So you want the awesome benefits that come with having a personal trainer, but your budget can’t quite stretch to the fees you see trainers charging at your local gym.
What are your options? Is there such a thing as a “cheap” or even cheapest personal trainer? And if there is, are they any good, or should you save up and splash out on a more expensive one?
The good news is, in this article, I’ll be walking you through all the options you have for finding a cheaper personal trainer, or, reduce the cost of training you are already undertaking without skimping on the quality.
Here’s a sneak peek of just a few of the ways you can get yourself a cheap personal trainer
- Look for trainers new to your gym
- Train fewer times per week, but ask for homework
- Use an online personal trainer
- Opt for shorter training sessions
- Cut a deal with your trainer for monthly sessions
These are just a few of the ways we will be discussing that’ll help keep those session bills as low as possible. Remember, a PT is worth their weight in gold, (maybe that’s why they are so expensive), but you shouldn’t have to go broke just so you can like what you see in the mirror each day.
So, keep reading on to find out how you can use these methods, and more to get a great rate on personal training.
How to find an affordable personal trainer
Look for new trainers in your gym
If you’re already going to a gym regularly, you may have got to the point where you know the PTs working there. Chances are, these guys have been working long enough to have an established client base.
Speaking from personal experience, trainers usually start out charging the minimum amount per session they can to help themselves build a business, and once this is done, they can increase their prices to start making some decent income.
It’s worthwhile keeping an eye out for new trainers to the gym, as this is one of your best bets to get yourself a fully qualified trainer at a reduced rate. They will still have a vast knowledge of exercise instruction, and they may even have a more up-to-date understanding of exercise and training techniques if they have recently gained their certifications.
Buy sessions from an online trainer
One of the main factors that make personal training expensive is that you are paying for 1-2-1 in-person coaching, and the trainer’s time and dedication to you.
With an online trainer, you can still benefit from the knowledge and training advice of a highly qualified trainer, without needing to pay such a high rate, as they generally won’t be watching over you during your sessions.
To put this into context, your average 1-2-1 training session at a gym will set you back £50-60 in London and from $50-70 in New York. In contrast, most online coaches will charge weekly rates of just £10, with many 12 week sessions costing £120. That’s a pretty massive discount, so if you feel that you can handle the workouts yourself and don’t need pointers or encouragement during your sessions, an online personal trainer is a much cheaper way of seeking advice from a pro.
Use classified ad directories
Not every trainer that works in a gym is employed by them, whilst less common, there are some PTs that pay as they go to use the facilities of local gyms as and when they need them.
One method of finding these trainers is to look in local or online directories, they often have fewer expenses and can therefore charge less per session, passing the savings onto you.
The caveat that comes with this is that you will need to do your due diligence before agreeing to sign up for any sessions. The reason for this is that trainers employed by gyms are rigorously screened to ensure they have the correct qualifications and safety certificates.
In most cases, trainers found on local directories are probably completely fine, but I would certainly suggest asking to see their certifications if you are in any way unsure of their abilities and knowledge level.
Sign up for a mobile PT
Slightly different from the above point, hiring a mobile personal trainer that either trains you in your home or in a local park can be a great way of getting a fully qualified PT at a much cheaper rate. The reasons for this are similar to those above, a self-employed mobile PT will have far fewer expenses to cover each month than a trainer in a gym, and therefore has no need to charge as much per session.
The other factor is that in larger gym chains, there is a minimum amount a trainer can charge per session, this is to keep it fair amongst the other trainers working there, by preventing a culture of undercutting. It’s entirely up to a freelancer trainer to decide how much they charge for their sessions, so this is something they do not need to be concerned with.
Most mobile trainers will have websites, so you can do a search online to find them in your local area, but you can also look around for the more old-school methods, such as in local newspapers and directory magazines/catalogues.
Two words of warning with this method: Firstly, if a trainer is coming into your home to train you, they may charge a higher rate to account for the convenience and service they are providing, although this will still tend to be cheaper than in a gym.
Secondly, just like with the directory trainers, you should still undertake due diligence to make sure they are a fully qualified trainer that has all the necessary certifications, as it’s easy to call yourself a trainer and start training people without these.
How to hire a premium trainer for less
Now, sometimes cheap is good, but you also need to be aware that you often get what you pay for, and in the case of a trainer who is looking after your health and whose safety is often in their hands, it might be worthwhile using a premium rate trainer.
The obvious issue with this is that the cost of these trainers is often vastly higher than the suggestions previously listed, so how can you get all the benefits of a premium trainer without needing to get a second mortgage on the house?
Good news, I have a ton of options for you!
Pay monthly instead of buying blocks of sessions
This is exactly the method I used to rapidly build my client base in each gym I worked in as a personal trainer, and it works because it’s a great deal for everyone!
The typical way to buy training sessions is in blocks of say 10, 15, or twenty sessions, this is fine of course, but it means you need to keep buying blocks if you decide you’d like to carry on training. This is inconvenient for both trainer and client.
Instead, when discussing training options with a premium PT you’d like to train with, ask them if they offer monthly direct debit sessions. If they say they don’t, this is a perfect opportunity to suggest the idea to them.
You can make a deal with them by saying that you are willing to pay for monthly sessions, but for a reduced session rate (as a reward for the commitment you are showing). Most trainers will jump at the chance for a client like this, as it helps them meet their monthly rent in the gym and they know you aren’t going to leave them after a single block of sessions.
