In: Nutrition, Training

How to choose a personal trainer

Choosing the right personal trainer for you out of the hundreds in the area is critical as you’ll be spending a lot of one-on-one time with them, sharing personal details (that even your nearest and dearest might not know) and investing both financially and physically over a number of months or years.

To help you, here are Thrive’s top tips for getting the right person for you.

1. Capabilities

What can they do for you?  For most people, health and fitness isn’t just about eating less or moving more – it’s much more complicated than that.  As the picture below shows, it’s having an integrative approach to exercise, nutrition, lifestyle and health.

Exercise

Whether you’re looking for more strength, less fat, muscle growth, greater endurance or just staying mobile as you age, you need a personal trainer who is able to work in the weights room, advise on cardio exercise and balance your goals against what’s needed that day.

Are they able to design programmes aimed at helping you to generate energy properly?  How do they help you manage your stress?  Have they got a long term view on how your training programme will evolve over the months to come?  How does the training programme link with your nutrition plan?

Nutrition

Time for a pop quiz: take a look at these pictures and decide which meal you would likely choose if given a free choice; and which meal will move you closer to your health and fitness goals.  If you chose different answers, then paying a personal trainer who only tells you what you should eat is not likely to work in the long term.

Find one who will coach you into better eating habits.  If this is linked to feeling better, more energy, fewer slumps, no calorie counting and eating more food than you thought you ever should, then win-win!  It’s about eating a nutrition-dense, not calorie-dense, diet.  Get it right and you’ll barely have to think about food choices in the future.

Lifestyle

A lot of personal trainers will stop at exercise; some will also include nutrition; few will look at your wider circumstances and actively coach you to success.  That might be helping you find a better mindset to achieve your goals.  It might be giving you practical steps to reduce (not just manage) stress.  Perhaps you need help sleeping, or just the motivation to stick to the plan.

Health

Exercise and nutrition are key aspects of general health.  But done correctly, personal trainers can devise programmes which help your brain, thyroid, blood sugar, digestion and heart work better for you.  On the flipside, it’s very easy to get it wrong and mess you up.

2. Philosophy

If you want superfast results without consideration for your underlying health, then find a personal trainer who promises this – and there are plenty out there.  Similarly, if you want to be a body builder or enter physique competitions, then find someone who’s been there, done and got the (very tight) t-shirt.

Thrive’s philosophy is based on people taking personal responsibility for their actions.  If you’ve decided you’re ready to put the effort into getting fit, healthy, slimmer, bigger, faster, stronger, or whatever it may be, then Thrive will give you the best programme it can.  Success requires your commitment and Thrive will be with you each step of the way.

3. Equipment

If you’re going to be training in the same place two or three times a week, you’ll benefit from variety in your exercises.  There are plenty of bodyweight exercises that can deliver results, but generally the more equipment in a gym, the more varied your training programmes will be.

Ask to have a look round and check out what they’ve got.  A few things to look out for are:

  • Range of equipment to target each part of the body
  • Sufficient weights to challenge you (10kg dumbbells won’t do much for most people’s squat)
  • Clean and tidy – you don’t want to worry whether it’s safe to touch things
  • Quality, functioning equipment – watch out for loose fixings and frayed cables

You’ll also get to check out the music selection and gym etiquette of other users, both things that put gym users off going.

4. Logistics

Sometimes your best option is not on your doorstep.  It might be on your route to work, or even at your work gym; it might be online; it might require you to detour or make a special effort.  But you know what?  It’ll be worth it if you get the results you want in the time frame your personal trainer says is realistic.

Other than location, you should check opening hours, cancellation policy, changing & showering facilities and parking.  Basically you need a facility which ticks as many of your boxes as possible to make it near impossible that you’ll not go!

5. Cost

Most of us operate within a budget and personal training is really a case of you get what you pay for.  You’ve already made the decision to work on your health and fitness – now it’s time to follow through and pay for the expertise you’re looking for.  If you choose well and your personal trainer delivers, it’ll be worth the money.  If you put the effort in and don’t get the results you’re expecting, then take your money elsewhere.

Personal recommendations

Most of Thrive’s clients are from personal recommendations.  That’s great as it means people are pleased with the way we do things.  Ask your friends who they use, but also check what their goals are.  If you’re looking for something different, recommendations may be less valuable.

The best way to find out is to book a free consultation and meet the person face to face in the gym and at a time which suits you.  Whilst you’re not looking for a new friend, personalities matter and you both have to want to work together.

Are you ready to thrive?