“He who conquers others is strong; he who conquers himself is mighty”
Lao Tzu – Tao Te Ching
Why should you hire a personal trainer?
Hiring a personal trainer can seem like a daunting prospect fo anyone who hasn’t already done so. There are many different types of trainer you can hire, and its important to find one who not only has the experience, education and expertise, but also one that you will be comfortable with.
In this article Ill try to show you why it might be a good option for you and what you should look for when choosing on a trainer.
Hiring a professional personal trainer could help you get faster results
A well qualified and professional trainer should have a lot of theortical knowledge and experience and understand the different factors involved in changing peoples physiques for the better and improving important health and fitness markers.
There is now a wide body of research that can assist trainers who choose to educate themselves appropriately, which can add a lot of precision to the design and implementation of exercise and nutrition routines.
The very best trainers will combine their real world training experiences with research and established best practices to help you get results quickly.
A personal trainer can help you get better results
Leading on from the previous point, a good trainer can help you get superior results than if you were trying to go it alone with limited knowledge and experience. For example an expert in Strength and Conditioning would be able to prepare the right types of physical attributes if you are getting ready for a certain type of athletic or sporting event. Some trainers are experts in bodybuilding and would be able to get you training optimally to put on muscle mass in an aesthetically well considered way.
Each type of trainer has his or her specialities, and it makes a lot of sense to find a trainer who’s training style and abilities line up well with your desired outcomes. They should all be able to increase the quality of your training process so that you get far better results.
You can more easily target certain types of benefits by using an experienced trainer, such as fat loss or muscle gain
Certain personal trainers have very specific things that they work on. By finding the right trainer you can very precisely target or improve key areas. Some trainers have a first class knowledge of nutrition for weight loss for example, and so you can easily target improvements in that area. Most people don’t require very precise specialism, but if you do, getting the right trainer is very helpful.
A good personal trainer can help you make exercise a regular part of your life
By working with a trainer you can become motivated and inspired to make regular exercise sessions a really enjoyable part of your lifestyle. When you have continued to train with a trainer for a while, you will generally find that physical training and exercise becomes a very key part of your weekly routine and that as well as reaping the health and fitness benefit this brings, you will also form a good habit.
This habit is likely to stay with you if your trainer has found you the right training modalities and made the sessions as enjoyable as they should be. Exercise should be a fun and enjoyable part of the week and the right trainer will help you to find a deep enjoyment in physical training, which will help keep you healthy for years to come.
You will be able to overcome training plateaus
Often when we start training, results come quickly and our health and fitness improve fast. Over time however, results and improvements will naturally slow down and in many cases hit a glasswork ceiling. This happens regardless of what type of training we are doing. Stamina and endurance training, strength and power activities all too often plateau for many people. Skill based activities such as the martial arts and other movement arts and sports will also have periods where progress appears to slow or stop.
A good trainer can help you to overcome such plateaus by introducing variations, progressions and rest periods and when most suitable. Planning training in a methodologically sound way is called ‘periodisation’ by some coaches and researches. It is simply a way to ensure that you keep progressing and developing in your chosen areas of training by understanding the bodies’ adaptive processes and capabilities, and working with them and not against them.
You can use the training sessions to learn about how to exercise more effectively, as well as learn about nutritional concepts
When I train my clients, I often try to educate them as well as simply instruct them. By encouraging you to learn why you are doing your training in the way prescribed, a good trainer will be helping you to develop a sense of responsibility for your own training. Learning about how the body works and adapts to different types of training stimulus is also interesting and motivational, and is knowledge you can use wherever your training takes you in the future. Some clients do think they want somebody to just tell them what to do. In my opinion this yields less benefits than if you encourage clients to become interested and aware of all the variables involved in a healthy, high performance lifestyle.
You will learn how to perform exercises safely and correctly, so that you will reduce the risk of injury
Practicing high yield, results focussed exercises can often result in injury if care isn’t taken to ensure good form and technique. For example in strength work foundation lifts such as the bench press, the squat and the deadlift are all exercises which build a rock solid strength base. Even more complex barbell moves such as cleans jerks and snatches will help transfer this strength base in to explosive power. These exercises are often found at the core of most professional athletes strength and power programs because they are so effective.
However all of them, particularly the explosive power building exercises require you to have your joint systems precisely aligned and stacked in order to avoid pressure being put on any vulnerable areas. In particular the spine, knees and shoulders can be traumatised if correct form isn’t implemented throughout all the training.
