Frequently Asked Questions
I have worked in the fitness and health industry for many years now and have heard pretty much all the questions and reservations people have about training before the start.
Here are my TOP 10 favourite questions and my answers…
1. What if I don’t have time for personal training?
If you haven’t got time for a PT, then you haven’t got time to go to the gym. And if you haven’t got time to exercise and you don’t value your body or your health. The thing is, we all have 24 hours in a day and if you can’t give up 45 minutes (which works out as 3% of your day) 4-5 times a week, then you must be seriously busy and in need of some balance in your life.
We need to value our health, which is our physical, social and mental wellbeing, enough to make it a priority in our life. We have one body and one chance, so looking after it should be a priority. The thing about Personal Training is the coach will reduce the time you have to exercise by telling you exactly what to do, pushing you for your 45 minute session and maximising your time and results. So if you’re short on time, this is actually a very efficient way to workout.
2. What if I already pay for gym membership?
I know this sounds cheesy, but Personal Training and coaching is a journey. A good coach should teach you skills, set you programmes and educate you on how to train properly with your specific goals in mind. If you have a gym membership already, that’s great, but do you actually know what you are doing in there? Apart from the standard response of “I do 10 minutes on the bike, 15 minutes on the walker,10 minutes on the rower and 10 minutes on the cross trainer” which I get from most gym-goers, how do you know if it’s working for you?
Don’t get me wrong, it’s brilliant that you are moving and exercising, but knowing what you are doing, understanding why you are doing it and have the guidance of a coach will give you value for your membership, but also the results you never had before.
3. What if I am not fit enough to start training?
Fitness is not a requirement to start PT. In fact, a lack of fitness is a great reason for starting to train with a PT! A good coach will always meet his clients first and get them to fill out a diet and activity diary for 3-4 days, then will run a detailed consultation process and finally screen them to assess their level of fitness. Then, and only then, will they decide whether they can work with the client and be able to put together a programme pitched at the right level and ability of the individual. Therefore a concern of not being fit enough is not valid, as fitness is defined as the ability to meet the demands of there environment. So fitness is specific to environment but also task, and a good PT will set the exercise programme at the right challenging level so you are pushed, but not to the point of failure, and you’ll get fitter and stronger.
4. What if I don’t have the right gym kit?
For gym kit all you need is some flat shoes and some baggy clothing you can move around in. A good PT won’t get you to do a load of running, so specific expensive running trainers are not required. Clothes-wise, as long as you can move and feel comfortable in your gear, anything really goes. Remember, you are not supposed to look your best with make-up done, fancy trainers and flashy leggings, you are not on a catwalk or here to take selfies… you are here to work out.
5. What if I don’t want a six pack or don’t want to be a fitness model?
Who actually wants to get ripped to the point where you can’t sleep, you mess up your hormone levels and develop eating disorders to get lean enough to do a bodybuilding/physique show? A very small percentage actually want to and an even smaller percent of those people can actually see it through.
Having a six pack doesn’t have to be your goal when starting training. It is different for everyone. Don’t think that the images you see on social media of gym enthusiasts are either real or realistic for your own lifestyle, in terms of time required to get into that shape. Just be you and PT will make you a better version, it won’t turn you into somebody else. By starting training you aren’t suddenly going to develop a tonne of muscle naturally, as hormonally, women especially, are unable to produce enough testosterone to grow muscle. By training it will make you fitter stronger and make day to day tasks easier. i.e. carrying the shopping walking the dog for longer etc
6. What if my work is too stressful to add another challenge to my life?
To be honest, what can be better than switching off from work in a supportive environment with other people all striving to better themselves and get healthier. Exercise is the biggest stress reliever and has been shown to help work productivity as well. Sure, it will take commitment and dedication, but the rewards from training with a coach will far outweigh the effort you put in.
7. What if I don’t understand how any of the gym equipment works?
You don’t need to know about any equipment or exercise before starting, that’s what the coach is for. In all honesty, gym equipment is complicated and half of it isn’t actually necessary! A great workout can be done with just your body weight on the spot, if you have little space. And that’s the beauty of hiring a coach: it educates and teaches you how to use equipment, move safely and correctly, adjust techniques and be accessible to help when required.
8. What if I don’t want to ‘bulk up’?
The only way to grow muscle and to bulk up is to eat in a calorie surplus (put more energy in than out) have a structured training regime and to be be training for 8-12 months for any muscle to develop and grow. If your goal is to lose weight, your coach will be monitoring your weight, shape, body composition and should be adapting and changing your diet as you progress and your needs change.
9. What if I don’t like ‘healthy food’ or drinking shakes?
‘Healthy Food’ is a very loose term and shake/juice diets are not something I recommend to my clients. When it comes to nutritional advice, there are always alternatives and the best thing about working with a good coach is you can compromise to find balance and the foods that will work for you to achieve your goals. Yeah there is some give and take, but sometimes change is a good thing and probably what you need!
10. What if I am not a ‘gym type’?
‘Gym types’ are just people familiar with the gym. These types of stereotypical people tend to be that interested in themselves that they do not notice anyone else. So feeling like you are not a gym type is fine and is probably a good thing, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be going or doing some form of exercise.
People feel uncomfortable in situations or environments they are not familiar with or environments where they are unsure how to behave I know exactly how this feels; the first time I stepped into a library after a long break 7 years ago, when I started studying and training to become a PT. Boy did I feel out of place! But I soon realised that the facility is for everyone not jut those ‘Book/Library types’! A good coach should educate, give you the skills and confidence to know what you are doing in the gym, so you can exercise safely, have fun and achieve your goal of health!
If you have made any of these 10 assumptions before, I hope I’ve shown you a different way to look at it. The point of writing this wasn’t to make anyone feel bad for having misconceptions about what personal training really involves. I just want to dispel any myths and challenge you to give PT a try before deciding it’s not your cup of tea.