How far you can go with the discount is obviously up to the trainer, as they still have bills to pay, but for reference, I used to charge £60 for a one-hour session to my clients buying blocks of sessions from me, and £40 an hour for monthly direct debit sessions, so that’s a hefty session by session saving.
There’s a possibility that your trainer may ask for you to commit to a certain amount of months to be able to take up this method (mine was a three-month minimum), but even a single block of ten sessions would last two and a half months if training only once per week, so the difference is very small.
If you plan to train more than once per week, you may even be able to drive them down even further on the session by session price. This is probably my favorite tip on this list.
Opt for shorter training sessions
This is a great tip that is hardly ever considered by most members of the public (speaking from my own experience).
We have been conditioned to think that in order for a workout to be effective, you’ll need to be exercising for at least an hour with a personal trainer. I can tell you for certain that this is not true at all.
The difference between a 1 hour and half-hour session is mostly made up of warm-ups, rest periods, and stretching sessions. These are all things you can do yourself and have no need to pay for.
For any of my clients that decided they wanted to train with me, but really couldn’t afford my hourly rate, I offered them the chance to train for only half an hour instead. The session prices were obviously heavily reduced, and they actually made the sessions more practical, as my clients could train well within their hourly lunch break.
If you decide to go for half-hour sessions, bear in mind that they will be far more intense, as an effective level of exercise needs to be completed in a shorter time. This means you will be getting fewer rest periods and the trainer will create a workout that is more efficient for the time allotted, so it will generally be much tougher, but the savings will be vast.
Train fewer times per week, but ask for homework
The fastest way to get results with a trainer is to train three or more times a week, there’s no doubt about this, however, it costs a ton of money!
Instead, ask to train once per week, and in addition to your weekly session, ask the trainer for homework. This homework can be in the form of a workout plan that you complete twice a week on your own in addition to the session with your trainer.
All trainers should want their clients to get good results, so they should be totally fine with writing up your weights, sets, and reps and letting you know what they are so that you can continue the training without them needing to be there.
There really should be no need to charge you any extra for this, as they will simply be sending you a copy of the program they have created for you, and as long as you are confident you know how to perform the exercises correctly and don’t need encouragement every step of the way, you should see no real difference in the results you achieve from this.
Buy training programs instead of 1-2-1 training sessions
A little more extreme than the previous point, if you really want to get all the expertise of a premium trainer, but you really can’t afford to train with one on a 1-2-1 basis, not even once a week, your next best option is to only ask for training programs from them.
If the PT you choose to get your program from is generous, they may offer to take you through the exercises they’ve prescribed for you, but I wouldn’t expect this from most.
Instead, once you’ve got your exercises all lined out in front of you, there are plenty of YouTube videos you can watch that will show you how to complete each exercise safely and effectively.
Is this option as good as hiring a trainer to watch over you? Definitely not, but it’s still a pretty good alternative if you really don’t know where to start in your training regimes.
This is probably the simplest way you can get yourself a cheap gym trainer and ridiculously, it’s something that I never heard from a prospective client in well over ten years of personal training.
Haggle with your trainer!
If after your consultation session you’ve decided you would love to start training on a regular basis, but you know there is no way you can afford the rates they are charging, haggle with them.
Most trainers need your business, so if you go in with a suggestion of a price that you think is something more reasonable, they will almost certainly find a way to at least meet you halfway, or maybe offer you something else they think will be more within your price range.
It’s not common to haggle or barter on a price, especially in the UK, so people generally just accept the price they are told and either have to fork up or say no, this is very unnecessary, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.
Define your goals very clearly before you start
So, this tip is more of a way to not waste money once you already have a trainer rather than getting a cheaper one in the first place, but it’s really important, so I think it deserves a place on this list.
The vast majority of clients that came to me had very little idea of what it actually was that they wanted out of their training before they signed up with me. It was then up to me to make sure they had a set of realistic and achievable goals.
The reason this is something you should set out with your trainer BEFORE you begin training, is there are a lot of PTs out there that would be happy to have you train with them for months or years without making any real progress because you are keeping them in business.
Set yourself clear goals so that they can be constantly measured to make sure you are getting your money’s worth. It’s your trainer’s duty to get you what you results as efficiently as possible, so if after a few months you aren’t making any progress, it’s worth having a discussion with your PT. If you aren’t making the progress you were hoping for, it may be time to look for another trainer.
Train once per month for exercise instruction only
OK, so last way of getting a seriously cheap personal trainer.
Training only once per week with a trainer will set you back a good £200 ($260) per month, and that’s a lot for most people. If however you are already chock full of enthusiasm, confidence and you know what you should be eating, you may only need a few pointers here and there.
If this is the case, I would suggest you ask to train with a PT only once per month for a single 1-hour session, purely for exercise pointers and to make sure you are working hard enough to gain the results you’re after.
If you know what you are doing, this may well be all you need from a trainer, and paying more to have someone watch over you several times each week may be a complete waste of money. It’s really beginners and people that need frequent encouragement, motivation, and training tuition that benefit the most from hiring a PT, so you may not need to go to that extent.
Hiring a personal trainer is one of the best things you can do to speed up results gained from working out, there’s no doubt about it, but I hope this article has helped you discover a few good tips to make them a little more accessible to everyone and not just people with a ton of disposable income at their fingertips.
Whichever method you choose to find a cheap personal trainer, I hope you get the results you are looking for.
Have a great day!
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