God bless ’em. Personal trainers are some of the most dedicated, passionate, and picture perfect images of fitness around. Though some may border a bit on the fanatical and creepily obsessed, they’re generally looking out for our best interests. Though it should go without saying, your best interests typically align with their best interests, but I digress.
With average personal training fees in the neighborhood of $55 dollars an hour according to recent studies, you’d have to be pretty convinced hiring a trainer was fully worth that money, am I right? For the price of rent in some parts of this country (though surely not here in Southern California), you can have your own fitness coach 2-3 times a week, every week. Sounds pretty great huh? Well sure, having someone there telling you what to do, watching your form, and generally providing your motivation for going to the gym is nice. But is it worth the cost? Today, we took a closer look at the client-trainer relationship and blow the lid of the secrets your personal trainer is hiding from you. Read on and find out what your personal trainer does NOT want you to know…
Let me preface this by saying, in addition to running Share It Fitness, I continue to train clients. I’ve been doing this for 10 years. This is not an assault on personal trainers, rather it’s an inside look for all of your people out there thinking about hiring/retaining your personal trainer. After all, these are your hard-earned dollars and you deserve the full picture of what’s going on behind the scenes.
1. You don’t need a trainer for great workouts. What’s a trainer really do? Design workout programs and tell you which exercises to do? Well, we do that here at Share It Fitness. So do a dozen other companies you could just as easily locate. And you know what, we don’t charge $55/hour to do it. Try $15 bucks a month. You want great workouts designed by a real-life trainer, specifically for you? Yeah, we’ve got you covered.
2. I’m working for a big corporate gym because I don’t have the chops to do it alone. Super upscale, boutique gyms aside, you find a trainer working for one of those twenty-four hour workout places, you’d better believe they’ve been scrapping the bottom of the trainer barrel to make that hire. The trainers at these places are lucky to make $20/hour (and this is from a $70+ dollar session) because truthfully, the overwhelming majority simply aren’t up to snuff with those doing things on their own. If you’re dead set on hiring a trainer, stay away from the big gyms and find the guy or girl running their own solo business.
3. The personal trainer market is flooded with clowns. Despite our sluggish economy over the last six years, the personal training profession is outpacing nearly all other fields in growth. Put in other words, the market is getting flooded by career changers looking to make a few bucks while they ride out the storm. The personal training market has never been so flooded with this many inexperienced trainers at one time in the history of the world…or something like that.
4. They have good genes…and an uncanny ability to market those genes. Okay, so not all personal trainers have great genes. I’ve definitely had a rant or two about the fat personal trainer trying to tell his clients what to do, but let’s get back to the point. Trainers try to position themselves as the epitome of health. We’re drawn in by their tight abs, toned bodies, and bulging biceps, and think, “hey, they must really know a thing or two about getting fit!”. Not so fast. You’ve got to realize, for a segment of the population (who just so happens to fall into fitness careers) they’ve simply got the genetics that allows them to eat a few cheeseburgers a week, run a couple of miles, pump a few weights, and look like they belong on the cover of a fitness magazine. Don’t look at another person’s body and assume they must know what they’re doing in the gym.
5. Real progress doesn’t involve your trainer. Working out, lifting weights, doing all that cardio….that’s great. It really is. But you know what, the way you make serious, long-lasting progress has nothing to do with your trainer. It has to do with you and your eating habits. Seriously, eating is THAT important. If you want to really make an improvement in your health and have money to burn, spend that $100-150 a week on a personal chef.
6. Trainers have a hard time thinking for themselves. There’s a certain herd mentality amongst a wide percentage of trainers. With each fad; kettlebells, p90x, HIIT, you name it, there’s an instant and fanatical fan base of trainer’s who claim THIS is the best thing since sliced bread. They get you all jacked up and super excited because THIS is the key to losing those last 10 pounds. In reality, this game has been going on for so long…recognize it for what it is and realize your trainer is just going along with what he thinks is most popular at the time.
7. They will almost always drop their prices. With training prices routinely exceeding the three-digit mark, you shouldn’t feel bad that some of these guys are out of your price range. With a personal trainer, never take their quoted price at face value….especially the ones working for themselves. I’ve routinely seen trainers cut their prices in half. That said, the one’s who are willing to take such a price cut are probably doing so because they don’t have enough clients to keep themselves busy. The old saying, you get what you pay for, is quite often true in this field.
The entire point of this article was to give you a few things to think about. Do you REALLY need that personal trainer? If the answer is still yes, and there’s nothing wrong with that, you should seriously consider the above points. Make sure you’re getting the absolute best for your money and not giving it to some bozo who fell into this gig while he waits for corporate accounting hiring to pick back up.
I’ve had the pleasure of working with loads of great, effective, and well-meaning personal trainers in my day. Surely, not all of them are crap, but unfortunately in this field, you’ve got to really do your homework to find the good ones. Take these tips, get out there, maybe do a month or two worth of workouts on your own, and then decide if you really need that trainer after all. My gut instinct, as a personal trainer, is you don’t.