As someone who bounces between working out alone, gym classes and bootcamps, I have had a fair share of personal training experiences. This includes sessions included in my gym membership, a specialised personal training studio and one-to-one outdoor appointments. All of these have had their benefits and their drawbacks, so here I am to share them with you.
1) Think about what kind of environment works for you.
Typically, PTs are either based in gyms or specialised personal training studios. Some more independent PTs will have their own space. Others may do it outdoors or online. So, lots to choose from. Like with a workspace, have a think about what experience works best for you.
I have used PTs in both gyms and studios, and my preference by far was in studios. In gyms, you have to wait around for equipment to be free and it can get super busy. With one-to-one training in studios, there only tend to be a handful of clients in at a time. If it is external, then it’ll just be you, but you may be limited in what equipment that you can use. However, it’ll be super quiet and private.
Have a think about what you want! Take advantage of free trials and figure out what works for you. Trial sessions are there for a reason. You do not need to settle on somewhere straight away so do your research and your training journey will feel a lot more settled.
2) Make sure you have a consultation before signing up.
Actually meeting your PT before handing over all that $$$ is key. There will be a pre-joining process, but make sure that process works for you. When I booked some sessions from my gym’s PT, I was just asked to fill out a ‘goals’ questionnaire, was sent my programme and then met with the guy on the day of my first session. Luckily, the plan worked quite well but I would have appreciated the face-to-face contact rather than just a generic questionnaire.
On the other hand, when I first approached my PT studio, I filled out a small online form, had a phone call with the manager to find out more about my goals and then he placed me with the PT best suited to my needs. I then had a one-to-one session with the PT, and we had a much more in-depth chat. By this point, I hadn’t actually signed up or paid for anything, so I felt able to make an informed decision without any pressure. It was an excellent start to my PT journey and I already felt super comfortable going forward.
3) It’s okay to walk away.
When you have bad service in a restaurant, shop, delivery service or anything else, you are more than entitled to complain about your experience. The same goes for personal training. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you are the focus of the session. When I had PT sessions in a gym, I became very aware that my trainer was actually looking after the gym floor at the same time as training me, so I didn’t have 100% of their attention. You want someone who has a complete eye on you and your progress, not someone who plops you on a treadmill and then wanders off to tidy up the weights.
It may feel more awkward after a few sessions to walk away, but you absolutely can. If you go along to a trial session and you don’t click with the PT, you don’t have to go back. If you pay for a block booking, get to the end and think ‘I don’t want to come back here’, don’t! There is nothing more awkward than having to spend hours with someone you just don’t get on with. The last thing you want to do is dread a time you should be motivated for, it’s just counter-productive! Don’t feel like you’re offending your trainer either; if you’re not feeling it, I doubt they believe you’re bffs.
Don’t feel under pressure if personal training isn’t for you. You might spot a cheap deal somewhere, sign up and think ‘actually, I work better alone/group classes/YouTube sessions’, and that’s completely fine! Personal training can be expensive, so it’s important to take your time. Find the right environment and develop a relationship with someone who understands you, your goals, takes an active interest in your progress and isn’t just pushing a broccoli diet. You’ll enjoy it more, you’ll feel motivated and you’re much more likely to stick to it!