Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Keys to SUCCESS as a Personal Trainer

Effective Communication and Applied Knowledge, the keys to success as a
Personal Trainer
One of the keys to a good client trainer relationship is that both parties know what to expect from each other.  It is important to set expectation from both parties from the beginning.  A great way to formalize these expectations is in an agreement. The important business components of the trainer client relationship are listed below:
• Term of the agreement 
Establishes how long the agreement is for and what is included.
• Fees and payment structure 
What methods of payment will you accept and over what amount of time will clients be able to pay you? Will your client pay in instalments and how much payment will you expect up front?
• Cancellation policy 
It is strongly recommended that you include and enforce this policy. If you do not follow through on it, your clients will assume it is acceptable to cancel appointments without appropriate notice.  It is also recommended that you sell training sessions in blocks so that you have a level of commitment from your client and the cancelled session can be deducted from that which is already prepaid.
• Late policy 
Similar to the cancellation policy, this is an area that needs to be enforced before it becomes a common occurrence.
• Informed consent 
It is important that your client understands the risks associated with exercising.

 With establishing appropriate relationships in mind, it is also very important to consider the following
• Professional image 
If you want to be treated and paid like a professional, you need to look and talk like a professional. Many people who purchase personal training sessions are professionals who are accustomed to being around certain types of people. If you want to attract this crowd, you need to keep these expectations in mind. Your professional image does not only apply to professional clientele.  Anyone who is paying you for your services deserves the same level of service and attention to detail.
• Integrity 
Do what you say you are going to do and keep your promises. The formal agreement will spell out many areas, but there are still many things not mentioned in it. For example, if you tell clients you are going to bring in an article on cutting calories, do it. If you tell clients you are going to follow up with them if they miss a session, do it. And, if you tell clients you are going to help them get healthier in all aspects of their life, do it! At the time it may seem like a minor event if you forget to do something, but the reality is that your clients will notice and will eventually lose faith in your ability to do the things you have promised.
• Motivation and attitude 
Your clients are paying for you. They can probably pull their own program off the internet or from a magazine. If you are not in a peak state each time you are with clients, then they are not getting what they paid for. When you are with your clients, you need to be 100% present. This means all of your energy needs to be focused on them. Anything else that is going on in your life or at work needs to be put on hold. They are dependent on you as their motivator and the tough stuff in your life needs to be put on hold! Being able to motivate your clients is very important but you must know when to push them and when to lay off.  Everything you do as an expert should have rhyme and reason behind it based on your education and experience. People like positive feedback. They want to feel good after their sessions not just physically, but emotionally too. I had a client once who had always been told she was clumsy and uncoordinated. I made a point of telling her that she was doing a great job learning some new and complicated moves and that her body awareness was increasing after each session. She was thrilled. I doubt anyone had ever told her this before. By focusing on things she did well I helped her to develop some much needed self esteem. 

• Personality types 
Most of us are comfortable around people who are like us. In our personal lives, we will normally choose our friends this way. Unfortunately, you will not always be able to choose your clients as a personal trainer, so you must be able to adjust your personality style to that of your clients. The same approach will not work for every client. You will need to be flexible in your approach, but there may also be times when you choose not to take on new clients based on their personality because you will have to act in a way that you are not comfortable with. Regardless of the situation, it will normally be up to you to decide whether the client is compatible with your style.
• General communication 
Clients need to feel comfortable with you so that they are willing to share any thoughts or concerns that are going to affect their session and their overall results. Listening is a key skill that all personal trainers need to master. This means listening without the intent of responding, trying to understand what people are saying and why they feel a certain way. When you do this, you not only listen to what they are saying, you also watch body language and potentially find out even more information. There are times when clients simply need someone to talk to. They may not need or want you to give them a solution. With experience you will become a good judge as to when you should respond and when you should simply be a sounding board.
The bottom line is that it is always less expensive to keep an existing client than it is to find a new one. You do not need to spend any money or time marketing to current clients and you don’t need to spend a lot of time trying to convince them that you are the right trainer for them. They are already your clients; you simply have to take care of them and give them what they want.
If you place as much focus on the relationship as you do on the actual program, you will develop loyal clients who will bring all of the future clientele you will ever need. This will not happen immediately since building any relationship takes time, but if you take the time to focus on all of the people you are training and taking care of them and their needs, you will reap the benefits.
A successful personal trainer must be able to empathize with their client and above all be able to use feedback which the client provides to mould their exercise, nutrition and fitness program.
This is personal training.  Each individual has their own set of specific needs and it the trainer's job to analyze the feedback provided by the client at all times to create the most individualized, personal training service.


