“My clients stay with me for years and years”

Portrait of Ernesto Ortino on the YMCA Club floor

Ernesto Ortino qualified as a Personal Trainer with YMCAfit 10 years ago. A decade of working with a variety of clients has taught him that everyone is unique. Ernesto explains why good relationships are key to good personal training…

How long have you worked at the YMCA Club?

Nine years. I began volunteering with their GP Referral Scheme before officially joining the team as a Personal Trainer.

What type of PT are you? Are you a specialist?

I am qualified to work with the GP Referral Scheme and I also work with the elderly. I focus on injury and rehabilitation, especially hip, knee and shoulder rehabilitation. I also do muscle building, weight loss, conditioning and marathon training. My youngest client is 18 and my oldest is 79. It doesn’t matter how old you are and what kind of level you’re at, I’ll make it happen for you.

Why do I need a PT? Can’t I just achieve my goals down the gym by myself?

If you’re completely new to fitness, a PT is a good starting point. A PT is a life coach, nutrition guide and encourager all in one. Without them, your fitness goals are much harder to achieve. A PT can provide the knowledge, encouragement, energy and motivation you need to jumpstart your routine. You get better results with us.

I also offer my clients fitness assessments at the start, which include fat and muscle measurement. After a number of sessions we do it again so we know exactly where we are going.

Having a PT is about investing in the future you. I have 20, 30 year old clients who have close to zero strength and when they go up steps, they’re out of breath because of their weight. They don’t want to see this in 20 years’ time – they’re doing something about it now.

If you want to see change, see a PT!  It doesn’t really matter if you’re a novice or you’ve just got bored with your training - a PT makes a massive difference. We make exercise fun!

What are the main benefits of using a PT?


A PT will ensure clients are performing exercises correctly and efficiently to maximise results, especially if they’re a gym novice who doesn’t know what to do. Education is a big thing - I make sure they understand what exercise they are doing and why.

A bespoke approach

Everybody is unique, which means everyone’s abilities and needs are different. You might have an old injury that requires special exercises or you might be nervous about where or how you work out. A PT’s experience can make a huge difference to your training program.

S.M.A.R.T. goals

Everyone wants to achieve their goals now, whether it’s weight loss, ‘cheese grater’ abs or Hulk-like strength, but they’re not always achievable. There’s no point me saying that you’re going to lose 20 kilos in a month because that’s not going to happen. When some people don’t achieve unrealistic goals, they get discouraged and backslide. A PT will not only set realistic goals, they’ll also be able to keep their clients on track to achieve them:






I don’t give my clients goals because I don’t believe in feeding them with a spoon. They’re better off setting goals for themselves. I can give guidelines, but I won’t set goals for you.


How many times have we said, “Tomorrow, I’m going to wake up and do an hour’s workout before I go to work”, only to wake up and go back to sleep for another hour?

A PT ensures their clients commit to their fitness goals. If they make an appointment with their PT, they are far more likely to exercise. We help you to stay motivated and we follow you up.

Nutritional Advice

 A PT who is qualified in nutrition, can provide the right nutritional advice to their clients to help them achieve their goals.

Personalised Training Plan

A PT will be able to create a bespoke training plan to suit each individual, as well as encouraging them to do the exercises required to achieve the best results.


Too many people get bored with their gym routines and find reasons not to go. They reach a plateau. A PT is what they need to take them to the next level to continuously challenge their abilities.


PTs know how to make exercise fun and interesting by offering a wide variety of creative exercises.

How often should I work out with a PT and how long should my sessions be?

It depends on your goals and how much money you want to spend. If I only see a client once or twice a week, I create a programme for them so they can do additional training by themselves. I take them through the programme so they understand what they need to do in a safe way. It’s their homework and I will do spot checks to see if they’re doing it or not. I can see them - I am in the gym!

Each session is an hour. I prefer it if my clients do a warm up beforehand so I don’t have to spend time with them on the treadmill as that’s a waste of time and money. My hour is full on. I train hard and look for results.

How quickly will I see the results?

Depending on your goals – like losing weight - if you work hard and you’re committed, it takes about four weeks to start seeing results. Strength comes first - after two weeks, you get stronger and start to see the difference.

What are the benefits of working out with a PT at the YMCA Club in particular?

