Sunday, 22 January 2012

Personal Training

I’ve started watching a show on Channel 4 called ‘The Fat Busters’. I missed the first one, when I saw the write up I thought it would be just another gimmicky weight lose programme featuring people that just aren’t real, so I didn’t bother watching it. However one of my clients made a reference to it so I thought I ought to watch it, if only to explain reasons for not doing some of the things they do, i.e. wearing high heels in the gym. Since then I’ve watched every episode and some of it is a bit gimmicky and some of it is different to the things I do, but, most of the stuff being stated and the training the personal trainers are doing is pretty good stuff and there are a number of things shown that I either do or I would do if I had more space and equipment. So actually it’s not a bad watch and the characters do seem to come across as fairly good Personal Trainers who care about their clients (though editing has clearlytaken place so I can’t be absolutely sure of that), unlike some of the Personal Trainers I’ve come across.

One of the things I found of particular interest, last week, was that Matt (Miller the Pillar), the bodybuilder, used another trainer to help him to achieve his own goals. This is how I got to be a reasonable runner, by the use of expert coaches Arthur Bruce and Dave Lucas, and, although I’m now self coached, I will still, occasionally, try another coach’s session, to try something fresh for me and take the thought process out of the equation. It’s also how I have built up a reputation for training other Personal Trainers, so far I’ve helped four other Personal Trainers to achieve some specific goals.

Why does anyone need a Personal Trainer? We’re all a bit more gym savvy these days and of course there are loads of books, magazines and internet pages available to tell you how to train, so why does anyone need a Personal Trainer?
  • A Personal Trainer can review your goals and will know exactly what is required to achieve them and can be quite frank in telling you that.
  • A Personal Trainer can devise a specific programme of workouts for you that will help you to achieve your goals.
  • He/she can add variety and challenges to your workouts and ensure you are pushed harder as you develop.
  • A Personal Trainer will motivate you when times get tough and can ensure you don’t slacken off when the desire takes you.
  • A Personal Trainer will ensure you use correct technique and appropriate weight, and work out at an appropriate pace.
  • A Personal trainer will advise you on nutrition and other types of exercise you could try.
  • A Personal Trainer will introduce you to activities you would never consider yourself.
  • A Personal Trainer will cater for any illness or injury you are suffering from.
  • A Personal Trainer will always have safety in mind.

When would you use a mobile Personal Trainer instead of a gym based Personal Trainer? Not everybody feels comfortable working out in a gym or in the public eye. That’s when a mobile Personal Trainer comes into play. A mobile Personal Trainer will visit you at a place of your convenience and choice, so that you will already be comfortable before you start. He/she will bring their own equipment with them appropriate to the type of session you will have discussed.
  • No need to feel embarrassed to enter a gym.
  • No need to pay gym bills.
  • No need to queue up to use a particular piece of equipment.
  • Use of the Personal Trainer’s equipment will help you to understand what to purchase should you choose to get your own equipment.
  • The Personal Trainer may use some different equipment that you won’t have seen at a gym.
  • You’re in your own environment and comfort zone.
  • No need to travel to a gym.
  • You can get fit or lose weight without anyone knowing, until they start to see the transformation.
  • You won’t end up watching people with poor form, think it’s normal and copy them.
As you’ll have gathered by now, I am a Personal Trainer, and although I have my own small gym I work as a mobile Personal Trainer. Whilst I have non portable equipment in the gym, which I do use with clients who come to me, I also have a large array of portable equipment that I can take along to client sessions away from the home. I have a mixture of client types, some visit me at my gym base, others will meet me at a convenient location and others will invite me into their home to provide their workout.

But what is it I have to offer that might set me apart from other Personal Trainers?
  • I’m qualified to REPS Level 3, and I’m always looking to update my skills and knowledge. I’m also a Run Leader and trained in the use of First Aid and Defib. (if you wish to see the full list of my qualifications in the fitness industry visit
  • I have full liability insurance.
  • Although I workout hard myself and work in the fitness industry it is not all consuming in my life and whilst I’m training my clients I’m able to hold a sensible conversation with them about things that are important to them.
  • I’m able to understand their lifestyle and adjust the session to fit around any stresses they have been going through.
  • I don’t try to sell extras as part of the session, I’ll happily pass on my thoughts on particular products but I won’t plug something just to make money for myself, I only endorse things I truly believe in.
  • I’m mature in years and have a wise head that goes with that maturity.
  • Whilst I come from an endurance background and do base a lot of my training around endurance principles, I’m well versed in all areas of fitness.
  • I’ve trained some of the best; Paratroopers, Royal Marines, Personal Trainers, National Champions, World Record Holders.
  • But I’ve also trained relative newcomers, people recovering from injury and retired people.
  • Finally, I’m a nice guy, sometimes we do win.
To find out what some of my clients really think of me visit

