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Personal trainers

TwinThompsonTwinThompson Posts: 60Member Member Posts: 60Member Member
So I live in the UK, I’ve been going to the gym 3/4 times a week and just doing treadmill, elliptical, exercise bike, and the weights I was shown for arms and legs. I’m definitely noticing differences in my body, but now I’m wanting some more exercises to do to keep things interesting and to target the areas I want to work harder on. Are personal trainers a good bet?? I’ve seen prices vary from £14-£30 an hour, is more expensive better?? What qualifications should I be checking they have?? Is it rude to ask, especially if they’re already employed by a gym?? Is one 1–1 a week worth it?? Can you tell them what you want to work on exactly or let them decide how to plan the sessions??
I was chatting with one trainer who works at the gym I use but he’s now started at another gym and it was a bit unexpected so feel a bit put off to be honest.

Replies

  • tmbg1tmbg1 Posts: 428Member Member Posts: 428Member Member
    I just saw a piece on the today show about the lack of consistency and regulations for certifying personal trainers. Might be worth Googling it. I don't use a trainer, but if I did I'd probably go by word of mouth.
  • LyndaBSSLyndaBSS Posts: 3,085Member, Premium Member Posts: 3,085Member, Premium Member
    You should be able to get a free consultation with any trainer. Talk about what's important to you and your goals. See if it would be a good fit
  • zebasschickzebasschick Posts: 51Member Member Posts: 51Member Member
    my trainer experiences weren't great. one kept pushing me, and i kept pushing. he didn't seem to grasp my limitations in any way, and i was in bad shape afterward - i literally couldn't walk at first. there have been several bad trainers, each in their own way, but the one that made me laugh afterward i didn't even have a session with. i went into the gym wearing baggy clothes, and had an appointment to interview a trainer. at the time, i was far from a newb, body fat not low but quite muscular. i guess you couldn't tell in my baggy shirt, because i sat down and he looked at me and said "obviously you're new and here to lose weight." i pulled up one sleeve, flexed my bicep to a big full peak, and told him i didn't think we were a good fit. what a maroon!

    it might be worth going to a trainer once or twice to show you how to use everything. i've gone to free trainers at several gyms, paid several private trainers, and my experience was you can learn more from books and online. YMMV.
  • CipherZeroCipherZero Posts: 1,343Member Member Posts: 1,343Member Member
    My experience with personal trainers have all been negative.
  • CahgetsfitCahgetsfit Posts: 1,726Member Member Posts: 1,726Member Member
    I think a trainer is a great investment if you choose a GOOD one. That's the problem - finding a GOOD one. I've had good and bad ones.

    The first one I ever had was the one they give you when you join the gym and they say have a free session and they give you a plan - OMG - was terrible! Lady was wanting me to barbell squat the 20kg bar after demonstrating it to me like ONCE and I had no effing clue what I was doing, it felt too heavy to be good, I could tell I was just not doing it right, and well... the whole session was just a disaster. Not once was I told what I should be feeling, which muscle should be working, nothing. And not once was my form corrected. And I was just given a random piece of paper with exercises on it as my "plan".

    Anyway, after that I had a FANTASTIC trainer who showed me the basics of how to lift - she put me in the right positions, she explained what should be moving, she physically touched me to put me in the right place, etc. She taught me so well that it got to the point where she said I was free to go forth and do whatever I wanted (as in - if I saw something on YouTube that she hadn't taught me herself I could give it a go because I knew enough already to work out what should be working or not).

    So - my recommendation is go for expensive for starters - this chick was AUD$100 a session, and another one I still see on occasion when I need my butt kicked costs AUD$120 a session. The ones who are expensive are that price for a reason - they are worth every cent. BUT - of course I'm sure not ALL the expensive ones are great. What you need to look out for is the attention they give you - do they explain things, do they correct your form, do they work with your limitations, do they know HOW MUCH to push you (or not push you), are they just telling you to do burpees and kettlebell swings? If so - you don't need to pay someone to get you to do that.

    I recommend a bodybuilding style trainer and focus just on the lifting/machines, not burpees or other random "functional training" stuff that you can do yourself. You will learn more technique from the bodybuilding style and then you can go off and burpee to your heart's content.
  • lorrpblorrpb Posts: 10,435Member Member Posts: 10,435Member Member
    I was fortunate and happened on a good trainer.
  • TwinThompsonTwinThompson Posts: 60Member Member Posts: 60Member Member
    Cahgetsfit wrote: »
    I think a trainer is a great investment if you choose a GOOD one. That's the problem - finding a GOOD one. I've had good and bad ones.

