Is A Personal Trainer Worth The Investment?

Whether you're thinking about hiring a PT to help you in the park, or to help you with your new home gym you've created, how do you know when it's a worthwhile investment, or not?

How do you quality control a personal trainer? It's a serious question and one that you should think about if you have hired, or are thinking of hiring, a personal trainer to help you with your workouts and exercise. With the rise in demand for personal trainers increasing, the number of courses available and the number of qualified trainers appearing on the market has also risen. But how do you know who is quality - and who is not?

Quality Control?

Is there such a thing as quality control of personal trainers? Well yes, and no! In the UK we have the Register of Exercise Professionals that oversees exercise and fitness professionals, including personal trainers. They have a strict framework that personal trainers' must achieve or better in order for them to call themselves personal trainer. Within this framework is on-going professional development - CPD for short. They must accrue a number of points each year to retina their status. This assures you the trainer is continuing their learning and knowledge - which benefits the clients they train hopefully.

However, does someone physically interview and test every trainer every year? No is the quick and short answer to that. Gyms are more likely to have a handle on quality control purely because the trainer is in close contact with other professionals and also the gym management team. Complaints or issues should therefore be quickly revealed.

Home Vs Gym

Whether you have bought equipment for your home, or are wanting to go into a commercial gym or studio environment for your workouts making sure you have the right personal trainer will still be important.

When thinking about a home based workout, most PT's will have their own equipment and be able to use your equipment, if you have any. They should be comfortable using this equipment with clients in ways that ensure all clients get maximum benefit and get a varied workout. There's no time for being lazy - the program has to work and it has to be varied. Usually you're looking at functional trainnig with smaller equipment. You will quickly pick up on repitition or laziness. Having access to larger cardio and strength equipment in a gym will allow a PT to vary their training programs for clients more easily.

Either way, the PT should be training and motivating you during your exercise and you should be able to quickly feel and see an improvement in your fitness and strength.

Time To Be Subjective

With your investment of time and money, working out if on-going investment is the best choice means you will have to evaluate what's happening during your training. You can also look directly at your PT to see what signs they are giving off, rather than whether they are adequately qualified or not. You've checked their qualifications, they have given their sales pitch and now you have to think on your feet.

Whilst quality of personal trainers in commercial gyms can sometimes be of a slightly lower level, this is not always the case. It is also the case that the quality of an independent trainer is far from being acceptable. Make sure you are benefitting in fitness and motivation to workout, to justify what you are paying for.

10 Things to look Out For

Here are 10 things to consider when trying to work out if your personal trainer may be a waste of time and money:

1. They Are More Interested In Their Reflection Than Yours

A good personal trainer will use mirrors a lot. This should be to check how their clients are working out from various angles, giving them clues to ensure exercise form is at its best. This is important as your form can suffer from fatigue as your workout develops.

2. Uninspirational

Your personal trainer’s physique and attitude should reflect an effective exercise routine. Their job is to be part coach, part motivator, part movement specialist and part nutritionist. An inspirational personal trainer is important to any client and you should not feel at anytime less than inspired with what you're doing.

3. They Behave More Like A Friend Than A Coach

A sign of a weak trainer is befriending their clients to a higher degree than would be expected. This is first and foremost a business relationship. This over familiarity may be to hide their ability to achieve results and thus fear they will lose their clients.

4. You Are Put On The Treadmill During A Session

If you are paying for personal training time, you should not be paying for someone to stand next to you jogging on a treadmill. As the average trainer does not spend hours with their client, their focus should be on a quality workout as they make every minute worthwhile. It is recommended that during your session you should be thinking whether you would be able to complete these exercises by yourself and in your time; if your answer is yes than your personal trainer may not be the one for you.

5. No Record Keeping

As a client works with a trainer to make progress they are unable or struggling to make alone than it is vital a trainer should keep records of your progress. If a trainer cannot complete these records than they are not as invested in your progress as you are with them.

6. No Plan Of Attack

Trainers should not come into your workout without a prepared plan; there is no excuse for this and is a bad sign of a poor personal trainer. They should know what exercises will be completed, what weights will be used and where rest intervals will be placed within the workout

7. No Results Board

There should be clear evidence of your personal trainer’s previous success with previous clients; it should be clear that they have significantly helped others before you hire them. Finding a company with numerous results generally means you have found a personal trainer with investing in.

8. They Fixate On The Goal

Whilst all good personal trainers should be goal driven, they will focus on the progression towards the outcome rather than the final point. They should work with you to fix certain behaviours so that once you have reached your specific end goal, you will have learnt better habits to continue your progress without a trainer. This way your investment is a lifelong one rather than solely a few weeks or months and has been significantly beneficial.

9. Phones

You should think of personal trainers in the same way as other professionals you go to for advice or help such as a doctor. You would not expect these professionals to take out their phone during their time with you and hence a personal trainer should not either.

10. You Know More About Your Trainer Than They Do About You

If you find yourself in the position with a trainer where you know all about their personal life than you have invested in a friend rather than a serious trainer; instead they should know more about you. Whilst it is important to have an amicable and comfortable relationship with your trainer, it should remain professional and any conversation should not ultimately distract either the client or personal trainer from the workout. Trainers should have an understanding of their clients to help them improve their health habits and therefore understanding their stress, sleep and digestion levels can be important to your fitness plan.