East Croydon Cool talks…Personal Training

East Croydon Cool talks… is a new blog series that explores topics of cultural interest via local area experts.

This month we spoke to Tom Riddick, co-owner of MYPT Studio, to learn a little more about the world of personal training.

As a qualified Personal Trainer, with over 10 years’ experience helping clients achieve fat loss and body transformations, Tom co-created Croydon’s leading Personal Training studio, MYPT Studio, with the objective to help as many local men and women achieve a fitter, healthier lifestyle.

MYPT Studio specialise in Personal Training, with a team of over 20 Health Professionals coming together to offer 1:1 PT, therapy, Yoga and Indoor Cycle, together with Croydon’s first Group Personal Training Programme. All MYPT members follow a targeted training and nutrition programme, along with support from their own coach, to ensure they’re doing everything possible to achieve their goals.

1) Where/when did personal training become popular?

Personal Training dates back thousands of years to the ancient Greeks, who used Personal Trainers to train athletes for Olympic Games, Gladiator events and such like. Working with a coach has always been a staple part of most athletes and sports professionals training routines over the years, but I’d say it’s been steadily moving into mainstream society within the last 10-15 years or so. The UK Personal Training industry is now booming, with more and more people recognising the benefits of working with a Personal Trainer, over going at it alone.

2) Why do you think there has been such a growth within the UK personal training industry?

Personal Training was once seen as an expensive luxury, afforded only by the rich and famous or sports athletes. But now, to many of the clients we work with at MYPT Studio, the idea of working with a Personal Trainer is much like hiring a mechanic to fix your car or going to a solicitor for legal advice.

People are starting to realise more than ever that they may need help from an expert in their field. We can’t all be experts at everything, after all. Working with a good, experienced PT is an extremely effective way to almost guarantee you reach your goals, with nutrition advice, training programmes and support alongside your sessions.

While some people are ditching their expensive gym membership for a budget “no frills” option, others are realising that they can’t (or don’t want to) go it alone and are instead using their resources to pay for the extra support, education and effective training that a Personal Trainer can provide.

3) What are the main benefits of PT over a normal gym?

At MYPT, our clients have the luxury of working with a Personal Trainer at every session.

For those starting out with exercise, this can be a great way of making sure you’re doing the right exercises to achieve your goals, whilst reducing risk of injury and generally “doing things wrong”. Our Personal Trainers are always on hand to offer advice and alternative exercises where necessary.

Setting out on a fitness journey can also be a daunting, often lonely experience. Working with a Personal Trainer means you’ll always have somebody to lean on for advice, support and encouragement. A good Personal Trainer will always provide much more than the hour they are with their client, with training programmes, nutrition advice and plenty of support whenever you need it most.

Lastly, we realise that the vast majority of our clients see exercise as a chore and something they “have” to do. As Personal Trainers, our goal is help our clients enjoy the experience and (as much as possible, anyway!) help turn exercise into an enjoyable thing to do. If we achieve this, we’ll go a long way towards making it part of their lifestyle but guaranteeing their results!

4) Is PT worth the extra money?

I’m biased of course, but I truly believe that a good Personal Trainer (such as my team at MYPT Studio) is worth their weight in gold! (* See question 9 for caveat!)

We all want to look, feel, move and perform as good as we possibly can, don’t we? I think it’s common knowledge now that exercise, good nutrition and recovery (along with enjoying life of course!) are necessary for us to perform at our absolute best and live long, happy lives. So if working with a Personal Trainer guarantees us all these things – why wouldn’t we all want to be doing it?

Obviously, it needs to be affordable and fit in with our clients’ lifestyle. This is exactly why we created our Group Personal Training programme; to give more people the opportunity to experience the benefits of working with a Personal Trainer at a more affordable rate.

Many of our clients work with a PT on a 1:1 basis, with Group PT alongside, as they truly value the idea of working safely and effectively with our team of PT’s and they typically see amazing results from it.

5) Does nutrition form part of a PT programme?

Nutrition forms a huge part of what we do at MYPT. We have a variety of different nutrition programmes available to our clients, all are included for free as part of their training with us.

We aim to match the nutrition programme to the client and work with them to adapt and make this suit their lifestyle. We also try to educate our members on the “what’s”, “why’s” and “how’s” of it all, to ensure they are learning from the process and guided towards achieving results for themselves. This makes it an extremely empowering experience and one that ensures their results continue far longer than any fad diet plan they may have followed in the past.

6) How did you get into PT?