A good personal trainer will help to get you and keep you motivated
A lot of people have read difficulty in starting and continuing on a healthy lifestyle path, with sufficient exercise. Going to the gym and exercising in a systematic way doesn’t feel natural at all to most people, and most find it incredibly hard to keep the motivation levels up after a month or two. Every year millions of people around the world buy gym memberships, ready to carry out their good intentioned new years resolutions, only to abandon the process a month or two into it.
A really good trainer will keep you motivated, by making the training interesting, enjoyable and personally challenging. You’ll also be more motivated because you will be getting superior results, which will inspire you and give you more confidence in your training process.
A good trainer will get to know you and tailor the exercise sessions for your unique requirements
When you train personally with a professional trainer, you will be building a relationship with them and they will get to know how to train you optimally. For example we all have exercises or training approaches that we enjoy more than others, and it generally makes more sense to engage in these things rather than techniques we don’t like. Some people push themselves far too hard, and a good trainer will keep you from doing this and to train at an intensity that will do you more good. We all have strengths and weaknesses in our flexibility, strength, endurance and so on. Your trainer will get to understand your limitations and areas of deficiency and spend time on bringing these up to optimal levels.
A good trainer will help you set S.M.A.R.T goals
A lot of people come into a training process with unclear or unidentified goals. We all have a rough ideas of what we would like to achieve in terms of our physical training, though often these goals are a little ‘fuzzy’. A professional personal trainer will be able to know how to create more precise training goals, that can be clearly identified, measured and given an appropriate timeframe. A good trainer will be able to let you know what is realistically achievable for you, which in many cases is more than you may be aware of.
If you have a specific sporting or life goal hiring a personal trainer can focus your training towards that
Strength and Conditioning is a relatively new term, which simply means the type of training done to improve sports performance capacity. There is now a wide body of scientific research available in a very wide range of sports performance and training topics. This research is carried out in universities and institutes around the world. It gives the better educated trainers lots of information to help refine and focus training methodologies when clients are focused on real performance goals.
Whether you are training for a marathon or involved in recreational or professional sports, using well researched training concepts that relate directly to increasing performance for your sport will bring you much better performances.
A personal trainer can help vary sessions, and get you to experience a wide variety of exercises and training methods
There are so many different ways to train and exercise to improve your health and fitness. Sometimes doing the same things over and over can feel a little restrictive and ‘boring’ for a lot of people. A good trainer will heave a huge repertoire of exercises and drills to keep your body constantly challenged and learning. Whilst the training laws dictate that adherence to some key exercises is the most efficient way to make progress, including variety is important to keep sessions fresh and to exercises and provide ‘movement nutrition’ to all parts of the body.
They can encourage accountability
In the realm of fitness, health and training having a responsible and accountable attitude will take you much further. Your training should be monitoring you and gently guiding you to keep personal responsibility for your adherence to all the variables that will make your individual training progress a success. Without accountability and self responsibility, your training progress will drift away from the targeted goals and success is then less likely. Self responsibility has been a make or break thing for many of my own clients over the years.
For example some weight loss clients i’ve had over the years have sometimes yo-yo’d with their weight despite doing a lot of exercise and so on, until they truly understood what i was telling them about the power of self responsibility and that it really is all down to them. You can’t completely outsource your health and fitness success, it has to come from within. Once this is truly understood, I’ve seen clients become fully committed to eating truly nutritious whole food diets, and no longer being attracted to junk foods and other unhealthy lifestyle practices, that are impossible to offset with exercise. Progress has in all these cases then become incredible. One particular gentlemen went from being a very obese 135kg to a lean, six pack having 67kg. Importantly this was then maintained easily going forward without ‘dieting’. It was simply the adoption of a new paradigm and a natural move towards living well.
A good trainer can help you with other lifestyle factors that may be important for getting you to achieve your goals
Getting to your optimal levels of health, fitness or performance involves many factors across all aspects of your lifestyle. A good personal trainer will help you to identify any weak links that are impeding and preventing progress. As well as things that are directly blocking your development, factors that can be improved and optimised can be identified and encouraged. Moving towards a much more naturally harmonious existence will do wonders for your health, wellbeing and also physical perofrmances. Some trainers are very in tune with the latest research on a lot of these lifestyle factors and can discuss these with you and help inspire you to implement them in your daily and weekly routines.
