Wednesday, 03 January 2018 11:55

Personal Training 101: A conversation with West Michigan’s “best” personal trainer, Christian Roberts

Written by  Kelly Brown / photos by Brian Kelly
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In 2017, Christian Roberts was voted best personal trainer in Revue’s Best of the West readers poll. He grew up playing rugby, boxing and surfing in Wales, then began training professionals from boxing, ballet, MMA and more. Since moving to America, Roberts has developed Street Fit Coaching, his own Grand Rapids-based business. 

We asked Roberts about how to stay motivated, how to pick your trainer and how a trainer really helps.

 

We all know personal training as “1-on-1 training,” but how would you describe it?

I think true personal training is helping somebody meet their specific goals based on a customized approach. And I’ve learned over the years that it must be fun and enjoyable too. A personal trainer must be able to adjust the program according to how the client is on that day. It’s being flexible in your approach to health and fitness and people. A good trainer has a true understanding of the client and the client’s goals.

Who benefits from personal training? 

Some people come and see me who want to get started and don’t feel confident going into a group class. We spend time getting them strong and confident to where they can go into any group class and not feel overwhelmed. Some people come who have injuries and need help with rehabilitation, strengthening specific muscle groups. Even people who have exercised for years can benefit from the accountability and programming provided by personal training. I’ve been working out for more than 25 years and I have a coach/trainer who I go to see more than once a week. 

I think a lot of people associate personal trainers with people who are wealthy, like celebrities. Is that really the case?

I think personal training and coaching has become a lot more accessible to everyday people, rather than just the wealthy and celebrities. There’s not a huge difference between the price of a trainer and group classes, but I think it comes down to the client’s specific goal. A personal trainer can concentrate more specifically on that client versus a group instructor who has 20 people to take care of. In my experience, that person will hit their goals a lot faster working 1-on-1. The average cost ranges from $60/hour to $150/hour. Most trainers offer a free initial consultation where you can meet them and go over your goals. 

Do you take clients of all levels and how should someone pick a personal trainer?

Yes, I work with all levels of fitness; people just getting started, new moms that want to get their bodies back, college athletes, high school athletes. There are a lot of great personal trainers in Grand Rapids, but my advice would be to find someone that you enjoy spending time with. Find out their background, ask for references from clients, and check out their reviews. Look for someone who is knowledgeable, certified, friendly and organized. Most of all, a trainer should be able to customize a plan to your goals and not give you a cookie-cutter program or train you the way they would train themselves.

 

Christian’s Top Tips

Motivation: I think when you start hitting your goals, that keeps your motivation going. As I said earlier on, it has to be fun and fresh or you won’t stick with it. Pick a trainer who is upbeat and encourages you, not belittles you. Don’t be too hard on yourself — nobody is perfect. Surround yourself with people who you want to be like and who enjoy working out.

New Year’s Resolutions: Start with manageable goals. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Sit down and talk to your trainer and work out an achievable plan that’s realistic. A lot of people want to try and go from not working out to working out everyday, and get disappointed when they can’t keep up with it or don’t see results. They end up giving up. Start small and work your way up.

Early AM Workouts: Set your alarm and get your workout clothes ready to go the night before. If you have a trainer, you have an appointment you’re not likely to break. Or, if you’re going to the gym, get a workout buddy that you’ll meet there. Accountability is key! Go to bed early, get a good night’s sleep, and prioritize this time for yourself.

Nutrition: Keep it simple. Start with small changes that you’re likely to maintain. I know everybody cringes at this, but food prep is key. It will save you money in the long run and you won’t be tempted at the drive-through when you have a meal already put together. Pack healthy snacks for work and drink a lot of water. Cut back on sugar and soda!

 

For more information about Christian Roberts, personal training and corporate wellness programs, visit streetfitcoaching.com.

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