Over the next couple of days you are going to see a plethora of instructors trying to get you to sign up to their online training.
With the new year almost on us and now much of the country being put into tier 4 for COVID-19 there is a double whammy to get your attention.
How do you see through all the New Year New you posts to find the right trainer for you and ask the right questions before you sign up?
If you are already into fitness and have been a regular at a gym or community classes you already have an or a number of instructors you like and know. You probably already know who you wish to train with or are perhaps you already are training with someone like me at Club-K.
If you are taking your first steps into fitness then things are a little more confusing online and hopefully some of the following advice will help you.
Im going to try and give you some questions here to ask before you sign up to help you find the right trainer for you.
What is it that I want to Achieve?
This is probably the most important question you want to ask yourself. Whats you know what it is you wish to achieve then you know what you are looking for. I would also write down a list of things that you have enjoyed in the past and things you definitely did not enjoy. Somethings we don’t enjoy get us the desired results but this should be mixed with the things that put a smile on our face. Achieving your goals is much easier when you enjoy what you are doing.
Are they an “Influencer” a “Trainer” or “Instructor”?
We have all heard of Influencers especially if you have any teenagers around. They are exactly what they say. They are there to influence you into certain things, be that products or training courses. Influencers will you usually sell you a look or an aesthetic. What you have to be aware with an Influencer is what is their background and qualifications. Just being young and looking good does not mean you know all that much about health and fitness. You also have to be aware that every time you click on a link or buy a product through them they are getting commission on that sale.
When it comes to the UK we have levels of qualifications that run alongside the NVQ system.
Level 2 (equivalent of GCSE level knowledge)
In the fitness industry most people with these qualifications would usually refer to them selves as Instructors.
The qualifications include gym instructor, exercise to music or group ex instructor, step, spin, aqua, bootcamp and a few others.
Level 2 is considered the bare minimum you should have as an instructor. Many instructors have this with additional CPD training that have given the knowledge to train in other disciplines. You can find level 2 instructors in most gyms teaching classes or giving gym inductions and work outs.
Level 3 (equivalent of A’level knowledge)
At level 3 most people will start to call themselves Trainers.
The qualifications include Personal Trainer, Nutrition, Pilates, Yoga, exercise referral and others.
Level 3 is considered the minimum you should have for 1-2-1 personal training and is considered advanced knowledge.
Pilates and Yoga teachers should also have this level of qualification (Yoga is also under the British wheel of yoga which looks at hours of practice rather than a level. teachers will have a minimum of 200 hours of practice)
In a gym your level 3 instructors are usually PT’s Yoga or Pilates instructors.
Level 4 (equivalent of Degree knowledge)
At level 4 the title generally becomes a Specialist.
These qualifications usually come after the exercise referral or GP referral training and are often clinically based, including Diabetes, Obesity, Low Back Pain, Cancer, and Sports massage therapy.
In a gym these specialists usually work with GP referral patients but may also do classes and other training.
Do I like them?
The online trainer that you choose could be the best in the world with the most qualifications but if you don’t like them its not going to help you much.
Just like your social circle of friends instructors come with their own personalities. Some will be very serious and technical, some may have a real good laugh. You have to connect with them and their philosophy. You have to want to switch on their channel or live stream. It might be worth looking back at some of their social media and see how and what they teach. See how they talk about themselves. Does this person make you giggle. Do you connect to the information they are giving you? You need to want to listen them.
Does age make a difference?
Yes and No.
If you like them, then No it doesn’t.
Each age group of instructor brings skills to the table.
Young instructors can be vibrant and full of energy and just as motivational as any other instructor. With youth also comes what seems like eternal optimism which can be the greatest pick up. we were all young once right?
Remember that knowledge is different to age. Young trainers can have the latest up to date knowledge as they devour new information in their quest become the best.
With age also comes experience. Not just from the years of teaching but also the understanding that as we get older things aren’t quite the same as before are they? From the slowing of the metabolism, to the change and the aches that seem to pop up.
Experience can come in many forms from having had similar operations or medical conditions to life experiences. As a guy i may have had the training and have the technical knowledge, but i will never know what it is like to be pregnant and give birth.
What is their speciality?
Most instructors will have found a type of training that they are drawn to.
Some will be drawn to High Intensity Interval Training and pushing the limits like Cross fit. Others will have a more holistic approach on how the mind and body fit together. Some may have a vast amount of experience and be able to take you from your first steps and help you grow in a number of disciplines offering you the opportunity to try many things. Or maybe they focus on a specific disciplines or clinical condition.
The perfect instructor for you today could change for you in a year or two. Just like a 2 seater car is perfect for one part of someones life but the need changes as a family comes along so will the type of instructor you need as you grow. The trainer you pick needs to be the one that right for you now or maybe more than one instructor, you don’t have to have just one. If you like hard training and there’s a great instructor that really motivates you go for it and if you need a calmer one for the mind body side that’s a great addition to keep your training well rounded.
Some trainers specialise in weightless others in muscle gain. go back to the first question i asked what is it you want to achieve and does it fit with what they do?
How much should I do?
Currently the world health organisation is saying we should be doing 150-300 mins of moderate intensity exercise to 75-150 mins of high intensity exercise a week to stay healthy.
this can be broken down in to smaller bites. If you are new to fitness it might help to start with small chunks of 10-15 mins of exercise and build up to more. It is hard to be motivated at home. Smaller times keep you going and then you can build over time. 150 mins is 30 mins a day 5 days a week. 300 mins is 1 hour a day 5 days a week. Look at what your trainer is offering you. Is it achievable over the long term? can you make time for it?
Ultimately look for a trainer that you like and offers classes that are things that make you want to work out and in the time that you have to do it. This will help you to achieve your goals.