Updated: Sep 15, 2022
Working within the sports and fitness industry for 10 years as a Personal Trainer I have worked in a variety of exercise environments including a specialist science led gym, an on demand Personal Training app and of course in client’s homes. One thing that remains constant whether the equipment or workout space changes should be a decent Personal Trainer you can trust!
As a beginner, hiring a Personal Trainer can be one of the best investments you will make, but the trainer has to be the right fit for you! Working with a Personal Trainer can save you hours wandering around a gym clueless looking at equipment going “how on earth do I use that” or being left to copying other gym goers who in fact don’t know what they are doing themselves (there are more of those people than you will believe!). As a beginner you of course want to get started as soon as possible, I get that, you have your goal in mind it may be to run a 10km for charity or lose half a stone, one thing I want you to avoid is picking up injuries that can both crush your motivation and actually temporarily stop you from exercising. If you are a beginner or looking to get back into exercise, here are my top 3 things to look for when hiring a Personal Trainer.
1. What is the background of your Personal Trainer?
I am not saying here that you need to do a formal interview and ask for a Personal Trainer’s CV but you should do your research into their background: are they newly qualified or do they have years of experience and in what? Have they worked with people like you before that share similar goals or lifestyles? It’s no good if you are a busy parent in your 40s juggling a full-time job, home and children and being compared to a single 20 year old with all time on their hands! Check out a Personal Trainer’s website bio and testimonials to learn more about them or book in for the free consultations they offer (allow them the opportunity to sell themselves!).
You are not just paying for an hour of their time during Personal Training, you are investing in hours in fact years of education! I don’t just mean them scrolling through social media videos and saving workouts to copy the on trend exercise, I mean degrees and qualifications, years of evidence based learning. For a quality Personal Trainer the years of learning will never be over, they will always be looking to gain new qualifications, attend seminars or continue reading materials like journals; it’s a two way investment!
Everyone will have different budgets for working with a Personal Trainer, switch the mindset of it being a luxury and see it as an investment. Hiring a Personal Trainer isn’t like signing up for a commercial gym where they take your monthly subscription whether you turn up or not, you are hiring a person who is as committed to the journey as you should be (if not more!). As much as your budget allows, invest in someone with experience and comes highly recommended whether it is through someone you know or check out their reviews on their website or Google and Facebook.
2. What does your Personal Trainer specialise in?
What is your goal, what do you want to achieve? Different Personal Trainers will specialise in different areas including and not limited to weight lifting, strength and conditioning, pre and post natal and the elderly. If you are looking to enter into a weight lifting competition you guessed it, your Personal Trainer who does weight lifting is the one; if you want to work with someone to build up areas of your fitness for a sports competition the strength and conditioning led Personal Trainer will be more suited.
Personally I would avoid a Personal Trainer who claims to do it all. During my last 10 years as a Personal Trainer I have specialised at the beginning in body composition (fat loss) and towards my later years had more of a focus on wellbeing coupled with my Nutrition masters. During this time especially in more recent years I now have both the confidence and knowledge to say, hey actually what you are looking for I don’t specialise in, however being in the industry for such a long time I can recommend others that do. It works both ways, people refer back so if you are seeing a physiotherapist or other professional ask them who they know. A true professional will put both your health and goals first and not just see a regular pay cheque!
3. Does your personality match your Personal Trainers?
I do honestly believe you have to get along with your Personal Trainer; you are both investing, they have to get up at the crack of dawn or get home late at night just the same as you do. Neither of you want to cancel, you both want to be investing into the full journey. I always like to think of it as you always wanted to do the homework and impress the teacher you liked! Personal Training is more than just counting the reps, it is the encouragement along the journey and the counseling role so many of us take on without even realising during that hour on the gym floor.
Hear from others who recommend a hiring a Personal Trainer:
Claire: “Yes I would. I got into bad habits during lockdown 🍺 🍕 and it was good for accountability. Couldn’t just sack off a workout or eat rubbish. It was useful for building confidence in the weights section of a male-dominated gym. I would recommend having a Personal Trainer for that. I’ve had three different Personal Trainers at various times and all were good for the above reasons but all had very different approaches. The most recent I had was a group Personal Trainer with my other mate and she became too familiar/ a bit lazy with us after a while and we felt that we stopped really benefiting from the sessions as the pressure disappeared.”
Sammie: “I started my "fitness journey" with a Personal Trainer. It helped me understand what to actually DO with weights in the gym, and not just stick to cardio kit. Lockdown hit and I never went back, because the times didn't suit (it was semi Personal Training) and I don't think I was FULLY invested. Then I tried elsewhere which was 'semi Personal Training' boot camp, loved it, but then after a year just felt that it was too much cardio and no one really taking accountability, or correcting postures and felt like I was left up to my own devices to up weights or not. After an induction at another gym I've found what I like, and it's being in a supportive environment and that I actually LIKE learning how to lift weights”
Jess: “I didn't know if what I was doing was right. Having a Personal Trainer correct technique has given me confidence to not hurt myself. And everyone loves to be told when they're doing a good job. Check-ins also keep me accountable and help to keep me on track.”
Hiring a Personal Trainer at Probalance Health
Probalance Health was established in 1999, with over 2 decades of experience in Personal Training and additional areas of specialism including Sports Rehab and Nutrition we can help a range of individuals from busy city centre professionals to athletes. The best thing to do is get in touch via our contact page to book a free consultation and learn more about our private gym and see if our experiences match what you are looking for!
Written by Jade Mottley, Sport Science BSc & Human Nutrition MSc
Thank you to the 3 contributors for their experiences of hiring a Personal Trainer, I appreciate you!