Once I’d made the decision to give losing weight a try, it was clear I needed help. I wasn’t going to become an early morning jogger overnight. I’d never been to a gym before – and the idea was daunting to say the least. Crucially, I knew that there wasn’t a cat in hell’s chance that I’d keep anything up without someone else holding me to account.
So, I decided I needed a personal trainer.
Making that decision only took me part of the way. I had some probably overly prescriptive criteria for picking one. I’m sure all personal trainers are wonderful people, and that any one is as good as any other. But if I was going to do this, I wanted to make sure that I got the right one for me.
My first criteria was pretty straightforward. They had to charge less than £40 a session. Anything above that was well beyond me. That narrowed the field a little.
My second criteria was that they had to run sessions in a gym. Nothing outdoors thank you very much – running round in public in the cold of December and January wasn’t top of my Christmas list. There was no way I was having them see the absolute state of my house, so it couldn’t be someone who wanted to run home sessions. And there was even less chance I would be going to their own weird personal fitness dungeon. Again, the options shrunk.
My third criteria was I wanted to avoid anything sickly-positive or hippyish. That ruled out anyone who’s website referenced “mindfulness”, talked about how incredible exercise is because of all the endorphins that it will give you, or spouted pseudo-scientific nonsense about superfoods. This might be some people’s cup of tea, but if I was going to spend more time with this person than I do with some of my family and friends, I wanted to do without any fads and conversations that would drive me up the wall. The list of possibilities got a lot smaller with this.
My final criteria was that it couldn’t be a man. If there was one thing that would stop this experiment in its tracks, it would be a six foot tall muscle bound man shouting military style “encouragement” at me. Worse still, my only cultural reference for personal trainers comes from Peep Show. A man with all of his shit inexplicably together, intimidatingly attractive but with an objectively irritating personality is all I had in my mind. As someone with none of their shit together, and who’s intimidatingly unattractive, being riled up and patronised by someone five years younger than me was a write off. I kept playing round in my mind all of the scenarios where I would scream at them to fuck off, just like Mark Corrigan.
So in the end, after spending several evenings pouring through websites and recommendations in Facebook groups. I found the right one, fired off an email at 2:27am on December 23, and took the first steps on my fitness journey.