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There are a lot of pros to hiring a personal trainer to coach you through exercise, but one reason why many people don’t have personal trainers is that they are expensive. In the list of things you “have” to pay for, personal trainers fall way, way low on that list. In fact, I’m willing to bet a lot of people consider a personal trainer part of their disposable income costs, and whether or not they choose to have one is based on if they have the money to spend.
However, I’m going to have to come clean here: I have a personal trainer and I love it. I’ve used Trainer Space in the past when I was Boca Raton and I loved that too. Before I’m pilloried in the personal finance community, let me outline some of the reasons why I’ve found a personal trainer to be worth it and why you might find somewhere like Horizon Personal Training might be worthwhile for you… and alternatives to the traditional personal training sessions.
Why My Personal Trainer is Worth It
I was definitely one of those people who thought personal trainers were too expensive. As a frequent gym-goer, I also thought I knew all the machines and how to do basic exercises properly. However, in December, our local YMCA ran a special on personal training sessions, and my mom and I decided to get each other sessions as Christmas gifts. If you are a trainer yourself, why not read rules for keeping your personal training clients motivated as they will help you pick up and retain business!
As I started working with the personal trainer, I realized I definitely was wrong about a couple things. Here are the reasons I’ve found my personal trainer to be worth it:
- Consistency – yes, I’m one of “those people.” I won’t go (or will go less often) to the gym if I don’t have a buddy. By having a once a week, standing appointment with my personal trainer, I go. I go every week. Not only am I paying for it, but there is someone expecting me to be there… and I hate standing people up (especially people I’m paying!)
- Time – honestly, sometimes the only time I go to the gym is that once a week when I meet my trainer. I’m trying to build up my side hustle, plan a wedding, spend time with my family, occasionally hang out with B (I’m glad he’s understanding!), and… you know… spend 10 hours a day with my “real” job (commuting + work).
Even if you’re not that busy, I’m sure you have your own time crunches. Whether it’s a side hustle, family, or other hobbies, the gym is something easy to push down on the to-do list. You can’t really tell you two-year-old to wait while you go to the gym, but you can tell the gym to wait while you potty-train your two-year-old.
For me, my time with the personal trainer is non-negotiable. It’s a lot easier to say “no” to things when a) I’m paying for it and b) it’s only once a week.
- Learning new things to challenge my muscles. This has been one of the best pros to having a personal trainer. I used to be incredibly active: I played sports throughout high school and college, and even in graduate school I signed up for boot camps to challenge myself.
Since joining the working world? Ha, I consider myself lucky if I walk the dog around the park twice. That’s a workout for me (true story). When I go to the gym, I do the standard routine of elliptical (sometimes treadmill), a couple machines, maybe some tricep work with the free weights.
If you’re into working out at all, you’ll know that after a while, your body adjusts to repetition and you need more weights to shake it up. Unfortunately, I just wasn’t progressing. 12 lb. weights were the most I was doing, and that was on a good day.
Now, with my personal trainer, I’ve learned so many more exercises that really tax me. Best of all, I’ve learned how to use my own body weight as resistance, so I can do a lot of these exercises at home if I want. With my trainer, I also get a copy of the exercises we do weekly, which I can bring to the gym on my own and replicate. Even after I stop having a personal trainer, I’ll still keep the exercises I learned from her and continue to incorporate them into my gym routine.
- Price – I would be remiss to note that my personal trainer is not expensive. If the YMCA is close to you, check out their prices for sessions with personal trainers. Right now, I pay $40 an hour for my trainer, once a week.
What if Hiring a Personal Trainer Isn’t an Option?
While I think having a personal trainer is worth it, I do understand the cost may be an obstacle. However, I’d encourage you to check with your local gym and see what specials they are offering. Often around this time of year, gyms are trying to entice people with healthy New Year’s Resolutions to join their gyms and sign up with an introductory (sometimes free!) session with a personal trainer. Here are some additional ways to reduce the cost and fit in more exercise:
- Consider Semi-Personal Training – if hiring a personal trainer for individual sessions is too expensive, check with your gym and see if they’ll let you split the cost with friends or family. When we first started with our personal trainer, Mom and I didn’t want to work out alone; we were looking to work out but still spend time together.
Our gym didn’t offer semi-personal training sessions at all – until we asked. They worked something out where we both paid less but were still able to get a full hour of personal training. However, this never would have happened if we hadn’t asked. So ask! The worst they can say is “no” (and I really doubt a good gym would do that!)
- Stretch Out Your Sessions – you don’t have to visit a personal trainer twice a week, or even once every week. To get the most out of your money, schedule your personal training sessions twice or even once a month. Make sure to get a copy of the exercises you do with the personal trainer – either have your trainer make you a hard copy or email you a copy to review on your phone/tablet, or print it out at home. Doing this will save you money but still get you the access to (and accountability of) a personal trainer.
- Try Online Personal Training – If you don’t live close enough to a gym, or if the cost of a gym membership plus training would be too much, try online personal training. Sites like FitOrbit.com pair you with personal trainers and cost much less than a traditional, in-person personal trainer.
I haven’t tried a site like FitOrbit for personal training, but I have tried some free online workout videos and, if you have the motivation to do it on a regular basis, those online videos can be awesome resources. Plus, you can do it whenever, wherever in your own home, which is a pretty big plus for a busy individual!
Personally, I’ll stick with my personal trainer for a couple more months. I like having new exercises designed for me, and right now I’m willing to pay for that accountability factor. It helps that I get to go with my mom and bond with her too – it’s some extra time we get together, and I’m keeping her in shape to. It’s not something I’ll stick with long term, just when I need it… like now!
So what do you think? Do you think you’d ever hire a personal trainer, or do you think you’ll stick with the gym, outdoors exercise, or something else? What do you think of virtual or online personal trainers?