While most people still think of celebrity personal training, and the more glamorous end of the business, the reality is that it has become an increasingly well regulated field, with our highly qualified team offering a range of more technical services far removed from the public image of dumbbells and sweat.
What we have available today is an increasingly sophisticated range of options to offer our clients, and a far greater range of people seeking our services.
Clients now include all age groups, including children, plus those with a wide range of specialist needs. What this means is that those working in the field have to train and seek qualification in specialist areas, allowing them to better meet the needs of their clients.
At the same time, the old skills, such as establishing rapport with clients, remain as important as ever - perhaps even more so in an increasingly competitive environment.
By focusing on the basics, such as excellent customer service, while simultaneously embracing new skills and training, we can ensure that we meet the customers' needs and expectations.
At the heart of the work a personal trainer does with a client, programme design is the key to effective workouts, and essential if clients are to meet their goals.
Programme design means that each individual client gets a workout plan that is specifically tailored for them. The problem so many people encounter when joining a gym or health club is that they are given the same off the shelf workout plan as everyone else, with no account made for their individual needs.
Good programme design must include various factors including:
Our personal trainers can use the information from a Biomechanical Assessment to inform the training plan that they will prescribe a client. A complete Biomechanical Assessment will involve a complex evaluation of all parts of the structure, alignment and function of the feet, ankles, legs, thighs, hips and lower back. This will include assessing the feet, legs and body position whilst weight-bearing and non weight-bearing.
The Biomechanical Assessment will include an evaluation of various areas including:
We take walking and running for granted, and when everything is working fine, there's no reason not to. But when one or more components of this chain become misaligned or functions abnormally, the other parts of the musculoskeletal system find ways to compensate.
Our Biomechanical Assessment can help to identify any aspects of biomechanical abnormality - from this information, appropriate remedies can be developed. Steps of a Biomechanical Assessment will include:
Once the information is all gathered and the evaluation completed, we can design an appropriate rehabilitation programme that will correct imbalances in muscle strength or flexibility. Alternatively, if there is a mechanical problem, an orthotic can be prescribed.
Our personal training is more likely to include working with the types of conditions most prevalent in society. Areas to consider are specialist personal training that involves working with:
What all of these reflect is the growing understanding of the positive impact that exercise can have on each of these conditions. Of course, while as exercise professionals we would prefer to be doing more preventative work, the reality is that we often have to work with people once they have already reached a critical point.
We have considerable experience in these areas and have numerous referral programmes in place with specialists to assist clients back into everyday movement and fitness recovery.
It is estimated that anywhere from 60% to 80% of people will experience some form of low back pain during their life, but while only 1% to 2% of patients require surgery, around 5% to 10% eventually develop chronic low back pain - these are the people you will be able to help the most.
In addition, statistics show that back pain is the:
Our personal training will help back conditions can deal with areas such as poor posture, weak or imbalanced low back muscles, and overall core conditioning.
Poor posture can develop in a number of ways, and can lead to conditions such as Lordosis. Although this is traditionally found in the elderly, it is now increasingly being diagnosed in teenagers. Contributing factors can include factors such as sitting at a desk or in a car for hours every day.
Assessing these clients will typically reveal weak stomach and back muscles, sometimes even exacerbated by incorrect exercise technique. A program can then be developed that includes core strengthening exercises, flexibility stretches and conditioning work, all designed to improve the posture, relieve the strain on the low back, and reduce or eliminate the pain.
A growing area of specialization, combining personal training and diabetes is currently a large growth area for us. There are currently around 2 million diabetes sufferers in the UK, representing almost 3% of the population.
In addition, experts estimate that there are a further million undiagnosed cases in the UK. The demand on the NHS is huge, consuming almost 10% of the total budget, so anything that can be done to reduce patients' dependence on medication is to be welcomed.
That's where personal training and diabetes comes in. Research has shown that regular exercise can reduce the demand for medication by 20% in diabetics, and dramatically reduce the symptoms. Benefits include:
It's a sad reflection of modern lifestyles that personal training and obesity often go hand in hand. As the field increasingly mirrors the trends in modern society, this is something that all health professionals need to be prepared to deal with.
There is little doubt that we are in the midst of an epidemic caused by sedentary lifestyles and poor dietary choices. It is estimated that almost 25% of UK adults are now obese, with a further 40% overweight - in fact, those who are not either overweight or obese are now in the minority!
Thus it makes perfect sense that personal training and obesity would go together. When people seek the services of an exercise professional, losing weight is often high on their list of priorities. For professionals working in personal training and obesity, the challenge, however, is not simply to devise a program that will help people lose weight, but to come up with something that they will actually stick with.
Any good exercise professional should be able to devise a program that burns body fat - the problem is that by the time people have gained enough weight to be considered obese (technically defined as a BMI of 30 or above), they have developed a range of habits that are supporting their weight gain.
Simply telling them to exercise more is usually not going to wash. The skilled practitioner has to address a culture or mindset in which sedentary activities are the norm, exercise is considered a form of torture, and overeating and poor food choices are part of everyday life.
To operate in a vacuum in which you assume that simply having someone do a designated workout three times a week will solve all their problems is naive, and likely to lead to failure.
Using personal training for physical rehabilitation is one of the most effective ways of ensuring that you recover effectively from an injury, illness, or surgery.
Most people don't fully rehabilitate after an injury, illness or surgery, meaning that they don't recover full function to the affected area. However, using personal training for physical rehabilitation ensures that your recovery is as complete as possible.
Without engaging in personal training for physical rehabilitation you run the risk of never fully recovering from the problem you have experienced. That can result in:
However, a properly designed program will look at the trauma the area has undergone (whether from injury, surgery, or due to illness), assess the current condition (strength, flexibility, function), and then prescribe a program that will maximize the chances of full recovery.
More and more women are seeing pre/post natal training as an important part of the process of having as baby. The potential benefits of Pre/post natal training are huge:
Of course, pre/post natal training must respect the realities of your condition, meaning that care must be taken with certain issues. For example:
Pregnant women should be careful not to overheat when exercising Exercise should be moderate, avoiding high heart rates. Thus you should avoid exercise such as intervals or spin classes Movements performed flat on the back should be avoided after the first trimester.
Our trained team will be able to set you up with a program that takes into account your current level of fitness, what exercise you already do, any medical history, and of course your own needs and preferences.
Similarly, once you have given birth, a program can be designed that will speed your recovery, whether you've had a natural birth or surgery, and will help you to quickly recover your regular levels of strength and energy.