There are lots of reasons to consider hiring a personal trainer to help you achieve your fitness goals. Gym membership can prove to be a big waste of money if you fail to attend regularly or if you spend your time doing the wrong type of exercises. A good personal trainer will assess your current level of fitness, talk to you about your goals and devise a plan for achieving them.
Hiring a personal trainer can also instil the motivation you may have been lacking when training alone, and the fact that you are paying good money for quality instruction is likely to keep most people committed to the cause.
Finding a Personal Trainer
There are five main ways to track down a personal trainer in London: an online directory search; an online search engine query; asking at local gyms and fitness studios; through word of mouth and via advertising.
Reputable fitness directories will have a directory of personal trainers on their site and, usually, a way of refining your search. For example, the National Register of Personal Trainers (NRPT) has a database of over 150 personal trainers in the London area, and you can narrow down your search by entering your postcode. An advanced search function enables you to filter by the trainer’s name (if you know it), gender, price range, location, venue type (e.g. park, gym) and area of expertise.
Each personal trainer has their own page profile which includes a map, details of training offered, equipment used, qualifications, website link and an email contact form.
Not all personal trainers will sign up to an online directory, but many of them will have their own websites. Simply typing ‘personal trainer – (your area)’ in your favourite search engine will bring up more options for you to browse. Bear in mind that reputable online directories will check the credentials and insurance of a listed personal trainer, whereas anybody can set up a website and even boast fake achievements.
Many gyms and fitness studios now have either in-house personal trainers or trainers who regularly pay to use their facilities. If you ask at the reception of your local gyms they will almost certainly be able to put you in contact with someone.
If you have friends or family in London, ask them if they know of any reputable physical trainers. Even if they don’t they will probably be able to find out by asking their friends and colleagues.
Finally, look around at banners, posters and printed publications to see who is taking out advertisements. In most cases, a personal trainer who can afford to be splashed all over a newspaper or magazine is doing well for themselves and have a strong customer base.
When you’ve narrowed down your search to one of a handful of candidates, it is important you thoroughly check out their reputation. Ask friends, family, colleagues and any fitness professionals you might know whether they have heard of each personal trainer and what they know about them.
Look for written testimonials and reviews from former customers, on printed materials or online, but remember that vague, unattributed reviews could well be fabricated. Although plenty of advertising spend is often suggestive of a reputable business, it could also be the hallmark of someone who wants to break into the market quickly at any cost.
Where qualifications, professional memberships (e.g. Register of Exercise Professionals membership) or sporting achievements are listed try and validate them if possible. You may be able to compare a membership number or call the awarding body for confirmation.
Respected personal trainers may even have appeared in a newspaper or magazine articles. Searching for the trainer’s name online might reveal digital archived copies of such articles.
Once you’ve narrowed down your search to the three or four best personal trainers in your area, it’s time to make a final decision. Questions to ask yourself include:
What type of personal training do I want?
Do you want generic fitness and toning or are you looking to specialise in boxing, circuit-training, cycling, spinning (indoor cycling), kettle bell, martial arts, Pilates, running, walking, swimming, sports coaching, weightlifting, bodybuilding or dance, etc.)
Am I in a special demographic?
There are personal trainers who will work with pre- and post-natal mums, over 50s, under 16s or corporate customers. You may prefer a male or female personal trainer or gender may be irrelevant.
Which teaching style works for me?
Personal trainers are often skilled motivators but some work their clients harder than others. At the ‘severe’ end of the spectrum, trainers may use elements of military techniques to push their clients further, while at the ‘gentle’ end the client will move along at their own pace with little intervention from their trainer.
Where do I want to train?
Some personal trainers work from a gym or fitness studio while others use the London parks. Some personal trainers will train you at your own home, usually at an extra cost.
Before signing any agreements with a personal trainer, here are some additional tips:
- Negotiate a free session or, at the very least, meet with your trainer before your first session
- Check that your personal trainer is insured with public liability insurance
- Ideally, only work with a personal trainer who has achieved REPs Level Three
- Haggle to get a good deal. Personal training is a competitive field and you may be able to get a free or discounted session thrown in as an enticement
- Compare prices. These can range from £30 to £150 and more per hour, although the London average is from £50 to £70 an hour. Compare this with your gym and unused sports equipment costs to see if you are set to save money
- Consider booking just three or four sessions if you are on a tight budget. Then, take the knowledge you have gained to help you continue the good work