Meet Natalie Crossley, a qualified personal trainer with a background in gymnastics who also holds down a 9 to 5. She gives her views on the problems with PT qualifications, the positives and negatives of Instagram and her favourite spots for brunch in London…
Describe a typical day in the life of being a PT…
Whilst I am qualified as a PT, I currently work in an office 9 to 5 but I have recently handed in my notice ready to head to Australia at the beginning of October.
My typical day begins with some exercise (usually something gentle in the morning, like handstands, yoga or skill work) followed by 10 minutes of meditation using Headspace, a cup of hot water with lemon, ACV and Manuka honey, a cold shower and some breakfast before heading to the office. As my work is sedentary I try to keep as active as possible through the day, using any excuse to move!
After work I do some strength training or high intensity work then spend my evenings getting some fresh air, catching up with friends & family or going to the cinema (at least once a week – I’m a film geek!).
What motivated you/inspired you to become a qualified PT?
Health, wellbeing and fitness are probably my ultimate passions. I saw how people either struggle to fit everything in, or go to extremes and knew I could help to make the balance more accessible.
I already have a lot of knowledge from my own experience and from my background in performing and coaching gymnastics from a young age, but I wanted to get the qualification to cement that.
Through my own experience I have witnessed many examples of how not to coach, so I have learned a lot from that but my sister has been a PT for many years and she always inspires me with her knowledge and ability to help her clients.
It sounds like a cliché, but I get a lot of satisfaction from helping people reach their goals – whatever form they may take!
There’s a lot of talk around personal training certification at the moment and how easy it is to become “certified”. Do you think there need to be stricter guidelines?
Absolutely! There are courses which don’t require hands on contact time, which I find difficult to understand when personal training is such a physical profession. You need to have a keen eye to prevent injuries and help your client obtain the best results.
There are limited entry requirements, and some courses are as little as 4 weeks. I’m sure it’s hard to amass the huge knowledge that is required in such a short amount of time.
It’s cynical, but essentially the courses are a money maker for the centres that run them – the more people they enrol on the courses, the more money they make, irrespective of the candidates suitability.
I think the important thing is for courses to contain more theory, be longer with more contact hours, and continuous assessment.
Having a big Instagram following yourself, how do you think we can get past the problem of lots of Instagram profiles putting out uneducated information about fitness?
I think it is a huge problem, but it is very difficult to come up with a solution that is workable. Social media has so many positive aspects to it as well so it’s important to remember those too (sharing information, support and experiences as well as developing a community and communicating with like-minded people).
The main thing is for people on social media to be selective and keep informed – not just absorb everything and take it at face value, there is a lot of misinformed information on there.
Users of social media should aim to look for people with experience, that encourage safety in training and do not follow fitness fads (hello tea detoxes, fat burners…etc etc) or encourage extremes.
What’s your favourite way to take time out?
I love to be in the fresh air and always feel calm around water. Anything by the sea or in the Lake District is perfect – walking, kayaking, paddle boarding!
Favourite meal/place to eat in London?
All things brunch (and coffee!) My favourites are Ozone Coffee, Daisy Green, Caravan, Granger & Co… it’s really a never ending list!
I have two. This too shall pass; Good or bad, all things will come to an end – either embrace them or know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Strong views loosely held; It’s important to whole heartedly believe in your views, but be ready to rethink if you find new information – be flexible but give it your all.