You can generally set your own exercise schedule when you hire a trainer
Hiring a personal trainer generally means you can set the time, location and duration of your exercise sessions. I have some clients who only do two hour sessions once or twice per week because it suits their routine and busy schedule. Some trainers (including myself) often train their clients very early in the morning before work, or in the late evenings. Many of my clients are ‘stay at home’ mums who pop into the studio in the early afternoons when the kids are at school. So whatever routine you have, you can generally find a trainer who will work around your routine and fit in with your schedule.
You can exercise almost anywhere: Home, studio or park
Depending on the type of training you want to do, most training can be done almost anywhere with a little imagination and creativity. A lot of people prefer to exercise at home, perhaps due to time and motion restrictions. Many personal trainers will come to you and bring any equipment needed. Some people love training outdoors (I am one of them) and so meeting your trainer in a local park can be inspirational and highly enjoyable. London has some incredible parks and exercising in natural surroundings has a whole host of added health benefits (Biophilia).
You will get appropriately challenged
Something that we often forget is that being challenged at an appropriate level provides a lot of very positive benefits. Self esteem and confidence are improved, adaptations in body and mind take place, leading to a more ‘actualised’ person. Maslow’s pyramid included self actualisation as an important part of optimal human living, and intelligent training and movement can play a role in this. The feeling is of actually become a better version of yourself.
A good trainer will constantly find the right times to challenge you, in a way that is right for you, to lead to this constant refinement and continual feeling of self improvement and development.
The type of personal training I offer
I have been teaching and training people for many years (since 1994) and so have acquired a pretty wide variety of training modalities. Essentially we can break it down into the following categories, which don’t have to be separated at all though they can be;
Bodybuilding style personal training where the emphasis is on improving body composition, building muscle and strength, or simply toning up.
Martial arts and kickboxing style personal training, which can be approached as ‘workouts’ or as a real martial arts learning experience. Chinese martial arts, forms, self defence and sports style competition style training are things that can be focused on.
Weight loss, lifestyle and health focussed training, where you are just trying to become fitter, healthier or improve specific health markers and attributes. This includes rehabilitation from illness or injury.
Sports specific strength and conditioning training, where you are primarily concerned with improving performance for a particular sport or physical hobby.
Relaxation and stress reduction training, where you can learn how to use tools like Qigong and Neigong as well as simple meditation techniques to reduce stress, anxiety and increase feelings of wellbeing.
My personal style of training people
I have a long background in practicing and teaching Chinese martial arts, weight training for various kinds as well as an academic education in sports science (MSc in Strength and Conditioning). So this all gives me a a certain style of training or way I tend to look at things as a trainer.
From the training and teaching in Chinese martial arts, I recognise the genius of not only their methods of exercise and physical training, but also the profound naturalistic philosophies that underpin the physical training. There’s a real beauty and truth to these ideas and arts, which can enrich an exercise or healthy lifestyle routine. The fundamental idea is to really recognise and respect natural laws and wherever possible move with them. This applies to lifestyle, to exercise and more.
I like to encourage my people to learn about their training and to view sessions as a practice. Many of the things you learn can be practiced at home or in your own time. the idea is to get you to move towards a generally more active and healthy lifestyle outside of your sessions with me.
I love training myself, and practice my arts daily for at least a couple of hours in the garden before heading in to work. I like to help people find true enjoyment in the various types of exercise and training that we carry out.
Where I practice with my clients
I teach most of my clients at a studio in Camden Town. We are very close to the tube station, making it easy to get to and from, and are completely private. It’s a nice space, with plenty of natural light and also a garden. It’s kitted out with all the kinds of ‘functional’ training equipment we could need. Kettlebells, Olympic weightlifting and barbell equipment, squat racks, a matted area for movement and martial arts, plyometric boxes and gymnastic rings, as well as a functional ‘rig’ for pull ups and dips and so on.
I also visit some clients in their homes in and around London. I even train one student in her pub! So training can be done almost anywhere that is mutually convenient.
My rates are reasonable and vary depending on times, location and frequency of training sessions. The best thing is to get in touch and we can discuss options.
How you can get started
Simply drop me a message using the form below or give me a call and we can discuss your goals and see if I am the right personal trainer to help you achieve them.