CONSISTENCY (WARNING: this word or a variation of it will be used a lot ?) . Being consistent is, in my opinion, key. Not just when it comes to training but with life in general. Here are a couple of reasons why it’s important.
1? Until you have done something for an extended period of time, in a consistent way, how will you know if it’s effective or not? Keeping things, in terms of training, consistent, allows you to figure out if what you’re doing is working. Only when you have been consistent and not had results, should you consider changing things up.
2? It will help you get into and keep in a routine. Getting up early to hit the gym isn’t always easy but the more you do it, the more CONSISTENT you are, the easier it becomes or even going to the gym straight from work after a long day can be tough but again, the more you do it, the more CONSISTENT you are, the easier it will become. Having a well established ‘life routine’, so the times you train and eat etc keeps you accountable.
As soon as consistency is consistently practiced I can guarantee the results will quickly follow. I have consistently trained and ate right for a consistent period and I believe this is the reason why I consistently surpass the goals I set and I believe YOU can do exactly the same!

Should you train to failure? by Mark Cosgrove, Master Trainer @

Training to failure is exactly what you think it means. Training a muscle to failure. Training it untill it can no longer perform what you’re ‘telling’ it to do. There is nothing left in the tank. You can’t finish the last rep, no matter how hard you’re pushing or how much your brain is saying ”moooove”, it’s just not happening. It’s painful, it burns, but, it feels so good! However, just because it feels good doesn’t actually mean it is good. Especially if it isn’t used correctly. There’s a time and a place to train a muscle to failure and hopefully I am going to help you understand how and when to implement it into a routine.There are benefits of doing so if you do use it correctly, however, there are also negatives, like anything, if not used correctly. Training to failure is miss used, over used or simply not used correctly by so many people. Some people think they have reached failure when in fact they have not. They have not reached momentary muscular failure. Most will use it daily and in some cases, on almost every exercise they perform. This is not optimal at all and can be very detrimental to your goals and progression towards them. If you are performing a certain exercise to failure on your very first set how are you supposed to perform another set??



So why should you train a muscle to failure?

Strength Gains
Lifting a heavy weight until you can no longer complete a full repetition for one, maybe two sets will generate a positive stimulus for gaining strength optimally and therefore producing the biggest muscle gain. Having a stronger muscle and lifting heavy weights will only lead to that muscle developing greater.

Training Frequency
Performing 1-2 exercises for a muscle group to failure is adequate. Your muscles will only benefit from a certain amount of stimulation. Once they reach that point anything else is just wasted energy. There is no need to perform another 4-5 exercises (when training to failure). Some people will train a muscle to failure then proceed to train that same muscle with 3-4 other exercises, for the same muscle group. This is not optimal and will only result in you requiring longer to recover.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that performing a couple of exercises to failure will take less time than performing lots of exercises. This can be beneficial because of the extra time you have outside the gym. Muscles are not gained in the gym. The stimulus is placed upon them there, the time away from the gym spent eating and recovering is where muscles are made. More time recovering is a win in my book!

Injury Prevention
This may seem like an odd one. You’re forcing your body to lift heavy weights to absolute failure, how can it prevent injury? Well it may not prevent injury because performing any movement over and over will lead to the joints and tendons becoming worn but it certainly reduces the risk. Lets look at the two people. One who performs 1-2 exercises and that’s it, and then the other who performs an additional 4-5. The volume of the latter is obviously greater, meaning more repetitions, more wear and tear on the joints resulting in a higher risk of injury.

You need to be both focused and mentally tough when pushing yourself to muscular failure, it’s not pleasant nor is it easy. It brings discomfort and pain. However, when you expose your muscles to this kind of torture it can be beneficial. Working a certain muscle group to failure will stress that muscle group to its max. Therefore it will bring about optimal development and growth. All of this of course if used correctly!

Training a muscle to failure… The negatives!

