As a level 4 registered personal trainer, it would be remiss of me not to write a piece on the benefits of personal training and the advantages to be gained by employing one.
Time management at work is key to a healthy work-life balance. The less time you spend working, the more time you have to take care of yourself. When we are new to the gym, it makes sense to seek out the help of a qualified member of staff to explain how the equipment may be used, which muscle group is being recruited and receive a general induction; some may even create a programme to get you started. However, why would a seasoned gym goer who is familiar with the equipment and its uses spend good money being told to do what they are already doing? The fact is that the large majority of those training in the gym could benefit from expert advice, whether on technique (a lot of debatable methodology can be spotted in the majority of gyms), correct methods of progression, advanced training methods such as drop sets or forced reps, or sometimes purely for motivation and encouragement.
A personal trainer must be qualified to level 3 (2 being a gym instructor), and may often specialise in a particular discipline or aspect of fitness. Indeed, the role of the trainer has become more of a lifestyle coach of late as clients turn to them for help away from the gym scenario for nutrition advice, stress relief and methods of increasing activity when not training in order to continue the work put in at the weekly sessions to name but a few. Despite this desire for more information, a good p/t will always act within his or her scope of practice and refer to other professionals as necessary, will act only in an advisory capacity and never prescribe or diagnose.
The emphasis should be on the client to suggest methods for moving forward, with the trainer advising and educating to ensure that not only the what, but also the why is fully grasped by those wishing to make changes. For that reason, good listening and communication skills are essential when with a client, with high levels of empathy and understanding in order for a good client/trainer relationship to develop. In order for progression to be safely made, good records should be kept and the pace often dictated by the client, particularly in the case of those unfit and perhaps a little unsure of themselves.
So once you have decided that personal training is for you, how often should you attend sessions with a trainer? From a motivation standpoint, the trainer may be required on each visit to the gym whilst for others attendance may be dependant on the level of experience, confidence and fitness level. Whilst cost may often be an issue, if lifestyle change is the goal then surely 10 weeks at 3 sessions a week will prove more beneficial than 30 sessions at the rate of one a week; better results over a shorter period of time.
Much of the time personal trainers are recommended by a colleague or may approach you on the gym floor, but a good way to find the details of reputable trainers can be found on the REPS website (www.exerciseregister.org) under the Members Directory Listing. REPS is the Register of Exercise Professionals and whilst it has limited jurisdiction, the majority of trainers register with them and are expected to abide by the code of conduct and maintain a high level of education through CPD (Continued Professional Development) points, so this is definitely a worthwhile starting point or an area for checking the credentials of any potential trainer who may have been recommended or approached you.
I myself am level 4 qualified in Obesity & Diabetes Management, Level 3 GP Referral, Level 3 Personal Training with additional qualifications in nutrition, motivational interviewing and circuits, and currently undertaking an applied nutrition course and a member of the Advanced Coaching Academy. Oh yes, and I’ve been in the industry for 20 years! Ultimately, in order for a good relationship to develop, you must ‘get on’ with your trainer and as long as he/she is suitably qualified there should be no issues and goals can be reached.
Everyone could benefit from the use of a personal trainer, and if and when you do so I wish you every success with your new found partnership and the results that will follow.
LIVE, LAUGH, LIFT!