I’ve always loved sport and participated in as many as I could as a youngster (and still try to!) After University, I found my way into a series of office jobs which I found mundane, stressful and unfulfilling, so I soon looked into getting back into the exercise side of things.

I’ve always enjoyed being around people and building relationships, so I felt Personal Training was a perfect way for me to do this – whilst helping people find their own love of exercise.

After qualifying in 2009, I started working at Virgin Active as a Personal Trainer. I absolutely loved it, even more than I ever imagined, and quickly decided this was the career for me. In 2012, I left Virgin Active and set out to make it on my own; creating MYPT Studio in the process. I’ve never looked back since! We’ve quickly become known as the go-to place for Personal Training in Croydon, even winning the Croydon Business of the Year Award for Customer Service in 2017; something I’m extremely proud of.

7) What PT’s / PT companies are you most inspired by?

There’s some really great Personal Trainers out there doing amazing things with people.

Personally, I take more of a holistic approach to health and try to keep a broad perspective in treating people as unique individuals. Therefore, I like the work of Personal Trainers with a similar approach to this.

I like what I see of Six3nine in London, Mark Coles at M10, while a good friend of mine, Daniel Laciofano is doing great things closer to home down in Caterham with his company SSP.

8) What do you think of celebrity PTs (both the ones that train them and the celebrities who become them)?

To be honest, my belief is that – as long as they are qualified – then the work these guys do in helping their clients (or ‘fans’ in many cases) can only be a good thing. Many are breaking down the negative barriers often associated with exercise and are encouraging people to move more, eat smarter and generally take care of their health. I often hear people slate Joe Wicks for his methodology and approach, but I can see his efforts are rooted towards helping people achieve their best. If he makes tonnes of money and becomes a celebrity as a result, then it’s well deserved in my opinion.

Personal Training is an amazing career and one that I’ve certainly enjoyed building a business around… So if celebrity trainers want to find their way into the industry, and popularise exercise as a result, then this will also lead to good things for all of us. There’s millions of people out there wanting to get fit, healthy and invigorated. There’s also millions who unfortunately aren’t quite as motivated, but probably still need to exercise and live healthier lives. These people need positive role models to look up to in order to achieve this – so if that’s celebrity trainers then great!

8) What would be your advice to anyone looking to work with a Personal Trainer?

Do your homework! As I said previously, a good Personal Trainer can be worth their weight in gold, but the wrong one can also be an expensive way to burn though your cash, with very little reward. There are over 14,000 registered Personal Trainers currently working within the UK, each with differing skills, backgrounds and approaches. It’s important that you find the right PT for you. Someone who you feel you can work closely with and lean on for support and encouragement.

I’m often surprised by the number of people we meet who have worked with a Personal Trainer in the past yet haven’t reached their goals. This can be down to a number of reasons; poor programming, little (often no) nutrition advice, lack of goal setting – or simply down to a clash of personalities.

Make sure you ask for a consultation too. Most should do this for free for you as part of the service. This shouldn’t just be a chance for them to sell to you either; instead, they should listen to you speak about your goals and desires and in return they should be able to clearly communicate their recommendations to you. Be sure to leave the consultation feeling totally understood and 100% confident with their approach.

9) What would be your number one piece of advice to anybody looking to get started (or get back into) exercise?

My advice would be to find something you enjoy!

Granted, it may not quite be as enjoyable as a night in with Netflix and a tub of Ben & Jerry’s, but it should at least be slightly bearable. If you enjoy dancing, then find a Zumba class, take up dancing with a friend or your partner, look into pole dance fitness sessions even. This will help ensure fitness and health are a part of your lifestyle for years to come.

Weight loss is simple really… It doesn’t really matter what you do, as long as you’re burning more calories than you’re eating over a consistent period of time. It needn’t be complicated!

Saying that, full body resistance training 3-4 times per week, alongside an active lifestyle (8-10,000 steps per day, for example) would always be my recommendation for those looking to drop fat, tone muscle and change their body-shape in the quickest time possible. This will not only burn the calories required for you to lose weight but will also aid fat loss (and improve ‘tone’) through muscle tissue development.

But, if you’re after long-term results then finding something you can still see yourself doing this time next year would always be the winner for me.

10) What’s the secret to MYPT’s success?

We help our clients enjoy exercise! We offer fun, varied, effective workouts – with a Personal Trainer with you at every session. We make sure our members are not just a number but are greeted on first name terms and treated as individuals. This has been key to creating the community we have at MYPT Studio, and the sense of belonging that our members feel each time they walk into the studio. Our clients enjoy their workouts with us – which is why they will continue to achieve long-lasting results through our programmes.

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