    The first one I ever had was the one they give you when you join the gym and they say have a free session and they give you a plan - OMG - was terrible! Lady was wanting me to barbell squat the 20kg bar after demonstrating it to me like ONCE and I had no effing clue what I was doing, it felt too heavy to be good, I could tell I was just not doing it right, and well... the whole session was just a disaster. Not once was I told what I should be feeling, which muscle should be working, nothing. And not once was my form corrected. And I was just given a random piece of paper with exercises on it as my "plan".

    Anyway, after that I had a FANTASTIC trainer who showed me the basics of how to lift - she put me in the right positions, she explained what should be moving, she physically touched me to put me in the right place, etc. She taught me so well that it got to the point where she said I was free to go forth and do whatever I wanted (as in - if I saw something on YouTube that she hadn't taught me herself I could give it a go because I knew enough already to work out what should be working or not).

    So - my recommendation is go for expensive for starters - this chick was AUD$100 a session, and another one I still see on occasion when I need my butt kicked costs AUD$120 a session. The ones who are expensive are that price for a reason - they are worth every cent. BUT - of course I'm sure not ALL the expensive ones are great. What you need to look out for is the attention they give you - do they explain things, do they correct your form, do they work with your limitations, do they know HOW MUCH to push you (or not push you), are they just telling you to do burpees and kettlebell swings? If so - you don't need to pay someone to get you to do that.

    I recommend a bodybuilding style trainer and focus just on the lifting/machines, not burpees or other random "functional training" stuff that you can do yourself. You will learn more technique from the bodybuilding style and then you can go off and burpee to your heart's content.

    That’s excellent advice, thank you!! I’ve just seen a bodybuilding trainer aswell, he’s got a few clients and been going for years so I’m guessing he’s pretty good. Think I’ll give him a message
  • AzdakAzdak Posts: 8,007Member Member Posts: 8,007Member Member
    Cahgetsfit wrote: »
    I think a trainer is a great investment if you choose a GOOD one. That's the problem - finding a GOOD one. I've had good and bad ones.

    The first one I ever had was the one they give you when you join the gym and they say have a free session and they give you a plan - OMG - was terrible! Lady was wanting me to barbell squat the 20kg bar after demonstrating it to me like ONCE and I had no effing clue what I was doing, it felt too heavy to be good, I could tell I was just not doing it right, and well... the whole session was just a disaster. Not once was I told what I should be feeling, which muscle should be working, nothing. And not once was my form corrected. And I was just given a random piece of paper with exercises on it as my "plan".

    Anyway, after that I had a FANTASTIC trainer who showed me the basics of how to lift - she put me in the right positions, she explained what should be moving, she physically touched me to put me in the right place, etc. She taught me so well that it got to the point where she said I was free to go forth and do whatever I wanted (as in - if I saw something on YouTube that she hadn't taught me herself I could give it a go because I knew enough already to work out what should be working or not).

    So - my recommendation is go for expensive for starters - this chick was AUD$100 a session, and another one I still see on occasion when I need my butt kicked costs AUD$120 a session. The ones who are expensive are that price for a reason - they are worth every cent. BUT - of course I'm sure not ALL the expensive ones are great. What you need to look out for is the attention they give you - do they explain things, do they correct your form, do they work with your limitations, do they know HOW MUCH to push you (or not push you), are they just telling you to do burpees and kettlebell swings? If so - you don't need to pay someone to get you to do that.

    I recommend a bodybuilding style trainer and focus just on the lifting/machines, not burpees or other random "functional training" stuff that you can do yourself. You will learn more technique from the bodybuilding style and then you can go off and burpee to your heart's content.

    That’s excellent advice, thank you!! I’ve just seen a bodybuilding trainer aswell, he’s got a few clients and been going for years so I’m guessing he’s pretty good. Think I’ll give him a message

    You have to be careful with a “bodybuilding” type of trainer. Sometimes they only know one style—the one they follow. And often that style is mostly a collection of old broscience cliches.

    Obviously that’s not an absolute. We have one trainer at our gym who is/was a bodybuilder and is in his mid-20s who can train almost anyone. But he has a degree in exercise science and continues his education on a regular basis (and he listens to me occasionally :D )

    The point is that just being a great lifter does not guarantee that someone is a great trainer.
  • CahgetsfitCahgetsfit Posts: 1,726Member Member Posts: 1,726Member Member
    Azdak wrote: »
    Cahgetsfit wrote: »
    I think a trainer is a great investment if you choose a GOOD one. That's the problem - finding a GOOD one. I've had good and bad ones.