It is all about establishing trust with the client. Regardless of your qualifications you should be able to demonstrate your expertise in your personal training technique. As a personal trainer, you must be an expert in whatever you teach and your ability to apply your knowledge specifically to your client is all important. You must show that you believe in your training method, and are very confident in your skills as a personal trainer and nutrition advisor.

 Establish Realistic Goals 
If you promise every client that he or she will lose 10 pound after a few sessions, you might get a lot of clients at first, but they probably won’t stick around for long. That doesn’t mean you tell your clients that they can’t expect much in the way of changes. Just don’t over-promise.  It is important to establish SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timed short medium and long term goals and stick to them. Reaching these goals and seeing results will ensure a long and successful relationship.

Make the Sessions Enjoyable

Your sessions have to be fun.  They can be hard work,  even a struggle at times but it has to be enjoyable or the clients won’t keep coming.  

It’s always crucial to have a good working relationship with your clients if you hope to succeed. It is especially important today when people are considering their most important financial priorities. In order to run a successful business, client retention is crucial. A successful and strong instructor/client relationship is necessary to keep your business healthy and profitable and keep you LOVING what you do!

If you would like to find out more about becoming a Personal trainer please contact

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Stress & Nutrition

 The food we eat has a critical role in how the mind and body work. Certain foods cause more stress while others relax the body and spirit. Stress is the body’s reaction to change.  It requires a physical, mental or emotional adjustment or response.  When we subject our bodies to stress or experience a perceived stressor, it is important that we look after our diet.  The diet can play an important role in stress management. Certain types of foods increase the physical symptoms of stress, while others ease the physical manifestations of stress. Therefore, it is clear that specific foods should be avoided during stressful times and some should be eaten more than others.

One of them is sugar. Sugar is nothing but empty calories and is processed immediately after taking it, giving an immediate boost to the adrenal glands. You may feel good immediately after eating the sweets or sugary cakes. However, when we are stressed, the adrenal glands are already overworked and if our intake of sugar is high at this time it’s like putting them on steroids. Also, when we are stressed we tend to reach for the empty calories such as sugary junk food more. Our body has to use enzymes, vitamins and minerals to process the sugar.  This leaches our body of enzymes, vitamins and minerals necessary for all important bodily processes and for keeping things like our skin, hair and nails healthy and keeping us free of disease. Over a period of time, a diet rich in sugar, drains our body of minerals and vitamins and becomes significant in making us even more susceptible to stress.

Another food that causes the adrenaline glands to have to work very hard is caffeine. Caffeine is present in fizzy drinks, coffee and tea.  When we perceive ourselves to be under stress we very often ‘get through the day’ on coffee. This of course becomes a viscous cycle as our adrenal glands become more overworked and so we reach for the coffee again! We can also find that processed foods like bleached flour found in bread to a large extent have nothing but empty calories and are void of nutrients. These refined foods are also lacking in important things such as fibre.  Our body needs fibre to help move food through the gut and help us expel waste and toxins effectively.   These processed foods are often artificially enriched with nutrients, but it would be much better for us to have natural none processed whole foods, containing the nutrients necessary for health in their most natural and purest form.

Whole foods such as wheat, oats, whole grains, fruits and vegetables are what we need to  include in our diet, in a fresh and whole form.  They will provide the nutrients and fibre that we need and will release energy slowly to the body rather than the highs and slumps we experience with processed, nutrient deficient food.  A nutritious diet is what the body needs to fight stress. We are what we eat. By changing our approach to our nutritional habits, especially at times of stress we will go a long way is to building a healthy body and avoid adding to the stress we place on ourselves emotionally, financially and socially by avoiding nutritional stress!

Have you enjoyed this article?  Let us know!  Would you like to know more about Health, Physical Fitness and Nutrition?  Please do email or contact us.  We’d love to help. J

Monday, 2 November 2015

Eat Fat to get Thin


The word that instills fear among female friends keen to look great in the LBD (that’s little black dress to the men out there) and draws gasps from protein quaffing male gym buddies.
But you really can and should use fat to your advantage when it comes to weight loss. I Love my locally produced meat complete with the fat and my bread (slow release wholegrain of course) together with full fat organic butter.

But can you really eat fat and get thin? Well actually you can. You can believe and try those old outdated diets that tell you not to eat fat, but you are wasting your time. Eating fat, the right kind of fat, will speed up weight loss and that protein shake would be so much more useful when consumed with fat, better still get the protein you need ( less than you think) naturally and undoubtedly more cost effective from REAL NATURAL FOOD!

