10 things to know

10 things to know about personal training

19 Oct 2021

“Looking to get started with personal training? Here is a beginner’s guide to help you understand everything about personal training, from gaining muscle mass to common fitness misconceptions.”



Personal training is a customised and complete training programme combining cardio, weight and flexibility training. Designed by a certified and experienced personal trainer, the tailor-made sessions will help you identify and achieve your fitness goal effectively, whether it is weight loss or improving sports performance. They also hold you accountable, motivate you as a workout buddy and correct your form throughout the programme.

Read more: 7 reasons to hire a personal trainer


The first thing you need to know about personal training is energy, which translates into calories. It is important to understand that muscle is highly metabolic, meaning it takes a ton of energy to do its thing. Because of this, you need to consume many calories to maintain your physical energy. But the kind of calories matters too.


Protein is one of the three types of macronutrients that can be converted into energy for the body, the other two being various forms of carbohydrates and fat. However, protein is particularly crucial in this case because it helps build and repair muscle. When you use your muscle, especially with great intensity, you are causing all kinds of little tears in the muscle that need to be repaired regularly. As your muscles are rebuilt, they are further developed and become stronger. Protein is the currency that helps make all of that happen.

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Carbs are significant too. Excess protein is bad for the body, potentially producing kidney stones. If all you do is consume calories in the form of protein, your body will absorb that protein for energy, and you will not have enough protein left to repair and build muscle. For that reason, you need to consume a fair amount of carbohydrate calories as well. The body will prioritise carb calories first, protecting your protein stores so they can do their thing.


There are two golden rules here.

Firstly, you need to eat more frequently. As the body needs so many calories to both recover from the stress of strength training and to burn for energy, you are going to need to eat more frequently. Here is a simple and straightforward recommendation if you work out in the evening:

•    Breakfast (wake up)
•    Brunch (about 3 hours later)
•    Lunch
•    After workout snack
•    Dinner

The number of calories you will need to consume is entirely up to your body weight and how intensely you are training. Use online tools like a calorie calculator to get a better idea of what you should be shooting for, and consult a dietitian to learn more about your individual dietary needs.

Secondly, eating at the right time is just as important. It is to make sure that you are consuming those calories at the right time. Consuming a high-protein snack or shake within 30 minutes of your workout can help optimise muscle gain and assist the recovery process. Your body needs nutrients to recover, especially after a tough workout.

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We can give two typical examples. The first one is that beginners think their training is effective when doing the same workout every day. This is of course not true. Our body has something called muscle memory. It is a very cool function that allows the body to adapt to any physical activity it has to perform repeatedly for a length of time, reducing stress and potential damage and improving performance. However, this can be detrimental for strength training. You want that stress on the muscles because it is what allows you to build new muscle. So, do not repeat the same routine. Change up your workout regularly, or add new challenges, for example, progressively lifting heavier. This can help counteract the adaptation process. The time period is not an exact science, but try rotating a few movements in and out every few weeks can keep things fresh.

The second example is that women are concerned about strength training making them develop too much muscle and become bulky. This is mostly a misconception as well. The reason men can do that is because of their testosterone levels, something women do not have enough of for that same kind of bulking up to happen. So, if you are worried about bulking up, don’t be. Strength training is immensely valuable for both health and fitness, do not keep yourself from taking advantage of it because of a misconception.


Each personal trainer is unique, and they have their own methods and strategies. But, basically there are must-do things in the first personal training session. For example, personal trainers will get to know about you, like your personal preferences and medical history. It is essential to have fitness assessments before any exercises. After they understand your fitness levels, they will advise you whether your goals are realistic and attainable. Just remember they are here to help and support you in your fitness journey.

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It depends on the studio and your personal trainer, but here are some of the general rules:

•    Arrive early
•    Dress appropriately
•    Put your phone away during the class
•    Clean up and return your equipment after use
•    Be nice and respectful


•    Get enough sleep

Sleep is a critical recovery period. If you’re doing regular strength training to build muscle and tone your body, it needs time to recover from the stress you are putting it through. The time for the lion’s share of that recovery is sleep. If you are not getting enough sleep, your body does not have enough time to recover, grow muscle, and burn fat. The general recommendation is six to eight hours of sleep. However, pay attention to your own body to see what your optimal sleep cycle is.

•    You get what you put in

If you take an hour just to slosh your way to the gym, several more minutes to get dressed, and fiddle with your smartphone for five minutes while you sit on a machine between sets, you’re not getting nearly as much from your muscle-building efforts as you could. That is not just because working harder will bring you better results (as with anything in life), though. That is also because building your heart rate up and alternating between exercises that work out different muscle groups instead of taking repeated breaks in between helps you get fitter. You get what you put in, so work out with your full focus and intensity.

•    It is never too late

While it is true that we lose muscle mass as we age, it is not true that we lose the ability to build new muscle. One of the most extraordinary health finds in the past two decades has been that we retain the ability to build muscle and maintain a healthy body well into our golden years. With the right diet and strength training routine, you can be as fit as a 30-year-old in your fifties.

Read more: Everything you need to know about performance nutrition


Here is how you should choose a personal trainer best for you. First ask yourself, why do you want to have a personal training session in the first place? Do you want to lose weight or train for a marathon? At Somerton, there are many professional personal trainers. It is very important to get an expert that understands your goals and helps you achieve them. They will customise your programme, keep you motivated and elevate your sporting journey.

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Check out the full list of our personal trainers here

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