Selecting personal trainers – a consumer guide
It’s New Year and time for many to get stuck into those fitness resolutions. If you want to make the most of your time and effort you may consider using a professional personal trainer. We want to help you make the best decision….read this First!
You’re about to spend a lot of money, time and effort on your personal trainer investment – we’re going to give you a helping hand to make an informed choice – here’s our 4 point selection process to make your investment value for money.
Selecting a personal trainer is easy right? Wrong! The fitness and health industry is largely unregulated ANYONE CAN CALL THEMSELVES A PERSONAL TRAINER!
Warning: all trainers are not the same! Their qualifications (or lack of), experience and abilities vary wildly. Just because the trainer sports a fine set of abs doesn’t mean they can provide you with the same! Here’s some invaluable inside knowledge for you, the prospective client- read on!
At Pete Fraser Fitness we are highly concerned that you, the paying client, are open to hundreds/thousands of touting personal trainers all suggesting they can turn you into a super human Arnold Schwarzenegger combined with Usain Bolt and happily take your cash as they try unsuccessfully to do so. Let us help you make a better informed decision.
So here we go! Let’s start!
You need to select a good quality personal trainer who’s priority is your progress, your health and your fitness goals. Oh, and of course you need to like them too!! – where to start?
Whether scanning the internet for prospective trainers or looking through the yellow pages, the search method is irrelevant, the criteria of the personal trainer is not – here are our top tips on what to look for and why….
The Pete Fraser Fitness 4 point selection process to find your perfect personal trainer
Does your trainer hold the correct qualifications for your needs? If you just need a motivator with some basic anatomical/physiological knowledge then a lower qualification may be satisfactory. If your goals require a smarter approach or your needs are more complex than average, you will need a trainer with a more advanced qualification.
Consider that if the trainer does not have the knowledge to advise and guide you correctly, how can they make your goals reality?
Most personal trainers hold a basic qualification like: REPS levels 1, 2 or 3. Up a level from this the YMCA, NASM and ACSM offer slightly more advanced versions. Up many levels still are those trainers who take the job seriously and will have spent 3 years or more reading a University degree in a sport/exercise science, these are the best able and most competent trainers. Pick the one with the correct level for you.
Be aware that the trainer with the basic qualification and the trainer with the university degree are both likely to be charging similar amounts of money (a crazy quirk in an unregulated industry)- which would you prefer to be trained by?
Not to say that trainers without degrees are not good trainers, just their depth of academic knowledge will be limited and this could reflect on the ability of their training delivery, especially if the coaching need is advanced. Oh, don’t forget to ask to view your trainers certificate.
Trainers often list numerous so called qualifications which are nothing more than 1 day attendance seminars. Please be cautioned that these are not formal qualifications and should not be confused as such!
If you are intending to take your personal training seriously, making large financial and time investments, don’t you want to enlist the help of the best qualified trainer?
At Pete Fraser Fitness all our trainers are the minimum of degree level qualified, most are post-graduate masters also.
2. Industry Experience
Everyone needs to start somewhere, of course! However, do you want to be the client investing their hard earned cash and valuable time in a trainer who is newly qualified. Your trainer would ideally have been working in the capacity successfully for 3/5 years. In our view this is the minimum time needed to have worked with a range of individuals and in a number of settings to give you, the client, a competent and broad minded training delivery. Don’t forget to ask your trainer for references from other happy clients they train/have trained.
At Pete Fraser Fitness all our trainers have been working in the industry for the minimum of 10 years and usually 15 years or more. All our trainers have also been tested through our rigorous in-house testing process to make certain their skills are fit for our standards.
3. Sporting Background
Commonly trainers move into the health and fitness industry from office based jobs or unrelated industries with no greater sporting experience than simply having enjoyed working-out in a gym themselves for a year or two! Of course many do have sporting backgrounds which are useful when the trainer structures and plans your program. They also know when and how far to push you based on their actual experience on the track/field/course, etc.
However, beware that sporting ability alone is not a valid qualification to be a competent personal trainer, an Olympian gold medalist does not automatically make a great trainer. Delivering a personalised training program to a client needs a more in-depth skill set than just knowing how to perform sport yourself!
We feel strongly that your prospective personal trainer should have as part of their skill set a background of participation in ideally a number of sports and specialize to competition level in at least one. How else can a trainer understand the level of determination and focus needed to progress you to your highest ability if they’ve not explored their own?
At Pete Fraser Fitness we require all our trainers to currently be or have previously participated to the minimum of county level sport. However in practice our trainers are usually National or International level athletes.
4. Personality and vibe
Last but certainly not least, you need to like the person you select! You’re going to be spending a lot of time with them in close contact so the rapport you develop with them will be essential to maintain the discipline needed to reach your goals. We advise you meet with the trainer first to talk through your requirements and goals, not only to assess the other points but also to decide if you gel with the trainer. Try a few sessions before committing to block purchase to see how their session plan is delivered and if you like their style of instruction.
Don’t forget, the goals and targets are important but why not have a bit a fun while you do it. Pick a trainer who has a personality you enjoy being around!
Good luck with your fitness and health resolutions and we hope you find the right trainer to make them happen.
Pete Fraser Fitness – making Mayfair fitter and healthier since 2002.
You might also be interested in this…. Our top tips for training motivation