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.