I visited a local gym the other day, not my usual place but a gym that I used to use a few years back. Nothing much had changed, same equipment and a few of the same faces using it, there was one thing that was different though, the gym now employed Personal Trainers. There they were in all their glory, 4 of them, smiling back at me from a notice board outside the gym, giving details of their qualifications and experience and how they were the best in the business at getting you to achieve your goals. I was feeling optimistic as I entered the gym, I always enjoy seeing other fitness professionals plying their trade and fighting the good fight to make the nation fitter.
I started my workout and casually glanced around the gym to see if I could see any of these fitness guru's, if I'm honest it took me a while, then I spotted one, leaning on a piece of equipment chatting to a Gym Instructor, ok so he doesn't have a client to see at the moment, after 40 minutes and various different leaning positions against various pieces of equipment I realised why, oh well.
Whilst Mr Lean-to was doing his thing I'd noticed 2 other trainers, one male, one female, both appeared to be training a client, this is looking better I thought. Whilst I carried on with my workout I saw these 2 trainers putting there clients through their paces but there was something wrong, neither trainer appeared to be following any sort of plan, neither had anything with them to refer to or record achievement on. Both trainers appeared to be 'winging' it, unless they both had some kind of perfect recall photographic memory. There was no structure to the workouts, trainer and client would move from exercise to exercise generally whatever was close by. Now both clients appeared to be finding their respective workouts difficult and challenging but if their Trainer isn't planning and recording achievement how will they progress over their forthcoming workouts.
This no plan approach is one that I've noticed more and more being used by Personal trainers, some may have a few formulated programmes that they use for the majority of their clients, changing the odd exercise as they go, where's the 'personal' in that. Others literally make it up as they go along throwing in a few standard exercises, pushing clients to a point of collapse, all in the name of delivering a hard workout.
First and foremost a workout has to be effective for it to make a difference and for it to be effective it needs to be planned, it needs to be recorded and it needs to be progressed from previous workouts, it needs to be applicable to the goals of the client. So it has to have structure, this also enables your client to also see how they are progressing and realise their goals. Your trainer should have planned your next few workouts and have short, medium and long term ideas as to how your training should progress.
So if your trainer is not doing this what are you paying for?