Personal Training? What Is It (Worth)?

One-on-one training

By Marina Aagaard, MFE

Fitness centres and trainers across the country offers ‘personal training’, but what exactly is it? In many fitness centres it looks just like ordinary fitness training with the usual fitness instructor … but costs more? So is it worth it?

Yes, mostly it is. Depending on the fitness centre, the exerciser and the trainer.
Check out here, what the personal trainer does, what personal training is, and if it is worth the extra money.

What is personal training?
Personal training started as ‘one-on-one training’, one trainer and one exerciser, and this is still the typical scenario. However, it can also be training for pairs and small groups or teams with 3-5 persons.

A personal trainer can be booked for 1, 5 or 10 sessions or longer lasting programs and he/she can a.o. 1) create a long-term training plan, often based on fitness testing, 2) create an advanced fitness program and/or 3) motivate with pep-talk and support (spotting) during workouts.

Personal training is training, which is customized and targets the goals of the exerciser (client); it is based on the health, fitness and needs profile of the exerciser.
This is not possible in traditional fitness training, because of limited time, or in group exercise, because of (too) many exercisers at one time.

Often personal training is thought of as being the same as resistance (strength) training with machines, cables, fitness equipment or bodyweight – and maybe cardio training.
However, personal training can be any kind of training; cardio, coordination, strength, flexibility, or mind-body activities as well as indoor group cycling, spinning: so this includes activities, which traditionally are practiced in group exercise or at your own.

Optimal personal training is specific to the needs, goals and lifestyle of the client and includes warm-up, specific goal-oriented training of the desired areas – cardio, strength, coordination (motor skills) or flexibility – as well as cool-down and mobility training (stretching) as needed.

Where do you do personal training?
Personal training is offered in many fitness centres, which is a ‘natural setting’, however, you can have personal training in many places, e.g. the home or outside, ‘outdoor fitness’. As the workouts can be bodyweight based, you do not require machines or fitness equipment. Although weight training equipment, in the gym or at home, is great for variety and advanced strength training.

What is the cost of personal training?
The price depends on the trainer, the extent of the program and, training and the number of sessions. The price ranges from 20-200 USD, average around 50-75 USD, however, it can be higher, if testing or lifestyle coaching is included, and it can be lower, if it is a long-lasting program with many sessions (more sessions paid in advance).
Compared to the price of a visit to the hairdresser, the price for a full-body ‘trimming’ must be said to be very reasonable.

Is personal training worth the money?
Is personal training worth the extra money, if you have already had a fitness introduction and feel confident with your fitness training? Yes, generally it is.

1) Most fitness centres only offers basic introductions, when you first start.
Note: If a  fitness centre offers ongoing instruction and you only need general exercise, you probably do not need personal training (initially).

2) A proficient personal trainer has comprehensive knowledge about anatomy, physiology and training and provides testing, precise analysis and program design, which helps clients to train better and get the desired results faster; e.g. weightloss, body-building, toning, improved health and performance.

The exception to the rule is, if the personal trainer is not very good. And unfortunately, these are around. Anybody can call themself personal trainer, so you need to watch out and ask for qualifications and references.

Who can benefit from personal training?
Almost everyone can benefit from having their training technique checked occasionally, so you do not develop faulty or sloppy movements. Also the personal trainer may boost your program and workouts with novel methods and exercises, which may lead to improved workout performance and better results.

Which personal trainer should you choose?
You should choose your personal trainer according to your special needs. And ask about qualifications, references  and results.
It is important that the personal trainer and client discuss their individual expectations and agree on the terms for the session(s). Have a good talk and find out how well you get along.

The client should be clear about the goals and communicate these.
The personal trainer should find out about the goals and level of commitment of the client and also the willingness to comply with the program and appointments.

Where do you find a personal trainer?
You can ask at your local fitness centre or check the internet for trainers in your area. Also ask friends or family, if they know of proficient personal trainers, who have helped their clients reach their goals.

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