L2 Gym Instructor Training with TrainFitness

Becoming a gym instructor with TrainFitness - A Pretty Place to Play, London Running and Fitness Blog

Never one for a quiet life, as soon as I completed the first year of my PhD it was on to my next project - spending my summer training to become a PT with TrainFitness. There’s a couple of reasons I wanted to take on this challenge; you already know I’m passionate about movement, but I want to really understand how to train effectively and safely, I love working with people to help them recognise and reach their potential and becoming a personal trainer offers me the opportunity to do this and work flexibly around my research.

I’m studying part-time, which comprises home study plus a part-time clinic where I get face to face input from a tutor. There are tonnes of different courses out there - online, part-time, full-time - but I went for this option with this provider because I felt it was important to have face to face interaction as I want to make sure I’m doing everything safely and with the best technique, and also because the TrainFitness gym where clinics are held is really convenient for me. I did do a lot of research about providers before I signed up with TrainFitness, but honestly they all seemed much of a muchness and essentially they all follow the same curriculum, so it’s all down to what works for you.

The first step in training to become a personal trainer is to complete L2 gym instructor training. Over the last five weeks Monday and Tuesday evenings, plus a huge number of hours of my own time, have been given over to developing the skills and knowledge to plan and prepare gym-based programmes for apparently healthy adults, to conduct consultations and to work with clients to motivate and support them. It’s been intense, interesting and frustrating all at once, and I thought I’d share some of my thoughts on the last five weeks.

  • It’s not always made clear, but you are expected to have worked through the online course BEFORE you start attending clinic. I didn’t know about this, and even when I found out I was busy finishing first year of my PhD so didn’t have time to get through the work. This made the course more stressful than it should’ve been.

  • I, perhaps naively, thought clinic would be more like a lecture. While you do spend time running through the concepts covered by the course it is revision, not teaching.

  • Don’t underestimate the time commitment. The format of the course demands a lot of hours - seven hours a week in clinic and several hours work on each of the online units. It can be a slog, it will be worth it.

  • The course jumps around quite a lot, moving from anatomy and physiology to client care with each lesson. This can make it tricky to assimilate and build concepts so I found it helpful to consolidate everything together in one document once I’d finished the online modules. I’ll do a post about how I did this soon.

  • Because of the structure of the course it can feel like there’s a lot more depth to the material than there actually is. I found this overwhelming, but again it helped to consolidate the information so you can get a better feel for everything.

  • If you want feedback you need to ask your tutor, especially around your form in the gym (which you will need to nail for your practical exams).

  • Practice, practice, practice - practice delivering workouts, practice your lifting technique, practice answering multiple choice questions - the more practice you get in, the more confident you’ll be on test day. It is just like training for a marathon, you practice over time and then you deliver the performance.

Training to become a fitness professional is a lot of work, and it should be because you are dealing with people’s bodies, but it’s totally worth the commitment knowing that in a few months time I’ll be in a place to help people live their best lives through movement.

Dog Friendly London Bridge (AD)

The spending money for our day out was gifted by Hotels.com, but all views are my own

Dog Friendly London Bridge - A Pretty Place to Play, London Running and Fitness Blog

 Where I go, my dog goes.

Since Loki joined our family a few months ago we’ve been having a great time finding all the best dog friendly places to hang out in London. There are loads of cool cafes, shops and pubs that welcome pups all over the city and we were thrilled when we were asked asked us to check out where to hang out with canine companions around London Bridge.

The most obvious place to visit around London Bridge is Borough Market, but heads up it isn’t dog friendly (with the exception of guide dogs). We decided instead to head down when the market is closed on a Sunday and explore what else is on offer in the area, and it was well worth thinking outside the box! We found some real gems, and plenty more places that we’re planning to head back to very soon!

Dog Friendly London Bridge - A Pretty Place to Play, London Running and Fitness Blog


5 Park St, SE1 9AB

Just off Borough Market is Aesop, one of my favourite shops in London.  I love Aesop’s products, and because Loki has been a bit stinky recently I figured it was about time we pick him up some of their lovely doggie shampoo for his next bath, he probably won’t appreciate it but he will smell lovely. The shop itself is lovely and welcomes canine companions with a scratch behind the ear while the assistants offer humans fab skincare advice. Nothing is too much bother, without there being too much fuss.

Dog Friendly London Bridge - A Pretty Place to Play, London Running and Fitness Blog

3Bis Gelateria

4 Park Street, SE1 9AB

 I was so gutted we didn’t manage to try this ice cream because I have it on good authority it is epic, but unfortunately the queue was pretty long and Loki wasn’t up for waiting! The café itself welcomes dogs and their humans and offers a quieter alternative to some of the busier spots in the area (vital if you have a little dog who likes to get all up in everyone’s business).

