Over 12,000 Hours of Personal Training Has Taught Me a Few Things
Since graduating from my personal training course and receiving my diploma in 2002 I have trained over 400 people individually and put in over 12,000 hours of one to one time. There have been a few hundred class teaching hours added to that along with a few hundred hours spent educating and teaching fitness instructors in the art of kettlebell training so they too can train their own clients but by far the majority of my time has been spent one to one. You could assume from that amount of time that I have some experience and have learnt one or two things over the years.
The Personal Training Diploma I kicked my formal education off with was a valuable vocational qualification. It taught me procedure, behaviour, anatomy, physiology and how to follow a structured plan in order to gain a result. I still refer to much of the basics I learnt back then which help me with basic foundations for assessing movement, problems and programme design. Then by applying further knowledge I have improved the product delivered and result achieved.
When I stepped into the ring of employment in the industry the first job I did was to work as a fitness instructor in one of the major gym chains. Looking back this was a very wise move as one of the sins the education providers are guilty of is telling you that you have all the knowledge in the world and you can fix anybody’s fitness request in any area. You most definitely don’t and can’t so it was important I cut my teeth on gym inductions rather than clients spending money with me only to make mistakes, waste their money and me ultimately be found out.
I remember the first induction I gave quite clearly. A lady in her senior years had been assigned to me and after going through the basic health & goals questionnaire I began by putting her on the treadmill and saying “let’s start with a ten minute jog to warm up.” I quickly learnt that not everyone was as fit as I! She couldn’t jog. She just about managed a reasonable walk inclined.
After performing a couple of hundred more inductions I felt ready and honest enough to charge for my services so took the leap to becoming self employed. It was a big decision but it was the correct one and for a further six years I focused solely on Personal Training. The most important part of my daily workload (as it still is) was the results of the client I was working with and I judged my value as a trainer on the results. I’d like to think I’m a good trainer. What I do have upmost confidence in is that I am a trainer with extremely high professional standards: punctuality, client care, attention to detail, passion, desire, appearance & hygiene although I have been accused of smelling like meat and coconut oil recently! These are all traits that led me to believe I could help other instructors and so along with another colleague we developed formal qualifications and began teaching exercise tuition. We taught several one and two day courses across the country and the rewards are that we helped some good instructors that I’m still in touch with and are now successful coaches themselves.
The challenges of competing against the major education providers for a small market (fitness instructors and coaches) brought about the decision to go back and focus on one to one, but…I now wanted my own place in which to do it.
As we get older in life we learn and become more experienced and what I saw from working in the major gym chains is that they are not designed to help you achieve your goals. What the larger health clubs are designed for is to provide a clean, comfortable, safe and stable environment for you to go through the motions of ‘exercising’ and not ‘training’. A perfect example of this would be the rows upon rows upon rows of treadmills and cross trainers pointing at the television set. Get on them, keep your mouth shut, don’t do anything silly, behave yourself, watch tv and go home. Low risk, little reward.
It was ultimately that, that led me to want my own place and so along with my business partner Kevin we opened up MPA Fitness Centre and it is there that we were able to create a facility and procedure designed to help the member. High(er) risk exercises e.g. kettlebells and barbells as the norm give higher rewards – muscle tone, strength, performance, fat loss etc etc. It is here to this present date that we continue to push the message forward and are producing some extremely fit people that are happy and successful.
I could write a whole article on every point of what I have learned during my 12,000 hours plus of training and I probably will but to summarise I think the key points would be:
1. MOST people believe they know how to achieve results but do not put their plans into place.
2. MOST people who put their plans into place don’t achieve results because they don’t know how to achieve them.
3. MOST people believe that if they turn up for an appointment with a personal trainer it means they will achieve results.
4. MOST people believe that if they turn up to the gym they will achieve results.
5. MOST people don’t want their goals enough.
6. MOST people who lose weight after a successful exercise and diet campaign put it back on again.
7. MOST people when working out have a level of intensity they will not go beyond because it hurts.
8. Some people rely too much on their personal trainer.
9. Too many personal trainers are not worthy of charging for what they do.
10. Not enough personal trainers are passionate about what they do.
11. Too many trainers try to specialise in areas that they are not specialists in.
If I think of any more I’ll let you know. Be strong, passionate and enthusiastic. Keep your standards high.