Personal Training “Getting Personal”


Check out which qualifications they have. Personal Trainers can be operating without any qualifications: there’s no official body checking on your behalf as a client. Knowledge is King, but don’t let them confuse you with jargon. As a qualified PT, they will know all about ATP-PCr, glycolytic and metabolic pathways, you need to feel comfortable with the terminology their using. Do you understand what they’re telling you, or is it all a bit confusing? One of the key skills your PT should have is communication – making sure you understand everything you’re doing and why.

Here at Body Happy Jenny, Mark and Paul have a variety of qualifications between them:

Fitness Instructing Level 2, Advanced Instructors and Personal Trainers, Pre and Post Natal, Sports Massage, Myofascial Release, Accredited Strength and Conditioning Coach (ASCC) and undergraduate degrees in Health and Fitness Management and an MSC in Sport and Exercise Science.


Like any coach, manager or teacher, PTs will all have different personalities. They may shout encouragement at you as you are pushing out the last rep, or might be quieter and give small cues and feedback as you are performing an exercise. You need to make sure you are comfortable and motivated by their style of training, and always ensure that you are carrying out the exercise in a safe and fun environment. Find a trainer who gets YOU as an induvial and how you are motivated to achieve your goals and targets.

Book in an appointment with us, where we will gather as much information as possible on you based on your previous training experiences and where we can chat about your goals. During this initial stage of the assessment you can see how we are as trainers – and if you like us!

Be aware

Your PT should never try and sell you products for the sake of it.  If you are new to the gym and to training, you will find that simply changing exercise, eating and sleeping habits and staying hydrated will be hugely beneficial to your life – even more so than taking supplements that your PT is trying to sell as a side project.

Here at Body Happy we are not representatives of any brand of company, but we have links to chiropractors, sports masseurs and nutritionists. We work with experts, with a greater understanding in some areas, so will point you in the direction of these if we feel it is necessary for your progress.


You may want to consider what the PT specialises in. Does this suit your goal? Some offer services such as fat loss, strength and conditioning for sports, bodybuilding and pre or post-natal exercise.

At Body Happy we are three trainers specialising in different key areas of training and we meet the needs of the majority of people.

A personal service

Do you feel looked after by your PT?  Are all your sessions based on your exercise history, your movement ability and always moving towards your goals? Is the trainer listening to you?  You should feel that the exercises that you are doing each session reflect what you asked for in your initial consultation – for instance, if you wanted to get stronger for running, and your PT has you doing lots of bicep curls, you might want to check in that they are really focused on YOU.

At Body Happy this is what we use our initial assessment screening for, to analyse your body and to find out what your short, medium and long term goals are. We’ll create your program based on what we have found in the assessment and what you’ve discussed with us.  We will also talk you through why we are training you the way we are: to make sure you know what’s going on too! We always want you to feel confident in the way we are training you; to be confident in why you are doing certain exercises. 

Exercise, what is it good for?

Exercise, what is it good for? A lot of things.

150 minutes of moderate activity: that’s the recommended amount of exercise for 18 – 64 year-olds.  But don’t panic! This isn’t per day, it’s over a week. Guidelines suggest splitting the 150 minutes into 5 x 30 minutes sessions, and these can then be split into 3 x 10 minute sessions of moderate activity per day. Alternatively, if you want to work a bit harder, the guidance is 75 minutes of vigorous/hard exertion activity per week.

It’s also recommended that we strength train twice a week, but this doesn’t mean you have to be down the gym pumping iron, but lifting reasonably heavy objects with good technique. This can simply be body weight exercises – squats, press ups, lunges. These types of exercises help maintain our muscle mass, strengthen our bones and helps reduce trips and falls.

It’s likely you’re already doing strength training.  We’re always lifting bags in and out of the car, picking up our children and grandchildren, moving things around in the garden, but these are all forms of strength work. But lifting weights is dangerous, isn’t it? I have heard people say we should not lift weights above 4kg… which is, of course, a load of rubbish.  How heavy is a baby between 0 months and 2 years? Heavier than 4kg, that’s for sure. Weights are only dangerous if you don’t do it properly, and with poor technique, so make sure you’re lifting those babies and toddlers carefully!

What counts?

Moderate activities are things like walking fast, cycling on flat ground, gardening.

Vigorous/Hard exercise could be walking up a hill, jogging/running, cycling fast/spin class.

How do you feel?

