More and more people are seeking professional support to help them achieve their health and fitness goals. But is a personal trainer an expensive luxury or does it offer value for your exercise budget?

How does personal training work?

Modern personal training is all about providing an absolute 100 per cent focus on the needs of the client. A professional personal trainer is highly qualified and delivers a fully-rounded and personally-tailored health and lifestyle package. As well as assessing different elements of your fitness (like strength and flexibility), a good trainer will devise and deliver a programme totally built around you and your goals and also factor in nutrition , injury prevention and rehabilitation where necessary.

A personal trainer will continually adapt your programme so that it has plenty of variety, remains fresh and will focus completely on you throughout your sessions together. A personal trainer is also effectively your ultimate training partner, matching your commitment to your workout.

Typical personal training services offered include:

  • Health and fitness assessments

Every personal trainer will seek to evaluate your baseline fitness on a variety of criteria, which can include health screening such as blood pressure, resting heart rate, lung function, grip strength, cardiovascular and muscular strength testing. In addition it may involve some other analysis, for example, looking at issues such as diet, hydration, alcohol consumption, musculo-skeletal function, posture, and flexibility.

  • Gym and leisure club training

Training on using correct technique for resistance training equipment for both safety and maximum gains. Also, flexibility, cardio, swimming and core training.

  • Home and workplace training

Sessions in your own home or place of work if convenience is a key factor, with all equipment brought to your front door.

  • Event training

Preparation, coaching, training programme design and pacing for competitive events such a marathon or triathlon.

  • Exercise injury therapy

Assessment and treatment of soft tissue injuries (muscles, tendons and connective tissues) using sports massage techniques, developmental stretching and ultrasound.

  • Rehabilitation from exercise injuries

Training and rehab program design to help recover from injury.

  • Nutritional programmes

Nutrition plans for both everyday living and specifically for performance and competition.

  • Training partner

A partner to workout alongside, compete against or use as a pacer.

  • Lifestyle advice

Support and advice on lifestyle issues such as stress, smoking and work-life-balance. Some personal trainers are also additionally qualified as life-coaches.

What to look for in a good personal trainer

As with any industry, there are good and bad personal trainers, so if you’re thinking of working with one, check that they are fully qualified and insured. Your personal trainer should also be knowledgeable and personally experienced over a wide range of disciplines, from different types of cardiovascular exercise to creating nutrition programs.

Last but by no means least; they should be excellent communicators, personable, attentive, professional, focused and capable of delivering the goals that you want to achieve. This may seem like a long checklist, but by taking the step of working with a trainer you want to ensure that you get a professional service.

Is the price of training right?

Session fees vary widely. Price is largely dependent on the area of the country where you live, with big city trainers often commanding the highest fees. Many trainers will offer discounts for block bookings so it is always worthwhile asking.

If you are considering working with a personal trainer, price should not be your sole criteria on selection. Do consider other important factors such as knowledge, experience and range of services, otherwise your economy sessions may effectively be less beneficial than a slightly more expensive alternative.

Pros and cons of personal training

Pros Cons

Expert advice and support across a wide variety of health and fitness disciplines


Receive personal advice tailored to your goals

Can be expensive
Positive change to your mindset can prove beneficial to other areas of your life  
Provides motivation and gives you confidence   Not all personal trainers are good — even those with the correct qualifications
Constant workout variety  
Can provide a fun, enjoyable workout by introducing exercises that you might not have heard of Personalised training plans can be purchased online for the fraction of the cost of a personal trainer
Takes the stress and time away from having to plan your workout - all you have to do is complete it  
Highly suitable for beginners Some people don’t work well, or prefer not to work under the supervision of another person
Fast, safe progression  

Personal training also gives you an incentive to turn up to your session. If you only plan on going the gym yourself, it is all too easy to put it off and tell yourself you will go tomorrow. However if you know you have a set appointment with your personal trainer then chances are you won’t miss it. You have paid for the privilege after all!

Another way to look at it is if you are consistently spending money on gym memberships and failing to make full use of the facility, then it might be time to consider paying a little more and investing in a personal trainer who will help you reach your often elusive health and fitness goals.

A lot of people choose to spend their money on a few PT sessions a month and then make up the rest of the time with other training such as running or workouts at home (which are free). That way, they get a individual fitness programme and information on form and technique that they need and can return a few weeks/months later to check in with their progress.

Is personal training for you?

Only you can decide if you feel that a personal trainer can help you towards your health and fitness goals. However, in making your decision, consider what you want to achieve, how you propose to get there and whether you have the level of expertise necessary to achieve your aims. Finance is certain to influence your decision, but remember that a personal trainer is an investment in your own health and fitness. Whatever your conclusions; nutritional, conditioning and flexibility advice, wrapped up in a professional, motivational and tailored one-to-one service, makes a formidable package.