For all the positives of using this method there are also negatives of doing so. It can lead to a negative impact on performance with later sets of an exercise and other exercises there after in a session. It can also limit the ability of you recovering between sessions, another direct opposite to using it correctly. This is because it can be extremely taxing on your body. Not just to the specific muscle or muscle group you are training, but the whole body. Your central nervous system takes a battering and can lead to all kinds of problems. The negative effects on the central nervous system are not due to training to failure, but rather, under recovering. The microtrauma caused by training leads to an inflammatory response. If the body is not given enough recovery time between workouts, chronic inflammation results, and cytokines involved in inflammation start to act on the central nervous system causing the various symptoms associated with overtraining (under recovering).

In addition, there’s also the issue of safety. Going to failure on an exercise like tricep pushdowns or leg extensions is fairly safe, but failing (especially without a spotter) during a set of squats, barbell bench presses, or something similar is not a fun place to be as I am sure you can imagine. This could result in some serious injuries.

When to optimise training to failure –

There are a number of ways to incorporate training a muscle or muscle group to failure into your workout.

I use training to failure on my hypertrophy specific workouts. I try to go to failure on my last set of a given exercise. Here’s a quick example, if you have performed 3 sets of 10 squats, attempt as many repetitions as you can safely perform on your 4th set, I always do this with a spotter present, as I mentioned above, doing so without one could lead to some serious issues. It’s also worth pointing out that I would not train another exercise to failure thereafter in the same workout. I would carry on with the other moves as normal or as my program dictates. I also usually like to keep the weight the same through out all my sets, even with my last one if I am going to failure. However you could lower the weight slightly if needed. For example:

If you performed 2 sets of 8 on the barbell bench press at 80KG, decrease the weight by 10KGs and go to failure from there on your last set.

Choose only ONE exercise per workout to apply this method. It is not necessary to use training to failure on multiple exercises. It won’t do you any good. So for a leg workout you could use this method on Squats (if a spotter is present), if not, I would use it on the final set of leg press or even leg curls/extensions. It’s much safer. Remember, Squats, Bench Presses even Military Presses should only be performed to failure if a spotter is there. If not, chose a different exercise and use that.


Mark Cosgrove

PHAT? What it is and the benefits – MARK COSGROVE, MASTER TRAINER

PHAT stands for, Peripheral Heart Action Training. It was developed by Dr Arthur Steinhaus in the 1940’s. It is based around working muscle groups of different extremities in order to avoid the build up of lactic acid and allow the blood to constantly circulate to each muscle group through out the entire workout. This will allow you to train harder because your blood will be pumped to extreme ends of your body meaning the build up in one particular muscle group and ‘the burn’ not developing.
It’s usually done in a circuit format, 5-6 exercises, back to back, with usually around 4-5 rounds. You would alternate between muscle groups, so for example, Chest into Back into Shoulders into Legs. Here’s a little sample, I’ll post a FULL workout soon!
• Standing Shoulder Press
• Barbell Squat
• Pull Up
• Bench Press
• Stiff Leg Deadlift
• Ab Exercise
I would recommend doing 12-14 reps per exercise but you can do more if you want. You should perform one exercise then move on to the next straight away. When you have completed all exercises in this way you should take a rest before beginning the circuit again. Perform the whole circuit for 4-5 rounds.
Here are some of the benefits of this style of training:
1? Your heart rate will be constantly elevated through out the session meaning you will increase general cardio vascular health and improve fitness whilst also improving your strength because of the resistance exercises. It’s a perfect strength and conditioning workout!
2? Burn tons of fat! The nature of this workout will mean your body will be working super hard the entire time. This is exactly what you want if your looking to get leaner!
3? Less time in the gym whilst still getting the work done! Perfect!
I would definitely recommend at least trying this once and it would be great to add it into your routine once a week! Let me know what you think!
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Our Master Trainer Mark gives beginners some tips… subscribe to his feed on for exclusive content
It can be quite daunting when you first take the leap into the unknown of ‘fitness and training’. You must remember though, every experienced lifter or trainer was once in the exact shoes you’re in now. We all had that feeling of not being quite sure of what you’re doing, whether you’re doing it right and generally feeling a little lost. But, that’s why I’m here, to hopefully settle those initial fears and feelings.
The amazing thing about lifting weights and training in general is- there’s always room to learn and room to improve knowledge. I would never claim to know it all and I constantly promise myself to never become complacent, but, having said that, I know I know enough to help others achieve their goals and my own. Here are a few tips if you’re just starting out on your journey, or, even if you’ve been training a while, some of these tips may be useful to you too!
1. Keep it simple. Both with your training and nutrition. Stick to a basic program for at least 6-8 weeks and try keep your nutrition habits basic, DO NOT OVER COMPLICATE with meal timings etc, it’s really not that serious, personally I like to eat when I’m hungry, I make sure I hit my numbers for the day but I would never eat by the clock (I’ll explain my nutrition in a few weeks). Most of us know how to eat ‘healthy’ the hard part is consistently doing so.
2. Don’t over do it. It’s easy to get carried away and feel like you want to unleash all this positivity in the first day or so, but, that’s not the way. You’ll hit a wall faster than you think. Taking your time and slowly easing yourself into it will be worth it in the long run.
3. Schedule yourself rest days and stick to them. This goes hand in hand with not over doing it. It’s definitely relevant to some experienced lifters. More is not always better. Your body will not be able to put out 100% day in day out. Why would you want to train sub 100%? Take that rest and re charge!
4. Get into the habit of tracking everything you do! That’s why Bodireel is a fantastic tool. It has everything you need to do this. How will you ever know you’re progressing or moving forward if you’re not keeping a record of what you’re doing? It’s great to look back 12,14,16 weeks from when you started and actually being able to see your progress, it’s a massive motivation!
5. Ask for help! Especially whilst you’re using the app. Use me, take the guess work out of it and ask me. I’ve been in the position you’re in and I’ve tried and failed so you don’t have to. You can contact via the app or by email Alternatively you can visit my page to subscribe to my feed and receive exclusive content and extras!

