Castle Personal Training is a Corstorphine, Edinburgh based company who specialise in weightloss/toning and Pre and Post Natal exercise.
I was speaking with an American colleague of mine, Jeff, the other week and we stumbled upon the age old question that crops up every now and again; “Do you train everybody that wants to train with you?”. As an aside; If you’re a PT and you’ve never asked yourself this question then you probably should.
Jeff is a certified Physio and a Strength and Conditioning Specialist who works with a lot of athletes and, as you might have gathered, I focus on Weightloss/Toning and Pre/Post natal exercise. Jeff and I communicate a lot with eachother to keep exchanging ideas on diet and exercise and to get a fresh perspective on things every now and again.
The reason we were discussing this was that I had someone walk through the door the other day who said they wanted to train with me as “one of their friends said I was the best PT in Edinburgh.” Let’s call him Tim. Tim’s friend recommended me to him as Tim had been told, by his Dr, to get back exercising to help his back recover from surgery.
If it had just been minor surgery rehab I would have been fine but Tim had just had Cervical Spine surgery and the recovery stage of that is not something I am familiar with. Obviously I could do loads of research into it and put a half-decent program together but I chose to refer Tim to someone I know who is incredible with this sort of thing. As any PT will tell you; Rehab clients are the golden goose of PT. They tend to spend whatever amount is required to get back to full health and will train however many times is best for them without complaining. Tim was “worth” approx £4000 in PT and, I don’t care who you are, that’s a fair chunk of change to “give away”. The reason for me to do this was that I just couldn’t provide Tim with the service he requires.
Jeff and I were discussing Tim’s situation when he told me something he’d never mentioned before; He’s been turning tonnes of weightloss clients away recently for exactly the same reason. This guy REALLY knows his rehab and he is incredible with Strength and Conditioning but he just doesn’t have the know-how required to make someone lose weight as fast, efficiently, and safely as some of the weight-loss experts in his area. To some Personal Trainers this will sound as something incredibly stupid to do but to Jeff it just makes sense and it’s the moral thing to do. And his book is pretty much full all the time so he doesn’t need the clients, really.
Now when you do a Google search online you will see loads of Personal Trainers pop up who claim to do everything from rehab to weightloss and ante- and post natal but ask yourself if that really makes sense. I know some incredible Physio Therapists who also work as Personal Trainers in Edinburgh but almost none of them have advanced nutritional knowledge. The reason for this is simple; They have to spend all their free time studying to keep up to date with their main job which, inevitably, is being a physio.
Almost everybody agrees that weightloss/fatloss is 70-80% diet and 20-30% exercise. So, if you accept that, the question obviously becomes; “Why are you training with someone who does not have the appropriate knowledge to help you lose weight in the most efficient way?”. Most physios charge the same rates as we do and therefore you’re paying someone a premium rate because of their qualifications. But what if their qualifications are not relevant to your goals? Why would you pay your Personal Trainer a premium if they can’t get you to your goals faster than anyone else? If anything you should be getting a discount! If someone were to come to me with a frozen shoulder and want me to fix that for them, I could definitely do that. I would however be likely to take longer to get them to full mobility than a guy like Jeff would, so why would that client be OK with paying me the same rate as Jeff charges?
The Personal Training industry is full of people that are happy to just take your money and, generally speaking, clients just assume that every PT is the same and that really is a nasty trap to fall into. I have seen weightloss, and rehab, clients with the same Personal Trainers for months without making any progress and that was purely down to the PT not having the required knowledge to help guide them.
Over the past few years I’ve had to tell several potential clients that I’m just not able to train them as I would be doing them a disservice. I have also had one or two clients that picked up injuries somewhere that meant they would be better served by training with someone else for a while so I refer them out. Amazingly all of them came back when their main priority switched back to losing weight.
The same should go when you are pregnant. You should ask your PT if they are confident, and qualified, to keep training you when you are pregnant and make sure they know what they are doing pre and post natal. Ask the right questions and, if they are not confident dealing with the issues that pregnancy inevitably bring with it you should, temporarily, part ways. You can ALWAYS go back to them later if you’re happy with them. They just happen to be the wrong PT for you AT THAT TIME, that doesn’t mean always.
As a PT you could always tell your clients to go to another PT for dietary advice, this is completely fine and a great way to keep your client.
In my humble opinion; If you are a Personal Trainer who does not have the required knowledge to deal with a certain client group you can do one of two things. You can either get the knowledge required or you can refer them to someone who has the knowledge that you’re lacking. To do anything else is just unprofessional.
As a client you simply have to ask “Is the skill-set of my Personal Trainer the correct one to help me with what I am trying to accomplish?” If the answer is “No” then moving on is simply good sense.
Good exercise but not smart.