What is it?
Personal Training is a method of getting a well thought out physical exercise session into your regular weekly program. Not that other exercise programs aren’t well thought out, just that they may not take into account your personal goals or your personal limitations.
Personal Training is for those who want to achieve a particular outcome in their personal health but are not quite sure how to do it, or know themselves well enough that they won’t be committed without someone keeping them accountable.
In all my years of training people I have found that skills in physical training can be easily learnt, if the interest exists. The real strength in having a personal training lies in them becoming your accountability tool. Turning up is 50% of the battle.
While there has been a long, long history of coaching recorded, the term Personal trainer, is relatively new. It arrived about the 1980’s, and was strictly for the rich and famous. Interestingly, it was not until 1996 that the first Australian nationally recognised certification came out, this was unknown to me, when I stated, early in that year that I wanted to become a Personal Trainer. I was 23, and everyone thought I was crazy! Who would pay you to take them for a run? Even so, I had been doing it for years and thought that it was about time I got paid for my efforts! At that time, I was committed to doing a stint in Japan and left with a plan of returning to resume my physical training empire! I think it was almost 7 years later, opps. By that time I was married with 3 little children. It has been the best thing I could have ever decided to do, except getting married and having 4 children.
During my studies I completed Aqua training, group training, strength and conditioning, lifting and one on one training. I preferred the one on one training, and I preferred working my own hours, ie. Not in a gym. I did a lot of home based training in the first few years.
I specialized in Obesity, until the Exercise Physiologists decreed that this was a medical condition that needed to be treated by medically recognized practitioners. By which time I had become disillusioned by science and their means of predictability, already noticing that not everyone was as predictable as they would like to believe.
I since have completed some interest courses, keeping my CEC up to date. I particularly like the SandBag training, and Boxing. I would like to do a yogafit course , when I can fit it in. (Soon).
What does a training session look like?
A training guideline should be established before you arrive, giving the trainer an idea of what your goals are, why you have this goal, what injuries exist, what exercises you have enjoyed in the past, what exercises you don’t enjoy and why, how long it should be, and what kind of exertion level you want to achieve.
Training sessions can have a lot of variety to them. It is only limited to the time you have and the injuries you need to work around. Generally speaking, every training session should start with a warm up, the body (literally) and the cool down. But the session will be dictated by the questions asked in the pre work out consultation and the fitness assessment results. So pretty much, it going to be what ever you want it to be, as long as the trainer has the skills and qualifications to meet your needs.
What does a Personal Trainer need to do for you?
A personal trainer needs to be registered and insured, this will tell you that they are serious, they want the best for you and intend to make this a career, not just a hobby.
If your Personal Trainer does not ask you to do a physical risk assessment questionnaire, walk away. They are free to down load of the Fitness Australia web site and they could save your life, particularly if you are male and over 45.
If your trainer begins training you before doing a physical assessment, walk away. How are you ever going to know if your money is being well spent, if you have no measure of where you need to make improvement or what that looks like over time?
I write programs and keep pretty detailed notes, I am not sure if this is common. Certainly not in 30 min public gyms, but I think it is essential for me. Half the time I cannot remember what you were doing last set, let alone last week!
I write new programs every 4 to 12 weeks depending on what your goals are. These will rotate through different muscular stimuli to combat over-training, and to stimulate the muscles with change for growth.
Even though I go to the trouble of writing programs, I still remain flexible with my clients. Personal Training sessions can often be quite physically stressful. Week after week this can be draining and demotivating. Any other high stress situations in a client’s life can tip them over the edge of what is physically healthy. The body does not care what form the stress comes in, it only knows that there is Adrenalin and cortisol floating around in the blood stream. So keeping in tune with my clients fatigue levels and abilities means making adjustments as we travel along. This could be from one week to the next, or it could happen with in a session. Pushing for equal or better than the last week, can sometimes be a negative.
The environment you train in should be kept clean and clear of tripping hazards. The trainer should be friendly, and approachable at all times. In my gym, guilting, humiliation, and abuse are unaccepted forms of motivation, but everyone is different.
You should expect a lot of communication from your trainer. They cannot read your mind. So they should check in with you fairly regularly. And ask questions like, are you still enjoying the training sessions? Is there something you would like me to add or delete? How is your muscle soreness? And questions will always come about diet, extra exercise, relationship health, work life balance, etc. This information will help them and you with keeping on track, and ensuring on going health and fitness milestones are being set or met. If they spend an hour talking about themselves, as interesting as that may be, walk away. You are paying for an hour of being the most important person in the room!
I usually stretch my clients at the end of the session. Meaning they are passive, while I stretch them. I think this is common practice these days. Although, time will dictate this.
There are lots of different types of Personal Trainers out there, in the end it really does come down to personality.
What will the Personal Trainer expect of you in a session?
Firstly you need to be dressed appropriately. Be wearing comfortable clothes that you can bend and sweat in. Cross training shoes are best, because you’re never quite sure what you might be doing. You many need a hat, for outdoor training. You will definitely need a towel and a water bottle. In my gym you can bring your own music.
You will be expected to give everything a Red Hot go. Even if you think it is too much for you. This is dangerous to say, because you should always listen to your body and know your absolute limits. However, there is a fine line to walk when you are trying to extend your limits.
Remember that the income from these sessions is a persons livelihood, so skipping sessions for no good reason, should get you sacked, and replaced. In my gym, you will be required to pay in advance, or in blocks, and missed sessions can be made up with in the same week, or you miss out at your own cost.