How to find your ideal Personal Trainer

Personal Training is really a growth industry at the moment, with lots of trainers available in most areas, often with vastly differing styles of training from one trainer to the next.

This is a good thing, because the key word in Personal Training is “personal”. In other words, the approach that works best with one client may not be suitable for another. This applies to everything from choice of activities, selection of exercises, location, equipment and especially the the trainer’s style and personality.

So when choosing your Personal Trainer, there are many things to consider. Some examples follow:

What are your goals, and is the trainer experienced in that area?

I would say if you have specific sports related training in mind, you need to to find a trainer who specialises in that area. You probably would not hire a weight loss specialist to improve your cricket skills, for example. If your goal is weight loss it might be a sensible idea to find a trainer who has overcome their own weight problem in the past, or at least one who has successfully coached others to successfully managing their weight.

What limitations or restrictions will your trainer need to accommodate?

This could pertain to physical limitations due to injury or impairment which the trainer may be required to address through corrective exercises, or which may limit the range of exercises that you are able to perform. Alternatively this could relate to personal or lifestyle issues. For example, if you are a vegan or vegetarian, the last thing you want to do is hire a trainer who will insist that “you have to eat some meat” like a few that I hired (very briefly) in the past! A good trainer needs to be able to come up with the best program for each client based on their individual needs.

Location, location, location!

This one could refer to training in a gym (where you would be required to pay membership or casual fees as well as the personal trainer’s fee), training in a private studio, or even training outdoors. You may have a strong preference towards one of these options over the other two. In my opinion it is worth travelling an extra 5 or 10 minutes to work with the trainer best suited to your needs, but consider if that extra distance will lead to missing training due to inconvenience.

Cost, and value for money.

Cost and value for money might not necessarily mean the same thing! One trainer might charge a little less than another, but this may be because their facilities are insufficient, or they do not deliver the same level of results. On the other hand, I personally keep my prices as low as possible to encourage clients to train more often and for longer, which in my opinion is the key to getting optimal results.

Also consider what value is added to the session. Is it just “get ’em in, get ’em out” or does the trainer take the time to address your concerns, advise you on nutritional and other matters? Is the program custom tailored to your needs, or is it just a generic routine that they give all of their clients?

Don’t decide based on price alone. More expensive might not necessarily mean better, less expensive might not mean not as good. But then again, it might!

This should give you some idea of what to consider when you start to search for your Personal Trainer. Best of luck to you!

Is personal training effective?

Probably a pretty good question I should have addressed by now, wouldn’t you say?

For personal training to be effective, you really need two things:

  1. A Good Trainer
  2. A Good Client!

What makes a good trainer is in some ways a subjective thing, as you will need a trainer who is suited to your goals and needs. I have another blog coming soon on how to find YOUR ideal personal trainer, so we’ll leave that for now and move on to part #2.

What makes a good client? Well, in most businesses it’s probably just anyone who pays their bills on time but in the context of this blog we’re taking about how badly the client really wants to succeed with their training. Of course we’re taking about regularly attending their PT sessions and being prepared to train hard, but what about the rest of the week? A good client is one who follows their nutrition plan, stays active in between sessions and does their homework.

If you have a competent trainer who understands your goals, and you follow his or her advice and don’t sabotage yourself at snack time, there’s really no reason on earth why you should expect very good results indeed.

What more can you as a client do to ensure success?

Know your goal!

Not everyone has sporting ambitions and that’s ok. Your goal can just be “too look better in my swimsuit this summer”, or “to be able to run for the bus if I’m a little late”. Let your trainer know what you REALLY want to achieve, not what you think you SHOULD want to achieve and this will be an enormous help in coming up with the right program that will be both enjoyable and effective. Your trainer should be able to help you get to the bottom of this and really work out what your motivation is.

Be patient!

OK, if you stick to your nutrition plan, train hard and stay active you should start to see some results quite quickly. Actually achieving your dream physique though? It can be a long, slow process! After all, it might have taken you 10 or 20 years to get out of shape, getting back into shape is going to take more than a few weeks!

Believe in yourself!

