When PT goes wrong: A handy guide to finding a PT.
It’s that time of year when many of us choose to turn to a new fitness routine, and more often than not there’s a buff new PT on hand to put us through our paces.
Yet, sometimes that relationship doesn’t always go well. Not too long ago I was fresh out of therapy and hired someone to take control of my fitness plans and support in keeping my freshly-won mentality healthy.
However, after a few weeks of comments about how I still ‘had a lot to lose’ and substantial progress being dismissed as something he’d ‘expect to be better’, I decided to take control back and end our contract for the sake of my own mental health.
Whilst it might sound intimidating, there are a whole host of fantastic PTs out there, so here’s a handy guide to finding the right one.
Do your research
This might sound like a bit of a no-brainer but plenty of gyms are set up to push personal trainers onto gym goers without really finding out what you what to achieve.
Just like the hairdresser or dentist you choose, a personal trainer has a lot of responsibility in guiding you on your fitness journey. Everything they do should empower and challenge you, so it helps to find someone who has a training style you respond well to and someone who you feel comfortable giving this level of responsibility to.
You can usually find out more about them by checking out their website or Facebook page, or you can even ask the gym if they can introduce you to other people who are trained by their personal training team. That way you can get on the ground advice from people actually working with them and paying for their time.
Your health and well-being is precious, and closely linked to your mental health so finding the right person to work to suit you and your needs with is vital.
Try before you buy
It might feel a bit cheeky asking to test more than one personal trainer, but it’s important you gel with the person you spend time sweating with.
The cost of personal training can add up so I’d always recommend testing a number of different personal trainers before you buy.
Most gyms and PTs offer a free trail session as standard. Don’t be afraid to ask for another free session or a reduced cost session if you’re not quite sure or want to try another trial if you feel your questions haven’t been answered or you’re not sure how they would support you with a particular type of fitness. If they’re the right match for you, they’ll work to answer all your questions and make sure you’re comfortable before bringing you on board.
It should be important to them that you’re keen and enthusiastic to work with them too – it’s an exciting journey that you’ll both be part of.
Have a clear idea of what you want
It also helps to have a think about the types of fitness you like, and the style of teaching you think you would respond well to. Not sure what you’d like?
The internet is full of different styles of workouts and just by watching videos you’ll find a variety of different styles and methods. If it seems really overwhelming, then just speaking to the personal training team or the gym staff during your induction can really help.
It might seem intimidating but you wouldn’t feel uncomfortable asking a pharmacist about what medicine to take for your energy levels – and so if you look at it this way, speaking to the experts in their workplace isn’t that much different. It’s what they’re there for!
It can also help to find out what you like by attending classes and trying some different types of fitness at home. If you’re paying for additional help from a personal trainer and want to be motivated to get moving regularly, it helps if you enjoy what you’re doing!
Although personal training tends to be one on one or in small groups, they can usually plan in the types of fitness you enjoy.
Check out alternatives
As mentioned previously, classes are a great way to get to know what you like. Before investing in personal training which can quickly add up – maybe try see what alternatives are out there and see if you feel comfortable doing any of those.
For example, CrossFit classes have the intensity and structure of a personal training session but with the community and camaraderie that isn’t always there with the personal trainer and trainee dynamic.
Whilst taking the first step through the door takes courage, sometimes these environments can really give you a thirst for fitness and a motivation to move that you can’t always get from a PT.
If it goes sour
If you are in a situation like I was and the relationship with your PT isn’t like you expected, here’s what I’d recommend.
Read your contract –
nderstanding how much notice you need to give and by when will prevent you
Write it all down
It can be intimidating cancelling the contract when you’re in the early stages so articulating why you aren’t happy can really help.
Speak to the gym management team
Lastly – remember one bad experience isn’t a benchmark for how personal training can be. When I first started my journey with fitness I had an incredible PT who was passionate and enthusiastic.
Having the right support can really build great fitness foundations and so hopefully these tips will help you identify the perfect personal trainer for you. Good luck!