This Club isn’t pretentious. I’ve worked in gyms where people are really muscley and that can be really intimidating for someone who is a novice. I don’t see that in this Club. It’s very diverse here and lovely to see an 80 year old man or woman work out. That’s amazing. I’m so inspired by them because it’s not an easy task.

In some gyms, people are intimidated by the weight room, but not in this Club. Here, you can enter and do exercises. Nobody is looking at you or judging you, but other Clubs are judgemental.

We also have a massive space here. It’s nice to have those high ceilings when other gyms are so claustrophobic.

How important is the relationship between a PT and their client?

Some of my clients have stayed with me since I started. My clients love me because PT is based on relationships. It’s not just about fitness - I become their friend and have their full trust. We also connect on social media, texts and email. There’s a lot of WhatsApp messages! That’s why my clients stay with me for years and years. Relationship is very important.

How much do you charge and why are you worth the money?

Making a real long-term life change can be a challenge. Hiring a qualified PT - even temporarily - can set the stage for a healthier, happier and more functionally active future.

We all want to be healthy, happy and well in our senior years. A PT can give you a step in the right direction and spark your internal drive.

My clients say I don’t charge enough! I charge between £55 to £60 per hour and I do block bookings. A block of 3 is £60, 6 is £58 and 8 is £55. I don’t think it’s expensive for London. I have friends who work in the industry who charge between £100 and £120 per hour but at the YMCA Club, there is a cap.

Invest your money in the future you!

Changing Nick’s life

Nick has been training with Ernesto for six years:

“When I bought a suit six years ago, the experience taught me that I was turning into my dad - weak, fat and inflexible. Since training with Ernesto, I’ve benefited from increased fitness, strength and flexibility. I’ve reversed much of the effects of physical ageing and what was a ‘low activity’ lifestyle. An hour’s training with Ernesto is worth 2.5 hours’ training on my own.” 

“I was a complete gym novice when I started, unable to do more than two chin-ups and could barely run for any distance.  Now I’m gym fit, but most of all I can play with my kids and have them climbing all over me (they aren’t gentle!) Now I am strong enough to keep them safe and know how to avoid injuring myself. My wife likes the changes she see too.”

Working with Ernesto is life changing.  There are clearly visible physical changes (slimmer waist, bigger torso, legs and arms, loss of body fat) but also healthier biochemistry, better sleep and lower risk of injury from whatever life throws at you.”

Changing Rachel’s life

Before working with Ernesto, Rachel had a long history of pain and immobility caused by a herniated spinal disc:

“I had no option but to have surgery. In 2014, I had spinal fusion with fixation. I got little support on how to proceed with rehabilitation. I knew I had to exercise but I had no idea what exercises I should be doing, how often, nor how to do them properly. I was crippled with fear about re-injury and pain. I was at a loss."

"Ernesto knew how to encourage me and with each session, built up my physical and psychological strength. He did this with ease and knew every step I needed to develop strength and mobility. He designed a specific programme for me for when I was not with him and provided me with the knowledge of how to train safely."

"His training skills are effective and challenging, yet totally safe and measured. I am fortunate to have formed such trust in an amazing PT. I can safely say personal training has changed my life completely, not only in my recovery; being pain free and fully participating in life, but with confidence in everything I do.”

Special ‘PT Six-Pack’ offer in August

If you refer a friend to the YMCA Club in August, you qualify for a FREE half hour personal training session with one of our friendly, professional PTs. You’ll also be entered into our FREE prize draw where you could win a further six hours-worth of PT sessions absolutely FREE.

To take advantage of this great offer, email the details of you and your friend to club.reception@ymca.co.uk or pop into Club Reception in person. This offer applies to core members only (Annual Full, Annual Monthly Direct Debit, Rolling Monthly, 6 Month Membership for both corporates and individuals). This offer excludes concessions and students and is not valid with any other offer.

Free half hour PT sessions are valid for eight weeks from date of referring a friend. Only one free half hour PT session per referral, per member.

‘PT Six-Pack’ winners will be informed by email following the prize draw. The ‘PT Six-Pack’ is valid for three months from when the winners are informed.

This offer is not transferable and no cash equivalent or refund will be available.


Claire.Gilderson | 31 July 2019