Choosing a personal trainer can be tricky; there are a lot of trainers on the market, and most of them are making the same claims and declarations about rapid weight loss, strength and fitness gains and about how friendly, smiley and motivational they are. So how do you cut through the noise and find someone that’s the right fit for you? To help you make a decision you won’t regret, I’m sharing with you the seven mistakes I see people making time and time again.
The old adage ‘buy cheap buy twice’ applies to personal training as well. You can become a personal trainer with just six weeks of study. After that, you are free to present yourself to clients as a professional, an expert, and people will trust you with their health. Be very wary of choosing the cheapest trainer, as in order to make a decent living they will have to be working a lot of hours; you will not get the 1-1 attention you need, and that person will struggle to be there for you outside of the sessions if you need support.
Anyone claiming to be able to do it all no matter who you are is not a specialist; that’s someone who just wants your business. Choose a specialist who has defined their specific niche. For example, my company Bodyshot only works with professional women typically aged between 30 and 40 and have a keen interest in their own health and fitness. They have a good job with a reasonably high disposable income, but are time-poor and frustrated by the one-size-fits-all approach to diet and exercise. We use DNA testing to write bespoke diet and exercise programs that achieve successful and lasting results.
Any good and reputable trainer will not only have case studies and testimonials on their website, but they will also offer you the chance to speak to clients so you can hear their experience first hand. Some will insist upon it, to make sure that you are their target client, as well as the other way round. It’s easy to put up quotes on a website, but nothing beats a conversation with someone like you who has gone through the process with the trainer, and is willing to honestly share their experiences with you.
It’s vitally important that whoever you work with places a high value on their time. If they don’t value their time, how can you do so? When a trainer sets a reasonable price for their services, they are making a statement to the client that they value what they do, and are committed to delivering a high quality of service. They will also restrict the number of clients they work with because they don’t need to work long hours to make a decent living. It’s quality over quantity. We don’t offer free introductory sessions, and we don’t offer discounts. We will however spend time with a client during the decision-making process, and we don’t charge for that, because we are also evaluating whether the client is the right fit for us as well as vice versa.
A good and reputable personal trainer or company will have selection criteria. If they don’t, then the implication is they’re happy to work with anyone, which means they’re probably just trying to scrape by as opposed to really making a difference for their client. Look for someone who clearly states on their website who their target market is, or what type of person they are looking to work with. I know trainers who only work with males between the age of 20 and 30 who want to transform their body composition in 12 weeks. These trainers will be charging up to £20K for such packages. I also know trainers who charge less than that but again, they will have very specific criteria about who they work with.
I very rarely go to meet anyone for the first time without running their name through Google. It’s fascinating what you find. I Googled one prospective client to find they had recently delivered a TEDx Talk in South London. I watched the talk online and gained a fascinating insight into that person before I met them. I’ve also Googled trainers who have wanted to join our team and saved myself at least an hour of my time once I saw the search results. A decent and reputable personal trainer will have blog posts, testimonials and recommendations, quotes, online videos, interviews and possibly even a book, all of which you can find on page one of Google.
The days of selling packages based on a small number of sessions are long over. Making a major decision about your health and fitness is a long-term commitment and a conversation with a personal trainer should reflect that. We provide our services based on a monthly standing order, so that clients understand that their fitness regime is part of their weekly routine, not something that they commit to for five or ten weeks. We also provide bespoke packages that reflect a client’s individual requirements, including the DNA test and any other form of testing that is appropriate.
Leanne Spencer is a Fitness Entrepreneur, Author of the Amazon Bestselling book Rise and Shine: Recover from burnout and get back to your best and Founder of Bodyshot Performance Limited. Bodyshot specialises in bringing the science of genetics to the world of fitness. Connect with the team @BodyshotPT or Facebook or visit our website at www.bodyshotperformance.com.