Christmas Fitness Gift Ideas

Yes, We are still one-month-or-so away from Christmas, but if you want to get yourself organised, read on!

Here are a few gift ideas for those who love keeping fit, staying healthy, or always looking for a new challenge!


  • A new set of Dumbbells. Something they can use at home!
  • A Personalised Training Program from Bodireel (Click Here)
  • A stopwatch or tabata timer
  • Gym gear (if you know their size!)
  • Bluetooth Earphones for those who like running


Just a few ideas; Happy shopping!

‘Strength & Conditioning’ or ‘Physical Performance’ Coaches? By Mike @ mcgurnelitesport

The role of the Strength and Conditioning coach has changed dramatically over the last number of years and it got me thinking.  I often wonder does the title S&C coach do justice to the duties we carry out?  I had a recent conversation with 2016 NSCA Strength and Conditioning Coach of the year Ashley Jones about this matter, and we both agreed that the title Physical Performance Coach better sums up what we actually do.
The title Strength & Conditioning coach conjures a notion of lifting weights and hours on end in the gym.  In reality however, a good S&C coach offers so much more.  The role has diversified over the years to include warm ups, mobility, Olympic lifting, speed sessions, aerobic sessions, anaerobic sessions, conditioning games, strongman, cognitive skill development, hypertrophy sessions, strength sessions, velocity based sessions, agility, boxing fitness, wrestling, hydration monitoring, recovery sessions and post game training.  The list can be bigger or smaller depending on who you work with.
I’m not particularly one for fancy titles, but in the world we live in, I feel at times that I am in the minority on this issue.   What in my head was once called a binman is now a Refuse Technician.  There is no doubt that in today’s world of vanity and competition, image and perception is everything.  Bearing this in mind do we ‘previously known as S&C coaches’ need to move with the times and essentially ‘rebrand’ ourselves?

The S&C profession, in my opinion, is still not valued as highly as it should be in the world of sport. The world of professional soccer perfectly illustrates this point.
I recently had the pleasure of getting to know and work with the former Manchester United Power development Coach Mick Clegg.  The time I have spent with Mick has been inspiring and given me a new impetus, helping spark new ideas.  I would go so far as to say that he is a real innovator and world leader in his profession.  Mick worked for Manchester United through the Alex Ferguson years, coaching world class and global legends from Roy Keane, David Beckham and Ryan Giggs in the earlier days, to more recently Wayne Rooney and Christiano Ronaldo.  There is no doubt that Mick was instrumental in shaping the careers of these players but how many us would have heard of him on the news bulletins after a good result?

