Before anyone shouts at me lets just be clear, I am a personal trainer, I have clients, I workout every week but……it seems to me that this is a very odd industry to be in.
Being a PT is one of those rare occupations where you get to be a key part of someone’s life, you can help them make all kinds of changes but the bottom line is that they will never treat you as anything more than a casual hairdresser, someone who they can pick up and drop as and when they want. And mostly, there is a geographical limit to how much people will pay per session and no matter how many qualifications you have or where or how you operate they still wont pay any more per session.
So whilst a few at the top of their game will always prove the exception and make a ton of money there are a whole load of good (and bad) trainers further down the pyramid who are ticking over but will never make enough to finance the dream. I am one of those lucky people who has a day job they love and started down the PT route as a hobby; my intention was always to make it my full time job but having spent some time around trainers and the industry I do think I would be hard pressed to replace my current salary.
I think we all aspire to be fitter, healthier etc but the fitness industry has spent so much time trying to get new people in as trainers there is a massive glut of qualified trainers out there who lack the empathy and life skills to really engage and unfortunately the 18-year old straight from school trainer is the one that gives all the other trainers a bad name! How can someone who has 10 years experience and expects it to be reflected in their rates compete with a newly qualified trainer who has nothing to lose and can charge a rock bottom price?
So what does that mean for me and the dream? Well the dream moves onwards and upwards but just in a new arena and into the area that started the whole Beauty Fitness Fashion blog – in the next few weeks we launch our new on-line Fashion store selling a whole range of fabulous new clothes including some amazingly gorgeous corsets.
So forgive me if for now, I have become disillusioned with fitness and start to shamelessly promote the new business!
How many times do you say or have you heard “I didn’t have THAT much to eat or drink?” As a trainer its something I hear all the time and to be honest, something I also know I have said but it’s possibly one of the most common “white lies” clients tell their trainers and its the one thing that stops clients really getting to where they want and seeing real changes to their body. And I speak from experience!!
Yes I did say that! I don’t mean that we should adopt the less savoury behaviours we have all seen at the gym or the meatheads with appalling technique cluttering up the weights area but simply that if women embraced the attitude that men have to weights and training they would get the results – and the body – they really want.
So many of us have seen or heard the old story that lifting weights will make you big or bulky and most of us – god I hope its most of us by now! – know that its complete nonsense. To get the lean, toned, sexy body that most women crave women need to get off the cardio and get into weights but how do we encourage that? How do we break that mindset? Continue reading →
A few years back I was the ultimate couch potato, I went to work every day and came home, cooked dinner and sat on the sofa watching TV. My Sky+ box was used every day to record multiple programmes and I am sorry to say I even knew what was happening in Eastenders! I felt terrible; I was tired all the time, I could sleep for England, my asthma caused me problems and all in all I felt dreadful.
I was working with a lovely girl who enjoyed her wine, enjoyed cooking and eating amazing food and was in the first year of very happy married bliss but had put on about a stone – every day she said she was going to try a new diet or was going to take up dancing and every time we talked about it I felt guilty that my weight was so out of control. We talked about talking up pole dancing, about going to Weight Watchers, about trying the juice diet – you name it we debated whether it was worth trying.
It’s always interesting to spend time in the office and listen to the banal chatter that surrounds me but I could probably set my watch by how often the subject of weight loss comes up! It never ceases to amaze me how the women can sit there day after day complaining about how fat they are, announcing their next diet and then ten minutes later making extremely unhealthy food choices (doughnut anyone?) – its like there is a complete disconnect between what they eat and how they look.
Over the last year or so I have been reading voraciously (I love that word!) about diet, health and fitness and have begun to develop my own really strong opinions about the advice given to the general public, about what makes a good, healthy diet and about the shocking state of the foods we routinely feed our families, old and young.
Working with clients has made me think again about the advice I give out to people and how my own view on what is healthy colours what I tell clients, so it was interesting to read this article Why One-Size-Fits-All Diets Do Not Work » Metabolic Effect Blog. The whole concept of “one size fits all” is something I feel really strongly about especially in relation to health and fitness; one size fits all diet plans, one size fits all exercise plans or one size fits all resistance machines – they all assume everyone has the same range of movement, is the same size, has the same needs and the same goals and we all know that that simply isn’t true.
I have felt for some time now that part of the reason people get so disheartened when they diet or decide to change their life is that their decision is usually based on something they read or something a friend or family member told them; they decide to try whatever plan is the next craze and then wonder why it didn’t work for them. One size really doesn’t fit all and for me, that goes for Personal Training too.
Not all clients are the same, not all bodies react the same way so why do so many trainers persist in dishing out the same fitness plans, the same diet plans and even, worst of all, the same exercises to all clients? There has to be a better way to help our clients get fit, be healthy, eat well, lose weight and any of the million other goals they all have – I read something earlier today about PTs thinking outside the box and I think now I have a little clear space in my life I need to work on what type of trainer I really want to be. Do I want to be the same as every other PT, getting as many one on one clients a day as I can, taking the money, delivering an ok-ish service or do I want to offer more? Better service, more bespoke, more results driven?
I think the answer is pretty obvious – how to do all of that is the tricky part!
I have to declare from the outset that this is one of my most disliked shows on TV (yes I have watched half an episode of the USA version but had to turn it off in disgust after that) but I am very aware that opinions are completely polarised – you either love everything about it or, like me, dislike it intensely and all it stands for.
So, given my hostility I was very surprised when doing some research to come across Charlotte Ord as one the trainers on the UK version (which I must hasten to add I have NEVER watched, the combination of the premise behind the show and Davina McColl presenting are just too much for my taste!). Charlotte was one of the first female fitness presenters on TV that I watched especially as the programmes she presented were based around the stuff I was doing in the early days including TRX, Kettlebell and another couple about rest and recovery using foam rollers. I admired her training style and it was so useful to see normal people doing the Kettlebell exercises that I couldn’t get my head round. It inspired me and helped with tweaks to my technique, making it all that little bit easier.
Judging by some of the comments on her blog other people were surprised too that she agreed to train on the show; I can see what the show gets out of it, after all she was Personal Trainer of the Year 2010, and her style is very different to Jillian Michaels but apart from the exposure does the association with things like this damage a trainers brand or? Or, at the end of the day does that really matter as long as more people know about fitness, training and what you can offer?
Looking at her posts recently she does seem to be aware of how the show is portrayed and there is definitely a hint of disappointment that the hard work, training, stretching and rolling don’t make the final edit – all of which go to perpetuate the myth that weight loss is easy and all that matters is pounds lost. There is just so much more to it than that and it would have been good to have a trainer like Charlotte lead from the front and try to change some of the appalling myths that hamper people from healthier lifestyle changes.
This really isn’t meant to be a criticism of Charlotte Ord who I actually think is really good but rather my dislike of such an exploitative show and my disappointment, I guess, that someone I kind of admire is associated with something I dislike so intensely.
By way of a bit of balance, check our her blog above there are some really interesting articles on fitness trends for 2012 as well as bodyweight exercises at home.