Thoughts about personal training

One of the reasons that I set up this blog is that I wanted to help other people who are walking a similar path to the one I have taken over the last three or so years. To share what I have learned along the way.

Consequently, this is an advice style post.

For the last nine months, I have been working with a Personal Trainer. I only initially signed up for five sessions, but have found it an invaluable activity for lots of reasons.

I don’t have a problem with motivating myself to exercise. I do something pretty much every day, usually at some awful hour of the morning previously reserved for the snooze button.  But we all need a little help from time to time.  So here are my thoughts on what a Personal Trainer can do for you, and what you might want to think about when finding one.

First of all, the benefits.

Someone else is probably going to push you harder than you will push yourself. Even if you are the self-motivated type, a PT will make you do one more rep or lift a little more weight than you usually might.

They will get you to your goals faster. I have improved more in the last nine months than I had in the previous three years combined.

They will challenge your bullshit excuses. I recently tried to tell my PT I didn’t know why I had put weight on.  His response?  Yes.  You really do.

Their specialist knowledge. I’ve been a member of a gym for years. Including years in which I paid the fees but never actually went other than to sit in the Jacuzzi.  But I had no idea that some of the stuff I was doing was at best sub-optimal, and at worse ineffectual.

If your motivation does decrease, the very fact that you are have an appointment to see someone and are paying for it, will help to get you out of bed or off the sofa and into your gym gear.

If you do decide to go ahead with personal training, here are a couple of recommendations.

Firstly, find someone you can build a good rapport with. And ideally, swear in front of.  Or at.  I once told my PT I was going to buy a doll that looked like him and stick pins in it.  You need to be able to be entirely honest about how you feel with your trainer.  Fitness is as much a mental process as a physical one, and that level of discussion needs to be present between you.  If the rapport isn’t there, change your trainer.

Be completely honest with your trainer. They will know if you are not, as the numbers don’t lie.  But if you aren’t truthful about what are doing, eating, thinking, feeling, then they can’t help you effectively.

According to an article I read recently, the personal training industry is about to get the Uber treatment. Put your requirements and location into an App and a PT will turn up.  I can see why this might fit into the lifestyle of some busy folk.  But for me this misses out on building the kind of relationship in you can freely discuss goals, barriers and what success looks like. The process of discussion and refining your goals is helpful in its own right.

Do what they tell you to do. The chances are, they know better than you do, unless you are similarly qualified.  Even when I really dislike what my trainer tells me to do, I do it.  Sometimes I moan about it, but I do it all the same.  Because that is the point.  If it’s about what I’d like to do, I’ll go back in the Jacuzzi.

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