How did I get into personal training? Good question, it was never high on my list of ideal careers, in fact I hated going to gyms, but, as an athlete of many years, who had benefited from some good coaching, I wanted to pass on my experiences and knowledge, to help others to achieve their own success. I held off from becoming a coach for a few years because I was training really hard and also working abroad a lot, so I didn’t feel I could give the commitment I felt was required. Then I became a shift worker, which meant working awkward hours on different days each week, so again I couldn’t make a formal commitment. But at 42, and slowing down in my own running, I decided enough was enough and now was the time to start training to become a coach, even if it meant taking holidays to attend courses. I had to wait a further 9 months before I could get on a course, but qualified at Level 1 fairly quickly. During my training and qualification I helped out with the athletes at Edinburgh AC but found it frustrating that I wasn’t officially allowed to use my own initiative. To get my Level 2, which would give me more freedom, I realised I would have to wait some months with no guarantee of getting on a course that year. I loved working with the athletes, encouraging them and making sure they didn’t get too much recovery between reps, it was this that prompted me to look at an alternative career choice and train to become a Personal Trainer. After all my employers, Royal Bank of Scotland were starting a difficult period, having over exposed themselves, and it was clear that the employees, not Fred, would be the ones to suffer. Knowing that redundancy was a very real possibility I put all my efforts into qualifying as a Personal Trainer, which I achieved in 2009. Since then I’ve worked in a few gyms but found I enjoy the role of mobile Personal Trainer suits me better and I now cover the majority of Cheshire and South Manchester.

Enough about Personal Training, what about my personal training? For the last week I’ve been increasing the intensity of my sessions, both running and the gym work. Not increasing the weights, just working the evening cardio sessions harder. I’m managing to push myself almost to exhaustion in each 5 minute segment but by the time I’ve fixed myself onto the next machine I’m ready to do the same again. I’ve been managing just shy of 1400m in 5 mins on the rower, which is getting closer to where I was in my mid 30s. All this intense cardio is showing benefits in my running, I feel more comfortable when I’m running, even at pace. Today I managed my longest run for ages, 1 hour 30 mins. As I’ve stated before, my knee starts playing up if I run further than the hour but I’ve been working on strengthening the muscles around it. I chose today, for this long run, to empathise with Ray, who was running in the 4 villages half marathon at Helsby, also because Carole is working in India this week so I don’t have to compromise my training. I found it windy as anything on my run, so I’m sure that will impact Ray’s time. Yesterday I was planning to make the trip to Pennington Flash, for the parkrun, but with Ray resting and Carole not feeling too great in the morning I decided against going on my own and did 3 x 10 minute reps with 2 min recoveries (yes Richard Meade I was very generous to myself, but I needed it as the first 18 minutes were into a strong headwind). This coming week I’ve got my old pal and best man, first time round, Al Stewart, visiting. It’s been ages since we last got together so it will be good to catch up. But that’s not going to get in the way of hard work, I’m piling it on now as I’ll be taking a three week period of specific light training and speed work. It’s all part of the grand plan, success doesn’t come by accident.

Written by Roger Alsop


  1. I recently read this about PT/Gym

    1. Personal training costs more than a gym membership
    2. Weight training is more effective than pulling some rubberbands in your back garden
    3. Losing weight is about prolonged endurance effort, not an hour of PT
    4. A wealth of information and resources about training is available free on the internet.
    5. For every retired runner, there is a self proclaimed FITNESS Expert, who has trained "hundreds" of clients
    ranging from the classical ex Military to World record breakers, although these are either not mentioned or they have the world record in running backwards or in a diving suit. Never in a classical event such as 5k or 10K.
    I hope they are wrong

    1. I guess it all depends on where you are coming from.
      1. Yes Personal Training can cost more than a gym membership but it can also be more effective.
      2. I guess this depends on who you are, some people benefit more from pulling rubber bands in their garden than weight training.
      3. Losing weight is a combination of consistent training and balanced meal planning, not just endurance effort.
      4. Yes I'm sure it is, but it's knowing how to interpret that information that is the key. Motivation is sometimes required in person.
      5. I would say there are more self proclaimed fitness experts than retired runners. Also a world record is a world record, it doesn't have to be a classic event, perhaps whoever wrote that should try one instead of dismissing other people's hard earned achievements.