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Guest Post - Has Personal Training Lost Its ‘Personalisation’?

Posted May 06 2012 3:00pm

The following was written by Luke Johnson of Exerci5e and does not necessarily reflect the views of Exercise Basics.


I tweeted about Personal Training being devalued a few weeks ago and one of my fellow University mates agreed with me. We both felt it had, and there were plenty of reasons why this was; below are just a few:

1. No pre requisites
You do not have to have any previous experience or qualifications in fitness to be able to do a personal training course. So, someone who has literally never been in a gym or even exercises could pay the fee to do the course - which is getting smaller and smaller might I add. They may have no previous knowledge what so ever and get a place on a course. Not really a thorough screening process.


2. Intensive short courses/distance learning routes:
I have experienced both of these types of courses. The first one was a Level 2 Fitness Instructing course that was two weeks long. At the time I was doing the first year of my Sports Science Degree, having completed my A level in physical education the year before. I found the course easy because of my studies and experience of being in the gym. However, if you had no experience or knowledge it would have been quite challenging, but achievable since the job role is not too challenging. Having completed my degree I had to do a Personal Training qualification to be qualified to train people.

I chose the distance learning route because I didn’t want to go through all of the anatomy and physiology process that I had just done and at a higher level. Completing the level 3 is difficult for someone with no experience or prior knowledge. If you decide to do the distance-learning route you will be sent learning resources to study and revise and then go in for certain days to perform practical and theory assessments. Pass these and you will achieve your certificate.   

The short intensive courses can be done within 3 months or less. Now, this is ok to pass exams, but to really become a Personal Trainer (and a good one) in 3 months just isn’t cutting it. I currently work in a college where I teach and assess students to become Personal Trainers. The program is run over a year and even then I say to those that are high achievers that they are only 30% of what I feel an established and long-term successful Personal Trainer is.


3. Price of a Personal Trainer and their delivery
Having started my own personal training company and mentoring those that I feel have potential; part of my role is to look at my competitors. Just have a look on Gumtree and type in ‘Personal Trainer’ in London. What you will see is people that cannot spell correctly and their grammar is poor like dis!!. I remember when personal trainers were charging a going rate of £40 per hour but now there are people charging as little as £10-£15 per hour.

These people are not competitors in terms of delivery, but people are attracted to cheaper options, which is a natural response. If you value all of your specialized training and hard work then £15 per hour is just devaluing your service of as a personal trainer. What you have to think about is, “what are you really going to get for that price?” I bet it wouldn’t be what a personal training service should be.
I always say that personal training should not be looked at as an hourly rate, but the whole service that your clients should experience.


Conclusion
Everyone will have their opinion on whether they feel that personal training has been devalued. My opinion (and many others) is that it has been. Let us know what you feel.

With the financial difficulties that we find the nation in we have to adapt. There are a few options, for example, you can stick with higher prices, targeting clients who have a high income and can afford the service. Another option could be to make personal training more affordable for clients’ by doing more fitness/bootcamp classes. Remember there are only 24 hours in a day - whether you charge £50 per hour for one client or do a class that has 10 people in for £5 each. There is no right or wrong option, just what the personal trainer prefers.

About the Author


Luke Johnson is the founder of Exerci5e. Luke has worked in the fitness industry for over 7 years, where he started off as a fitness instructor, transitioning into a Personal Trainer, after completing his BSc Hons in Sports Science. Luke understands the barriers that all young qualified Personal Trainers experience in trying to get a client base. With his knowledge and experience of being in the industry he is passing on his wisdom to the younger generation. You can read his blog here: Exerci5e Blog
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