Have you ever thought to yourself that enough is enough and it’s time to do something about your health? Whether that means wanting to get lean, get strong, get fast, get powerful or more along the lines of wanting to be pain free, stress free, enjoy better sleep and more productivity within your life?

One of the options you may have considered in helping you to achieve this is Personal Fitness Training. After all, those gym guys and girls on Facebook look pretty damn cool and with a few salads down your neck and a couple of early morning runs you’re going to be well on your way to joining them right?

Hmmm, if only it were that easy. I’ve been working my ass off in sport and fitness for the last 30 years (give or take) and I’m still not exactly where I want to be. And I know what I’m doing!! Supposedly!

The truth is that there is so much more to just breaking a sweat, feeling the burn and depriving yourself of a few pints and cakes so when you enter the gym area, your trainer needs to be aware of exactly where you currently are in your life and how to help you.

So, you’ve made the choice. You’re going to go with this guy or that girl because….he trains your friend and your friend says he’s good, or he has a good physique himself, or he was the only one who approached you in the gym? There could be a number of reasons for you choosing your particular trainer but you really ought to make sure you get your decision right. You are going to employ someone who basically is about to take charge of your life! What’s more, you’re going to pay them a portion of your hard earned wonga for doing it too.

At this point what you should expect from your trainer is a list of questions attempting to find out as much about your life as possible. This is within reason of course as you may need time to develop a bond and some questions could be a little too personal at this stage. But, what should be asked is what do you want? What you are currently doing to achieve it? Daily activities, employment? Past/current injuries or illnesses? Other activities that may influence your desired goal? Heavily featured here is your nutrition, sleep, stress, happiness amongst others.

After the information has been processed then what you should expect is a reasonable answer in what it is going to take to get you to achieve what you want and then for you to hear an honest answer from the trainer in whether they think they can help or not. We’re not all experts in everything! For example, when a potential client has asked me to improve their flexibility through a yoga approach, I have referred elsewhere. It’s not my speciality and ultimately I would have been found out.

If your trainer does think he can help you then what is the time frame? What is the amount of work needed? What are the sacrifices you are going to have to make? What you do not want to hear is simply a list of prices that reduce the more of a bulk purchase you make in one payment. That approach leads you nowhere. All you will be buying is workouts with little results and in my opinion those workouts will usually be watered down too.

Once you move into the gym take account of how you feel. How does your trainer behave with you? Is he interested? Is he watching tv? Is he checking girls out behind you? Is he monitoring your form? Are his hands in his pockets? Obviously your own feelings will pick up if things are right or not but if there are warning signs then take note.

Unfortunately some of those practices are all too common (as they will be in other professions too) but that doesn’t mean we should all be tarred with the same brush. Lots of us are great and some qualities that identify a good trainer are: assessing you, re assessing, goal setting, giving you new information, motivating, striving to help you achieve, owning up to not knowing the answer to everything you ask but attempting to find out. Just as you’ll recognise bad signs you will recognise good ones and you will then feel comfortable and if you feel comfortable you are much more likely to succeed.

One thing you should not expect to achieve from personal training however, is for us to make it happen for you. As I always say –

“Coming to see me is not like going to the hairdressers. Don’t expect to walk out of here looking anything different – apart from a raggedy sweaty mess of course. I can show you the way but I can’t do it for you. That’s up to you.”