Dog Friendly London Bridge - A Pretty Place to Play, London Running and Fitness Blog

Vinegar Yard

72082 St Thomas St, SE1 3QU

I love all the open air spots that are popping up across the city, and Vinegar Yard is my latest find. Sitting in the sun, sipping a G+T from the Tanqueray Gin Bar while Loki sniffed around was bliss and it was so lovely when the staff brought him over his own bowl of water and took the time to give him huge fusses (his favourite thing ever). The great thing about spots like this is there’s always loads of choice when it comes to food and drink, and we opted for Nanny Bill’s amazing Mac and Cheese Croquets (I have a big thing for croquets right now) which were delicious, followed by Secret Nick’s Frozen Custard, which was thoroughly tested by Loki! Browsing the vintage market was a great way to occupy Loki when he got a bit wiggly, and although I didn’t buy anything I did spot Knembroidery’s cool embroidery which I’ll definitely be investigating further.

Dog Friendly London Bridge - A Pretty Place to Play, London Running and Fitness Blog

Dog Friendly Pubs

 Because the weather was so beautiful when we visited London Bridge we didn’t end up visiting any of the pubs in the area, but there are a few that I know are dog friendly and we’re looking forward to trying in the Autumn….watch this space for reviews!

 *Thanks to Hotels.com for making this fun day out happen. As always, all opinions are my own.

Four Months 'Til Our Wedding Day

Four Months Until Wedding - A Pretty Place to Play, London Running and Fitness Blog

Four months today Mike and I are getting married. We are psyched about the being married thing, it feels like the most natural thing in the world and I honestly wouldn’t want to spend my life hanging out with anyone else and our tiny dog. The wedding thing however is a bit surreal. Our KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) chill day is still on track to be chill, but there are unexpected details that need attention and vendors who need decisions and question we never saw coming and definitely don’t know the answers to. It’s all taking a lot more brain power than I think either of us anticipated, and a lot more money!

For us, we’ve found a few tricks to managing this so far (and things could change, there’s another four months of wed-think left). Firstly, we’ve planned this shindig together and if there’s a task one of us finds overwhelming (usually me) or can’t be arsed with (usually me) the other picks it up. Secondly, we made the decision at the outset not to overthink the party. It’s easy to get swept up in doubting your choices and looking at a million venues, dresses or cakes just in case, but honestly I reckon most of the time you’ll end up going back to the first thing you looked at, so it’s easier just to cut out the faff and go with your gut. Finally, we’ve chosen to use vendors who are also our friends! It’s awesome being able to support your friend’s businesses and it also means we already have a relationship, which makes things a lot easier (let me make it clear, we are paying going rate to our friends, the decision to use their services is because we want to support their businesses and help them grow!).

Four Months Until Wedding - A Pretty Place to Play, London Running and Fitness Blog

So far we’ve managed to sort our our venue, the registrar, a photographer, food, music, cake, my dress and some random decor stuff (that never crossed our minds we’d need to think about). We’ve also started to think about our honeymoon/excuse for a fancy trip and are working with an amazing travel agent to put something really special together. Our budget is a constant juggle, and we’ve found that some expenses (my dress) have been much less than anticipated, and some have been way more (furniture for our dry hire venue).

We also can’t really get our heads around the idea we’re having a wedding. We’ve been to lots of other people’s weddings and they’re always lovely but I can’t imagine myself at the centre of it all, and I’m actually a bit worried it could trigger some social anxiety for me. One of the things that has always worried me about getting married is the sense that ‘the bride’ is public property, and that type of attention makes me super uncomfortable. Hopefully our friends and family know me well enough to know this, but just in case we’ve designed our day with the aim of minimising those intense moments I find difficult. I’m desperate to share how we plan to do this, but it would mean giving away details of our ‘big day’ (help me, I hate that term) and I don’t want to spoil the surprises - rest assured I’ll fill you in after the event.

Four Months Until Wedding - A Pretty Place to Play, London Running and Fitness Blog

Planning a wedding can be a head fuck. Sometimes you feel like you’ve lost your identity and all people want to talk about is wedding stuff. You worry that people will judge your taste and you ruminate on the very weird idea that spending a day messing around in a big white dress is supposed to be the pinnacle of your existence, the best day of your life and what you’ve been waiting for. I am psyched for marriage, but the wedding is kinda just a nice party (once the legal bit is out the way).

Have you planned a wedding? How did you find it? Tell me what was good/bad/weird in the comments.

* images: Let Me Show You Love, shot at Commonwealth Las Vegas.