So what’s the reason for this? Why are S&C coaches not getting the credit they deserve? I’ll stick with soccer as my example, considering the fact that it’s one of the biggest and most lucrative sports in the world.  These players as we now know, earn crazy sums of money.  They have become used to the best of everything when it comes to facilities, accommodation, transport etc.  One would imagine that a professional outfit such as soccer would extend their ‘best of everything’ ethos to the way in which they prepare for games. After all that’s why they are all there.  I would however question how ‘professional’ they are when it comes to their way of training.

Having worked in the English Premiership as a S&C coach, I came away with the distinct impression that S&C is viewed in a fairly dim light by players, coaches and managers. So what is the reason for this?  I concluded that part of the reason for this is lack of education on the part of the managers/head coaches.  I refer back to my opening paragraph.  I believe they thought S&C coaches were all ‘gym bunnies.’  They have no idea of the sheer range of services we have to offer, and how this could develop and improve their players.  A perfect example of this ignorance, is the fact that there are currently Premiership and National soccer teams who do not employ S&C or fitness coaches as part of their back room team.  They choose instead to get the physio or masseur to take on a dual role.  There was also this feeling of competition for player’s time.  I don’t think they got the idea that S&C could compliment and run parallel with their coaching and incorporate the ideas that they were trying to promote.  In essence, S&C could make their lives easier!

Soccer is steeped in tradition.  They do things a certain way, just because they always have.  For such a dominant sport around the world, their pace of change is pretty slow to say the least! Old players become new coaches and so history repeats itself.  Change in this kind of environment is very difficult.

Skill is viewed as the optimum discipline that needs to be incorporated into the football training programme, but skill coupled with the speed of the players actions should be the building blocks of any Premiership footballers training programme.  I have witnessed in my own National sport of Gaelic football that fitness coaches have come in, and yes, their players have become fit and strong, but at the expense of skill.  It is an obvious statement to make but there is no point in having a fit team if the players cannot deliver on the pitch in terms of scoring goals, points or tries!  This can provide outsiders with the ammunition to slate our profession.

Most fitness coaches at soccer clubs are consigned to supervising the players running around the pitch at a pace slower than a five year old toddler can run and giving them some stretches.  If they are really modern they will pull out some bands and do some glut activation work because they saw some other team doing it on Sky TV!

It really does appear that we can’t do right for doing wrong, but the key is balance and incorporating our fitness and conditioning with skill and sport/position specific work in order to tick all the boxes.

Perhaps I am too harsh.  Perhaps these S&C coaches do not have the remit or the backing from their managers to do much more.  This is where we need to look at the type of individual who works as an S&C coach.  I’m not for one second suggesting that one should be belligerent or argumentative but S&C coaches certainly should be able to stand up for themselves when it comes to addressing how exactly the players need to train to be fit for purpose.  They need to have the courage of their convictions.  Admittedly, it would take more than one lone voice and this is where we have to look at the type of individual who could work as a  S&C coach successfully, being an ambassador for the profession.

There are fitness staff working in team sports, with athletes and in organisations who have every fitness qualification ever invented!  When it comes down to the practical aspect of coaching however, they seem to be unable to transfer this wealth of academic knowledge into for example teaching athletes in the gym.  To me, it often appears that they lack that quality of motivating players and that intuition to push when they feel they can push no more.  Todd Hamer recently wrote a brilliant article titled Certification Craze, which looked at all fitness professionals being properly qualified. There are some who believed that academic qualifications would help the S&C profession finally get the respect it deserves.

I don’t mean for one second to take anything away from those individuals who have worked hard, made sacrifices and struggled financially in order to obtain their qualifications, however I am not entirely convinced that you need a degree in order to be a good, competent and successful S&C coach.

If you talk to most graduates in any walk of life, from medicine to business to teaching, I’m sure most will tell you that a lot of their learning comes ‘on the job.’  Sure, they come out of university with their theory but it is practical experience, time and learning what doesn’t work, that ultimately shapes a successful individual.  It is naïve to expect that a piece of paper makes a good coach.  The current crop of graduates springing out of the various academic institutions with degrees, MSc’s and even Ph.D’s still have to learn the art of communication.  They need to learn how to build a working relationship with elite athletes, how to read them and know what makes them tick in order to get the best out of them.  Often athletes can be complex characters! It is one thing being able to read a book but quite another to read an athlete.  Sometimes I find that those of an academic persuasion can be quite rigid in their thought process.  S&C though is rarely a ‘recipe’.  Prescriptions must be for the individual and importantly the S&C coach must be able to adapt when players get injured, or strategies change.  Programmes cannot be ‘cut and pasted’ or copied from a book so we need flexible thinking individuals.

