Karl Henry: Six tips to help you pick the best personal trainer - and get the most out of your exercise classes
March is generally the second busiest time of the year for gyms and exercise classes around the country. People's thoughts turn to summer holidays, the mornings and evenings are getting brighter and there is a sense of spring in the air.
This week, I thought I would bring you a simple guide to ensure you choose the best gym or class for you.
Joining a gym or subscribing to a programme of classes is a big investment and it can be daunting when there are so many options. There has never been more outlets for fitness in Ireland than there are today, but here's how figure out which one is right for you...
Go for a free trial
It's hard to get a feel for the atmosphere of a gym or class without actually trying it out, so why not ask can you try it for free? Bring in your gear, do a workout or a class and see how you feel. Remember, this is somewhere you want to spend a lot of time over the coming months, so it's crucial you actually feel comfortable there.
What is their specialty?
One of the best elements of the fitness boom is that every need is catered for. Ensure that the goal of the gym aligns with your own goals. For example, weight loss is my specialty, not max-strength training. I always check with my clients before we go anywhere near the gym that my specialty matches up with their goals and, if not, I will send them to another trainer or gym that can meet their needs.
Is it selling something ridiculous?
Does the gym promise results that seem far too good to be true? Is it trying to hard-sell you lots of supplements or asking you to train far too much for your schedule? If so, then move on. Real fitness is hard work, takes time and should be done in a balanced way - the quick fix solution doesn't exist!
Is it close to where you spend most of your time?
The location of your chosen gym is crucial to achieving long-term health benefits. You are far more likely to keep going regularly to a gym or class close to where you work or live than somewhere that is far away.
What level of service are you getting?
With so many large gyms at low cost on offer, they may seem great, but how much service and advice are you getting? Or are you going to be left on your own all of the time? Do you get a fitness assessment as part of the package? Will you get to know the staff or will the staff be frequently changing? These are simple but crucial things to consider when joining a gym or class to ensure you get the very best out of that membership.
Fitness tip of the week
This week's tip is more of a mindfulness one, but it can help with your health and fitness plan. Try this every day this week and see how you get on. Turn off your mobile phone for 30 minutes at lunch every day. Once you get over the separation anxiety, you will realise that it's a simple way to relieve stress and actually enjoy your meals even more.
Recipe of the week
Scrambled eggs with grilled tomatoes and spinach
3 eggs, whisked
2 large tomatoes
1 teaspoon of rapeseed oil
2 large handfuls of spinach
1. Whisk 3 eggs and a good grind of black pepper together in a bowl.
2. Add the mixture to a saucepan and cook by whisking constantly for 5 minutes.
3. While the eggs are cooking, slice two large tomatoes in half, season with ground pepper and place under the grill for 6-8 minutes until cooked.
4. While the eggs and tomato are cooking, heat a teaspoon of rapeseed oil in a frying pan and cook the spinach.
5. Now simply serve and enjoy.