    The first one I ever had was the one they give you when you join the gym and they say have a free session and they give you a plan - OMG - was terrible! Lady was wanting me to barbell squat the 20kg bar after demonstrating it to me like ONCE and I had no effing clue what I was doing, it felt too heavy to be good, I could tell I was just not doing it right, and well... the whole session was just a disaster. Not once was I told what I should be feeling, which muscle should be working, nothing. And not once was my form corrected. And I was just given a random piece of paper with exercises on it as my "plan".

    Anyway, after that I had a FANTASTIC trainer who showed me the basics of how to lift - she put me in the right positions, she explained what should be moving, she physically touched me to put me in the right place, etc. She taught me so well that it got to the point where she said I was free to go forth and do whatever I wanted (as in - if I saw something on YouTube that she hadn't taught me herself I could give it a go because I knew enough already to work out what should be working or not).

    So - my recommendation is go for expensive for starters - this chick was AUD$100 a session, and another one I still see on occasion when I need my butt kicked costs AUD$120 a session. The ones who are expensive are that price for a reason - they are worth every cent. BUT - of course I'm sure not ALL the expensive ones are great. What you need to look out for is the attention they give you - do they explain things, do they correct your form, do they work with your limitations, do they know HOW MUCH to push you (or not push you), are they just telling you to do burpees and kettlebell swings? If so - you don't need to pay someone to get you to do that.

    I recommend a bodybuilding style trainer and focus just on the lifting/machines, not burpees or other random "functional training" stuff that you can do yourself. You will learn more technique from the bodybuilding style and then you can go off and burpee to your heart's content.

    That’s excellent advice, thank you!! I’ve just seen a bodybuilding trainer aswell, he’s got a few clients and been going for years so I’m guessing he’s pretty good. Think I’ll give him a message

    You have to be careful with a “bodybuilding” type of trainer. Sometimes they only know one style—the one they follow. And often that style is mostly a collection of old broscience cliches.

    Obviously that’s not an absolute. We have one trainer at our gym who is/was a bodybuilder and is in his mid-20s who can train almost anyone. But he has a degree in exercise science and continues his education on a regular basis (and he listens to me occasionally :D )

    The point is that just being a great lifter does not guarantee that someone is a great trainer.

    Very true - that's where you need to have a trial session with someone, or watch them training various people first and see if they adapt their training to suit the client.

    We have a "bodybuilder" trainer at my gym now and i'd never pay him a cent to train me coz he sucks.

    OP, the trainer needs to adapt to suit you - not just tell you "sit on here and push the handle"
  • Duck_PuddleDuck_Puddle Posts: 2,470Member Member Posts: 2,470Member Member
    Finding a good trainer makes a big difference. But “good” may be a slightly moving target. Slightly. “Good” should always include sound training principals and plans designed specifically for you and your goals. Always.

    “Good” should also never include medical advice regarding injury/rehab unless the trainer has actual training (preferably degrees) that qualifies them to do so.

    Good also means having an expertise or comfort level with your goals. My goals are primarily running related. A lifting-focused coach is not “good” for me-even though I do lift. A running-focused coach would not be good for someone with lifting goals. Even if each of those coaches were the top of the field.

    Good also means having a solid rapport, good communication, training and personality styles that jive.

    I talked with my coach at length about my goals, his training background and approach, and had a thorough understanding of his philosophy and mutual expectations long before he ever gave me an assessment or a workout. Heck-all that happened long before I even signed on.

    Since working with him I’ve Pr’d every race distance I’ve attempted, more than doubled my main lifts in a year (while significantly improving my race times), and have continued to work with him - which has included maintaining fitness and composure through a number of significant injuries and life events.

    It really has been the best decision and investment I’ve made in my health and fitness.

    I wish you the best on your quest.
  • SnifterPugSnifterPug Posts: 33Member Member Posts: 33Member Member
    I am in the South East of the UK. Average hourly rate here is £40. However, all things are not equal. A PT employed in a gym will typically have up to half the hourly rate creamed off by the gym - so you are not paying peanuts but might still be getting a monkey. Check out the staff turnover rates at your gym - if trainers tend to leave often then that tells you they are not all that well treated. It matters because it takes a little while to get into the groove with a PT and if they then leave you are stuck with trying to find a new one. I have to have a PT because I do pad boxing so I know just how tiresome it is when they move on.

