Personal training — expensive luxury or value for money?

The pros and cons of personal trainers

Historically, personal training has been regarded for celebrities only, but at gyms and health clubs, people are now working out with their personal trainer in increasing numbers. Nowadays, more and more people are seeking professional support to help them achieve their health and fitness goals. But is personal training 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 program totally built around you and your goals and also factor in nutrition, injury prevention and rehabilitation where necessary. They will be continually adapting your program 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 and who won’t cry off if the weather turns nasty.

Typical personal training services offered:

Health and fitness assessments
Every personal trainer will seek to evaluate your baseline fitness on a variety of criteria, which can include:

Health screening — for example:

  • Blood pressure
  • Resting heart rate
  • Lung function
  • Grip strength, etc.

Cardiovascular and muscular strength testing

Nutritional analysis — for example:

  • Diet
  • Hydration
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Musculo-skeletal function
  • Posture
  • Flexibility

Gymnasium and leisure club training
Training on using correct technique for resistance training equipment for both safety and maximum gains. Also, flexibility, CV, 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 program 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 program design to help recover from injury.

Nutritional programs
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 London trainers 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 Can be expensive


Not all personal trainers are good — even those with the correct qualifications
Constant workout variety

Personalised training plans can be purchased online for the fraction of the cost of a personal trainer
Highly suitable for beginners  
Fast, safe progression  

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 whatever your conclusions; nutritional, conditioning and flexibility advice, wrapped up in a professional, motivational and tailored one-to-one service, makes a formidable package for those with the cash.

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