How to find the best personal trainer: London gyms with first-rate experts
A good personal trainer will look beyond your abs, helping you use exercise and diet to achieve both physical and mental wellbeing. We tell you where to look
Clarify your Expectations and Objectives in advance
Before contacting any trainer think carefully about your health and fitness objectives. It’s imperative to find a trainer who has experience that mirrors your requirements. The last thing you want is a specialised marathon trainer if you’re readjusting to exercise after injury or giving birth.
Ask yourself: do you want to get in shape ahead of your wedding; have you always wanted to run a 5KM; is it sport specific training you need; do you want nutritional advice as well as exercise prescription; are you looking for someone with pre and post-natal specialism; or is it something entirely different that you are after? Once you have fine-tuned your objectives, you’re ready to start looking for a PT.
Where to find a good Personal Trainer: London
One good way to ensure quality and reliability in a trainer is to ask your friends for their honest opinion. Remember, though, that a personal training relationship is just that – personal – it is your opinion that counts.
NRPT: National Register of Personal Trainers: this is a comprehensive nationwide list of qualified and insured personal trainers, each with a mini career profile.
Local gyms: every gym will have their own in-house team of PTs. Bear in mind that gym-based PTs will be tied to a particular gym and in our experience may well lack the experience and confidence of freelance trainers.
Google and Social Media: be a little wary of the glitterati band of trainers, whose training entity is a brand in itself – thousands of social media followers doesn’t necessarily equate to excellence in the art of face to face exercise prescription. Use social media as a resource to cross reference potential PTs.
London Gyms and trainers recommended by Culture Whisper
Core Collective is a boutique gym based in Kensington W8, Knightsbridge, St. John’s Wood. Tom Cleminson is an experienced trainer, who specialises in ‘transformation’ training. He looks beyond the body to change your life. Email [email protected]
MotivatePT have a network of high quality, personally vetted PTs operating in London. They will do home visits, outside training or even come to your office. Speak to Kira Mahal for advice.
MUTU system is a company founded by the pre and post-natal guru Wendy Powell. There is nothing she doesn’t know about childbirth and fitness. Try her 12-week post-natal online DVD course.
Hollie Grant is a South West London trainer whose mantra is ‘strong not skinny’. She helps women build confidence as well as muscle.
Marianne Marston offers the definitive boxing workout. She is based in SE and East London and has specialist knowledge of nutrition.
Finding the right PT for you – questions to ask
Having sifted a shortlist of potential personal trainers from the above sources, make sure to call them directly – a real voice can speak volumes. Don’t underestimate the benefit of age in a personal trainer – a few grey hairs and a long-standing loyal client base count for a lot – don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you like.
2. What are their qualifications?
Your PT should have a level 3 Personal Trainer qualification with a reputable certification programme. We have known trainers to ‘qualify’ with just a weekend workshop. If you discover this give the trainer a wide berth! Find out whether the trainer has any extra specialist qualifications, too: pre/post-natal training, injury rehabilitation experience, specialist equipment training courses (kettlebell, TRX, Swiss Ball etc). All trainers should be insured and First Aid qualified.
Our recommendation of quality certification bodies are:
• NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine). Our favourite course provider.
• ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine). One of the few courses to offer face to face workshops as part of the programme.
• ISSA (International Sports Sciences Association).
• ACE (American Council of Exercise).
Exercise and diet plan go hand in hand when thinking about a healthy balance. If your diet is turbo-charged with fast food and snacks you will reverse any gains you have made in the gym.
4. Where will you train and how frequently?
Do you want to train at home, in a gym, or in one of London’s many parks. Although it may sound obvious, this is actually crucial, as it will affect the sort of exercise you do. Remember, if you wish to train at home, you will need to ask what equipment the trainer will bring with them and what equipment you may need to buy.
5. Good communication, teamwork and empathy are vital in establishing an effective training relationship.
Personality and demeanour are key when assessing a PT – you should find yourself looking forward to your hour of exercise.
This enables you to discuss medical issues and fitness goals, as well as get a sneak preview into the character and flair of the PT to gauge whether you feel a sense of rapport.
7. What are their ‘Terms and Conditions’?
Training sessions usually range between £40 and £80. A higher price tag is certainly no guarantee of quality. Look at the cancellation policy. You are likely to be charged for short notice cancellation. Keep an eye on your trainer’s reliability – you may be on to a loser if they end up cancelling you. Do they have references? A busy trainer with a strong client base is vital – so take up client references to rubberstamp your decision to sign up.
8. Is the trainer a good role model?
They should be a brilliant banner for their trade and someone that you aspire to emulate in matters related to health and fitness. Remember that your personal trainer may well become much more than that; personal trainer, nutritional advisor, counsellor, friend!
Having made the leap of faith and chosen your trainer, you should notice fitness benefits after a few weeks; if you genuinely are not feeling the vibe, accept that you may have to kiss a few frogs, and, now that you know the ropes, pick up the phone. The right trainer for you is out there.