RPE: Rate of Perceived Exertion (and be honest here!)


Image taken from Athletic Revolution

Heart Rate

If you’re using a tracker that can monitor your heart rate, moderate activity would be 50-60% of your max heart rate, whilst vigorous exercise would be 70-80% of your max heart rate. The easiest way to work this out is 220-age = max heart rate.

Image found on Senior Forum 

Exercise: it’s all good!

The positive benefits of exercise far outweigh any negatives.

Why are the guidelines for exercise/activity important? Exercise, whether it is team sports or walking, swimming or strength training all have an important part to play in our life. Exercise is one of, if not the best drug available to us. Why? It helps fight against and prevent so many health issues – if had been designed and manufactured by drug company they would be making a fortune selling wonder pills to all of us!

The following is a list of some, not all, health and wellbeing issues that exercise has positive benefits on:

Cancer Heart Disease Mental Health Type II Diabetes
Arthritis Anxiety Cholesterol Osteoporosis
Fibromyalgia Blood Pressure Parkinson’s Disease Lower Stress Levels
Asthma Chronic Back Pain Insomnia Alzheimer’s
Immune System Helps control addiction


If you’re struggling to fit in 30 minutes of moderate activity daily, be creative. It’s on 2% of the 24 hours that you have in your day, after all. Have a walking meeting, meet at a friend and have a 30 minute walk chatting instead of going for a coffee, get off the bus a stop earlier and walk home.  You can do it!

Today is World Mental Health day, and exercise can really help if you or a friend is struggling.

Think of the 30 minutes as time for some self-care.  Encourage your friends to do the same. Be in your mates’ corner – help support and chat to friends and family. Getting out of our usual meeting places can help people open up and talk: that 30 minutes could really make a difference.

Six Ways to increase health and well-being

What is well-being? Well-being is how we feel and function on a personal and social level as well as how we evaluate our lives.

1. Increase hours of sleep. Research shows that lack of sleep has many detrimental health and wellbeing side effects to the human body – fatigue, low energy levels, short temper, obesity, diabetes and heart disease and it effects our short term memory .

The National Sleep Foundation have put together a table which shows how many hours sleep we should be aiming for each night. They do mention that sleep duration varies from person to person and age group to age group. The recommendations are based on sleep, not the time you go into and out of bed.

Table taken from Hirshkowitz et al (2015, p.41)

If you get enough sleep it can aid weight loss, improve mood and irritability, our immune system and help prevent diabetes and heart disease.

2. Increase activity levels either through walking or cycling to work. Simple ways to increase walking are to get off at the station/stop prior to your usual stop. Just 10 minutes walking a day at a brisk pace, this is faster than usual increasing your heart rate, can help improve your fitness. Riding, specifically looking at riding to and from work increases our overall health, with the benefits outweighing the risks according to Johan de Hartog, who found that the benefits of cycling where 9 times larger than the risks, taking into consideration air pollution and traffic accidents.

If you are looking to increase your walking why not register the NHS Active10 program

3. Get Apping! Look to purchase or download an App that is specific to you, whether it’s a couch to 5k app, an app for stretching or using in the gym or even for a home workout. Any of these are designed to help with behaviour change and they are not all bad if they are getting you to meet the government guidelines for health and wellbeing. Word of warning on Apps, research does show that the more expensive apps are more likely to promote health and prevent disease (Eysenbach, 2012).

4. Join a local club. Many local clubs cater for all abilities, from beginners to advanced. Search the internet to find your local club. This can be anything from running, to cycling, athletics to swimming. For example, for people wishing to get back playing sports such as netball, dodgeball, volleyball but don’t have a team to play for can register interest at

5. Hydration. Being dehydrated can lead to fatigue and tiredness as well as overeating. In the body our thirst receptors can get confused for the feeling of hunger, so instead of reaching for a glass of water we reach for food. Staying hydrated can increase our performance at work and in fitness as we have more energy and better concentration. Staying hydrated also helps with weight loss and helping our skin. Ideally water is the best choice for staying hydrated, why not add slices of lemon or limes to your water bottle for a bit a flavour. If you have just finished exercise the milk is the best recovery drink to take.

6. Get moving with a friend. We all have friends and family who are likely to be looking to start a health kick. Starting something with a friend helps us skip less sessions, as accountable to someone, workout for longer, try something new, as a buddy to try it with, push yourself more, team work and the challenge of pushing each other along, recovery, you both will help keep each other on the right path and make sure each other sticks to healthy choices.


