Welcome back to part 3 of the Wedding Chronicles! Part 1 was about how to get organized and part 2 was the breakdown of how to get fit for the big day on a shoestring budget and on a mid-level budget. Now, it’s time to take the plunge off the budget cliff:
Should you get a personal trainer and pay $60+ per session?
First, personal trainers are like hair stylists. You might find a budget gem, but in general, you get what you pay for. So while deal websites like Groupon and Gilt City might have some discount packages, just be wary that a discount can mean less personal attention, trouble scheduling, and less attentiveness from your trainer (s/he will probably take a hit in their commission from your session due to the deep discount). Like other service professionals, a recommendation from a friend (perhaps even a fellow bride to be!) may go a long way for getting your proverbially bang for your buck.
Let’s now dive into the pros and cons of investing in a personal trainer. I firmly believe in ending on a positive note, so we will begin with the cons:
Con 1: The price.
It’s no secret that personal training is expensive. $60+ per session will break anyone’s bank, especially since your trainer will most likely recommend 2-3 sessions per week to jumpstart your program. However, again, you will get what you pay for and a good trainer will include home routines, routines for the days you aren’t with him/her, nutritional tips & tricks, motivation, answers to your fitness questions, and more. A great trainer will even tell you when sales are coming up and will respect your budgetary concerns (i.e. a great trainer will not “force” you into more than once per week if that’s all you can afford).
Saver tip: Train with a buddy! Most trainers will give discounted sessions for 2 or more trainees! Get a friend or another bride to be to team up with you and save up to 50%!
Con 2: Variation in quality.
Let me interject a story: the first time I worked with a trainer, I was placed with an ex-Marine from Dallas, Texas, who never smiled, never told me good job, and made me do things that I said hurt (i.e. told me to finish a set when I was in pain).
I paid $99 for 3 sessions. I was miserable. I got what I paid for.
Had I done more research or invested more time in finding the right one, I never would have spent $100 on sessions that made me feel miserable. The quality in trainers varies. From big box gyms that might have 20+ trainers on staff to private training gyms with a number of trainer contractors, sit down with a manager (or the owner!) and talk about what you want and why. Who would you do well under? Maybe you would like my Military Militant trainer. Maybe you’d be more like me who I knew I wanted a male trainer, but I wanted someone positive and “real” (i.e. will accept that I will never be 100% Paleo and I’m going to drink wine). Take the time to do you research; heck, post it on your Facebook for advice or go to Yelp and you will hopefully avoid this con.
The pros of having a personal trainer are many, but here are my favorite two:
Pro 1: Results & Accountability
Simply put, you will see results if you listen to your well-researched, qualified trainer. S/he will hold you accountable to show improvements, ranging from simple measurements to seeing your abilities increase week over week. If you do not see results, s/he is not doing their job – it is a results-driven environment and can certainly push a motivated person to see results that, simply put, are rarely achievable on one’s own. It will also hold you accountable if you are not progressing; why? How can your trainer help? A great trainer will motivate you, not belittle you, and turn your accountability into confidence-boosting motivation.
Pro 2: A Whole New World
A great trainer will give you fitness ideas that you have never seen before. Capoeira? Kickboxing? TRX? Bands wrapped around machines in intervals you’ve never heard of? A great trainer will expose you to exercises you never thought you could do, improving your confidence and maybe even unlocking a new fitness passion.
Personally, my trainer exposed me to fall in love with exercise bands, which is great for my small apartment and love of intervals (since my body can’t seem to take HIIT these days). He also taught me how to use kettlebells safely- something I was previously terrified of but curious about. Kettlebells burn more calories than running but also can rip up your spine when done incorrectly. I might know a lot about fitness but once I heard about spinal injuries, I was terrified. Now, I am using a 35 lb kettlebell on the regular; at 5 feet 2 inches, I NEVER would have picked up a weight that heavy. My trainer exposed me to a whole new world while keeping me safe and moving me forward towards my goals.
As you probably guessed from that last paragraph, as a bride to be, I gave a personal trainer another try after Military Militant Man. I found a personal training studio near my office that touted 20% off one’s first 15 sessions and that made the price easier to swallow. There is where I met Ross, my gem. I actually had my initial interview with him and told him about my Crossfit problems (I never have met a box yet where I am not totally intimidated and feel unwelcome by the community), my fear of kettlebells and box jumps, and my laundry list of injuries from years of playing sports, teaching yoga and more. I also told him the story of Military Militant Man.
We talked about me training with him or his colleague, and Ross’s schedule openings simply fit my work schedule better (a great sign – not shy to recommend someone but himself = humility!). Not only am I trying new exercises, I have fallen back in love with the gym, looking at it from a new perspective and feeling amazing while lifting heavier weights than I ever have without injury or fear. Results that I could never see on my own are slowly starting to show themselves (I’m about 4 weeks in) and I am constantly HUNGRY- which means my metabolism is humming, as Ross promised me it would start to. Finally, I feel confident again.
After a long year of 2 office jobs, freelancing, finishing my Master’s, and two family tragedies, I felt defeated and out of mental strength, which lead to even a fitness junkie like me spending more nights on the couch with a bottle of wine than in Pilates class. Ross has re-inspired me and reignited my faith in fitness and my self confidence.
No matter what your budget or your decision, remember- you can always change! If you decide in a month a trainer is not worth it, you can always change or save up your sessions. You’re in control here, much like the wedding planning. Stay confident, do your research, and get your fitness started for that big day!
Tweet me or email me your personal trainer stories.