So what should you look for when searching for a personal trainer?
Firstly, it depends on your needs, your goals, your finances and where you are looking. If for instance, you already have a gym membership and want to find a personal trainer in that facility, that is quite different from just looking to find a trainer in your local area.
So let’s look at a few things you need to be looking for:
- • Accessibility
- • Professionalism
- • Knowledge
- • Speciality
- • Cost
The first thing you have to look at is accessibility. I am sure you are very busy, so if you have to travel one hour to the gym and one hour back, that is a big chunk of your day.
Before beginning your search, ensure you are clear on how much time you have to invest in seeing a trainer. Only look for trainers who are close enough for you to be comfortable with the time you need to travel. For most people, any more than 20 minutes is too much, but you need to make up your own mind.
Also, you need to decide whether you want to go to a health club, a private studio or train at home or in the local park. Health clubs will provide you with the widest range of facilities, so if you want to do different activities, then this will be the best place for you. One downside to health clubs is they can get very busy and sometimes you need to cue for equipment.
Private studios are likely to be where you will find the best trainers, but they’ll have less variety in the types of exercise they can offer. However, private studios will probably have better and more functional exercise equipment than a health club and be less busy and you’re unlikely to ever have to wait for equipment. Any well managed studio will have a limit on the number of trainers able to work at any one time to avoid congestion.
You can train in your home which will save time, but it will be difficult to get all the equipment you need at home, unless you have enough space for a dedicated home gym. For most people, you’ll need a squat rack, barbell and weight plates, a cable machine, a Swiss ball or two and some form of dumbbell system. Trainers may also charge you extra for travel time, which can make it more expensive. Also, your home is full of distractions and generally not the best place to focus on your exercise.
Parks allow you train in the open air, but again have limitations in terms of equipment and if you live in the UK, the weather is also a big challenge.
In general, a health club or a private studio is the ideal place to get into tip-top shape. With regards to accessibility of health clubs and studios, I know people who won’t walk for 5-minutes to get to a gym where they have much better trainers and instead go to a gym at the basement of their office block, who have a much lower standard of trainers. On the other hand, I have clients visit me in London from all over Europe. They might visit me every two months, have an assessment and I then coach them through their new programme. They then go away and follow the programme on their own with a video (see right) of all their stretches and exercises.
In Part 3, I will discuss professionalism, so stay tuned…