We've all seen them. The chiselled fitness professionals at the gym or on social media touting their 6-week or 12-week transformation plans. They seem too good to be true, and in most cases they are. Here's why.
They are not personalised
It's sad to say, but there are a lot of personal trainers out there who do not have your best interests at heart and will exploit you if you let them. In the UK, anyone can become a personal trainer no matter what their background or credentials. As such, many personal trainers will cut corners and give you a training plan that they downloaded from the internet and is not tailored specifically to you. Worse still, they will sell the same training plan to every one of their clients.
If you are going to be paying for a training plan, you deserve one that is carefully thought out and is written with you and your goals in mind. When looking for a training plan from a personal trainer, make sure they know as much about you as possible such as daily routine, working habits, family commitments, short term and long term goals and any physical limitations you have so that they can write a training plan that compliments your lifestyle and you can realistically stick to.
Read more: Are Personal Trainers Worth It?
They over-simplify your goals
Something like a 6-week or 12-week transformation plan is flawed in its very concept. Being healthy is a lifestyle and fitness is not something you can achieve in 6 or 12 weeks. A personal trainer should be putting you into healthy habits that last a lifetime and coaching you on everything from eating habits to how you sleep and spend your free time.
A time-limited transformation plan only focuses on the short term and promises to 'transform' your physique within a given time frame. While this may seem great at first, you may well lose some weight and tone up but then you will most likely gain back all the weight and snap back to your natural habits.
When looking to get fit and change your lifestyle, you should always set SMART fitness goals. These will be specific and give you a focus while also teaching you life-long habits. The results will be knowing how to eat better, making healthier choices, and feeling better about yourself; the physical transformation is merely a bonus.
Read more: How To Set Fitness Goals
They promote unhealthy methods
By having such strict time frames, these transformation plans often promote unhealthy methods such as starvation or taking questionable supplements (or even drugs in extreme cases). Especially if your personal trainer is pitting you against other clients in a competition, it can be all too tempting to cheat.
Sadly, this completely misses the point of the programme and will put you in bad habits. It's always best to have a training plan that works on your time and lasts up to a year. Perhaps training for a specific race distance (like running your first marathon) or fitting into a certain size of clothing; this all takes time and cannot be done within 6 or 12 weeks. Ideally, your training plan should last a lifetime and be constantly evolving and changing with you and your new goals.