10 Years. 10 Lessons!

It has been a MASSIVE 10 YEARS since I started Personal Training.


Going from a busy “big” gym training people and learning what works, to branching out on my own, it’s been a massive learning curve – and I am STILL learning!

Here are 10 lessons you can take from my journey so far..……And I didn’t have to think!  More that I had to think what to LEAVE OUT OF MY BRAIN!

1.You can learn all the SCIENCE you want….BUT…

Sets and Reps! CRAZY killer new exercises! Circadian rhythms! Superfoods!

These are all valid topics…….But they are irrelevant if the person in front of you isn’t listening….or just won’t understand what you are saying. When I first started, I was applying things I had read about working with elite athletes…….and there is a difference between working with people that are looking to trim 1% body fat, or decrease their 200m time by 0.1seconds compared to someone who is just needing the basics to improve and feel better.

It’s great to learn……………… But it’s not that effective and even dangerous when used on the wrong person.

*Don’t do this – leave it to the Olympic guys

Lesson 1 = Get the BASICS mastered first, and AFTER THAT you do the riskier stuff.  

2. I knew Personal training would be a good fit for me……but it’s not for everyone.

6am – able to smile and get someone through a workout they are not that keen to start?  LET’S DO THIS!

1.30pm ….been working all morning…..ready to train? Check!

8pm Ready for that last client who isn’t that ready for a workout because they have been working all day ?! Check!

Do this most days and some people just don’t like it.  Couple that with working weekends as well as early mornings, late nights, and often low pay or no pay with cancellations…..You can see why the drop out rate is so high.

Plus the fact that many people see it like this:

  • “Personal Training…..that’s not a REAL JOB”
  • “It is just VAIN Men and Women obsessed with themselves”
  • “Oh yeah, players who sleep with their clients” (In fact just this weekend I heard of a PT near my friend who lives 2 hours away had an affair……so the rumours continue!)
  • “Instructors that bully their clients”

….You can see why coaches drop out.

Lesson 2 = Coaching takes a certain type of person, and be in it for the love of helping other people.

3. Referring back to number 1 and going to meet the client where they were at…….number 3 is “Use the best exercise for the client”

In a large group training situation this can be difficult, but we have a great set up at Your Next Level Fitness…..and people regularly swap things out.  I am not talking swapping a tough exercise like a heavy BB squat for a light tricep kickback……..more like people say “John, Can I do reverse lunges instead of walking lunges”

What most “bootcamps” or group classes lack is exercise options.…..and we have planned for that.  I hear of people saying “I couldnt do press ups and he wouldnt let me do knee ones so I looked a bit like this

While press ups are in their own right AMAZING…..not everyone can do them. Also, what if you want/need to improve tricep strength without chest and shoulders getting involved?

At Your Next Level Fitness, we do use bodyweight exercise, and also Dumbells, Cables, bands and more tools to make you the best version of yourself!

Lesson 3 = Use the best Exercise that you can to feel that area.  Also, if a bootcamp is just running, burpees, press ups and crunches……Then MAYBE you need to expand your exercise Toolbox.

4. Back when I first started training Clients in the Village (Everyone knew me as Cam the bodypump guy!) …..I was using High Intensity Interval Training for clients. This was there was more and more info coming out about the huge benefits in less time.

If you didn’t already know there was a study done in 1996 by Tabata et al. which showed 20 seconds of maximal training and 10 seconds rest x 8 rounds produced significant benefits in VO2MAX and more.  That discussion is for another day whether it’s for everyone…. NOTE: IT IS NOT!

While I still prescribe high intensity training in various amounts…….sometimes you just need to put some time in and go steady.

Lesson Number 4 = Not everyone can benefit as much from High Intensity Training, and also there is a limit to the amount you can do before it affects other things.

5. Carrying on, It’s crazy to think all of the work that needs to be done

  • Drop body fat
  • Feel better
  • Sleep better
  • Get stronger
  • Feel more confident

…….Can all be done in that 1-2 hours  a week!

Things as simple as SLEEP, FOOD and STRESS are keys to your happiness, and if you want to unlock that list (drop body fat, feel better etc) – you need to pay attention to ALL OF THESE.

Lesson 5 = Eat proper food like an adult, Sleep 8 hours a night on average, Train around 3-5 hours a week of varying intensities and do something that helps your stress disappear, you cannot just train balls-out only.

6. Heaviest weight is not always the best way to change body shape.

You ve all seen that guy in public gyms that do something similar to this:

Again, while I still do often prescribe strength training…..1 Rep Max training is a test, and we do not and should not test every week!

Most people would do well to test a 3 or 5-rep max as it’s 10 times safer and you will actually still get a training effect.  Even proper powerlifters don’t 1 rep max every week – so neither should you!

Lesson 6 = Go heavy, but be sensible. There are times to keep some in the tank, and times to have at it.

7. That said, you do need to work hard – and lift weight!  Here’s some tips…..

  • You should probably be sweating with weights…..and if not, you probably need to lift heavier or execute the lift a little better
  • As a beginner, higher reps of 10-15 to feel the movement first.
  • Use harder exercises where possible!  I mean hard as in feeling it the right way, not joint pain.

Lesson 7 = It is supposed to be hard work – and challenging!

8. You have a unique life….so plan for that.  

This is why I set Your Next Level Fitness up they way I have.

  • I saw the biggest problem with “normal big gyms” was people went for a bit…..then stopped.
  • I noticed that classes remained popular – but they didn’t really provide great longer term results, because things were not changed properly with the programs (Check out THIS ARTICLE on why BODYPUMP isn’t a good long-term option)  By the way, I still think Bodypump is good for certain people, but a few weeks of it and you will stall with your weights.  It’s Impossible to add much weights for very long – if at all.
  • Personal training provided the BEST RESULTS….but was too expensive for most people to do regularly (I still recommend most do JUST 1 personal training session)
  • I had created a group training session I called a Bootcamp (back in 2009) – (PS notice how many people have now copied!)  and our class got great weight loss results with Andrea Tony Kendra Becky and Juliet in particular…..and many many more that improved and enjoyed the classes.

Anyway, I realised there was scope for half the time using classes and half the time people using a gym program set up.  Best of both worlds!

Here is our Timetable and prices

We purposely set up so that we are flexible to you, so you don’t waste your time and your money (Someone told me recently they went to gym X for 9 months at £40 /month and went 3 times a week for the first 2 weeks and then didn’t go.   Thats £60 a session….and she wandered around each time bored)

Lesson 8 = Working in a group is great for motivation. Working on your weak points in the gym is crucial too.  Be Wise  – DO BOTH!

9. There are times ….and there are seasons.

 I used to avoid recommending running…….Because it hurt people, or they hated it.

Now, I see that some people can….and do enjoy it – see number 3 (use best Exercise!)  If you like to run, then run. If you like walk, walk. If you like to row, row.

Even I took up running!  In June 2017 I went back to my “school-boy cross country roots” and took part in the Hull 10k – and was really pleased with my time of 42:35!  Plus the heat was crazy hot.

Lesson 9 = Burning some extra Calories and getting some movement in is nearly always a good idea. Choose what you like to do and you will be more likely to stick with it.

10. Sometimes it’s nice to do fun things and Some clients will be friends for a long time!

Lesson 10 = (Photos speak louder than words!) I have met some great friends along the way, and here’s to the next 10 years!