The goal underpinning this argument is that we as a profession get the kudos we deserve.  If academic coaches need to step up and become good communicators in order to deliver the full package, then the good communicators need to get their knowledge from somewhere.  It frightens me that often I have seen situations that if you are a friend of the manager and you are prepared to double job you can be the physio, fitness and strength coach!  Also if you are very good at talking a good game, in some sports there is the potential to graduate from water bottle cleaner to strength and conditioning coach. Then to really compound the situation, you are given license to prescribe a training regime that could serious implications on performance, and possibly the health well being of certain athletes. I use the analogy you wouldn’t get a Priest to plaster your house or you wouldn’t allow a bricklayer to pull one of your wisdom teeth out, so why would you allow the masseur or physio to run your fitness programme? Likewise I am sure there are not many fitness coaches out there who would wish to do, or would be competent to perform the Physio duties?  I think the key word here is competence.  Going forward, how do we assess competence in our industry and how do we maintain it?

I have had the great fortune to meet and become great friends with, what I consider to be four of the Worlds top Physical Performance coaches.  In no particular order; Dan Baker, Mick Clegg, David Boyle and Ashley Jones.  I don’t know what qualifications any of the aforementioned coaches have.  What I do know, is that what really sets these coaches aside from the rest is their ability to motivate, inspire, prepare, push and put their athletes/teams in an environment so that they excel at the very highest level. This is illustrated by the fact that they have won World Cups, Super 14 Championships, Premier League Titles, NRL Titles, Bledisloe Cups, Champion League Trophies, FA Cups, World Club Championships Titles.

Whatever the route an individual takes into the world of S&C, I do feel that they at least need a universally recognised S&C qualification. Personally I am a big fan of the ASCA (Australian Strength and Conditioning Association) as they emphasise the practical element of being a good S&C coach. My philosophy is to get in the gym and get under the bar.  Get out on the training pitch and work your athletes hard. Have the ability to apply what the athletes need in order to be world class. Have the ability to know when you need to stand on an athletes/teams throat and rip them a new one, and likewise know when an athlete needs an arm round the shoulder and a day off.

Don’t become a bookworm who can quote you every training plan, max velocity outcomes and periodisation adaptation, but when asked to take a warm up you fall apart!  I also feel in order to gain credibility from your athletes/teams as a Physical Performance Coach a certain level of competency is required when it actually comes to lifting/training.  You don’t have to be able to full clean 200kg+ or snatch 150kg+ to function as a good coach, but you do need a certain level of proficiency in demonstrating and coaching all the lifts.

I do agree with Todds point in his excellent article, we as an industry do need to be more professional, we need to support each other a lot more and not to be scared to give other S&C coaches credit. One Sports Performance Coach who I have not met yet face to face, but have corresponded with is Wil Fleming.  Wil is a brilliant speaker on the topics of power development, speed, and strength training for athletes.  Wil is the co-owner of Force Fitness and Performance and Athletic Revolution, in Bloomington, IN. I have read Wils articles on T-Nation, IYCA websites, bought his DVD’s, watched his coaching videos on Youtube and the guy is brilliant as a coach and writer.  He comes across with a real passion for sports coaching. Does this make me any less of a S&C coach by saying this? No it doesn’t. Maybe it is the competitive streak in all of us, but often we are too quick in the relatively tiny physical performance world to criticise our fellow peers.  We all have our own philosophies.  We all have our own opinions on how to prepare athletes. That doesn’t mean to say if another coach trains differently to you he/she is wrong.  We should embrace other coaches ideas as learning opportunities.

Goodness knows, we have enough people willing to stick the boot in to the ‘Fitness Guys,’ especially after a defeat or poor performance, the last we need is to do it to each other.

