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Friday, April 23, 2010

Personal Training in the Current Economy

Just about everyone in the U.S. is trying to get into better shape. One of the most effective tools for doing this is hiring a personal trainer, but private sessions with a trainer are expensive and in this economy many of us can’t afford to do it on a regular basis. Fortunately, many personal trainers are catching on to this and offer a variety of options for the budget conscious that you may not be aware of. Here are a few:

1) Train with a buddy. Many trainers offer pairs personal training for a slightly higher price than private training, meaning you’ll pay much less individually. Even better – your partner can help provide motivation when you’re not with your trainer. Any fitness training program will require good nutrition and cardio exercise on your own time. Your trainer can help you do everything right during your sessions, but can’t follow you home to make sure you’re eating right and getting in your walking / jogging / biking / whatever. Your buddy can help. Choose someone you get along with: a friend, coworker, family member or significant other.

2) Consider group personal training. A new trend in personal training is group training and boot camps. 4-6 people meet with a trainer. This format opens up fun options, like fitness games, challenges and drills that make sessions interesting and challenging. You get the professional attention, personalized plans, body fat and measurement monitoring and motivational tools, but the trainer is not breathing down your neck through every rep. Typically these types of sessions cost $15-25 per person, making it an affordable option especially if you want to train multiple times per week (for the best results).

3) If you have a crazy schedule, think about online personal training. Many trainers are beginning to offer online programs. Usually, you get the option to track your nutrition through the website, which is a super-useful tool in itself. You get trainer-designed workouts specifically designed for you, which you do on your own, on your time (usually with the aid of pictures or even videos). You check off your workouts as you do them so your trainer can keep tabs on your progress and help hold you accountable. If you have questions, you can ask them through email and often over the phone. I highly recommend that you choose a local online trainer so that you can meet with them either occasionally for pointers on your form, or at least for a first in-person session where the trainer can assess your needs and help you learn to do exercises properly. You can often get this introductory session free!

4) Whatever style of training you choose, most trainers offer referral incentives, usually in the form of free sessions or a percentage off your training for each person you refer (who also purchases training). If you have a lot of friends / family / acquaintances and don’t mind approaching them to recommend personal training, this may be a good way for you to save some bucks and still get top-notch fitness instruction. Choose a trainer with a good incentive program that you really like, so you’ll have no problem telling everyone how great your program is and recommending that they try it out too.

5) Some trainers, especially newer and independent ones, will consider bartering services for training. If you have special skills in marketing, massage therapy, or anything else a trainer might need and generally pay for, ask several different trainers whether they would provide free or discounted sessions for your work. You would be surprised how well some will respond!