Are Personal Trainers all the same?
I was having a chat to a PT colleague of mine earlier today about what we do and how we feel about it, and it really did get me thinking. I have worked with a number of different PT’s in my time both to work on improving me and also to work with me at WIYWO - not one of them has been the same at all, but we are doing the same thing for people aren’t we? Or are we?
Why do people employ a PT in the first place?
For this, I asked a few of my Clients and also thought about my own experiences of working with my PT’s. From a Client perspective, the overwhelming reason I was told is that, as a rule, the average person is fundamentally lazy when it comes to exercise. They don’t want to think too much when in the gym about what exercises are best for them, and when someone is next to them pushing to do those final reps, they definitely work harder than if they were working out on their own.
There is also something to be said for booking and paying for an appointment with your PT and feeling obliged to turn up, in comparison to just popping to the gym whenever. It is much more likely to motivate you to go if you think you are going to let your PT down. I get told every week that Clients really look forward to their sessions and feel very motivated to turn up, even though they know its going to be tough and they are likely to ache the next day.
A PT also helps Clients to find interest and hopefully love of exercise – when you turn up to a gym and don’t know what to do or how to work the equipment this feels intimidating, de-motivating and just too difficult. As a PT I find it so rewarding to not only train them to see improvements in their body and their mind, but also to teach them how to use the gym equipment safely and effectively so they have the confidence to go to the gym themselves when they are not seeing me.
Are there different PT styles?
There is a PT for everyone, but no PT is for everyone.
This is a statement I have had to come to grips with and learnt to embrace rather than get frustrated with. I am not suited to everyone. I have chosen to concentrate my efforts within the corporate world and this does attract a similar set of personalities, injuries and challenges. I have a certain training style and expectations of my Clients, for me to really be able to make a difference and help.
Take one of my PT colleagues for example; we are very different in personality, style and attitude. I have a lot of respect for him and he is very much more experienced than me, but his style is not for everyone. He has a very loyal set of Clients but has admitted freely that he has frequently had to ‘agree to disagree’ with a few Clients and they don’t work together any more. Brave, insane, arrogant, foolish. Not at all - just true to what he stands for as a PT. He doesn’t waver from this.
What do I think makes a good PT?
I think as a PT you should be an excellent listener, attentive to your Clients needs, knowledgeable and continually trying to improve your own learning. You should be creative and keep things interesting in sessions and be detail orientated and ensure your Client’s form is always correct. Finally, that you feel strongly enough about fitness that you also try hard to look after your own health, wellness and body.
I also believe good PT’s are actually part counsellor. The time spent with each Client is not only a chance to concentrate efforts on exercising and improving your fitness but to download your thoughts and concerns and for some guidance and an understanding ear.
As a Client when choosing a PT, you have to like the personality of your PT, trust them entirely that they have your best interests at heart, want to spend time with them and feel they understand you.
Why do I do what I do?
I love my job and I say it all the time, and mean it. For me, being a PT offers me high satisfaction and enjoyment levels. Training my Clients is hard work and I work long hours but to think every day that I am having fun, being creative, continually learning and developing and get to work with an interesting, diverse and genuinely lovely set of people, ensures I never wake up and not enjoy going to work (even if it is 5am and minus 2 outside!!) Long may it continue! :)
With special thanks to @jayslater for this photo. x