The journey of a personal trainer

Written by Mark Coles - Follow on Google+ | Facebook | Twitter

The first part of your educational journey, begins with learning how to lift weights and use machines at a very basic level.

You then follow the growing trend in health club training, and get tied into learning all sorts of wacky pieces of equipment (such as Bosu, Viper, balance boards, "functional training" and TRX). You get taught that these are the future of personal training, and you then spend the next 6 - 12 months designing your programmes and business around their soul use. Now don't get me wrong, each of these pieces of kit, do have their use (but in very small specific areas). 

You then mix in some extended periods of study on posture, mobility and "core", and once again you base the entirety of your sessions with your clients on these areas.

Now at this point (3 - 5 years down the line), you may be scratching your head wondering why you're struggling to get the results that you're clients are hiring you for. You're providing them with fun, varied and motivational sessions, but they're either leaving you, or not happy with their results.

How do I know, well it's the exact route I took. The fitness industry has a power to guide you through various trends, and many trainers get caught up in it all. Many trainers fail to think for themselves, and question if the material that they're studying, actually has a carry over to what they want to be known for.


I won't lie, in my early days I got caught up with "core" and "functional" training, and I based all my sessions around them. But after a while I started to question the results I was getting, and questioned if these methods would be best suited to other parts of my programming.

Learning movement, posture, "core", stability, mobility, is all essential to understanding the human body, but all of it has a place in programming.

So at least 5 years deeper into the industry, I found myself back researching bodybuilding training/nutrition, strength training and different techniques for using dumbbells and barbells. I found myself back studying deeper into the methods I had learnt right at the start of my personal training career. I started to apply these methods to the main bulk of my training sessions. After a few months, the one thing that I had been looking for started to appear, results.

I took a step back, looked at everything I had learned and came up with my own system of working (it's still getting tweaked today). The first 5 years were essential to me, after all it's the mistakes you make through your career, which make you a better coach. But I didn't need to spend as long isolating myself to one way of working.

All my clients get screened prior to working with me, this is where my posture, injury, mobility and flexibility knowledge comes into its own. My clients all have diets and supplement plans, this is where all my time (which continues today) studying nutrition comes in. My clients have a medical symptom analysis, this is where I might consider referring them to a specialist. I look into aspect of psychology and decide if I may need to work along side another professional in this field. I then write training programmes, which are based around strength training, bodybuilding and performance (in my athletic population clients). I then give recovery strategies which may be nutritional, stretching or lifestyle based.

You see, everything that I've learned over the years has it's place in my programming, but I never lose sight of the fact that all my clients are hiring me for body compositional, health or performance results. One method, and one method alone will not get me the results I want.

Take everything you're learning, and apply it to the most appropriate part of the programme. Don't get stuck for too long on one field, and limit your opportunity to get better results.

If all you're being hired for is TRX training, then stick to your specialist field. If all you're being hired for is Bosu training, then that's what you need to focus on. However, if you're being hired to get someone in great shape, and improve their health, you need to have a very rounded and educated approach.

Everything has it's place, be opened minded enough to know where it fits best.


My internships give trainers the opportunity to put all their knowledge into a system, where they can get consistent results. 

For more information, please email 

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