How to prepare for your first Personal Training session

Ross Harris Ross Harris National Fitness Operations Manager – Wellbeing Division
You’ve chosen your Personal Trainer and purchased some sessions, but what now? Feeling a little anxious? No need for nerves. Ross Harris, Nuffield Health’s National Fitness Operations Manager, offers pointers on how to prepare.

1. Book your personal training session

The first step to improving your fitness is booking a session. You can do that by clicking here to find a training package near you

If you’re nervous, don’t be tempted to cancel – it may feel daunting, but your PT will take good care of you every step of the way. 

You’ll feel great afterwards. Having someone in your corner who’s there to help you with everything is a great way to build confidence and fitness. 

2. Plan your route to the gym

If you're a new Nuffield Health member, check out the route to the gym ahead of your first session. It’ll prevent you getting flustered on the day.

3. Know what to do when you arrive

When you arrive at your Nuffield Health gym, speak to one of our friendly members of staff at the welcome desk. They’ll be able to help with any problems or questions you might have. 

If you know where you’re going, leave your gear in the changing room and meet with your personal trainer on the gym floor. 

If you’re early, feel free to start warming up or stretching before your session starts.

4. Wear something comfortable

Wondering what to wear to the gym? You’re not alone. 

Wear something flexible and lightweight that’s breathable. You’re going to get moving, so make sure you’re comfortable in what you’re wearing. 

Wearing something you’re familiar with will mean you're not distracted or made uncomfortable by anything that’s too light or too loose. 

Pick a pair of comfortable and grippy running shoes or trainers. This will help stabilise you and prevent any slips or trips during your session. 

5. Know what to eat before your session

Eat something light before you workout, but make sure that you have at least an hour to digest.

Wholegrain toast and peanut butter, or a banana with some yoghurt are good options. If you're unsure, check with your PT and they can advise you on what to eat before and after your workout.

6. Stay hydrated

Bring a water bottle – your PT will make sure you have regular breaks to re-hydrate. It’s normal to be a little nervous before your first session, but a dry mouth can encourage you to drink more water than you need. Before your workout, make sure you’re adequately hydrated (not thirsty), but avoid drinking too much water or you’ll be running to the loo during your workout.

7. Arrive a little bit early

Arrive at least 10 minutes before your PT session is due to start. Check in at reception and let them know you who you're booked in with and when. If it’s your first visit to the gym, they'll show you where the changing rooms are. This is your chance to get changed and pop to the loo before heading back to reception – your PT will come and introduce themselves, and your first session can begin.

8. Know you need to bring with you

Today's session will include a warm up and cool down, so don’t worry about warming up.

Your Personal Trainer will have a programme prepared to gauge your ability and will ask you questions about what you want to achieve. They'll also ask about any injuries or pre-existing conditions, so make sure you disclose everything. Your PT will use all this information to shape your personalised programme.

Our gyms have all the kit you and your PT will need, and your PT will show you how to use it. Leave your headphones and phone in your locker – the only thing you need to bring is yourself and a water bottle. You can bring your own hand towel to wipe down sweat (from you and equipment) or use the paper towels in the gym.

I'm nervous about personal training...

Whether you’re chatty or too nervous to talk, your PT take the time to make sure you’re at ease before, during and after the workout. Ask all the questions you want to, and don’t worry about what other people are up to in the gym. Your session is all about you and your goals. 

If you’re worried before your session, try not to anticipate what might be involved. A good PT will never force you to do anything you can’t or don’t want to do. 

If you’re uncomfortable in the gym, remember that everybody was in your shoes once, and that most people are too concerned with their own workout to notice what others are up to. 

Frequently asked questions

How can personal training help me?

  • A friendly face in your corner
  • Introducing you to new equipment
  • Teaching form and technique
  • Work towards attainable and tailored goals
  • Accountability
  • Motivation on your fitness journey
  • Setting realistic goals

Do I need to be fit before personal training?

Absolutely not. 

Personal training is all about assessing your fitness and creating a plan to help you move beyond your current level. 

At your first session, you’ll discuss your activity level, ability, and goals to create a comprehensive exercise package that works for you. 

Remember, you’re here to build fitness. If you were already in perfect shape with no room for improvement, you wouldn’t need personal training.

Can I still work out if I'm injured?

If you’re injured, we advise seeing a physiotherapist instead of a personal trainer. 

A personal trainer will help with exercises and moves that improve your overall fitness, whereas a physiotherapist is trained to diagnose and treat injuries. 

In short, if you’re looking to improve your fitness, see a personal trainer. If you’re injured and need recovery advice, see a physio. 

Last updated Friday 19 January 2024

First published on Tuesday 21 March 2017