Wow, what an amazing time I had last weekend. We spent the day and night at the Rivermead Hotel on the Thames for my friend’s wedding. It truly was an amazing experience. From start to finish the day was packed with laughter and to be honest there were so many highlights. Clearly a major highlight was the actual ceremony itself, Dan and Lauren becoming husband and wife and the night of dancing that seemed to go on for hours but two other things happened on Saturday and they were:

  • Various people commenting how they read the paper and love what we are trying to do with the column.
  • A newly qualified personal trainer came up to me asking about my own private unit, how I run my business and what I think is important when it comes to picking a facility.

Now clearly firstly it’s always nice to hear that people are reading my column and our great local paper. For me, whenever someone reaches out to me and says that they read the column it really creates that warmth deep inside me as I absolutely love what I do and I love writing the column for you every single week, it motivates me and I hope it motivates you too.  In fact, just this week, a local guy contacted me directly saying how much he liked the time management article from last week.

Time is what we want most but what we use worst.

Back to this week’s column and the discussion I was having with the young personal trainer on Saturday night. Talking about my private unit, places I have worked in before and places I have trained in before has led to this week’s article topic which is:

“What to look for in a gym or trainer.”

The topic can cover so much and to be honest I could without doubt probably write a book about the subject. For today though I want to give my top five tips when picking a personal trainer or coach and also 5 my top five tips on what to look for when walking around the trainers facility or gym. You sees, sometimes you can have conflicting situations such as an awesome trainer in a shoddy facility or really poor trainers in amazing facilities. The key is to avoid certain pitfalls and certain risks so enjoy the list below. A word of warning though, if any of the tips I list flag up where you train or who you train with then you may need to spend some time looking elsewhere.

Chris’s top 5 tips for picking a personal trainer or coach:

  • First impressions count – If the trainer looks like he or she needs a trainer themselves then jog them on. It’s all about pride and inspiring others. I make it a daily routine to work on myself in some capacity and so should all other coaches.
  • Do they ask you questions – Being a coach is all about understanding the client. If you don’t ask questions then you don’t get answers. Building rapport is essential but if the trainer wants to talk about themselves more than you then again choose someone else. Your goals are the coach’s goal and never forget that. My wife laughs at me a lot for constantly offering advice, giving out my knowledge and spending time with people when they stop me in the street but I love what I do. Your potential coach should feel the same.
  • Pick a deliverer and not just a promiser. Ask for something as early as possible such as the available session slots or proof of previous clients and offer a reasonable deadline. If they promise to deliver and you don’t hear back from them in time then pick someone else. Trust is everything and it needs to be respected.
  • Ask them what life experience they have and what experience they have helping someone in your situation. A coach needs to be empathetic and understand your needs. This is easiest when they have been through what you are currently going through. I love helping people that are time restricted as I have had times when I have been seriously time restricted so helping them is so much easier.
  • Finally, ask yourself whether you feel they are the best person for job. If they are not the best for the job then don’t rush the decision, find that coach that ticks all the boxes and not just some of the boxes. Set your standards high and ask for the same back, your chances of success are so much higher.

Chris’s top5 tips for picking a training facility or gym:

  • Look for a place that is inspirational and motivating. There are far too many places out there that settle and accept average standards. This area is awesome for places to train as we have so many gyms, private studios, private gyms and mobile trainers so have a scout about and find the place that will motivate you.
  • Is it clean and tidy? Hygiene and cleanliness is a huge priority for me and my own clients. Does the facility look clean? Does the equipment work and is it maintained to a good enough standard? Are there are wipes and towels available for you to wipe down equipment when you have used them? Are there facilities for you to get showered and changed in so you don’t have to get in your clean car all sweaty? A shower and a changing room is by no means essential but always nice to have if you need to rush to work after sessions for example.
  • Does the equipment match with your goals? There is no point picking a gym on the first floor of a building if you love Olympic lifts and dropping big weights all day long. There is no point using a gym with only one punch bag or no punch bags at all if you are serious about boxing. If someone else is using that bag, how will you use it? We have nearly 20 bags at our boxing club and plan on increasing that when we get an even bigger facility. My private unit space is small so I only run group sessions outdoors. If you like indoor group classes then my classes are not for you.
  • Does the gym stand for something? Every facility should have a core theme or a set of values. Do those values match with your own core values? If the place is like a circus and you like structure and organisation then you are probably going to run into problems. If the gym prides itself on community and you see everyone in their enjoying the experience and looking happy and satisfied then it’s worth giving it a go, social proof is everything.
  • Last but not least, is the gym accessible? If the gym is only open from 8am and closes at 8pm but you have time off not in those times then you need to consider other options. There needs to be minimal obstacles, the more obstacles you face means you will have a higher chance of failure.

The editor is probably going to tell me off this week for going way over my word limit but I really am passionate about this subject.

Pick wisely, it’s your time and money and when investing in yourself, you should always set your standards high. As a look forward to next week, don’t miss out from next Thursday as I will be talking about why my business is slowly migrating more time to online and distance coaching.

Happy Thursday to you.

Let’s make the best choices starting with you, your potential trainer and your potential training facility.

I want you to make the right choice!