personal trainer, well-being, fitness industry, professionalism, exercise,

There are a lot of rogue cowboys out there in the fitness industry, like any industry I guess, but how do you find a good personal trainer? Should there be mandatory PT course modules on professionalism, customer service and how to run a viable business?

Finding a good PT can be more complicated than you’d expect; and let’s face it – a PT is a luxury spend – it pays to shop around to find the right one for you. If you want optimum fitness results from a person who may put you through so much physical pain you will wish you were dead, here’s some handy hints on what to look for in a good personal trainer:

A personality fit

For optimum results, you need to find a trainer with whom you gel – your personalities have to be a good fit, otherwise you will not want to spend the considerable money on them each week and start to resent having to do so. If your PT continually riles you with their outspoken political and/or religious opinions – like the bad cabbie you can’t escape – abort! Or if spending time with them makes you question the future of humanity, shop and train elsewhere.

Professionalism is key

I just broke up with a PT who was constantly late; changed our session times at the last minute; complained about not enough toilet/coffee breaks because she was stacking clients together too much and who refused to take the time to do my regular measurements. If it’s not working out with your PT, act fast and take your hard-earned elsewhere – it’s not personal, it’s good business sense to do so. I know it’s not easy running a small business, but you shouldn’t have to put up with that BS from a so-called “professional”. Be upfront – break up with them by saying you need a change.

Varied routines

A good PT will change things up often, so you don’t get bored. Who wants to do bloody kettle bells and burpies each session, when you’re paying good money to get both results and more motivation to exercise outside your sessions? Tell your PT often and loudly what you want and expect – be it boxing, kickboxing, or a good cardio/weight mix-up.

Eye on the prize

A first-rate PT worthy of your hard-earned will want to do your measurements, even though you may loathe them. Measurements and weigh-ins keep you both honest and motivated. Don’t put up with a PT who fobs you off, as I did for too long. Sure, it might be time they have to put in outside of your session, but it’s an important part of their job. And getting good results is the best bit – a lovely boost when you are sore and exhausted and wondering why the f*** you got a PT in the first place.

Mind your manners

Good customer service buys loyalty and longevity. Repeat after me – your trainer is not your friend; if they don’t treat you with respect – abort! You are the catch. There are plenty of trainers out there – find one who doesn’t ignore you during your sessions, belittle you or make you feel bad in any way. PT should be a positive and empowering experience – it should boost, not detract from your well-being.

Keep it strictly business

While Samantha in Sex and the City had some enviable raunchy PT bedroom encounters; in real life it’s probably best to avoid sexing your trainer. Take the personal out of personal training! If you’re blessed with a PT who resembles a Greek god, power to you sister, but do try to keep your hands to yourself lest the relationship turns sour quickly and he really does try to kill you on the stairs. In addition, your PT is not your counsellor, not you his/her’s – I don’t want to feel like I have to give a PT marital advice in between crunches. Conversely, don’t expect your PT to care about your emotional needs. It’s business time!

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