Personal Training: Costs
A personal training programme consists of a free consultation followed by ten chargeable sessions at £35 each. The duration of each session is one hour, and they should take place once a week or at intervals to suit your lifestyle and other commitments. All sessions must be paid for in advance in blocks of five. The reason for doing ten sessions is because that's how long it takes to get measurable results, although you can keep going as long as you like, and if you can't manage ten sessions, five will be enough to get you going in the right direction. Normally you should go for the ten-session programme and the cost will be £350.
Is it worth it?
Definitely yes. Your body is your most valuable possession. You only have one of them. You receive it as a gift when you are born and you have it taken away when you die, and in the meantime it carries you around throughout your whole life and you are totally dependent on it. Unlike your car, or any other possession, you can't sell it when it gets old and buy a new one.
How much does it cost to service your car? Maybe about £350 for a major service, to be carried out every three years, and half as much in the intermediate years. When was the last time you did a major service on your body, and is it worth as much as your car or any of your other possessions?
I could get a gym membership for a whole year for that much.
That's right, and they will start you off with an induction where you are shown how to use the equipment, and if they are any good they will give you a programme with a list of exercises to be carried out during each session. But it's pretty much a standard off-the-shelf programme that will suit anyone with your level of fitness. If you want continuing personal attention it costs extra. Most gyms have personal trainers, but they are not employed by the gym. Instead they work under a contract where they pay a subscription to the gym, about ten times as much as a normal membership, and it gives them the right to market their services among the gym members on a self-employed basis. They have to try and sign up as many clients as possible, to pay off their subscription and make a profit, and they have to charge at least £35/hour just to conform to the rules of their contract (they are not allowed to steal clients off each other by cutting prices). This type of trainer is likely to spend all his time in the gym, to make the contract worthwhile, so what you get is a personal gym programme, not a personal exercise programme. In other words, everything happens at the gym and if you want to do something elsewhere you have to do it yourself. Obviously you have to weigh up the benefits of whatever is being offered, but the costs will be the same, however you do it. You pay your gym membership, then you pay extra for personal training.
I'm on referral from my GP, do I get a discount?
I'd like to answer "yes" to this question. I've made representations to the NHS, arguing that GP referrals should be supported by funds on the basis that we are giving professional advice to patients as part of their treatment for an illness. For some time, the NHS has been subsidising short-term memberships at local leisure centres and gyms, mostly those that are owned and managed by local councils, but so far I have not seen them extending their subsidies to personal trainers. Maybe one day it will come, but it hasn't happened yet, so for the time being I have to charge the full fees. But as I've already explained, your body is your most valuable possession, and it's worth it.