In summary, I do believe that this is a fantastic industry that we work in.  The S&C coach has so much to offer managers and Head coaches but we need to sell and promote ourselves, and educate others on the diversity of our role.  Bearing this in mind, the title of Physical Performance Coach is more suited to describing what our jobs entail.  Our job is to present our athletes to the Manager/Head Coach as athletes who are as fit, powerful and as explosive as possible.  We should strive to include a skilled based element to our philosophies and to the environment we work in, to achieve continuity and a cohesive approach.

The background, training and personality of those entering the S&C profession and undertaking this work is crucial.  We need coaches who are the full package that possess competency and flexibility, with the skills to communicate and motivate in order to achieve success.  It is these individuals, who collectively will steer the profession toward a secure and respected future in the sporting world.


New Features!

Hello everybody,
It’s been 4 months since our last update to Bodireel. We’ve been busy working really hard on a whole new feature set that will introduce a social platform to Bodireel. Not only will this allow you to become connected with your friends on Bodireel it will also connect you with Health & Fitness Professionals.
Take look at this 30 second promo video:
Screen Shot 2016-04-23 at 18.43.38
We will be rolling out this new feature set first via our website then or iOS mobile app. Android is also in development and will be with you soon.
This release means that there will be some downtime between 15:15-16:15 GMT+1 on 29th April 2016. We apologise for any inconvenience but hope you enjoy the new feature set this brings.
Good luck with your training. Let us know what you think of the new features.
The Bodireel Team

Simple Calorie Reducing Tips

By Stephen Hoyles – – Twitter: @HoylesFitness


Like it or not, when it comes to weight loss, calories are important. To bring about weight loss reducing calories is an absolute must. There are two ways you can create a calorie deficit – burn more through activity or reduce the amount of calories you consume through food.

Rather than go down the rabbit hole of counting calories too soon, start reducing you calories by following these simple calorie reducing tips…


Add more vegetables to your meals. Vegetables are low in calories, can be cooked a variety of ways and provide lots of fibre which keeps you full. By adding more vegetables to your plate you leave less room for more calorie-heavy foods, reducing the overall calorie content of the meal.

Adjust your cooking methods. It goes without saying that frying, roasting, baking etc add fat and calories to a food, whereas grilling, steaming, poaching and boiling keep the calories the same or in some cases, reduce the calories by allowing fat to drain away from the food as it cooks.

Remove excess fat from meat. Simply cutting the fat off a steak, bacon, pork chops etc is an excellent way of saving potentially hundreds of calories. It’s a simple but very effective calorie reducing trick.

Eat raw foods. One of the simplest ways to keep calories low is to snack on raw foods such as fruit, vegetables and sushi. By not adding extra ingredients through cooking, raw foods are a way to keep calories low. You also damage fewer of the vitamins and minerals, making the foods morel mineral dense.

Opt for leaner cuts of meat. If you are a steak fan, try fillet as it is lean. More into poultry? Chicken breast is leaner than the leg. Opt for minced steak rather than generic minced beef as it tends to be leaner. Less fat = fewer calories.

Fruit for dessert. In the summer especially, fruit is at its juiciest and sweetest best and makes an ideal dessert – far lower in calories than most other options, more vitamin and mineral dense and higher in fibre. Go for fruit salad and easily save a few hundred calories.


Walk more. Walking is an excellent ‘accidental’ calorie burner. Walking to the shops, to pick up the kids or even for the sake of it is a way of improving posture, mood, energy levels and burning extra calories. Why not chart it with apedometer?

Cycle. Sometimes walking just isn’t practical due to time or distance. That doesn’t mean you have to take the car – get on your bike and shed a few extra calories! Locking up a bike is quicker, easier and cheaper than parking a car in most towns anyway!

Exercise Early. I’ve said many times how big a fan I am of morning exercise. By getting up early you increase your metabolic rate at the start of the day, burning extra calories all day long.

Exercise at higher intensities. Hard work pays off. With high intensity exercise you will burn more calories which adds to the calorie deficit required to burn fat. One of the most effective ways of charting exercise intensity is with a heart rate monitor.

