Pros and Cons of Hiring a Personal Trainer
One of the most commonly asked questions when joining a gym is:
Should I use a Personal Trainer or just take tips from online sources?
Our main concern seems to be - will I be wasting my money?
Then a voice whispers: but what if it changes my life and body shape for the better? What if they keep me motivated and push me harder than I could ever do by myself?
Let’s explore the pros and cons of hiring a personal trainer and help you decide what’s right for you.
Personal trainers – the next step in achieving your goals?
Starting at the gym usually begins with an induction session with an instructor.
These experts take you around, show you the equipment, investigate your capabilities, discuss your goals and aspirations - when all you want to do is start lifting colossal weights and running world record treadmill times! They are trained to slow you down and teach you the basics of what you need to know, so you don’t rush in and injure yourself.
But many gyms also have a hidden agenda. By the time the instructor has finished, they’ll have left a seed in your head that maybe you should subscribe to their latest offer of personal training or sign up to customised workouts based on your own abilities and goals.
So, you think long and hard. You wonder whether that money will be better left in your bank account. Maybe instead you could take a look at social media channels and get the latest video to lose weight or tone up?
This is when some honest self-appraisal becomes vital.
The main advantage of a personal trainer is that they can offer support and guidance with whatever gym goals you may have. They offer you their time and experience to support you to reach your targets.
Most personal trainers will ask you what results you want - a better body, losing weight, muscle gain, slimmer figure, a better diet. They will then put a plan together for you to achieve them.
Personal trainers know that whatever our goals, we must first be committed to that goal and not give up halfway through. That would just be a total waste of time and money. This is where trainers often come into their own – they become that nagging little voice in your head, spurring you on to get results.
With proper theory, guidance and technique it is possible to maximise results in the shortest time. It’s not a quick-fix, but it’s probably faster than you can do it alone.
Whether you’re thinking about losing weight, bulking up, running a 10k or even the London Marathon, they can help train you to achieve success with the most dynamic and relevant exercises to get those results or prepare for those events.
Developing a friendship with you mentor can help to ensure that sessions don’t become boring or mundane. At the end of the day, we’re social animals and having someone to talk to about your workouts and progress will help to increase your enjoyment and commitment.
Last, but not least: you will be held accountable. It’s a well-known psychological fact that we humans are lazy creatures if given half a chance. A personal trainer giving you extra motivation and continually questioning your commitment will take you to new levels of fitness that would be hard to achieve on your own.
Let’s start with the most obvious, and possibly most important one. Personal trainers don’t come cheap. As with most things in life – you get what you pay for, so a very good, highly experienced and qualified personal trainer will be expensive. There’s no getting around that fact. But don’t lose sight of the fact that these guys are experts. They’re masters of their trade and deserve to paid as such.
There are high numbers of personal trainers to choose from in and around major cities. Some of the most expensive ones are found in places like in Central London. In smaller towns or rural areas, your choice will be limited and you may have to travel to find someone suitable.
Ok, so you want to reach your goals, but we all know that life sometimes gets in the way. If you hire a personal trainer you are basically saying that – my fitness is becoming one of my top priorities. This means you may have to sacrifice some other hobbies or even reduce work and social commitments to make sure you get the most from your personal training.
Some personal trainers, by the nature of the job, are headstrong or forceful characters. If you have similar traits, this can cause problems. Obviously, you can just find someone else, but you may find that you try several and still can’t find a good match.
Types of personal trainers
Gym-based personal trainer
These are the instructors that you find in every commercial gym. Depending on the individual gym they put together a training plan and monitor your results or they may stay alongside you to motivate you along the way.
Home-based personal trainer
Some personal trainers are available for hire at home. These are generally more expensive and often they will help you with your diet and nutrition as well as exercise and training.
Virtual personal trainer
These days virtual personal trainers have become a popular alternative.
You can contact them via a video call and discuss your goals, etc. They will put together a plan and it’s up to you to stick to it.
Some virtual trainers will record personalised motivation videos and workout advice for you. The advantage of this method is that they’d be there at any moment you need them. When you’re in front of that cardio machine, just load up a page on your mobile phone and away you go. Convenient, right?
But, there are drawbacks. They won’t make you feel guilty if you decide to skip the diet this week, for instance. And you won’t get instant feedback from them. In other words, you won’t get to instantly correct any training mistakes you’re making.
