We asked Tim Hayes, founder of Peach, to give us his views about the industry and how people can make better choices when finding a personal trainer.
How do you value a personal trainer?
As the fitness industry continues to boom, more and more personal training education companies have come into the market. I’ve personally observed a decline in the quality of education available to trainers over the past decade.
Although there are great courses out there still, the market has become diluted, and some online training qualifications only require 5 weeks with no practical experience and no practical assessment at all.
It’s hard for the average potential client looking for a personal trainer on the gym floor to properly assess who is truly going to be able to help them reach their goals.
In an unstandardised industry how can you be sure you are getting what you pay for? Similarly to how we look at doctors and physios – should we put a price on health?
At Peach, I carefully select every trainer that joins are books. Here are some of the five things I look for that every potential client can also use to find a good personal trainer.
Whilst experience and qualifications are undoubtedly very important if your trainer’s personality doesn’t inspire you their knowledge becomes redundant. At Peach, we think personality is key and appreciate different approaches work for different people.
You should be asking yourself whether you feel comfortable with them generally, whether you feel like they understand and have what it takes to motivate you, and if they’ve worked and got on well with clients like you before.
As a general rule of thumb the more experience a trainer has, the more likely they are to be able to fulfil your needs, so the more requirements you have, the more experience you should look for in a trainer.
Ultimately you want a trainer that has experience training people just like you –
- If you are a CEO then get a trainer that can support you around your busy lifestyle.
- If you are recovering from childbirth then you want to see proof your trainer has worked with many post natal clients.
- If you have injuries you want to know they can deal with them and have the qualifications and testimonials to back it up.
- If you are a model, do they know exactly how to refine your body to the precise measurements and look you want?
- If you have worked with trainers before, then you should be looking for a trainer with more experience and qualifications than your previous trainer so you keep moving forwards.
- If you are a complete beginner with no injuries, and are just looking to get into fitness with no detailed requirements then a trainer with less experience can be a good fit for you.
Due to the unregulated nature of the industry the level of qualifications vary hugely, and a skilled trainer will recognise this and delve further into exercises science in order to set themselves apart. To an extent, education is subjective as there are so many schools of thought and research all the time in the exercise world. Nonetheless, if your trainer has a list of qualifications behind them it shows they are committed to bettering themselves and the experiences of their clients.
Ask your trainer what additional qualifications that have done, ask them about the duration of that course, and what they have planned for the future.
Don’t be afraid to ask to see their qualifications – if a trainer has done a two-day course and they call themselves a corrective exercise specialist, walk away.
The entry-level qualification for a personal trainer is Reps 3, this is generally a 6-month course spread over 30 days. I would consider this the bare minimum and it’s a trainer’s responsibility to continue learning. Unfortunately, as there is no governing body surrounding education companies, the onus must be on clients to check qualifications.
Don’t assume that because a trainer looks the part, is in the gym, busy and seems like a nice person that they can deliver the results you want. Unfortunately, there is a lot more that goes into delivering results than looking nice. Don’t assume that because a trainer is more expensive or that they have trained celebs they are better – trainers can charge what they like and some trainers are great business people.
Likewise, don’t judge a trainer by the gym they are based in – some of the best trainers can be found in chains, in many cases, it simply means the trainer loves the practical side of the job more than they enjoy marketing themselves.
Attention to detail
You would expect to pay more for more attention, but attention isn’t just a case of an arbitrary amount of hours physically spent with that trainer.
The first place to look at this is in the consultation: how thoroughly do you feel they have understood your needs, do they understand your lifestyle, and have they set clear, achievable and sustainable goals to reflect this?
- Are your results being tracked and if so how and how often?
- Do you have a solid plan in place that’s realistic, achievable and monitored?
- In the sessions – are they attentive at all times?
Trainers on phones or talking to mates in the gym when you are paying for their ‘personal attention’ is a no-no.
How precise are the exercises you do in the session? You can tell this by whether you can feel them where you wanted to, and whether the trainer is adapting the exercises according to your feedback and form each session.
It may sound boring, but this attention to detail from the trainer is the main driving factor behind your personal results. It’s too easy for a client to put the blame on themselves if they are not making progress even if they are seeing a trainer three times a week – if you feel like you are plateauing, it probably means you have also reached the limit of your trainers’ knowledge, so don’t feel guilty – move on to the next one!
Peach is a brand-new technology platform which connects you to a network of London’s best personal trainers and wellness specialists. Search by location, fitness goals, and where you want to train: home, park, office, or gym. Stay connected with your trainer through in-app messaging, schedule sessions, and manage payments all using one sleek, simple app.