Tuesday, January 10, 2012

3 Reasons Why You SHOULDN'T Purchase Personal Training Packages

A little disclaimer - I'm not against people hiring a Personal Trainer for a long duration, most of my clients have been with me for 4-5 years.  I feel when someone is seeking the help of a personal trainer they should not buy packages of 20+ sessions before they have actually worked with that trainer for at least 3-4 weeks.

I know this might ruffle a few feathers, but I've worked in a commercial gym setting where I've seen first hand how these multiple session packages can be a mistake.  While working in the "Fitness Club" setting, I DID try to push HUGE packages of personal training because of the COMMISSION that went along with the SALE.   I told people that 20 or more sessions would save them money per session as well as create a feeling of dedication and accountability for long term success.
Not the best motivational approach, but I bet this guy was a good salesman!
Since I've been out of the "SALES" based arena for a couple years now, I've formed a strong opinion on the professional aspect of being a "Personal Trainer" rather than a SALESMAN.  At my new facility people are billed on a session by session basis, which is a little easier on the pocketbook than forking over 1,000 plus dollars every couple months to purchase a multiple session training package.

I've never been a SALES based trainer, I like to think of myself as a RESULTS based trainer.  Looking back at my beginning days of working in a gym, management didn't care about results- only the SALE.  I wrote THIS blog when I began to really look at the disservice some Personal Trainers provide, check it out.

I've been in the trenches for a while now, and I feel I have the responsibility to provide some much needed advice to help future clients consider some things before hiring just any Personal Trainer.  Here are 3 reasons to avoid those 20+ session packages:

1. You really don't know your Trainer.  Yeah, you might have met for brief period and they said all the right things and made you feel like you are going to achieve all of your fitness goals in record time- but  do you really KNOW them?  Are they going to be on time?  Are they professional on a daily basis?  Are they focused on your results or just making you SORE?  Do they have a plan with your goal in mind?  Do they take every client thought the same routine? (I've seen this on more than one occasion).

Those are all thing to consider before dropping a huge chunk of coin on someones services.  Remember most gyms pay trainers commission on the packages they sell.  A general rule is 10% on each package. So if you are paying $70 a session, and purchase a 20 session package- your trainer makes $140 without providing you with any service whatsoever.  Now, what if they are late for your sessions?  Or they take you though the same routine day in and day out? Or is they socialize with other gym members when they should focus you YOU?

Sorry to say, but you probably won't get a refund and they are going to keep their commission.  Bottom Line - Get to REALLY know your trainer before making  a long term commitment.

Recording programs is important, but so is paying attention to "hand placement" during an exercise.
2. Your sessions can EXPIRE.  If you have the intention of training 2 times a week for 10 weeks, that leads to about 20 sessions.  You might be an extremely dedicated individual and have a phenomenal trainer.  What happens if you get sick or injured and you can't make it to the gym for 6 months?  Hopefully your gym can "freeze" the sessions, but some gyms will have an expiration date on your training contract with a lot of important stuff in fine print - READ IT!  Make sure your sessions can be extended for any legitimate reason.

A Gym is a place of business, a company striving to make a profit.  So It's not likely upper management will care if you purchase a package of 20 sessions and only use 4 before they expire.  The GYM keeps the money, and doesn't have to pay the trainer for the 16 other sessions- that's a HUGE profit margin for any business.  In the long run, your fitness center can give a damn about your results as long as they keep raking in the revenue.

3. Your Trainer might leave.  Okay, so you have met the BEST trainer in the world.  They have the credentials and the personality that meet your needs and they are ready to get you the results you want.  You've seen them train and you've talked to other gym members and hear nothing but positive feedback about "World's Best Trainer".  Now you're ready to pursue optimal fitness! You decide to dish out 2,000 plus dollars and get the VIP package.   You've made all of  your appointments for the next few months so you are 100% accountable to make it to the gym during your scheduled time slot.

A week later your trainer calls and tells you they are taking a job at another gym.  What do you do?  How many gym actually have multiple quality trainers (that aren't completely booked)?  Not many.   To be honest, you probably won't get a refund and you could stuck with someone who doesn't know their ass from their elbow.  At that point you'll probably wish you would have bought the 5 or 10 session package instead, the best you can hope for is a partial refund- but that's not likely.

There are some valid reasons to buying multiple session packages, but having worked in a commercial gym setting for over 7 years- I've seen several aggravated gym members because of the above circumstances.  Making a choice to hire a Personal Trainer should be a very positive experience.  I've worked with some fitness professionals that I'd recommend, and some I'd tell you to avoid like the plague.  Having seen the good and bad,  I want to stress before hiring a trainer make sure their focus on helping you achieve RESULTS and not meeting their monthly sales goal.

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