Why MUST we have fat in our diet?
The role played by fat in the diet cannot be underestimated:

  • ·         It is involved in the formation of virtually all cell membranes
  • ·         It is needed for optimum function of the nervous system
  • ·         The majority of the Central Nervous System and Spinal Cord are formed by lipids (fats)
  • ·         It is necessary for the synthesis (making) of steroid hormones and reproductive organs – vital in the body.
  • ·         Fat soluble vitamins A,D,E and K cannot be absorbed without fat in the diet. Therefore a fat deficient diet ensures we are deficient in these vitamins and will suffer effects such as dry, scaly skin, hair loss, cold intolerance, bruising, poor growth, lower resistance to infection, poor wound healing and loss of menstruation to name but a few.
  • ·         It is necessary for the uptake of calcium and formation of bone.
  • ·         It is necessary for lining the surface of the lungs, for efficient breathing.
  • ·         Protection of vital organs.
  • ·         It assists in the regulation of enzymes. Enzymes are part of the catalyst of actions and reactions which cause anything to happen in the body.
  • ·         Fat provides flavour and texture to help prevent food from being bland and dry.
  • ·     Fat helps food to stay in the stomach longer, giving a greater sense of satisfaction and preventing hunger soon after meals.
  • ·   Fat helps your body produce endorphins (natural substances in the brain that produce pleasurable feelings).
  • ·         Diets too low in fat (less than 20 - 25%) will trigger cravings. We always reach for sugar in this instance.  It is sugar with its empty calories and no goodness for the body which is the real problem in our diet.  Inadequate balance of our blood sugar really does lead to the sugar blues and mood swings
v   The above are the essential things you probably haven’t even thought of, but furthermore fat is vital for energy, it is also a stored form of energy in the adipose tissue and is a fuel source during lower intensity workouts.

There are certain types of fat that will make you put on weight, but there are also fats that speed up weight loss. Butter for instance is a good fat and it will slow down the release of the carbohydrate that you might have with the butter into your bloodstream.  A slice of wholemeal bread with organic full fat butter will make you feel fuller for longer, taste great and balance those blood sugar fluctuations which encourage you to reach for more food...usually sugary thing or hydrogenated fats.
Coconut oil is a great source of Saturated Fat, we should use it when we cook, on our skin, to flavour our really is a Super Fat Food!

Which fats should I avoid?

The answer is simple. Stay away from hydrogenated oil and partially hydrogenated oils. The change in their molecular structure due to the hydrogenation process is really not good for our bodies and will only encourage the body to store fat rather than encouraging the metabolism to work in the appropriate way. These types of fats are found in biscuits, bought pastries, chips and other snack foods.  It is important to also avoid margarine, fat in cheap cuts of meet, skimmed or low fat dairy products, artificially lower fat products and cheap plant oils such as sunflower and vegetable oil. If you can avoid these, you will become healthier and start to shed those extra pounds. Again anything which is artificially lower in fat or skimmed has gone through a process unnatural to the body and will encourage the body, not to stay in its natural balance!

I can also recall countless occasions where friends reach for sweets because they have fewer calories than for example a bar of chocolate.  Neither are ideal choices , but we really must switch our minds from calorie counting to giving our body the appropriate nutrients it needs to balance our blood sugar, mood and health.  If we do this, our weight will naturally stay in balance.
Watch out for another article coming soon on sugar and its negative impact on our cells, our mood and our long term health!

If you’d like to learn more in depth about the balance of fats and sugar and the natural intake of food required for a healthy body and mind, why not come on one of our courses!

For further information contact

Friday, 30 October 2015

5 Things you can change NOW to improve your health, mood and brain function

1. Drink some water
Take a sip right now!  You'll feel more energized and will be less likely to fall victim of a headache - dehydration is the number 1 cause of common headaches.

2.  Sit up straighter.
 You were slumping over just then, weren't you? I was, too, until I caught myself. Notice how when you sit up straighter, you feel better.  Making a conscious effort to keep your spine straight and shoulders back can have a hugely positive impact on your health and  you’ll instantly look better when you are sitting straight! If your core (and that includes your back ) is strong enough it will encourage you to sit up straight and change how you look in an instant.

3. Take a few deep breaths. 
When's the last time today or this week that you sat back in your chair and paid attention to your breathing patterns, focusing on taking big, deep breaths? Carve out a few minutes for mindful breathing (as new age as that sounds) and you'll feel more revived.

