Castle Personal Training is a Corstorphine, Edinburgh based company who specialise in weightloss/toning and Pre and Post Natal exercise.
Let me start off with a little brag. There’s just nothing like getting up at 5.45 in the morning and training wonderfully dedicated people for an hour or two, then cleaning your own studio and taking the dog to the park for a bit of a play before coming home and blogging a little bit. It is the perfect way to spend a morning. Even better is that I get to go back to the studio in a few hours to train more wonderful people as I’m quite busy even though it’s the Easter holidays. In short; I’m living the dream.
I got an email the other day from one of my American readers who asked what they should look for when going into a Personal Training studio for the first time. Excellent question, I’ve written about how to find a good PT and have touched on the “what to look for and what to avoid” a bit on my Facebook page but that was mainly through loads of short posts and I know an update can be easy to miss sometimes.
Here’s what I look for and it might not necessarily be in the order you’d expect;
1 Cleanliness. This is the big one for me. I don’t want to see dirty benches or sweat stains on equipment. think about the amount of people using equipment. A lot of people coming to the gym or a PT studio have colds and runny noses and you have them sweating all over dumbbells or treadmills. gyms are, by their very nature, places where people come to sweat but I don’t have to be covered in it. This is why the Castle studio gets cleaned every day and deep cleaned twice a week. We always clean with anti-bacterials (dettol, bleach etc.) and ALL equipment that was used during a session gets cleaned before other clients come in.
2 Flooring. This somewhat ties in with Nr1. I am fine with all kinds of matting, concrete floors and even wooden flooring or laminate. Obviously laminate means that you probably get into trouble if a kettlebell slips out of your hands but that’s another matter. What’s not OK, for me, is carpet. A lot of people exercising sweat more than a little piggy that’s just been told it’s invited to a BBQ as the guest of honour and carpet soaks all that sweat up. That just creates a wonderful atmosphere for little germs to sit and fester in and I don’t want to breathe that in. Add on to that that a lot of people wear the same shoes indoor as they do outdoors and the floors gets very dirty very quickly. A vacuum cleaner doesn’t even come close to doing the job and I have yet to come across a studio/gym that gets deep cleaned with a professional carpet cleaner every day. I worked at a “high-end” gym for 2 years and their carpet was hardly ever deep cleaned!
3 Atmosphere. This is a bit more “frilly”. Does it feel nice? Does it feel comfortable and like the sort of place I’d happily go to and expect to get results? Told ya, it sounds frilly but I don’t like to train in a place where I’m uncomfortable. This includes space. Space is essential when it comes to being comfortable. I have seen gyms/studios that are 8000 sq ft and you can’t turn around because the owners allow to many people in their classes. This is simply not acceptable. Everybody should be able to exercise comfortably and walk around when resting in between sets.
4; Amenities. Does it have everything I need? Is there plenty of parking? I don’t like to spend too much time faffing about when going to train so like to make sure everything I need will be there and easily available.
5; Equipment. This is very much last on my list and that’s because it doesn’t matter all that much. Obviously every studio/gym should have a squat rack or two but after that it all really depends on the Personal Trainer and their style of training. In Edinburgh there’s a lovely studio which has laminate flooring and therefore the owner has gone for machines all the way and there’s no reason why you can’t get good results training that way. We have gone for a more “fun and free” approach. I like to throw balls into walls, use kettlebells and battleropes and all that. Both are obviously completely valid. You can get fit 100 different ways with a thousand different exercise routines so this, to me, doesn’t matter as much. What matters is that your PT and you are on the same wave-length and that’s much more important than having a fancy piece of kit.
In short; finding the right place to train in can be as important as finding the right PT, make sure the environment is right for you and don’t be blown away by fancy equipment.