Personal Training. . . It’s Personal Again.
Once upon a time, a very long time ago, in a gym far far away, a gym user asked another gym user how he got his arms so big. He answered, “oh, I’ve doing these curls that I saw in a magazine.” “Wow! Would you mind showing me those curls?” The fellow gym user walked over to a dumbbell rack, grabbed a set of dumbbells and proceeded to show the gentleman the exercise. The gentleman was so pleased with the feeling that the exercise gave him and was also very impressed with the demeanor and the motivation that the gym user showed him about the exercise he felt compelled to offer the guy a couple of bucks for his time and energy. And thus personal training was born.
The progression of the personal training industry has, in this writers opinion, been a steady path towards self destruction. The destruction of something so wonderful, so important, so personal is very sad to someone like me who has devoted a great part of my life to fitness and more so the personal training industry. The fact that we call it an “industry” speaks to the fact that personal training has gone from being something that was first conceived to be for the benefit of people who needed that extra attention and motivation to achieve their desired fitness goals to what it is today. A tool used by big fitness corporations to create a instant revenue stream for their clubs.
Now you would think that bringing personal training to the masses would be a good thing, right? Personal training at one point in its evolution was for the rich and famous. By bringing it to the clubs and making it available to the gym member you would think this is good and it would be if the intention of these health and fitness corporations was to help people really achieve the fitness results that they seek, but alas it is not. What these corporations are banking on is your failure! That’s right, they would rather you not get to your goal. This way you continue to get billed month after month for your membership and keep their pockets filled. Ask yourself something, how are these gyms and health clubs able to offer you these ridiculously low monthly memberships fees to join? Well, a couple of things factor in when it comes to that, one is the fact that the low price will increase after a period. They suck you in and then after a period time, usually about 3 to 6 months, the price goes up. How that is determined is that it takes the average gym goer about that long of failing to see the results that they seeked to fall out of going to the gym all together. But still they are paying for a membership they don’t even use because they are on an EFT (electronic funds transfer) program. The owner of said gym is fine with that, they are still getting your money, right!? Another reason they use the low price to lure you in is to get you to purchase the in-house personal training once you join. You would think as a personal trainer I would be happy about that, but I’m not. The reason I’m not happy about this tactic is that it now puts the trainer in a tough position. The trainer now has maybe two and in most cases one time to convince the member that personal training is something you need in order for the member to achieve their desired fitness goals. This is unfair to the member and its unfair to the trainer.
The average trainer in a health club or gym facility is for the most part a dedicated fitness professional who really wants to help people achieve their desired fitness goals, but in most cases is under tremendous pressure by the club to “make the sale” of personal training. This pressure leads the trainer to pressure the member who now senses this pressure and is not as receptive to the information that is being given to them even though in most cases the information is spot on and going to be beneficial to the member. Now that member turns down the opportunity to work with a trainer and thinks that they can go it alone. They feel like “why should I pay for training, I’ve already spent money to get the membership.” They think “I’ll just copy what I see others doing in the gym”. Now who’s to say those people are doing the right things or if the things they are doing are the right things for them to be doing. Do you see how this process is beginning to deteriorate? Then comes the the 3 to 6 months of not seeing the results they had hoped for and “BOOM” they disappear from the gym all together. But Mr. Gym Owner is OK with that, he’s still getting your money each month. Plus Mr. Gym Owner has created a system that makes it darn near impossible to get out of your membership if that’s what you choose to do.
Now lets take a minute to go down the other path in this scenario. Say you do decide to take advantage of the personal training in your club and make your purchase of a training package, and you are fortunate enough to link with a great trainer. Things are going well, you are seeing progress. You and your trainer have a great rapport and then suddenly your trainer is gone! POOF! You are standing there left wondering what happened. More than likely your trainer was having issues with the club in regards to their salary or wage amount. Because the truth of the matter is trainers are not paid very well for the service they provide in the club setting. Now you may find this a little puzzling given the fact that personal training rates in most clubs are a bit pricey, but what the consumer is not aware of is the trainer only receives a small percentage of that per session price that you pay for training. Now your great trainer has to train quite a few clients to make a decent salary. Your trainer gets fed up with the company not willing to pay him or her for the good work the trainer is doing and the trainer eventually leaves. You are upset and disappointed. The gym says “don’t worry, I’ll put you with another trainer, you’ll be just fine.” But for you this is very unsettling, not just a quick fix and you don’t appreciate that the gym is taking that type of approach to what you feel is a very personal situation.
Unfortunately the latter scenario is happening quite often in the fitness industry today. Those trainers are leaving and have begun to branch out on their own to open small fitness studios, in-home training services, outdoor fitness boot camps. The independent fitness professional is a great thing for the fitness consumer, these are trainers who have the passion and the knowledge and are willing to make your hard earned money be spent in a worthwhile manner by providing you the best personal training possible. If you really want to make a change in your life when it comes to your fitness working with a independent fitness professional is the best way to go! These fine and dedicated fitness professionals are making personal training personal again.