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Is personal training worth it?

For many people, personal training can be a fantastic way to revitalise your fitness, build your exercise knowledge and reach your goals faster. But it can be a big financial investment. Here are a few things to think about.

Woman stretching with her personal trainer

You’re ready to make a change and rev up your workout plan. For some people, hiring a personal trainer can be a really great next step, charging up your motivation and getting you towards your goals faster.

Of course, the cost of personal training means it’s not the best choice for everyone. As a general guide, the Australian Institute of Personal Trainers says most PTs will charge between $40 and $90 an hour. But if you can comfortably afford it, it can be a worthwhile investment in your health and fitness. In particular, it may be a good choice for you if:

  • You’re not sure what exercises you should be doing, or how to use different equipment properly.
  • You have a specific goal you want to work towards.
  • You’ve reached a plateau in your exercise and want to push yourself further.
  • You get bored of your own workouts easily.
  • You struggle to stay motivated on your own.

What can a PT do for you?

“A PT will help you achieve your goals, because they are there for you 100%,” says Andrew Rickertt, Personal Training Manager at Genesis Morayfield, who has over 10 years’ experience in the fitness industry.

“They will design and administer an exercise program specific to you, whilst giving you individual attention to achieve your health and fitness goals. A PT will help answer any questions and educate you on correct technique, and support you though your health and fitness journey – and of course keep you motivated.”

Personal trainers in Australia need to have completed a Certificate IV in Fitness, a Diploma of Fitness or a degree in Exercise Science or Human Movement. Andrew says you should also check that they’re registered with an industry body and have current insurance, as well as CPR and first-aid qualifications.

Here are a few things a good personal trainer can do:

Show you the ropes

If you’re fairly new to exercise, or returning after a while, you might feel like you don’t know where to start. Gym equipment can look baffling – all those ropes and pulleys and weird heavy balls. Getting a PT to guide you through can be a really great way to boost your confidence and knowledge. Pretty soon you’ll be doing kettlebell swings like a pro.

MORE: How to get over your fear of the gym

Give you a personalised plan

Everyone has unique goals, bodies and needs – and your workout plan should be created to suit you. “You goals will form the foundation of any exercise program,” Andrew says. “A good training program should be personalised by factoring in your goals, how often you can train per week, your fitness levels, and any previous or current injuries or restrictions.

“These should be factored in so previous injuries don’t re-occur, and new ones don’t happen in the first instance, and so you don’t overdo it with exercise when your body isn’t conditioned to handle it.”

Perfect your technique – for safety and results

A lunge isn’t just a lunge. Sometimes the smallest tweak in your technique can make a difference in which muscles you’re targeting, and how safe the movement is for your body. Your PT will watch you closely and give you tips to maximise results and keep your body protected.

“Learning correct technique is vital in getting the most out of an exercise,” Andrew says. “When you’re performing an exercise, it’s good to know that it is doing exactly what it’s prescribed to achieve, which means quicker progress. Correct technique also prevents potential injury.”

Boost your motivation and hold you accountable

For many people, the best part of having a PT is the commitment. You’ve paid for it and booked in, so you’re going to show up. And when you have someone checking in with what you’ve done during the week, you’re more likely to stick to your program outside of your session as well.

Keep you challenged and progressing

It’s tempting to keep cruising at a comfortable level – but if you want to improve, you need to keep challenging yourself. A good trainer will push you to achieve more than you thought you could, without forcing you to the point of pain or injury. When you’re ready to stop and the trainer says, “Five more reps!”, chances are you’ll surprise yourself.

MORE: What to expect when you see a personal trainer

Cost-friendly alternatives to personal training

There are a couple of ways you can make personal training more affordable. Lots of trainers are happy to work with pairs or small groups of clients, so you could get a friend or two together and share the cost. Or you could think of it as an introduction – just do a few sessions to get a workout plan together, then follow it on your own.

But if personal training isn’t right for you, there are plenty of other ways to get workout motivation and guidance. Here are a few cheap or free options you could explore:

  • Apps – Popular workout apps like 7 Minute Workout, Couch to 5K, Pocket Yoga, Nike + Training Club, Aaptiv and Sworkit can help guide you towards your goals.
  • Online communities – Join a community like Strava and log your running and cycling, connect with people who have similar goals, and take on group challenges.
  • YouTube workouts – Browse routines from trainers all around the world and follow along in your living room.
  • Community fitness groups – Check out Medibank Free + Active to find free, fun and social events near you, from running groups to outdoor fitness classes to ocean swims.
  • Your friends and workmates – Find some workout buddies and help keep each other motivated and accountable.

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