If I had met me 5 years ago when I was in the depths of despair after trying everything to lose weight and failing multiple times over, I would’ve paid whatever it takes to work with me, but then it’s easy to say that in hindsight.
The bottom line, most Personal Trainers aren’t very good, I know; I’ve watched them. To qualify to be a Personal Trainer in the UK it’s a 6 week intensive course - it’s a bit like driving, you learn what you need to pass but you don’t actually LEARN until you get on the road.
Very few Personal Trainers last more than 12 months, it’s tough out there and most didn’t do it because they had a mission and wanted to make a difference to people’s lives, they just came out of college and gave it a go because they liked sport or thought working in a gym would be fun. This isn’t a criticism of any individuals, this is just an observation of the industry.
Any Personal trainer who has been in the industry over 1 year probably is pretty serious about what they do and here are some key differences to look for;
They have a niche - they work with a certain person who is looking to achieve a certain result. No one can be everything to every one, at least not well. If they are a weight loss expert they should have a portfolio of results they have personally helped their clients to achieve. If they are a strength and conditioning coach you better hope they lift and if they are injury or rehab specialist then it is likely they have additional qualifications such as sports massage or physiotherapy. Choose someone who offers a service that is right for you.
They offer a result not an hour - Every Personal Trainer has an hourly rate, but pay per hour PT doesn’t really serve the customer. Most clients are looking for a result, be it a loss in weight or a gain in strength, overall you want something tangible. During the consultation process a Personal Trainer should be able to give you a structured programme of exactly how they propose to take you from A to B and how much that would cost. If they are charging per hour you will get just that, an hour of their time, but you might well need a lot of other components to get the result such as a nutrition plan, a structured set of stretches to do each day or access to a support group.
They have testimonials, reviews and repeat business - If a Personal Trainer is good and has got someone a great result, they will talk about it. If their clients come back time and time again there is a reason for it. If their clients are not talking about them, you need to ask why.
They train themselves and invest in professional development - Your PT should be really into their own training and talking about it too, you should be inspired by how they train themselves and have at least some aspiration to be as fit, strong, healthy, lean or committed as they are. You also want to know that if you are investing in them, they are also investing in themselves. Whether they are attending courses on advanced training techniques or studying NLP, you want to know how they are improving themselves because whatever they learn, they will pass on to you and that will only enhance your experience.
They are living the message - whatever stage of their journey they are at, it doesn’t matter but they should be practising what they preach. I firmly believe that what you permit you promote so if your trainer is always drinking sugary energy drinks or going our partying at the weekends, how can you expect them to instil higher standards in you?
So, that is in what my opinion just some of the things that mark a Great Personal Trainer, but what about the cost?
In my corporate days I would spend £500 in a weekend on lunches, outfits and drinks, without blinking. I would spend £1000 on a holiday and spend the entire time feeling uncomfortable in my bikini. I could spend £400 on a handbag thinking it would make me happy. I would spend £20 in one trip to the supermarket to buy one meal because the concept of food prep and a weekly shop was alien to me. My clients spend £100 a day on childcare, £800 on a weekend away with friends and £100 a pop on gym leggings to wear to the school drop off. Some spend £500 on colonic hydrotherapy, £100 on having their hair coloured every month and have even considered plastic surgery which can cost thousands to change their appearance. My point is not that this kind of spending is not valid, my point is that they have the money, but spending it on Personal Training scares them.
And why do I think this is? Because they can’t just throw money at the problem, they have to actually do some work. If I charged £1500 for a transformation and in 12 weeks you woke up with the body you had always wanted and got to keep forever with no additional input from you required I would be a billionaire; the cost is not the true problem. The problem is the fear that you will not get the result. Because £1500 for a total body transformation that would mean wearing whatever you wanted and feeling great, feeling fit and healthy, having boundless energy, being confident in your skin, feeling strong, feeling less anxious and sleeping better is actually cheap. However, there is no magic wand, so that is why it is important that you chose the right trainer, because the right Coach can help you to achieve all the things that I have just described; they will guide, support and motivate you the whole way through and if they are any good, they will charge you for it. So is Personal Training expensive? Not in my opinion, but I’ll let you be the judge of that.
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