It was the year 2001, the economy was booming and everywhere people were flocking to gyms. I was just entering the fitness business as a personal trainer and worked for a well-known fitness conglomerate here in Vancouver. I was poised to create lasting change in the minds and bodies of all this new blood entering my world. People were eager to invest in my services, if only to see what all the hype was about. After all, most celebrities and professional athletes had a trainer to get them in top shape, so the lure was even greater with these types of endorsements. For some people, the luxury of having their own personal fitness trainer was an indulgence that they could afford and that many found to be a good investment.
These days things are a little different . . .
Presently, the economy is struggling and most people can’t even afford a simple luxury such as a enjoying a meal at a fine restaurant. This has pushed personal training back as a priority in the minds of a lot people, even people that have attained great value in the past from this exclusive service.
This doesn’t diminish the benefits that a personal trainer can deliver, in fact, the industry has grown tremendously since my start in the field. Unfortunately, it’s now become a service that’s simply financially out of reach for many people, including those who really need it. Or is it? Personal training is no longer only an option for the affluent or privileged few. The industry has evolved to help more people obtain the professional training they need. The following is a list of 7 great alternatives to traditional 60 minute, one-on-one personal training .
1. Partner Training
The first option in the budget continuum is working out with a partner. In this scenario the participants split the cost of training. Some trainers may charge a premium on top of this but it is still much more affordable overall. Of course, there will be less personal attention as the trainer’s attention is divided. For some people, this side effect is diminished by the increased motivation gained from competing against a partner. Social support and a sense of camaraderie abounds with this approach. It’s not for everyone, but a nice alternative nonetheless.
2. 30 Minute Sessions
If you get bored easily and believe that you are efficient enough to get the job done in half the time, this is a great alternative for you. The price is usually about half the price of regular sessions (although some trainers charge a premium rate here as well). For some, it’s not the cost that needs to be budgeted but rather time is more of a concern. For busy people who need to get in and out of the gym fast this training option is an obvious choice. For others, such an abbreviated workout may not be enough to accomplish their goals.
3. 30 Minute Partner Training
This is a natural blend of the two previous options. Not only are you splitting the cost of traditional training by training with a partner, but your rate is halved yet again with the shortened session time. There will most likely be a premium added to this service since it can be quite draining on the personal trainer and fitness facility resources. In most cases, the personal attention begins to take a dive at this point. Make sure you find someone skilled and experienced at delivering workouts in this fashion.
4. Bi-Monthly Check-Ins
Who says you need to see a trainer 3-5x/week to get results? If you’re already skilled enough at working out on your own but just need some extra guidance, accountability and support from a professional, this is a great option for you. The rates are likely to be high, but at only 2 sessions/month, it’s affordable for just about any budget. Through the advancement of technology, it’s now easier than ever for trainer and client to stay connected. You can have your program and progress updated every 2 weeks. This will keep you motivated and help you avoid the training plateaus that often develop when you work out on your own. If you’re new to exercise and/or generally avoid exercise at all costs, this option will not work for you.
5. Monthly Check-Ins
If you can’t afford more than $80/month on a personal trainer, but are proficient in the gym and just want a program and someone to be accountable to, this can work for you. That is, if your trainer doesn’t forget who you are. Just kidding – I’ve offered this to clients in the past with good results and always managed to remember them 4 weeks later. This is also a fantastic option if you live out of town or an unrealistic distance from the trainer you want to use. You will need to be a self-motivator and enjoy exercise, day-in and day-out to get the most out this option.
6. Online Training
There are many obvious drawbacks in this scenario including the absence of personal attention and external motivation. That said, there are many people who are successful with this approach and it’s a highly affordable option. Technology is really at the forefront of this service. With videos, membership sites, e-manuals and so forth, it’s becoming easier to “replicate” the personal training experience, online. Your trainer can deliver reasonably customized workouts and nutritional guidance right to your computer. I don’t currently offer this service myself, but there are other personal trainers and organizations who do. It’s usually inexpensive and may be just what you need.
7. Barter Your Services
Even if you have no money to invest in personal training, you’re not completely out of luck. If you are a professional and offer a service that’s value in on par with personal fitness, you may be able exchange services with a trainer. I’ve never done this myself but have heard of it being done before. Why not? If you have something of value to offer (mind out of the gutter please), this is an excellent opportunity to leverage your skills to acquire value elsewhere.