This is really the main element that will make you a great client and go a long way towards ensuring great results. Banish any negative, self-limiting thoughts from your mind and always remind yourself, you CAN do this, and more importantly you DESERVE this.

Ideal duration for a person training session?

Interesting question eh? Well, I think it’s interesting anyway!

What length of time should you spend with your personal trainer at each session? Different trainers will offer different packages with different amounts of time in their sessions. From my observation, usually it’s either 30 minutes or 1 hour sessions. But which is best, and why?

The short answer is: 45 minutes.

Why? Well I’ll tell you what I think. Short answer again, 30 minutes is not long enough and 60 minutes is too long. You probably want a better explanation than that though so allow me to elaborate.

How much can you really get done in 30 minutes? Before getting stuck into a training session you need to warm up for at least 5 minutes, or preferably 10. This leaves 20 minutes of actual training, but then after training you need to cool down and stretch. Lets say another 10 minutes there, which leaves a grand total of 10 minutes of actual training! Getting straight into the hard stuff without warming up first and then leaving without cooling down and stretching out is inadvisable for a variety of reasons I won’t get into just now, take my word for it though!

So if 30 minutes is not enough, you should probably upgrade to a 1 hour session instead, right? Well… sure, if you like paying your trainer to stand around for 10 minutes while you pace it out on the treadmill or exercise bike! It’s a bit different if your trainer is actually putting you through a good cardio or interval training routine on one of these pieces of equipment, but do you need someone coaching you through a warm up on one of these things after the first few sessions? Nope!

The other thing I don’t like about 60 minute sessions from a trainer’s perspective is that the sessions are back to back, with not much chance to prepare for the next client. So hey, just jump on the treadmill and warm up for 10 minutes while I take care of my paperwork from the previous client and remind myself of where we got up to last time, would you? Also there’s no buffer period if things happen to go a little longer than expected or if you have some questions. It’s just “get ’em in, get ’em out!”

Well, at DHPT that’s not how I roll!

I say this a lot but it’s sincere and not just a slogan, I’m about UNBEATABLE VALUE as well as GREAT RESULTS so all of my sessions are 45 minutes long. Clients are encouraged to come in 5 or 10 minutes early to jump on the bike, rower or treadmill to warm up, and stay back 5 or 10 minutes to stretch and cool down. And of course if you have some questions there’s time for that as well. In other words you’re getting 1 hour for about the price most other trainers will charge for a 1/2 hour, and I won’t try to up-sell you to a more expensive package – ever!

Don’t have an hour to spare and need to get it done a bit quicker than that? No problem, we can just incorporate the warm up and cool down into the session. If you really, REALLY only want to do 30 minutes… talk to me, we’ll work something out.

Personal Training: it’s not just about exercise

Yesterday I tried my hand at a more  motivational blog post compared to a lot of my usual facts & figures type of articles. I want to continue along these lines and try to explain the real value of having a passion for health and fitness, and particularly in having a Personal Trainer.

Getting into shape, weight loss and any other fitness goal can be a challenge for most people. Either they get some good results initially but then their progress begins to stall, or they may just have no idea of where to even begin on their journey. Many people have never enjoyed any form of sport or exercise and need a trainer to introduce them to some enjoyable activities, and to instruct them on how to perform them safely and effectively.

The bigger problem for many people is motivation, encouragement and support. A lot of the time, you might be told “you’re fine the way you are, don’t punish yourself!”, by well meaning friends or family members. Often you’ll even be sabotaged by less well meaning people! The reality is, it’s very hard to stay enthusiastic about something that no one else is enthusiastic about. How do you stay excited about exercising if no one else you’re in contact with at work or at home is interested in it?

For many people, the value in having a Personal Trainer is as much in having someone who is enthusiastic about health and fitness who will support and encourage them in their journey towards a better life, as much as it is about the technical and physical aspects of the exercise program. A big part of what I do, and a big part of what keeps my clients coming back is the level of enthusiasm and motivation I bring to each session, as well as how enjoyable and effective the session is.

A better quality of life through fitness and exercise.

You may have noticed I talk a lot about “a better life” as the outcome of a health program. This is not just some feel good marketing slogan I picked up! I strongly believe that a great life comes from taking care of your health, doing something enjoyable every day, and being the person you want to be. All of these are the things that make you feel good about yourself, and put everything else in perspective.