Perhaps you’d get better results from a dialogue with a real, breathing toned trainer who actually replies to you immediately when you ask a direct question. Someone that can take you in a direction suited for you as a person, not filtered through a search engine algorithm?
For the rest of this article let’s assume that you are going down the road of hiring a face-to-face personal trainer.
Choosing the Right Trainer
I would first recommend looking into the bios of the trainers available in the gym.
Most will have information available about their qualifications, specialisms and experience. If you’re still unsure who to pick, then ask someone that is already being trained by them when you spot them in the gym. Alternatively, just ask around for a recommendation.
A ‘good fit’ personal trainer will: motivate you, challenge you, actually answer you when asked a question during your session and may well offer to investigate more complex queries and get back to you with an answer.
Tips on choosing the right trainer for you:
- If you pick the right one they should help you achieve the success you are looking for - by helping you to develop your self-motivation and checking you’re sticking with their advice and you don’t deviate from their set personalised routine. This bespoke service means small adjustments along the way can instantly change your trajectory there and then.
- If you don’t see any results, don’t feel guilty if you decide to find someone else. We change our broadband or insurance if the service is not up to scratch. Sometimes we make the wrong choice, which helps us better understand what we actually need from a trainer. Sometimes the whole thing just doesn’t go to plan and we end up not seeing the changes we wanted.
- With Personal Trainers we are dealing with human interaction; this means personalities. “They’re a serious taskmaster”, “I’m dying after my sessions with them”, “I get shouted at every time”, may bring great joy and results for one person, but for another it may be pure misery!
- If your training is making you unhappy then it’s time to make some changes. Put it down to experience and perhaps give someone else the chance to prove themselves.
It’s important to make sure that your wallet and mental health aren’t affected in the long term. Nothing is worse than not only feeling exhausted at the end your workout, but also getting feelings of buyer’s regret. Or negative thoughts such as ‘have I let myself and my trainer down?’
If you’re prone to being too hard on yourself, then make sure you hire a compassionate personal trainer who will point out your successes and make the criticism gentle and constructive.
What results can you expect?
According to Sports Science Journal you are more than 30% more likely to hit your goals with a trainer than without one.
Motivation, enthusiasm and energy levels will be the first to increase. Some people will see significant weight loss within the first few weeks. Within 4 weeks body size, shape and strength will see improvement.
The majority of results depend on what you have agreed to treat as a priority.
If the priority is weight loss then steady weight loss can be achieved with good nutrition and regular exercise. Normally your trainer will advise you to workout at least 2-3 times a week.
The increases in energy levels we get from our new-found fitness are a motivator in themselves. Exercising makes us want to exercise more as our bodies release dopamine, a little thank you from our brains for the improvements we are making to ourselves.
This helps you to stick to a new exercise routine and even form a habit.
Interestingly, studies at University College of London bust the urban myth that a habit-forming practice takes only 21 days - they found it’s actually more like 66 days. So, don’t ditch your personal trainer too soon if you’re still struggling to live the lifestyle they recommend, give it a couple of months at least
Average cost of hiring a personal trainer
- If you’re attending one of the main gym chains, you’re looking at around £40-£50/hr for a trainer. You can expect to pay triple that for highly sought-after trainers who have a celebrity following.
- Home-based personal trainers will also charge more per hour.
- As a rule, personal trainers at independent gyms are cheaper and generally fall in the range of £20 to £30/hr.
Most will offer an introductory deal, for example 3 sessions for the price of 2. You should also expect to get better rates for block bookings which can be 10 sessions or more.
Hiring a personal trainer doesn’t necessarily need to be a long-term commitment. You should really be looking at a minimum of 3 sessions to see if you want to continue and if you’re suited to your personal trainer. That might be enough to get started and maintain your set routine for the next few months, until you hit a plateau. Then it may be worth doing a few more sessions to take you to the next level.
Taking the plunge
All in all, hiring a personal trainer could be one of the best decisions you make to improve your fitness. This is especially true if you’ve been struggling to get results on your own.
You have to ask yourself this: are you ready to make a change in your life at the moment?
If you are committed and have the available money in your budget, then choosing a good personal trainer might be a turning point in your life.
Let’s face it, most of us spend money on frivolous things day in, day out, so why not spend it on getting fitter?
With a motivation and training specialist at your side who knows, you could become unstoppable.