Shop windows and fashion catalogues everywhere are heralding the spring with flirty dresses, flowy slacks and nautical stripes. But if you’ve spent the winter bunkering down in front of the telly, nursing your cold-weather-blues with family-sized packets of crisps and mince pies, you might not be sharing the enthusiasm for the warmer weather and more revealing couture that inevitably accompanies it.

The good news is that it’s not too late to shed a few excess pounds and firm up any bits that have gotten a bit saggy. Simply incorporate a few visits to the gym into your weekly routine and you’re all set. Problem solved. But we all know this sounds a lot easier than it is. Most of us don’t gallop gazelle-like to the gym, brimming with motivation and enthusiasm. I think I can safely say that the vast majority of gym-frequenters drag themselves there. And halfway through their circuit they turn their eyes upwards and ask “what exactly am I supposed to do now I’m here?”

Usually when we get stuck in a bit of a rut, we call in the professionals. Immune system run-down? Trip to the GP. Feeling low? See therapist. Hair crisis? Visit stylist. Yet so many of us think when it comes to fitness we can go it alone. Perhaps it’s because we see the fitness DVDs being churned out by semi-celebs and think if Jessie B-grade-actress can do a couple a planks and lunges and become an overnight authority on getting ripped, so can I. Only the thing is, she did not figure it out on her own. Behind that smashing bod is a formidable team of fitness experts.

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Few of us can afford to hire a trainer to kick our butts into shape full-time. But if you are really serious about incorporating an effective fitness routine into your life, going it alone could very easily turn out to be a waste of your time and energy. If you’re going to commit to training, it’s well worth investing in a series of initial session with a professional trainer to ensure you are doing the right kind of exercises in the right way.

“If you are upfront about your intentions and long-term plans, a good fitness instructor will help you work out a routine that you can continue to follow on your own afterwards,” says Simon Bubb, training director at Be A Better You, an accredited training programme for personal trainers.

These are some of the main points to consider when you are looking for a personal trainer:

• Ensure they are on the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPS). It’s a public guarantee that your trainer will meet the required standards and has the right qualifications.

• Don’t be afraid to shop around a bit. Fitness instructors can come at vastly different prices and expensive trainers are not always the best ones. Often brilliant trainers who are new to the profession charge lower fees.

• Find a trainer that suits your schedule and your personality. Even if this is just a short-term arrangement, you don’t want to associate negative emotions with your fitness routine by making it an inconvenient or unpleasant experience.

Once you’ve settled on an instructor, treat the experience the same way you would any other kind of training: consider it an opportunity to widen your own skillset. Take notes, ask questions and “graduate” to a better knowledge of how your body works and knowing how to get it into optimal shape.

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Fitness: Is it time to call in the professionals? | UK Lifestyle Blog