I’m a Personal Trainer and I specialise in training people in my own age group – those over 50.  I train them both face-to-face and online and over the past few years have worked large numbers in my age range. 

And far from being a niche element of the population it is perhaps the fastest growing sector in health and fitness terms.

Over 50% of the UK adult population is now over 50

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And the majority of those are retired or entering a pre-retirement phase.  These people are living longer and seek to maintain an independence from support and increased quality of life for those extra years.  These are people who usually have more time available for leisure activities and cash reserves are often higher. Factors combing to drive a keenness for fitness and life-enhancing activities. 

But often they are concerned over how to go about it, wanting to maximise the benefits and minimise any potential downsides. 

This applies to those who take up running or cycling to some degree, but especially so to those who turn to resistance or weight training.  That’s when a personal trainer can advise, instruct and design a training and nutrition programme that takes into account any concerns or constraints the client has, and helps motivate them to achieve their fitness-up and fatness-down goals. 

It is important that the client consults a properly-qualified personal trainer though – not all are – and one with experience in working with people of retired age.

I receive so many requests for personal training from this age group these days that I can’t possibly help them all. Thankfully working online and through platforms such as WatchFit, we can reach and help far greater numbers.  I’ve also set up a network of personal trainers located around the country – people that I know personally and am convinced by their abilities to work with folk of 50 and over – and I try to pass enquiries I receive to those other trainers whenever I can.  But it’s getting busier all the time.

training over 50_1Many people of retirement age like to have a trainer who is of similar years

This means they are likely to have had broadly similar life experiences.  And indeed there is a growth in the supply of personal trainers from my generation.  When I did my first Personal Trainer qualification in 2012, I was the only person of anything close to my age in the class of 15.   I looked in on the school again recently, and noticed that five of the 15 in today’s class were of the retirement or pre-retirement age.  So, I’m not the only one who has noticed the trend!

My oldest client is Mike, age 76.  I’ve been training him for over three years – and in that time his strength, flexibility, waistline, muscular development and cardio-vascular capability have all improved markedly, as has his heart recovery rate and aerobic capacity. 

According to the metabolic age calculation on the body analysis scale I use on him each week, his body is now over a decade younger than it was when we met.

I’ve also had a few clients under 50, and I’ve found there are some differences in the way people in the two age groups like to be trained.  By ‘liking to be trained’ I mean they turn to me for advice, which they follow while I’m with them during the training session of course but also willingly follow when I’m not around. 

I’ve heard many times from the over 50 clients that they did a session with another trainer previously, but didn’t continue following the advice they had received in the session afterwards. 

I always try to determine why that is, so that I can ensure my own approach to them is one that will be adhered to for the long run.

In Part 2 tomorrow Chris Zaremba explains the difference in training the over 50’s and the reasons he is able to achieve great results. training over 50 

Connect here with Watchfit Expert Chris Zaremba

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