How do you value a personal trainer?

In an unstandardised industry how can you be sure you are getting what you pay for? Similarly to how we look at doctors and physios – should we put a price on health?

Personal trainers in London typically range from £30 right up to £200+  per session, but how can you evaluate their service before you’ve direct debited them your hard earned money?

As a rule of thumb, I would expect to see a pricing structure as follows:

£40 – £50 –  entry level trainer 1-2 years of practice

£60 – £80 –  experienced trainer 2-5 years with a proven track record in advanced evidence based education and delivering results.

£100 and above – 10+ years experience with more qualifications than you can fit on a page and a huge track record and level of experience with working with all types of clients.

Regardless of the above, there are so many factors which can affect your experience with a trainer. Most will offer a free trial to get you interested, so here are some of the factors I would recommend looking out for during this:

Personality

Whilst experience and qualifications are undoubtedly very important, if your trainer’s personality doesn’t inspire you their knowledge becomes redundant. At Peach, we think personality is key and appreciate different approaches work for different people.

You should be asking yourself whether you feel comfortable with them generally, whether you feel like they understand and have what it takes to motivate you, and if they’ve worked and got on well with clients like you before.

Experience

As a general rule of thumb the more experience a trainer has, the more likely they are to be able to fulfil your needs, so the more requirements you have, the more experience you should look for in a trainer.

Ultimately you want a trainer that has experience training people just like you –

If you are a CEO then get a trainer that can support you around your busy lifestyle

If you are recovering from childbirth then you want to see proof your trainer has worked with many post natal clients.  

If you have injuries you want to know they can deal with them and have the qualifications and testimonials to back it up.

If you are a model, do they know exactly how to refine your body to the precise measurements and look you want?

If you have worked with trainers before, then you should be looking for a trainer with more experience and qualifications than your previous trainer so you keep moving forwards.

If you are a complete beginner with no injuries, and are just looking to get into fitness with no detailed requirements then a trainer with less experience can be a good fit for you.

Education

Due to the unregulated nature of the industry the level of qualifications vary hugely, and a skilled trainer will recognise this and delve further into exercises science in order to set themselves apart.

To an extent, education is subjective as there are so many schools of thought and research all the time in the exercise world. Nonetheless if your trainer has a list of qualifications behind them it shows they are committed to bettering themselves and the experiences of their clients.

Ask your trainer what additional qualifications that have done, ask them about the duration of that course, and what they have planned for the future. Don’t be afraid to ask to see their qualifications – if a trainer has done a two day course and they call themselves a corrective exercise specialist, walk away.  The entry level qualification for a personal trainer is Reps 3, this is generally a 6 month course spread over 30 days. I would consider this the bare minimum and it’s a trainer’s responsibility to continue learning. Unfortunately, as there is no governing body surrounding education companies, the onus must be on clients to check qualifications.

Don’t Assume

Don’t assume that because a trainer looks the part, is in the gym, busy and seems like a nice person that they can deliver the results you want; unfortunately there is a lot more that goes into delivering results than looking nice. Don’t assume that because a trainer is more expensive or that they have trained celebs they are better – trainers can charge what they like and some trainers are great business people.

Likewise, don’t judge a trainer by the gym they are based in – some of the best trainers can be found in chains, in many cases it simply means the trainer loves the practical side of the job more than they enjoy marketing themselves.

Attention to detail

You would expect to pay more for more attention, but attention isn’t just a case of an arbitrary amount of hours physically spent with that trainer.

The first place to look at this is in the consultation; how thoroughly do you feel they have understood your needs, do they understand your lifestyle, and have they set clear, achievable and sustainable goals to reflect this?

Are your  results being tracked and if so how and how often? Do you have a solid plan in place that’s realistic, achievable and monitored?

In the sessions – are they attentive at all times? Trainers on phones or talking to mates in the gym when you are paying for their ‘personal attention’ is a no no. How precise are the exercises you do in the session? You can tell this by whether you can feel them where you wanted to, and whether the trainer is adapting the exercises according to your feedback and form each session.

It may sound boring, but this attention to detail from the trainer is the main driving factor behind your personal results. It’s too easy for a client to put the blame on themselves if they are not making progress even if they are seeing a trainer three times a week – if you feel like you are plateauing, it probably means you have also reached the limit of your trainers’ knowledge, so don’t feel guilty – move on to the next one!

Summary:

I like to think of our amazing Peach trainers as similar to a good brand of car. Audi makes great engines which it puts into great cars. Some of the cars look different and cost different amounts to cater for the market, but it will always be an Audi engine on the inside. Similarly, our trainers are all of a certain quality and have been evaluated for experience, education and a great personality – but no matter who you train with, never be afraid to ask these questions!