Regular readers of this blog will know that I’ve previously stated that I’m not a big fan of gyms. It’s not that I think there is anything wrong with the concept of a gym, it’s just that my own experiences within a public gym have not been that great and I prefer to train my clients and myself away from a public gym.
My early gym experience was pretty poor, business trips would mean overnight stays in hotels, hotel gyms are not always the best equipped and even when they were there was never anyone to show me what to do. Let’s make it pretty clear, with a background of running and no experience of weights, I really had little idea what to do in a gym. People used to talk about swiss balls and I thought they were Milka’s version of Maltesers. So whenever I was in a situation where I felt I should use the hotel gym I would go in and just use any piece of kit that was available, but in reality this meant the cardio machines, I would never go near the free weights or even the weight machines and the swiss balls were just scary.
This changed when I trained to be a Personal Trainer, I always knew I’d need to get in tune with gym stuff if I was to make a go of it. I started off by training to be a Fitness Instructor, this meant I would learn all about the gym, which would then give me enough knowledge to decide if I really did want to go up to the next stage or just leave it at that, with enough knowledge to use a gym effectively next time I was in one. When I started the course I was in with people who already used gyms and they had a pretty good understanding of what to do and when to do it. My saving grace was that I knew about endurance training and specifically how to train people to run effectively. The course wasn’t long and I passed first time and, although by no means an expert, I had gained enough knowledge to know that I was going down the right path in my chosen career.
So then I started the Personal Trainer course. This was much more intense, went into much greater detail and again I felt like the baby of the group with my lack of knowledge of gym specific exercises. But time changes everything and by the time I’d finished my course, qualifying as a Personal Trainer, I knew enough to create workouts for clients.
Admittedly I was still fairly clean behind the ears, when I started, but consistent reading, watching and trying things out have brought my knowledge base up significantly and I’ve developed my own style of workout, which has a certain Roguniqueness about it. I’ll admit I don’t know everything but continued study will fill any gaps.
My first exposure of working in a gym was not particularly warming, it was a large gym with many clients, most of whom thought they knew what they were doing and had little time for a Personal Trainer. There were people I communicated with but I probably lacked a little confidence, through lack of exposure to clients, and really didn’t enjoy my experience. I also felt that some of the other Personal Trainers reminded me too much of working for RBS, they were just waiting for you to turn around so they could stab you in the back. I like competitiveness but there’s a certain attitude of win at all costs that I can’t abide and I found that both at that gym and in RBS, where some people were renowned for exposing every little error made by others in order to make themselves look better. However I managed to get started with a few clients and this helped me to build up my workouts.
I then moved onto another gym, which I found a little too quiet, plus there was a smaller but, still present, back stabbing element. By now I’d started getting a few enquiries through my running group and this was spreading into outdoor gym work and working with clients in their own homes. At last I was starting to enjoy myself, I wasn’t restricted to a gym and I worked alone so no personality clashes. Then I started working with Paul Mason at Cheshire Personal Training. Paul would send me to clients who had signed up for his service and he would pay me a proportion of the fee.
That worked brilliantly for me, helping to stretch my clientele into South Manchester as well as
. I’ve worked well with Paul, it brings me extra work but allows me autonomy. Occasionally I’d help out Paul with a client at Cottons Gym, in Knutsford, but always preferred the mobile gym scenario. I like being in control, knowing what I’m going to do with a client and having the tools readily available, not that I can’t adapt it’s just that I choose carefully what I want to do based upon specific requirements for each session. It’s the same for me, if I’m to do a session I know exactly what I want to do and how long I have to do it, I don’t want to have to re-order my session or miss a time slot because somebody else is using a particular piece of equipment, that’s why I prefer to work out in my own gym, once I’m in there my session runs like clockwork, no dithering thinking about what I can use next it’s all worked out perfectly for what I want from that session. Cheshire
Having said all that I’ve found myself recently doing more work for Paul at Cottons, and I do my own workouts in-between clients. I now have a few regular clients at Cottons and I actually feel very chilled in the environment. The staff who work there are all very polite and helpful, the other Personal Trainers are really good at what they do, professional and friendly, no hints of jealousy or trying to put one over on the other Personal Trainers, it feels like a team which is what a successful gym should be like. I’m also getting to know some of the regular clients, a number of whom seem to be pretty clued up with their training, I sometimes take a peek at what others are doing and I like what I see. My disdain for gyms is being cured by my association with this particular gym, long may our relationship continue.
The back injury is now all but gone, still the odd tweak which hinders my abs workouts, but the kettlebell workouts have really helped. I’ve got back to running again and am back in solid, rather than full training. I’m grateful for that as I’ve got a few clients wanting me to run with them over the next few weeks. However because I’ve lost some of my base running fitness I’m going to revisit my plans for races this year, perhaps it’s time to make a return to the track.
Written by Roger Alsop
Written by Roger Alsop