4. Eat More Fish.

Specifically oily fish such as Salmon, Herring, Mackerel, Trout and Tuna. These fish are excellent sources of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids which are important to the body for lowering "bad" LDL cholesterol and increasing the amount of "good" HDL cholesterol in your system which lead to better circulatory health, and a lower overall risk of heart disease. If you don't like fish then try taking high quality Fish Oil supplements with your meals each day in order to see some of the same benefits.  What’s more it’s brain and mood food!  Getting your Essential Fatty Acids in the right proportion has been shown to significantly improve brain function and enhance mood.

5. Focus on the positive. 
Too often we find ourselves in situations where all we seem to do is to concentrate on the negative forces affecting our lives while neglecting or even ignoring the positive ones altogether. Try to take the time each day to examine the good things in your life and to appreciate them even in the face of adversity. Taking the time to appreciate the beauty in life will go a long way towards reducing depression, lowering stress levels and in general help to promote a better overall sense of health and well being .

If you are willing to take the time, small changes can really lead to big improvements.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Core Training...cut to the Core!

Core Training

We’ve all heard of it, we all want to have a ‘strong core’, and any of us who go to the gym probably think we are doing lots of core training!  But what are we really doing, and what are we really trying to achieve? Do we really know what the core is and do we really know how or why we are developing it!  Maybe you’re just after that flat stomach, but if we can think of our core in relative terms we really will realise its importance and therefore realise its potential, and in the process, get that flat stomach we’ve been after. 

 The true definition of core is ‘Where all movement begins and ends’ When we begin to think of our core in terms of it being the strength behind our outer limbs we will maximise our functional strength, recruit deep and superficial core muscles and as a bi – product of our body’s strength and function as a Kinetic chain all interacting and interdependent in the most effective way, we’ll get that flat stomach we’ve been after!

The fitness industry uses the word core exercise as a generic term, but two types of muscles comprise the abdominal and lumbo pelvic region. Global muscles, also called mobilizers or movement muscles, sit at the most superficial layer of the abdominal region. Local muscles, also called stabilizers, sit deeper in the abdominal wall. True core exercise primarily engages the stabilizers.

Core Anatomy...a bit of the boring stuff first!
The local and global muscles can also be referred to as the inner and outer unit. The deep, intrinsic muscles such as transversus abdominis, the pelvic floor and the multifidus make up the inner unit, whereas the rectus abdominis and external obliques make up the outer unit. Most fitness enthusiasts are familiar with the mobilizing muscle groups but don’t actually think about primarily recruiting the ‘core’ to do the big movement exercises necessary for our daily lives such as squats and deadlifts. The rectus abdominus flexes the spine when performing crunches, and the obliques rotate the spine during oblique curls.

Core Muscle Function
During movement, the inner unit or core musculature provides a stable platform for the outer unit muscles.  If this ‘Core stability’ in real terms isn’t there, and the inner unit isn’t effectively engaged, problems with joint stability occur and eventually lead to injury in the client.  Without that inner unit recruitment the strength, balance and stability needed for optimum function in day to day life will never be there.  Furthermore those ‘mirror’ stomach muscles will never look the way you want them to!

Core Stability Examples
Core stability exercises usually keep the spine extended and use only a minimal amount of joint movement.  They help develop neuromuscular efficiency in the body so that muscles can work together synergistically and optimum, injury free function of those outer movement muscles can be achieved. Begin on all fours; breathe in and draw your abdominal muscle toward your spine. Hold for 10 seconds; then relax and repeat. Next, have a partner place a dowel rod vertically along your spine. As you exhale, lift one palm a fraction of an inch from the floor, and lift the opposite knee to the same height. If your multifidus is engaged, your spine remains straight, and the dowel rod stays on your back. Repeat with the other hand.  Other examples of Core Stability exercises include the bridge and the plank.

Core Strength
Performing hundreds of crunches or oblique curls enhances outer core muscle endurance, but does not improve strength or  function. To strengthen your global core muscles, you need to add challenge to the exercises. Examples include holding a weight while you perform the exercise, increasing the exercise range of motion and performing the exercise with both legs lifted from the floor. Using balance equipment such as stability balls imposes a balance challenge, which may require deeper core activity to maintain stability. Core function and therefore global strength will improve when we think of the core as part of larger compound movement exercises such as squats in different planes of movement.

Those deeper core muscles will only be recruited if the foundations of core and joint stability have been laid down from the beginning.  It is important as responsible Health and Fitness Professionals that we always remember this and therefore lay down the foundations of efficient movement patterns in our training journey with our clients.

If this has given you an appetite for learning more about Fitness Exercise and Health, speak to one of our Trainers about the range of courses we run TODAY!