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I have a personal trainer (albeit an online one) and I need coaching. All coaches need coaches, so how about you?

My trainer’s feedback helps to keep me on track, training when I don’t want to, giving me form feedback and ultimately keeping me accountable. Yes, I have years of training under my belt and I’m a professional in the fitness industry myself, but I still need coaching.

Now, you may have been training/ working out/ lifting weights etc for longer than me, but are you doing it right? Are you building muscle, adding weight to your bar, alleviating any aches or pains? Do you find you get injured? Do you ensure you are performing mobility drills before training? Do you work on the exercises or elements that you find difficult? Do you engage in corrective exercise?

Every professional athlete strength trains; it maximises their performance and prevents injuries, if you are an amateur athlete then strength and conditioning training will help you too. If you want to lose weight, then strength training will help you change your body composition, make you leaner, adding muscle which will sculpt your body. I try not to talk about toning- it’s for printers!

As we age, adding muscle to our frames can make the difference (literally!) to life and death. In older people, many falls happen because we just don't have the capability to stop ourselves from falling over. Muscle depletion happens from the age of 30! Hip fractures are associated with reduced mortality (on average of 21% of over 60 yr old patients who experienced a hip fracture died within one year after their fall, but can be as high as 58%!) The best way is to maintain and to add muscle as we age so that we have better motor control as we age.

In my experience, we all need the following; conditioning drills and aerobic/ anaerobic exercise to improve our cardiovascular fitness, resistance training to increase strength and add muscle (we can lose as much as 3-5% of our muscle mass each decade after the age of 30 which can reduce metabolism, increase osteoporosis and other related problems (like a higher likelihood of falls) and mobility/ flexibility training.

Many people hike or run regularly, some of us go to bootcamps and some of us engage in yoga, but few people (especially women) strength train on a regular basis. Why? Access to a gym? Not knowing what to do? There are many body weight exercises we can all do following them on you tube, but what’s the real benefit of a personal trainer. Here’s my list:

  1. They keep you accountable- you make the appointment, you train, no excuses. It’s so easy to just not exercise if you are left to your own devices

  2. They develop a programme for you so that you will get stronger in the course of time; not just random exercises thrown together (which you could  do on your own).

  3. They ensure you have good form. This is one of the most crucial aspects of utilising a physical personal trainer- they make sure you are doing the exercise correctly, so that you won’t get injured and you gain maximum benefit from the movement. Especially important if you haven't exercised in a while. I frequently cringe when I see people doing deadlifts or burpees in bootcamps; I just know there will be sore backs just around the corner and that is not what we want.

  4. They will push you when you think you can’t do anymore

  5. They will know when you really can’t do anymore

  6. They have other exercises up their sleeve if one doesn’t work for you.

  7. They are on your side, they’ll congratulate your great work, and add a positive spin when things don’t go to plan

  8. They are often life coaches in disguise!

  9. Many will be able to help you to eat better for health and improved body composition; a one stop shop is always better! Seeing a trainer regularly will enable you to ask diet and lifestyle questions. Be careful though, not all PT's are trained in nutrition and health. Getting ripped in double quick time might feel great but you may pay for it later with health issues. Usually sustained changes take time.

  10. They will highlight any health niggles that you need to take to another professional

Having a personal trainer is not for everyone because of the sizeable monetary and time investment requirement, but if you’re serious about great health, it’s a great way to go. Check out coaches who work near your home or your work and find one that resonates with you! Good luck!

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