Further reading and references  

Get Apping – Eysenbach, G. (2012). There’s an App for That: Content Analysis of aid Health and Fitness Apps. Journal of Medical Internet Research. 14 (3) : e72

Sleep – Hirshkowitz, M, Whiton, K, Albert,  S.M, Alessi, C, Bruni, O,  DonCarlos, L, Hazen, N, Herman, J, Katz, E.S,Kheirandish-Gozal, L,Neubauer, D.N, O’Donnell, A.E, Ohayon, M, Peever, J, Rawding, R, Sachdeva, R, C, Setters, B, Vitiello, M,V, Catesby Ware, J, Adams Hillard, P.J. (2015). National Sleep Foundation’s sleep time duration recommendations: methodology and results summary. Journal of the National Sleep Foundation. 1 : 40-43.

Increase activity levels – Johan de Hartog, J., Boogaard, H., Nijland, H., and Hoek, G. (). Do the Health Benefits of Cycling Outweigh the Risks? Environmental Health Perspectives. 118 (8) : 1109-1116

How To Choose a Personal Trainer: Part One

This is such an important subject that this blog is in two parts.

We know you’re busy and there’s a lot of good advice coming your way.  To avoid information overload, look out for part two very soon.

So.  You’ve decided to make some changes in your life and given that you’re reading this blog, one may assume that you’d like to get fitter, lose weight, sleep better and all those things that come with, assuming your commitment, working out with a personal trainer.  This is a handy guide to help you know what to ask.

Do You Like Them?

First things first and actually NOT a question, at least not to the PT in front of you.

Working out with a personal trainer is a new stage in your life that you shouldn’t take lightly, so decide whether you actually like this person.  Your Spidey senses will guide you on this one and if he or she is on your wavelength, this is a Good Thing.  If your future PT likes a “normal life” instead of living on carrot juice and fresh air, we think this is also a Good Thing – but you may beg to differ.  In a nutshell, a personality clash may put you off further consideration of employing a personal trainer, so if you appear to have similar values, then all will be well.

We think that having a laugh is quite important, too, so check out subtly someone’s sense of humour, it makes your session much more enjoyable.

What Are Your Qualifications?

It’s important that your PT is qualified to a minimum Level 3.  Why?  Because it’s from this level that they will have the skills, knowledge and competencies required to work unsupervised as a personal trainer.  This includes being able to offer one-to-one training, assessments and progressive planning – all those essential elements that help develop fitness and health.

He or she needs also to be on the Register of Exercise Professionals.   Funded by the Department of Health, REPS offers you a guarantee that its members meet the required standards and that they have acceptable qualifications.

Do You Have Professional Indemnity Insurance?

Insurance.  Boring.  Yes, we know.  But…

Providing advice and tuition is an essential part of a personal trainer’s job. Whether you’re working out in a gym, in the open air in your home, Professional Indemnity insurance covers your PT should anything they advise you be called into question, perhaps due to an injury because of exercising them him or her.  It’s rare, but could happen.  Professional Liability Insurance is good to have, too.

What is Your Speciality?

Personal trainers, like the rest of us, come in all different shapes and forms and of course, some will specialise in certain health aspects or in specific types of exercise.  If you are more “mature”, you may consider a PT who understands how best to work with older people, rather than young, skinny fitties.

Perhaps you are recovering from an injury or, at the other end of the scale, training for a marathon.  You may wish to focus on developing your physique for fitness competitions, even.

There’s a PT out there for everyone, whose experience will be invaluable, so it’s worth asking.

What Type of People Do You Train?

Linked to the above point, to a degree.

There are lots of different types of people whom PTs can help.  Examples could be post-birth mothers, busy working people, middle-aged, getting-back-into-fitness folks, runners, young, old, you name it.  All of their needs will be different so do ask.  If the person in which you wish to invest time, money and effort doesn’t have relevant experience, that’s OK, but it’s better that they do.

What Type of Training Can I Expect?

A key question, this one.  Knowing what to expect avoids nasty surprises and means that you’ll be able to make the most of your investment.  Good PTs will ask you to consider what fitness and optimum health means to you – and you alone.  Personal training, it’s personal, you know.

Depending on what you’re after (see marathon training, above), your programme will mostly likely combine strength and flexibility training with a little cardio thrown in for overall fitness.  The combination of all three is ideal.  Make sure that you ask.

