The exercise and fitness industry has revolutionised in the last ten years[i]. We are increasingly driven to improve our health and physical performance using exercise regimens across the full spectrum of intensity. My job allows me to meet and work with so many motivated people, looking to take good care of their body and prepare themselves for optimal health and wellness. As a personal trainer, it’s satisfying to watch my clients achieving the goals we set together as a team months before. But the pace of revolution and changes in approach to training has been full-on: every six months or so there is some new, fancy programme being shouted from the hilltops, promising amazing results in questionable timeframes and without asking for any real changes to lifestyle that will support sustained results.

Too often many of these programmes are less effective than we would have hoped at the outset of our fitness journeys. I want to use this entry to provide my clients – current and potential – with some guidance on distinguishing the high-value trainers (#ahemlookoverhere) from the…well, low-value ones.

One of the challenges of strength training is that this type of physical conditioning is rarely a one-size fits all approach. And you don’t have to be terribly bright to identify why, as individuals, we need individual attention to line up our fitness goals. Rocking up one Saturday morning to join in a random higher-intensity fitness and weights class because you were dared to at the pub last night is not the ideal way to start down the path of a-tone-ment (you like that?). Also, without receiving an induction and a thorough physical assessment by a qualified (and better still, industry experienced) personal trainer at the commencement of your first session carries real risks. I’ve found that exercise programs that support clients simply coming in out of the cold most commonly result in:

  • Moderate to severe muscle strain from incorrect/unavailable technique education or support for the exercises they are performing. These injuries are demoralising and demotivating to clients who think they “can’t” exercise correctly because of early injury. This causes people to stop exercising before they have really begun.

  • Associated injuries acquired through incorrect operation of exercise equipment, such as dropped weights, pinch-point injuries in weight machines, or slips and falls due to poor positioning for exercise. These injuries create a sense of dread for exercising and distrust in the methods for achieving goals.

  • Unrealistic goals failing to be met. No surprises here, really. If no one is explaining the requirements of achieving your fitness goals with you at the outset, then how are you to know which intensity, set of exercises and complementary lifestyle adjustments to make to arrive at your goals?

If any of this is sounding familiar, I’m not surprised. There are just so many choices out there and many fitness programme options are marketed by appealing to the discount driven among us. But, as that old, simple saying goes….. you get what you pay for.

Many commercial group-based training programs are run by less-experienced (cheaper) training guides, rather than exercise physiology-based (dearer) fitness professionals. These training guides have the best of intentions, yet without the experience and education they are less likely to recognise exercise risks or injury indicators. They are more likely to cut corners in adequately preparing you for specific exercises because of time constraints and “productivity measures” and are less able to provide accurate advice on exercise, lifestyle and overall wellness changes that should be made to optimise a workout programme.

For this reason, I want to identify what good PT looks like (#yepoverhere). Responsible personal training includes three elements that every client should expect as essentials in any fitness programme they receive.

  • We are informed. Personal Trainers worth their mettle will undertake ongoing research and education on the latest fitness and training techniques that work, as well as the ones that do not. We read up on prevention, management and rehabilitation of injuries and conditions that affect exercise. We acquaint ourselves with evidence that is science-based to ensure our advice is responsibly sourced and communicated with you.

  • We are qualified. Anyone who is managing your health and fitness at the exercise and coaching level, really should have a Certificate III or IV in Fitness Coaching. I’m surprised how many clowns are out there championing the Laws of Exercise Physiology with only a Higher School Certificate-level of Human Movement from the 1990s under their belt. Like I said in my opening lines, a lot has changed.

  • We are connected. A great PT will have no issue – and would prefer - consulting with your existing health and medical team to ensure we are aware of your full health picture. With your permission, consultation across the healthcare spectrum will do better at building an exercise programme that supports ultimate wellness. Particularly where a client is undertaking a rehab programme, your PT should be part of your inner circle, ensuring your GP, Physio and other health consultants are all talking the same language in your best interests.

The value of personal training options, in these days of pre-packaged, discount-driven, one-size-fits-all fitness regimens, really shouldn’t be underestimated. My F.I.R.E programmes are designed to provide targeted personal training in a group setting where team encouragement and performance are matched with your own personal fitness goals. F.I.R.E is just one example of an essential and excellent base point to start on your path to fitness, strength and good health. Read more about the F.I.R.E programme here and also drop me a line below if you have any questions or goals to get a start on. It would be great to get connected.


[i] Andreasson, Jesper & Johansson, Thomas. (2014). The Fitness Revolution. Historical Transformations in a Global Gym and Fitness Culture. Sport Science Review. 23. 10.2478/ssr-2014-0006.