We asked you, our members, to vote for your favourite VPT, and Aaron Edwards came in a distinct number one. "To train with me you must commit" he says. We meet him to find out how he feels about his landslide win, and what qualities one needs to be an excellent personal trainer.
Hi Aaron! You have been voted by members as the favourite VPT at Gymbox, how does it feel?
It makes me feel that the amount of hours and effort I put into each and every one of my clients has been worth it. I feel appreciated and happy that so many people voted for me. Also, I feel special considering there are so many great VPTs at Gymbox, who I continually learn from.
What is it about you as a trainer that has made you so popular with our members?
I set things straight from the very beginning. To train with me, I need them to commit 100% to what they are about to do – and of course pay for. I don't want them wasting their time or money, and equally, I don't want them to waste my time! With every one of my clients we set goals and achieve them together. My training is never boring, always new and different. It has elements of excitement. Some trainers get carried away with making sessions fun. I do this occasionally, but I always keep the training specific to the clients’ goals.
What are the most important qualities one needs to have to enter the field of fitness?
To enter the personal training world your head needs to be strong – you need to have a love of fitness and really get on with people. If you're not a people person, forget it! There are so many personal trainers in London who think they are going to rise to the top. However, it really is a hard industry. Persistence, believing in yourself and training should see them over the first big hurdle. In addition, if you're working in the fitness industry you need to always be learning new skills and knowledge. A good trainer will be always paying attention to you, will always set goals and check on your progress. A good trainer will always give a nutrition plan to their clients, as it's well known that food has a massive influence in terms of body changes, in the region of 75% nutrition and 25% gym.
You say 95% of your clients achieve their fitness goals, how do you manage this?
We set a very personalised food plan based on the current foods they are eating (to make it realistic and not short term). Plus, I set and educate my clients on an advanced four day gym workout for them to complete by themselves. I do this so they have no excuse not to train, and in this way they can train with or without me, on holidays, or in the gym when I go on holidays! I limit the excuses with my clients and set lots of short term goals, targeting the long term one we set at the beginning.
What are your specialisms?
In-body transformations, such as massive weight loss or the alternative as in weight gain or muscle mass. I've prepped a number of people from a low point in their fitness lives to a confident point where they want to step on stage and compete. However, with my background of being a competitive athlete, I love strength and conditioning for sporting events and purposes.
Do you take it as a personal failing if people aren’t able to meet their goals?
I do everything I can from the very beginning to make sure that doesn't happen. We – meaning both the client and myself – set realistic achievable goals. We both talk about the nutrition, and we set out a plan for them to be doing it on their own. If someone fails to achieve their goals it's probably because they quit way to soon. Sometimes I'm a little disappointed, but most of the time I'm happy knowing that I've done everything I can.
Can you describe your training style in three words?
Intense, functional and specific.
What are you biggest success stories?
I have many, but I had one client who was very quiet when she came to me. To her, the gym environment was intimidating, and being around men was scary for her due to some past experiences. Her goal was to lose weight as this was affecting her confidence, health, sleep and energy levels. She used to hide herself in baggy dark clothes, and never looked in a full length mirror. Now she's much happier, dresses in colours, wears fitted clothes, and she can make eye contact with others. She was very hesitant to use the equipment and follow a diet plan but a structured approach worked for her with targets that she could comfortably achieve. Now she is using the gym on her own and her health issues have resolved as a result of the weight loss, as well as improving the quality of life she is living.
Fantastic. What are your biggest achievements to date?
I tend to do well in most things I set my mind to. I'm still an active British League Athlete and I have brought home trophies from all my bodybuilding competitions. However, one of my biggest achievements to date was winning Young Person Sports Personality of the Year, many moons ago, for my achievements for both track and field and rowing. I was sitting dressed up in a room of aspiring well-known, really good British athletes from many different sporting backgrounds. I knew most of them, but didn't think any of them would know who I was, and to hear my name called up was firstly shocking, but also amazing. This made me realise that whatever I set my mind to, with the correct training and mentoring, I could achieve anything from life.
And the future achievements you are aspiring towards?
I hope to compete in a powerlifting competition within the next four months. Apart from that I will continue competing for Newham & Essex Beagles in the British athletics league!
You have been in the fitness industry for 17 years, what have you learnt the most over this time?
Listen to people you appreciate and respect, and surround yourself with like-minded people that push for success! I've had many great athletic coaches of my own, so I've learnt firsthand from the best. I can now bring out the best in people and through using my arsenal of exercises I can do this in many ways! I know when to have fun and be relaxed, but also know when it is time to be serious and play hard to achieve goals. Personal training isn't easy. To do it well takes a lot of work. I use the skills I've learnt from my track and field background combined with the sports sciences of my degree, therefore my success rate is very high.
What does strength symbolise to you?
I'm a power athlete. I'm not the biggest in the gym, but I'm certainly one of the strongest. I train to be lean, powerful and explosive!
Finally, what is your biggest motivational quote if people want to give up?
I don't have a quote as such, but I set the rules that if you stop I just add on extra reps or time. After a while my clients know it's better and easiest and far less painful to just complete the desired reps that have been set!