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What Happens Once You Decide To Undertake The Services Of A Personal Trainer?

Nicola Poole – Inspired Coaching.


Enlisting the help of a personal trainer is essentially paying for the services of a qualified professional fitness coach or trainer to help you with your gym based training needs. The benefits of doing so and what you get for your money varies. Check out my other blogs on personal training costs here and the benefits of personal training here to explore these subjects. It can be a bit daunting and confusing when looking for the right trainer for you and many people don’t really know what it entails. So, I’ve put this blog together to help you.



Step One. Do your research.

The majority of people go to a personal trainer from a recommendation from a friend or family member. If I’m honest this is how I get most of my clients too. But, coaches and trainers are all different so even if you have been recommended or you are cold searching for one do some research on them because what’s good for one person may not be suitable for you. Check out their website, social media and Google business page. This will give you a good overall picture and vibe about them. Do they offer the right service for you? Do they have the qualifications to train you effectively? Are they the kind of person you want to spend time with? Where do they work from? What are their working hours? How much do they charge?



Step Two. First Contact.

When messaging a potential personal trainer have it clear in your mind what you want from them and your budget. When I receive vague enquiries from people although I treat everyone the same I don’t take them as serious as those who say exactly what they are looking for and I also know straight away whether or not I can help them. Personal trainer rates are similar but if you know already how many sessions you would like and how often this also helps trainers in their forward planning.



Step Three. Meet them for a Consultation.

I have never met a PT who doesn’t offer some kind of free consultation. Personally I prefer a face to face meet up but I do video calls if it’s easier for the potential client. Be warned though. Some trainers think consultations are purely a sales pitch and will say and do anything to seal the deal. They know once you have made a commitment to them in some way you are unlikely to change your mind or hound you for weeks later. Personally I also think it’s wrong to use consultations to weigh and measure people. If someone comes to me saying they want to lose weight and aren’t feeling very good about themselves why put them through that just to confirm in their minds, ‘Yes, I am fat’ and leave feeling even worse. Unfortunately, the only reason trainers do this in my opinion is make the potential client feel like they need them and so coerces them into signing up. The true nature of consultations are actually an opportunity for you to ask questions, tell them exactly what you want and gather information before you make a decision to book. For the trainer it establishes your health status, training experience and needs for planning programmes. Consultations should also be used to find out if you actually like this person! You will be spending a considerable amount of time together so there has to be some sort of connection and rapport. You don’t have to be best friends but liking them is a good start.


Step Four. Paperwork and Admin.

Once you have decided to book some PT sessions you should be asked to complete a selection of forms. Make sure you declare everything regardless of how insignificant or how long ago. I know some people don’t like writing health conditions/diagnosis’ down formally. If this is the case then verbally have that conversation. Over the years I have had many clients who don’t disclose conditions until weeks into their sessions. Personal trainers have a duty of care towards you and can’t discuss your personal information to any third parties unless they feel you or someone else are at risk. My forms include a health screen, consent form, client-trainer agreement and I also send an information pack too. I do this so my relationship with a client is clear and precise right from the start. Also be aware that if a trainer does not get you to complete a formal health screen this may invalidate their insurance.



Step Five. Your First Session.

Good trainers and coaches will know and understand that your first session with them is going to be daunting and potentially induce some sort of stress and anxiety. Generally most people are nervous and apprehensive. I try as much as possible to make my new clients feel comfortable and at ease. I also know that people deal with these feelings in very different ways. So, remember we have seen it all before so don’t worry. Even though by this stage I have gathered a lot of information and have a good idea about what you need and want, I always say to people I need to watch you move. So, some sort of assessment is needed. Some trainers may do formal standard assessments and record these to use as benchmark performance data to compare against later. Personally, for the majority of people this isn’t needed. Why? It’s intrusive and can make people even more nervous. It can be potentially dangerous for untrained people to do them. They aren’t always relevant to the person’s goals so why bother. I’m a bit sneaky when it comes to assessing people. I take a client through what they think is a standard workout but I include exercises that I can use to assess them in certain areas. I prefer a more functional approach to assessments. The other, more prescriptive ones can wait for later on if required.


Step Six. Programming and Reviewing.

Your trainer should plan and design your training programmes and give them to you! If they don’t, ask for them. They should go through each programme with you and make sure they and you are happy with them. Be honest with them. If there is something you don’t like ask them to change it. I would rather a client tell me rather than think everything is okay and they don’t do it on their own. Programming is a balance between giving people what they need and want, compromises often have to made. Reviewing and checking in with clients is a continuous process throughout your time with them.


If you have never used the services of a personal trainer before I hope after reading this blog you have a better understanding of how it all works. Feel free to comment on your experiences.



Nicola Poole is the owner of Inspired Coaching. With 8 years Personal training and S&C coaching behind her, 7 years of competing in powerlifting at an elite level plus 14 years as a PE teacher she has extensive knowledge and experience in her field of work. Using the moto ‘Where Every Body Fits’ sums up the diverse clientele she works with, operating as an inclusive coach helping people achieve the right balance between exercise, health and life.



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