The only reason to hire a personal trainer is….

Results.

  • Good results.
  • Great results.
  • Certainly not Oprah Winfrey gaining 40+ pounds in one year kind of results.

bob greene oprah winfrey4 The only reason to hire a personal trainer is....

  • We’re talking about the kind of results that make you want to rush out and buy a brand new wardrobe to show off the brand new you.
  • We’re talking about the kind of results that have you staring at your reflection in the mirror like a modern day Narcissus.
  • We’re talking about the kind of results that have you singing the praises of your personal trainer to all of your friends and family and co-workers and strangers on the street and…
  • We’re talking about the kind of results that each and every personal trainer should strive for.

Unfortunately, most trainees don’t get those types of results from their personal trainers.

And why not?

  • Health clubs are making huge profits off of their personal training clients.
  • The obesity/weight loss industry is making trillions.
  • And yet, as a society, we’re fatter than ever.

But, if you ask your trainer (go ahead and ask) why you’re not transforming as quickly as you think you should be, I guarantee that you will hear some version of this answer:

  • I am with you for only (1, 2 or 3) hours a week. That leaves 165+ hours where you are on your own. I can’t be responsible for what you do when I am not around.

Aaarrrgggghhh!!!!

But of course, on one level, they are right.

Ultimately, you are responsible for the food that you eat, the Starbucks mocha lattes that you drink, the quantity and quality of your sleep, your daily activity, your thoughts, your feelings, etc….

However, if you are going to pay thousands of dollars of your hard earned, recession ravaged dollars in an attempt to ward off excess body-fat and coronary incidents, maybe your trainer should take some responsibility for those hours when you are away from him or her.

  • Remember, you are paying for results.
  • So, how do you get your moneys worth?

Talk with your trainer about your health/fitness/weight loss goals

  • Are they realistic?
  • If so, how long should it take to achieve those goal?
  • What are you going to have to do to achieve those goals?
  • What is the trainer going to do to help you achieve those goals?
  • What happens if you don’t achieve those goals?

Create a Body Transformation Plan

  • This plan, created jointly by you and your trainer, is your blueprint. Goals, timelines, workouts, nutrition,etc…
  • It should also detail the responsibilities, costs and penalties that the two of you have agreed upon.

And Follow Through with the Plan

  • All of my clients know what I expect of them and what happens if they don’t keep up their end of the bargain.
  • However, they also know that if they stick to the plan but don’t achieve 100% of their results, they WON’T be stuck paying for 100% of their training session fees.
  • They pay only for the results that we have achieved as a team.

Disclosure

While I seldom discuss it here on Health Habits, I have been a personal trainer for a long time. While I have worked in lots of different gyms, I have been out on my own, doing in-home personal training in downtown Toronto, for a loooonnngggg time now. During that time, I have met a lot of good personal trainers and a lot of bad personal trainers. And, I have seen a lot of those bad trainers make a lot of good money from people who think that a trainer with a life-long six-pack is better than one who has had to work hard for their fitness.

If you have any questions about personal training, please leave a comment and I will respond with my best advice.

Health Habits is my attempt at building up some good karma. You will always get my best advice at a good price – free.

Doug Robb is a personal trainer, a fitness blogger and author, a competitive athlete, a social media nerd and a student of nutrition and exercise science. Since 2008, Doug has brought his real-world experience online via his health & fitness blog, Health Habits.

10 Comments

  1. Sweet Feet

    December 29, 2012 at 5:44 am

    I lost 65 pounds over a year and a half by Weight Watchers and marathon training. After running my first marathon I decided to hire a PT to help me get to the next level with fitness and help improve my running performance.

    I love the workouts my PT designs for me. He has a ton of exercises in his repertoire keeping it fun and challenging! I look forward to our visits knowing I’m going to be pushed to my limits and maybe just a tad beyond. So fun!

    Over our first two months together, I’ve dropped a little over 5% body fat. Is it possible to guesstimate how much bf% I can drop over the next two months?

    I’m 4’11”, 119 lbs, run appx 35 miles per week, work out 3x/week with the PT, eat an average of 1600 calories a day, more on weekends and special occasions. I still track points for Weight Watchers, though I’m gradually moving away from that towards tracking calories and protein.

    Any guesses as to how much I can drop over the next 8 weeks?

  2. Wranchetta Williams

    October 30, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    I'm feeling the need for a personal trainer for weight training. Ummm…

  3. Carrie Burrows

    February 10, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    You have nailed the point right on. I have fired more clients because of their lack of commitment than I care to mention. I give my all to their success, but they aren’t willing to do the same for their own benefit. Clients that set realistic goals and truly care about their health and fitness are amazing. I guarantee them all the results they are looking forward to becuase we work together for their success.

    Here is an example of an Oprah article I wrote to help support your message.

    http://thebootcampblog.com/2010/10/20/why-oprah-is-still-fat/

    Keep up the great work.
    Carrie

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  7. izzidv

    August 5, 2010 at 6:47 am

    Wow! I never knew you”re in toronto! I would love to meet with you for a consultation if you’re accepting clients.send me a mail or something.

  8. Chris - fitnessfail.com

    March 24, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    I didn’t realize you were a trainer. It’s good to see that there are some out there that aren’t completely inept.

    To be fair, I think the problem is two part. I know a few trainers who started out intending to actually help people, and actually did have fair grasp of well, training. A lot of them found that their clients were very resistant to doing any actual work, instead preferring to play on Swiss balls and walk slowly on treadmills.

    It’s easy to say you won’t train people who aren’t willing to get with the program, but most trainers starting out can’t afford to turn down clients.

    And so the cycle of ineffective nonsense continues…

  9. Build Muscle

    March 24, 2009 at 9:29 am

    Great points! What is wrong with personal trainers?
    1) Some of them have been fit their whole lives and do not have the correct perception of intensity.
    2) Some of them, mostly those without a degree, are not correctly educated on physiology, kinesiolgy, energy systems, injury prevention, nutrition, or many of the other important components that describe how our bodies work.
    3) Some PTs just put their clients through cookie cutter circuit training programs that lack personalization.

    I have to stop here. As a former personal trainer, I haven’t seen a personal trainer in action that I can approve of. Back when I was a trainer, the goal was to get your client in top physical condition, not just put a check in your own pocket.

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