Hiring a Personal Trainer can be a lifechanging and positive experience, and throughout our careers, we have listened to people tell us that they are so glad they decided to work with a trainer. But honestly, for us and every other Personal Trainer out there, there are just as many people that feel like the process was just ok, or it worked for a while and then the process kind of tailed off, or it didn’t quite work out for them. For every, before and after picture there is another person who tried it for a few months and left, quietly.
So with this in mind, this article is about the top 2 problems to watch out for if you are considering hiring a Personal Trainer to guide you with your health and fitness goals.
Let’s deal with the big one first
Problem No 1 – Cost
So, this is about getting the right product for you.
If you join a gym you will pay anywhere from £10 to £70 per month (plus the admin fee) depending on whether you go budget or fancy. Here you get the benefits of controlling the expense; the more budget you go the greater the control, access to all the kit potentially a pool and sauna, and usually access to all the gym classes. The problems you get are either…
- It’s difficult to motivate yourself to get into the gym with just a membership, you don’t know anyone in the gym or your friends train at different times or do their own thing. So the membership is underused as you try to create some sort of routine without it ever really gaining momentum.
- Maybe you are very self-motivated and you manage to get in and maintain a routine and potentially use the classes to organise a weekly schedule. But you then run into the problem of losing interest in the routine after a few weeks or months. Or because you have done a DIY job you don’t feel like you have done the best job of coming up with the exercises and system that is necessarily right for you. This type of person usually hits a plateau.
Both of these types of people usually come to the conclusion that they need more help with either getting started and motivated, or getting remotivated with a new routine and a progression in their programming. They also usually fall into the same category of feeling a bit isolated in a big gym with lots of people. In the budget gym, you also have the problem of overcrowding, fighting for kit and parking at peak times and out of order signs from overuse of the facilities. Many people also feel uncomfortable in budget gyms at peak times because they don’t know exactly what they are doing with some of the weights and kit, and some of the budget clientele can be intimidating and unfriendly.
The solution from here is to look at hiring a trainer to take care of the programming and motivation side of things. This is where the cost comes in.
It is cheaper to just pay the gym membership and more costly to hire a Trainer but the problem is you end up stuck without ever really making any progress.
So the type of person that is willing to pay the cost of a personal trainer is the type of person that has decided that the usual gym environment doesn’t offer them the value they were looking for. Basically, they are paying their membership but not getting enough for it terms of experience or results. So they either give up entirely or are willing to pay some more money to progress from a DIY mindset to a Professional mindset.
There is also the simple question of “how much is your ongoing health worth to you?” Here you are faced with the unavoidable truth that without a significant monthly investment in your health each month for the rest of your life, at some point this will catch up with you when the costs are almost certain to be steeper than the monthly cost of a Personal Trainer.
We don’t notice our health creeping away day by day but when something goes wrong we are forced to sit up and take notice.
The person who decides to pay for a trainer understands this unavoidable truth. Their monthly Personal Training costs is their health insurance.
This leads us to the next problem…
Problem No 2 – Using a Personal Trainer is going to be too hard for me
With this problem, you have a very high probability of being right!
The health and wellness sector is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the last 10 years and with it, Personal Training is now a very popular career path. The technology industry boosts awareness through Instagram, facebook, and iwatches with biometric tracking to name just a few, all adding to an awful lot of exercise, training and nutrition information out there.
The problem here is you have an awful lot of “Personal Trainers” out there. In your gym, online, writing blogs, Instagram profiles, training your favourite celebrity. There are some great, some good, some bad and some ugly Personal Trainers. As the person looking for the PT, your problem is how to find a trainer worth your money and effort.
Knowing what I do about Personal Trainers and working in the industry for the last 15 years I would not want to be in your position in choosing a great personal trainer, or even just a reliable one. It is difficult to be sure of what you are going to get.
The “too hard for me” problem pervades because a lot of personal trainers are not educated properly. A Personal Trainer can be qualified after 6 weeks and begin training people and to be honest many lack the intellect, responsibility, and discipline to work with people to progress their flexibility, strength, fitness, and health. The problem you get with an inexperienced trainer is that they aren’t educated in the core subjects a PT requires Anatomy, Biomechanics, Physiology & Psychology and when I say educated I mean to degree level and beyond.
So this type of trainer falls into the “harder is better, category of Trainer. This trainer believes that a harder more inventive workout is what creates value to you. So they will train you to within an inch of your life and order you to go into a calorie deficit and train you like you are going into the Olympics. This is, of course, unsustainable and too hard to maintain.
The trainer, of course, doesn’t understand this as they aren’t educated or knowledgeable enough.
The solution here is to find a scientifically educated trainer with nationally recognised professional qualifications beyond their PT qualification, with at least 5 years experience. This has its own problem as this type of trainer won’t hang around in a gym training people for too long because they will be driven enough to want to run their own business or open their own small gym. This type of trainer gets tired of the gym taking a 50% cut of their income, they also grow tired of the crowded gym environment as the members do. So they look at opening their own gym.
This realisation that Personal Training is too extreme can come in a number of different forms…
Too strict, too unreliable, too unrealistic in their expectations of you.
Basically, this is the Personal Trainer not living up to your expectations, so you are unhappy with the process.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that Personal training isn’t for you, but that this Personal Trainer isn’t for you.
They are a bad fit.
You need to find the right trainer for you.
If you want to be a bodybuilder – hire a Personal Trainer who is a bodybuilder
If you want to pose on stage or do a photoshoot in your underpants – hire a Personal Trainer who does that
If you would like a wide variety of exercises sessions based on the current industry trends – hire the trainer that does a course in whatever is popular this year – Kettlebells, Viprs, Barefoot training…
If you would like to still drink some alcohol, eat normal food and improve your health and fitness including flexibility, strength, and appearance steadily over the long term – hire a Personal Trainer who offers a balanced approach based on your lifestyle requirements.
Finally, as mentioned earlier, to find a great trainer that is scientifically educated, with over 5 years experience with Nationally recognised qualifications beyond their PT qualification, you may be forced to look outside the commercial gyms. These types of trainers have normally moved on from the conventional gym environment because of the limited growth opportunities over time. Look for independent Personal Training gyms in your area then check their website, Instagram, Facebook page and their other social media outlets to see if they are “bodybuilders”, “physique competitors” or “trend-based” or “balanced approach” type Personal Trainers that will fit your needs.
Remember, not all Personal Trainers were created equal.
In the next article we will look at a comparison of the Personal Training available near you including the pros and cons of each.
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