Let me put it this way; if I asked you about your plans for the day (or you were writing your blog entry or status update online), would you rather say “get up, go to work, come home. TV and then bed”, or “I’m looking forward to training tonight, it’s going to be a blast!”. At the end of the day, would you like to be able to say “I did a really good workout, I’m getting stronger and feeling great!”, or just complain about that jerk who cut you off in traffic earlier on?

I’m pretty sure, the people who seem happier than everyone else are that way because they do more things that make them happy. When you’re doing something every day that you are passionate about, those little hiccups (like getting cut off in traffic) aren’t such a big deal. Your focal point is on the positive, enjoyable part of the day, not the trivial, frustrating parts.

Get active, get passionate! Make the choices that help you become the person you would most like to be, and if you need a little support and encouragement (not to mention expertise and experience) along the way, that is what I’m here for. Remember; feeling good about yourself comes from pushing yourself to the next level, not from settling for less than you can be.

I still have some open session times for Personal Training at Doherty’s Gyms in Brunswick and Melbourne CBD, as well Group Fitness available at your place of business or for your social group. Click the links and lets do this!

Exercise is the vehicle that takes you to a better life

Fitness and physical activity is so important for a variety of reasons that most people are already aware of. Everyone knows, people need to eat right and get active to stay in a healthy weight range and avoid the numerous health complications that come from being overweight or obese. We’re talking heart disease, diabetes, cancer, the list goes on and on.

Everyone already knows this stuff, but the problem with really getting through to people is that so many of them view exercise as a chore. Something rather unpleasant they know they should be doing, feel guilty about not doing, but still aren’t doing! What I’m saying is, while most people know that exercise is a positive thing on an intellectual level, they still associate it with a lot of negativity on an emotional level. Lets face it, we’re much more motivated by our emotions than our intelligence a lot of the time. Am I wrong?

People are often asking me how I stay so motivated to stick to my exercise program. I get a lot of compliments from people who tell me how much they admire my level of commitment and dedication. It’s always nice to get a compliment, but to be honest I don’t really feel like I’m doing anything particularly amazing, because training is something I enjoy and am passionate about. Does it really take a great deal of commitment and dedication to set aside an hour a day to do something you enjoy, which greatly adds to your quality of life?

If there’s just two things I wish I could get across to more people, it would be this;

  1. You CAN find an enjoyable way to exercise.
  2. Exercise is the vehicle towards having an amazing life.

Even for those of us who don’t have a sporting background or any kind of competitive spirit…. in fact, especially for those people, participating in regular physical activity and exercise is essential in achieving a great life.

Lets look at this in reverse. I’ve talked a lot about the benefits of taking care of your health, but lets use the opposite example. Lets picture ourselves as someone who’s just gone to work, come home and sat down in front of the TV with some take away junk food and a 6 pack of beer or a bottle of wine. Maybe we run around after our kids as well, jump online to post a status update about how bad our day was, and then we’re feeling pretty tired from a hard day of boring work, so we crash out early and then get up and do it all over again. Then on the weekend we’ll have a chance to recover, catch up housework and maybe get together with friends or family to compare notes. Lets not forget about our cigarette and chocolate breaks throughout the day at work as well, at least we’ve got that to look forward to!

Now lets picture ourselves after doing this well into middle age. By now we’re pretty worn out, most likely suffering from at least one or two health conditions, and doing our est to avoid ever looking into a full length mirror because we’re quite badly out of shape and don’t feel very good about our body image.

So with this lifestyle and these health conditions, how much fun are you having? How much fun have you been having for the past few decades of your life? Now lets compare that picture to how our lives might look by the same age, having stayed active and using good nutritional habits. In this picture, we’re still in great shape, often told we look 5 or 10 years younger than we really are, and most importantly… imagine your emotional state after having spent almost every day of your life doing something positive and enjoyable.

I’ve always said, “a great life does not happen by accident, you have to make it happen”. In my opinion it comes together simply from doing something every day that is enjoyable, improves your health, and helps you to be the person you want to be.

Who do YOU want to be?