenge is totally worth the enjoyment of the rewards!

Thank you to our 'super motivational' manager,Tom, from the Watford branch of Fitness4Less for this blog contribution.

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