It’s no secret I’ve tried almost every fitness and nutrition trend out there. Like lots of twenty-somethings I want to look great… aaand if it improves my health too that’s an added bonus. After some bad experiences with diet pills and other ‘magical weight loss solutions’, I decided it was time to do actually put in some work and sign up to a personal trainer.
Working with a personal trainer is something I’ve been thinking about for years, but I’ve always felt like it was too much of an expense on my student/ new graduate budget. So instead I’ve previously opted for online plans. I’ve tried LDN Fitness’s Bikini Plan, The Body Coach’s Shape Shift Sustain programme, Natural Stefanie’s Vegan Aesthetics plant-based musle-building regime, Gillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred and more.
You know what? These trendy online plans have cost me a fortune over the years. And quite honestly, none of them have worked for me. I was most disappointed with The Body Coach: I’ve loved Joe Wicks since he was relatively small-time on Instagram, shouting ‘midget trees!’ out of his window, but after paying £50 a month for three months my measurements didn’t budge one bit. I trusted you, Joe. I trusted you.
How much does it cost to hire a personal trainer?
In short, the price varies. Usually a session with a PT costs between £30-£60 an hour. Often you’ll also need a membership for the gym your trainer works from. My personal trainer James from The Body Development Coach charges the equivalent of between £25 – £35 per session, dependent on how many sessions a week a client signs up for, though membership at his gym in Edinburgh isn’t necessary.
I’m not going to sugarcoat it. Hiring a personal trainer isn’t cheap. It’s also important to remember what you are paying for: this isn’t some guaranteed lose weight fast scheme (which doesn’t exist btw). You are not going to fork out the big bucks and suddenly look like a celebrity. When you pay a personal trainer you are buying their expertise, advice and support – the rest is up to you. I think that partly explains the cost: personal training is for people willing to invest in their fitness journey.
What a PT offers within their fee varies. It may be solely for the training session, for a customised training schedule, or exercise and nutritional guidance. James provides a customised workout plan tailored to clients’ fitness experience and body goals. He shares calorie and macro guidance as well as food suggestions, but doesn’t offer up set recipes. He also provides round-the-clock guidance via WhatsApp: something I certainly wasn’t expecting!
One important point I will make: not all personal trainers are created equal. Ultimately, the service is a big investment, and if your PT isn’t fulfilling your requirements or providing the knowledge you’d expect, then don’t be afraid to move to someone else. It’s not rude: it’s their job to keep customers happy!
What is a session with a personal trainer like?
I’m no stranger to the gym, and I’ve been doing weightlifting on my own for a few years now. This certainly gave me a head start. However, a good personal trainer will be able to get your body working regardless of your experience. A good session should be challenging, but you shouldn’t feel like you are dying. All those movie scenes of personal trainers yelling at their clients and acting like drill sergeants isn’t the done thing these days, so you should never feel afraid to see a personal trainer.
When it comes to choosing a personal trainer, find one whose speciality matches your goals. I think that’s one of the reasons I’ve been put off hiring a PT: usually when I see them training clients in commercial gyms they are doing weird circuits and bizarre exercises. If that’s your thing then you do you hun, but my goal has always been to build muscle and tone up, something that is best done with conventional weight training.
I’ve been working two days a week with James in the gym: one upper body and one lower body workout. He’s set me two additional workouts to complete by myself, as well as some cardio (cryyyyyy).
I may be smiling in these photos, but dear God the sessions were hard. But also really enjoyable. Training with James has become one of the highlights of my week as he challenges me to work hard, but we also have fun too. It’s been amazing to notice myself becoming stronger and more confident in the gym.
What are the drawbacks of working with a personal trainer?
I was really excited and motivated to start working with James. After years of experimenting with my diet and exercise routine I felt so ready to commit to something that was actually going to work and help me change my body for the better. I kept thinking about a holiday I have planned for November, and how much of a babe I was going to look at the beach.
But then life got in the way. I’ve had a tough few weeks personally and health-wise, and I’ve really been struggling, not just with my training but with everything. I couldn’t handle my gym schedule, and macro and calorie counting became totally overwhelming.
Even when I was feeling good within myself, I found it really difficult juggling a healthy social life for a twenty-something and keeping on track with my fitness goals. I don’t want to be a hermit, but equally I’m not the kind of person who can go on a night out and not drink, or go to a restaurant and choose the salad. But the truth is, you can’t have it all: going out for dinner and drinking a few times a week really does add up. I felt like I’d been mislead by fitness influencers, who post pictures of them eating mammoth meals and living it up, whilst barely breaking a sweat in the gym.
I found myself become disheartened and demotivated. Life was getting on top of me, and even worse I felt like I was letting James down. However, I was amazed at the support he provided me. Instead of being angry or preachy, James was the one to say to me “what’s going on in your life is more important than the gym right now.”
The bottom line: is a personal trainer worth the money?
Yes, I do think a personal trainer is worth the money. A £35 gym session is about the same cost as a meal and drinks out, and obviously much better for your body!
But life is about balance, and personal training is a big commitment. More than anything, my time working with James has made me realise that I’m not going to look like an Instagram fitness model anytime soon. And that’s okay. However, I love the workouts, and I feel like training with a PT as taught me things about myself above and beyond what I ever could have anticipated.
If you want to try a personal trainer, James from The Body Development Coach offers a free consultation to help determine your fitness goals and what will work for you. I’d highly recommend him.
Have you ever worked with a PT? What were your experiences?
My personal training sessions were complimentary in exchange for a review. However, all views are my own.