    The main thing is to find someone who will listen to you, who will encourage you, who will correct your form relentlessly and who will respect your boundaries. My first PT asked if I wanted weight loss. I sorely needed it but told him I would manage that side by myself and did not want his input or his weigh ins. He totally respected that and as time went on I felt much happier about broaching that subject with him myself.

    There is a minimum level of qualification that PTs must have - I forget what it is but the gym will know and you can certainly ask what their qualifications are.

    One 1-1 a week is absolutely fine and you should of course discuss what you will be doing on days you don't see them. Typically they will give you a discount if you sign up to a block of sessions.

    An hour is fine but a bit less is fine too. I find 45 mins is perfect. I warm up by myself first (no point in paying someone to watch me on a cross trainer) and would normally stretch by myself afterwards.
  • firef1y72firef1y72 Posts: 1,332Member Member Posts: 1,332Member Member
    My PT is fabulous, a right cow and really horrible to me, but at the same time lovely and really motivating. I need that being shouted at and pushed right out of my comfort zone, if I wanted to stay in my comfort zone and just work out then I wouldn't need a trainer.

    I have been lucky though, and while her style works for me it may not work for you.
    She also came highly recommended and I went to some of the class shes runs before I started training with her.

    Personally I think it's important that you go in to PT having very clear goals. I am mainly a runner, and a lot of our training focuses on improving that (and no that doesn't mean all we do is run). We also work on form for my lifting. She also helps me keep control of my eating and encourages me to rest.

    Dont commit to a number of sessions straight away, start with the one and see how you gel. A good PT should ask you what your goals are and what you want out of the sessions. They should also ask if you have any injuries or health conditions.

    (Btw most of my PT sessions are for only 30min. But they are very intense and for a long time I wouldn't have been able to deal with longer. I now have a 1hr session every other week along with 30min 5 days a week)
  • ChieflrgChieflrg Posts: 7,838Member Member Posts: 7,838Member Member
    The best ones usually aren't working for a gym.

    Expensive ones usually just means they have a demand(for whatever reason), it doesn't necessarily mean they are the best...though depending on your goal(s) it may be worth the investment.

    The trainers employed by a gym have at least one cert. The cert allows them to get a job. The content needed to obtain a cert is garbage in my opinion. It's been regurgitated for decades and clearly outdated according to current evidence.

    Most commercial gym trainers are lacking actual results compared to those who freelance. The majority of the commercial trainers try to train you until you are exhausted to make you think you accomplished a good session. Sometimes this intentional because the client is leaning that way and expects it.

    I assure you one doesn't need to walk away from a session feeling destroyed.

    One on one's worth is dependant on your experience as well as the trainer's. There is no clear cut decision that blankets everyone.

    Personally most people I train I only do 1 on 1s once a month. I review vids as well as data and give feed back and discuss goal(s) and how we plan to achieve them.

    I rather teach them on how to train and achieve self-efficacy and not depend on a person while saving them money.

    I would ask for a consult and see if the trainer fits your needs. Very important to be on the same page.
    edited August 15
  • TwinThompsonTwinThompson Posts: 60Member Member Posts: 60Member Member
    @SnifterPug @Chieflrg thank you! I think I’ll start looking outside the gym I use, get a better picture of who and what I need
  • hiparihipari Posts: 282Member, Premium Member Posts: 282Member, Premium Member
    tmbg1 wrote: »
    I just saw a piece on the today show about the lack of consistency and regulations for certifying personal trainers. Might be worth Googling it. I don't use a trainer, but if I did I'd probably go by word of mouth.

    This is why I wouldn't get a trainer that didn't have either a certified degree or both long experience and a good word of mouth.

    I've had the same personal trainer for 3.5 years now. He's a trained physical therapist and a certified masseuse and I verified both degrees with the official health care provider database (I live in Finland, where health care pros are certified, registered and supervised by public authority and are listed in a public database anyone can check). Additionally, he has done some of those personal trainer certifications, but even he admitted that those are *kitten* and not enough to make someone a good trainer if that's all they study. If I had to choose a new trainer now, I'd look for someone with a degree in physical therapy, exercise science or sports medicine and who has the recommendations.
  • springlering62springlering62 Posts: 391Member Member Posts: 391Member Member
    I had an awful trainer at Workout Anytime, claimed to be a former Marine drill sargeant and knowing what I know now, what he had me doing was sadistic, unsafe and totally ineffective. Had an OK one at LA Fitness, but he was clearly bored, only had me doing machines, and we never gelled beyond polite acceptance, although I used him for a year.