What Do You Charge?

Yes, we know, this is probably the first thing you want to know about a fitness professional.  They may offer certain packages or offer slightly cheaper rates at off-peak times.

But beware. you are investing in your health, fitness and general well being.  Be aware that, as with everything in life, cheap does not necessarily mean good.  In fact, cheap may mean unskilled, or lacking in experience.

Pay for someone whose qualifications, know-how and overall demeanour suit you, your lifestyle and who will most likely meet your goals.  And, as above, someone you like.

Worth their weight in gold, these fitness bods.  And you know it.

Watch out for Part Two very soon and we hope you found our advice useful.

Top 7 Myths About Personal Training Busted Here

What are YOUR beliefs about Personal Training? It May Be Time for a Re-Think

The Top 7 Myths About Personal Training Busted Here.

It’s Not For Me, I’m Too Old/I’m The Wrong Shape, etc

OK, this is myth number one. You are not too old, too out of shape, too inactive or too anything. None of us is perfect. Personal training is for everyone, at any age or level of fitness. It’s for the person who wants to make a positive change but just needs a little help.

If you’ve not exercised for some time, an effective training programme should be tailored exactly to your level of fitness and adapted as you progress. If you feel a little sore the next day that’s OK but if you’re on-your-knees drained, unable to get out of bed, that’s not so good.

A good personal trainer will carry out a thorough assessment of your fitness levels and your health before you start, so make sure that this happens.

It’s Exhausting and Painful..and Hard Core

A session with a personal trainer should be challenging but never so exhausting that you can’t function afterwards. It shouldn’t hurt either. I must admit I hate the phrase “go hard or go home” – we’re not in the army, thank you.

Also, I still hear “no pain no gain” bandied about and it’s another myth that’s difficult to shake. With a PT, you’ll be working harder and more effectively than you would do in the gym on your own, but he or she should know how many reps you need to make a difference without doing any damage.

It’s All Rather Embarrassing…Isn’t It?

No, don’t worry. If you’re working out with a personal trainer in a public gym, everyone is pretty much focused on themselves rather than you. (That is, unless you’re wearing day-glow orange from top to toe.)

Some personal trainers offer sessions in their own studio, which is ideal.

Also, you won’t be doing anything that makes you feel awkward or embarrassed. Good PTs know that if they discomfit you, you’ll cancel with them. Simple as that.

No Way. Personal Training is like PE at School

Surely, the grim humiliation of PE from the days of our youth has put many of us off exercise in later life – but it shouldn’t.

The memory of running around a draughty hall in your school regulation navy blue knickers should be consigned to history. Exercise sessions with a personal trainer are nothing like PE at school. Firstly, wear what you like – within reason, as long as you feel comfortable. Secondly, one-to-one exercise sessions are about developing your strength, flexibility and overall fitness. They should actually be fun. If they’re not, don’t do it.

Or, more to the point, find another personal trainer.

There’s Lots of Running

Not unless you want there to be. You may be training for a marathon, in which case – yes. Most PT clients want to lose weight, tone up, gain better health and simply feel better. That means a tailored programme that combines weight training with interval training (High Interval Training, HIT for short).

Funnily enough, running on its own is no longer seen to be the best and most effective means of fat loss. You’ll need to focus on the calorie burning magic of stronger, larger muscles to start noticing significant weight loss.

But I Don’t Need to Lose Weight!

Okaaaaay. Let’s focus on improving your posture, flexibility and on helping you eat and sleep better. Let’s work together to make you stronger, leaner and fitter. You may be referred to a personal trainer from another health professional after injury or illness, perhaps. Why not focus on other equally important aspects of your wellbeing?

Whatever your health goals, a personal trainer will help you get there.

It’s Really Expensive

Not really. Not compared to the money you spent on your last haircut or that you’ve spent on wine in the last few weeks . Or, that gym membership you pay for monthly but never actually go.

Us Brits waste £37 million each year on unused gym memberships, exercise and slimming classes, a staggering amount which, compared with the cost of a personal trainer, is just chucking money into the bin.

And remember, you don’t have to go twice a week. You could consider sessions every other week; personal training is about what works for you.

Seriously, you can’t put a price on your health – a cliché but nonetheless true.

So…myths busted. Don’t let your own pre-conceptions stop you from living life to the full. Be well, be happy. Be Body Happy.