Personal Training from a Personal Trainer's perspective
2018 is my 7th year working as a personal trainer, with 5 of those years also being a group fitness trainer. While the two occupations share the same industry and have a lot of carry over they're also worlds apart. They require different qualifications, different approaches and processes, different skills outside of the gym; the cost of the service is very different, the type of facility and location, and so on and so forth.
Sometimes these differences even make me question myself about things related to my personal training business, and I have to remind myself not to compare the two services.
Here are my thoughts on what personal training is, who should use it, why it has value, and how it fits in the industry.
1) Why would you use a personal trainer?
Everything a PT does is client specific. What happens in your session with a PT doesn't get replicated over and over throughout the day. Exercise prescription is something that takes a lot of study and even more experience, and a never ending challenge to get right. Giving someone an exercise to perform should be done with the same intention, critical thinking and diligence as a doctor would when prescribing a drug, because it's just that.
Exercise prescription isn't just specific to the client and their physical readiness to exercise and appropriateness, but it's based around the client's goals. Everything from planning, researching, and delivering is a constant challenge to get the client closer to their goal. As well as being specific to the client, the time spent with a personal trainer should be..... personal. The client is paying the PT to attend to their requirements, not to scroll through instagram/post on instagram/wing the session by searching for exercises on instagram.
2) Who should use a Personal Trainer?
Anyone, for a thousand different reasons. To keep it simple though i'd say someone who has either a specific goal to achieve, someone post physiotherapy and needs to bridge a gap between injury recovery and their sport/activity, or maybe someone who isn't comfortable exercising in a group setting. Generally someone that needs/wants more attention, experience/qualification, or more options from a service.
3) Personal Training is expensive (compared to other formats of exercise), does it have value?
While the per session cost of seeing a personal trainer is more than other training options, having access to a personal trainer can be a way of fast tracking your goals (don't confuse this with a quick fix), but also gives you
access to someone who can/should be assessing your situation and providing a service that encompasses the state of your human-beingness in a holistic way (while staying inside their scope of practice), rather than having a one dimensional approach towards the goal.
How does personal training fit in the fitness industry?
I guess the above questions have already answered this. Group fitness (bootcamps, crossfit, boxing classes, f45.. the list is endless) is a really good platform that offers quality exercise options that can achieve a lot of goals at an affordable price. There's also the social component which I think is massive for a lot of people.
I'm all about analogies, so try this. Imagine you need to get your groceries for the week. You could order "my food bag". The food is good quality, it's easy and takes the thinking out of it. However it's reasonably standardised and gives you less control over what you get for your money.
The other option is going to the supermarket yourself. You can choose exactly what you need for your specific requirements, you have access to items and products that support your lifestyle holistically outside of just food, you have information available to make informed choices when choosing food. However the cost and time to get to the supermarket, and the potential cost of the food could exceed that of what you might spend in the previous example.
I hope this helps to clarify personal training's place in an industry where exercise is more accessible and diverse than ever before.