    I started training earlier this year with a woman who owns a local barbell gym. OMG! What a difference finding the right trainer has made in my life!!! I love working out with her, she uses positive encouragement instead of putting me down, and the results have been obvious, even though she’s of the low weight/high reps persuasion. (Yeah, I know, I know, but I see and feel the changes so I’m a believer, and she says we’ll add the weight when she judges I’m capable.) Her husband is a former world champion weight lifter, and he helps plan my workouts. She also vets the other trainers she allows to use her gym and if they screw up or do anything she judges to be foolish or unsafe, they’re outta there.

    If you have an opportunity to use a smaller, privately owned gym over a large chain gym, it’s a world of difference, based on my personal experience. You probably won’t have the pool, the showers, the spanking new equipment, and there’s a shed load of grunting and dropping in a serious gym, and probably some really loud (and sometimes raw) music, but it’s also a lot more family-like experience, the trainers are hand picked, and you get a LOT more attention, and the other users are far kinder to non-competitors than you’d ever expect.
    edited August 17
  • TerythaTerytha Posts: 787Member, Premium Member Posts: 787Member, Premium Member
    Same experience here as @springlering62 one guy I met at a gym could not have been less interested, and the woman I have now at the nicer gym I found is great. She's really positive and supportive but also firm and doesn't let me give up unless something hurts.
  • AzdakAzdak Posts: 8,007Member Member Posts: 8,007Member Member
    I had an awful trainer at Workout Anytime, claimed to be a former Marine drill sargeant and knowing what I know now, what he had me doing was sadistic, unsafe and totally ineffective. Had an OK one at LA Fitness, but he was clearly bored, only had me doing machines, and we never gelled beyond polite acceptance, although I used him for a year.

    I started training earlier this year with a woman who owns a local barbell gym. OMG! What a difference finding the right trainer has made in my life!!! I love working out with her, she uses positive encouragement instead of putting me down, and the results have been obvious, even though she’s of the low weight/high reps persuasion. (Yeah, I know, I know, but I see and feel the changes so I’m a believer, and she says we’ll add the weight when she judges I’m capable.) Her husband is a former world champion weight lifter, and he helps plan my workouts. She also vets the other trainers she allows to use her gym and if they screw up or do anything she judges to be foolish or unsafe, they’re outta there.

    If you have an opportunity to use a smaller, privately owned gym over a large chain gym, it’s a world of difference, based on my personal experience. You probably won’t have the pool, the showers, the spanking new equipment, and there’s a shed load of grunting and dropping in a serious gym, and probably some really loud (and sometimes raw) music, but it’s also a lot more family-like experience, the trainers are hand picked, and you get a LOT more attention, and the other users are far kinder to non-competitors than you’d ever expect.

    Glad you have found a good situation. Just as an aside, if done properly, a lower-weight, higher rep approach can work fine (as you are discovering), for both weight loss and muscle building.
  • mburgess458mburgess458 Posts: 438Member, Premium Member Posts: 438Member, Premium Member
    I have never used a trainer but in my decades of going to various gyms I have watched a ton of them in action. I have only seen one that appeared to be good at all.
  • sijomialsijomial Posts: 15,047Member Member Posts: 15,047Member Member
    Here in the UK you will normally find REPS level 3 as the common qualification.

    But that doesn't mean they are the same.
    I've got loads of REPS L3 PTs at my gym but their specialities and knowledge are very diverse according to their further education, personal experience, interests etc.

    There's one who would be great for a squash player but is hopeless (IMHO) with weights workouts.
    There's two that would be great for runners and soccer players but they are vastly different in skills and knowledge around weights. (One's a cross fitter and the other doesn't really see any value at all in lifting heavy.)
    There's a body builder.
    There's a powerlifter.
    There's a semi pro cyclist.
    There's a semi pro rugby player who is studying for a sports science degree.

    There's also the personal relationship aspect and fit with the client - one PT was really enthused by a client who wanted to properly learn all the big compounds lifts and gave great tutorials but was clearly bored to tears by another client who didn't give him anything to work with - no goals, no real ambition, no direction. They got a half-hearted general program of time-wasting exercises that probably won't help them in the slightest, even if they stick with it.

    Remember you are the client and they are providing a service, check out their CVs, check out their interests and additional training beyond the minimum certification, inteview them, try them. If it doesn't work try another.
    But do go to them with defined goals.
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