Lift weights. Lifting weights will increase muscle mass, which results in extra calorie burn over the long term. They key to long term fat loss is to increase your metabolic rate by adding muscle mass – this means your body will burn more calories at rest than it would if it had less muscle.

Exercise frequently. Habitual exercise is vital to sustaining a calorie deficit. Some sort of daily activity, even low intensity will really help to burn calories and help to keep fat levels under control. It isn’t often you see an overweight person with an excellent exercise regime.

Follow these simple tips and you will create an effective calorie deficit very quickly and will see weight loss results shortly after!


Five Ways to Know if your Personal Trainer Is the Right Fit for you

Fitness is linked to happiness, creativity, wisdom, a healthy circadian rhythm and many other factors conducive to a fulfilling life. People can decide to exercise for many reasons; to lose weight for an occasion, under doctor orders to improve your mood, but often comes under the umbrella term of self help/improvement. Numerous others  can be involved in any one individuals quest to self improvement; friends, family, and those in professions such as Doctors, teachers or therapists to help with mental and physical wellbeing, yet we are often told we must fix ourselves, ‘only you can change you.’ Since this is dauntingly accurate, and since exercising is good for many areas of self improvement, positively affecting the body and the brain, deciding to invest in the help of a personal trainer could be one of the best decisions you’ll make in terms of your quest for self improvement.

Caring for yourself can be a struggle, so you aren’t going to want to pay someone to be in your life who is going to make you feel worse. Here is an outline of qualities, all good personal trainers should possess, in order for the impact they make on your life to be worthwhile.

If you view the advice and training you receive from a fitness professional as a product, then you as a client are the consumer. You are likely to get the best possible results if your trainer understands you, the consumer of their product.  Here is some advice about the qualities you should look for from a personal trainer, and how you can help them out with their job.

1. Make sure you’re trainer knows what you want to achieve, be as open and as honest as possible. Sometimes issues such as self esteem can be harder to talk about in comparison to simply trying to lose a few pounds before a holiday, but try to find a trainer you will be able to open up to and communicate with over time even if you struggle at first to. Knowing why you are there will be helpful to any good trainer, but also watch out for how well they appear to be understanding you, they should embrace the opportunity to trust their instincts and come up with new plans which will help you out with the things you possibly aren’t telling them.

2. Be honest with yourself about your goals. Aim as high as is feasibly possible without being unrealistic. You don’t have to attach a number to your objective, your goal can simply be to ‘feel good’ unless you have been otherwise advised by a doctor. After a few sessions you should see signs of whether your trainer is the right person for you to be working with, even if you don’t fully enjoy the sessions or see results yet.

3. Don’t jump in too quickly. Being passionate and committed is wonderful, but can lead to disappointment if you don’t see results quickly. If you have the opposite problem, and can’t find motivation, don’t give up, take things slow. A good trainer should be trying to push you but as they get to know you, their consumer, they should know that everyone has a limit. You also need to think about habits you may want to break, habits which contributed to weight gain, mood changes or ill health, your trainer should be versed in how to create new behaviours, but there is no harm in doing your own research to find tips which will help you.

4. Know your own deal breakers. Some people hate to feel too drained after working out, you just might not get that ‘endorphins’ feeling that everyone else seems to rave about. Others don’t like to get out of breathe, or a particular exercise or routine may fill you with dread. If you are serious about benefitting from the effects of your training you cannot say no to everything, but if there’s something you really won’t do, your trainer should be mindful and accommodating and more than happy to come up with alternatives.

5. Do try to like your trainer. You might not like the exercises they do with you, but they’re trying to do their job which is what you pay them to do. Be appreciative when they make an effort to ‘get’ you. However, as in any ‘personal’ job it’s important for them to be empathetic in their role. If it seems they can’t differentiate their training style between different clients then maybe it is worth looking for someone else.

Personal training involves not only excellent skills in training and fitness, but high emotional intelligence which is part of the formula to retaining and sourcing clients.

About Gym Free Trainers:
Gym Free Trainers, based in Liverpool have an excellent degree of customisation and offer a range of packages, and have trained all ages for all purposes. For them, training is not just your weekly/twice weekly session, your trainer can provide motivational messages, personal progress reports and advice about your diet and how to train in the interim between sessions. Visit for more information.

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