Are personal trainers helpful or just a money making con?

The world of fitness often gets a bad reputation. It started with the expensive gym memberships, where we were seduced by shiny surfaces and trendy cafe spaces, and then once we paid our fees we discovered that we just didn’t feel like turning up every week. Then it moved on to personal trainers with boot-camp army-style tactics, who wanted to ‘push’ us but didn’t seem to have the empathy to realise that we’d used the majority of our willpower just to turn up for the session.

When I set-up my own business promoting the idea of Active Wellbeing, it was all too easy to pick out personal trainers as the antithesis of what I stood for. My approach is all about long term sustainable lifestyle change. Their’s was about quick fixes. My approach is about finding joy in movement. Their’s was about putting in max effort. My approach is about feeling good. Their’s was about looking good in the before and after photos. etc.

The truth is that short term quick fixes, which burn out our willpower, for a result we can’t sustain, is not the best investment of money. Especially when there is an alternative to build lasting lifestyle change in a way we actually enjoy.

But the other truth is that we can’t just put personal trainers in a box. There are many personal trainers out there who do follow the philosophy of lasting lifestyle change, and movement for fun. In fact here are some of their names: Seonaidh Jamieson, Tereza Szalai and Jessica Barclay.

I don’t mind sharing the work of great personal trainers. My philosophy is to help people find what works best for them. And besides, they are not my competition. I am not a personal trainer.

In fact let’s not leave gym membership out. If you are fortunate enough to live near the centre of York you will also find a brilliantly client centred team at Supersonic Fitness (and they still have an ace cafe too!)

At the end of the day it all comes down to personal choice. If you want someone to guide you through the moves, give you direct instructions on what to do and you ALREADY feel motivated to turn up for those sessions, then a personal trainer is likely to be a good option. Do your research, understand what training and experience they have, and consider if they are the right level of push for you. Not too hard not too soft (just like a massage!)

If, however, your main struggle is motivation, getting started, maintaining consistency, setting achievable goals and keeping going, you need to spend some time developing your mindset. As an exercise psychology coach that’s exactly what I do both in The Active Wellbeing Academy and my one-to-one coaching sessions.

There a few money making con-artists in the fitness industry, but trust your own instincts and you’ll spot them. Most people: personal trainers, coaches and gym owners included; just want to help people like you live healthier, happier lives. If you’re not already living a healthy active lifestyle. Ask yourself why? Is it time to make a change? Is it time to invest some money in you?

Diane Brown

The Exercise Psychology Coach &

Author of The Little Book of Active Wellbeing

By fitbeecoach

Dr Diane Brown is the creator of FitBee Lifestyle Coaching

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