5 ways to maximize your personal training investment

Personal training is expensive. As a trainer, I have the utmost respect for my clients, both past and present, who choose to invest hundreds of dollars a month on their health by hiring me. So, it really bums me out when I see someone doing something that is wasting the money that they’re spending.

Recently, I came across an article that I had previously shared, titled “.6 percent“.  It really resonated with me as a trainer, and the frustration I feel when a client isn’t invested in what they’ve hired me to do.

See, I want all of my clients to be ambassadors of my work. But I also don’t want my clients to waste their money.

Although I don’t think any trainer wants their client to cancel a session, some just shrug their shoulders, and say, “Well, because it was a last-minute cancellation, I’m getting paid anyway!”

The biggest determination of success is consistency.

When a client cancels her appointments, she becomes inconsistent in her exercise habit. When we’re inconsistent, we don’t see results. At the end of the month, when the client sees how much money she’s paying to not get results, she’s unlikely to continue with her exercise habit. It doesn’t matter if it’s her fault, or not.

It doesn’t even matter if I’m charging for those missed appointments or not. When we aren’t consistent, we don’t see results. We don’t want to keep paying for something that we’re not getting anything out of.

Personal training is an investment. It’s an expensive investment. So, here are a 5 things you can do if you don’t want to waste the money you’re spending on your personal trainer.


1) Don’t cancel – It bears repeating. As I said above, don’t cancel your appointments.

Now, I realize that sometimes things come up – vacations, doctors appointments, your kid gets sick, or the water heater blows out at 3AM. I get that. So, here’s what you do:

First, let your trainer know as soon as you know that you need to cancel.

Second, ask to reschedule. I love it when clients reschedule their appointments because it shows that they’re committed. I will do anything I can to accommodate a client rescheduling her appointment.


2) Don’t check-out – It is SO easy to hire someone to work you out, and now all you have to do is show up. Well, that’s partly correct.

Every once in a while I get a client who is more interested in talking than exercising:

Although by hiring a trainer, you don’t have to think about what exercises you’re going to do, or what order, it’s in your best interest to be invested in your training. Know the names of the exercises. Know what muscles those exercises work. When you’re doing the movement, don’t just move the weight – think about contracting the muscle. Also, know what weights you use for which exercises!

I love it when my clients ask me questions about why I put a particular sequence of exercises together, or why we’re doing ladders, or asking the benefit to certain techniques.

Okay – maybe I love it because I like geeking out about that sort of stuff. But it means that she’s interested.

And I also like teaching folks about why we’re doing what we’re doing. If you understand the theory, maybe you’ll be interested in the process too.

Hiring a trainer is a partnership. By hiring a trainer, you can’t just say that you’ve checked the I’ve-hired-a-trainer-I’m-healthy check box.


3) Don’t sabotage your efforts – Just like the saying, “you can’t out exercise a bad diet,” what is equally true is that exercise does not give you ‘bonus calories’ that you can use as an excuse to eat unhealthy stuff.

Do you ever hear yourself rationalize, ‘Well, I worked out today, so I can have another ____(fill in the blank)____.’ If so, you need to change your mindset about yourself! This phenomenon is called the halo effect, and it’s been proven with research. At the end of a fun run, they gave runners a choice between a healthy protein bar and a candy bar disguised as a health bar. Runners who identified as runners chose the healthier option. But runners who didn’t normally run, or saw the event as something outside of their normal persona, picked the candy bar.

The idea being that when we do something that we don’t see as part of our identity, we’re more likely to make up for that good deed with a bad one.

Instead of having the mindset of ‘I earned this,’ try adding, ‘I am a person who exercises regularly,’ as  a way of looking at yourself.


4) Move when you’re not together – Similar in concept to item #2, you can’t just check the box that says you’ve hired a personal trainer, and now that you’re meeting with her twice weekly, that you’re done. It is your responsibility to move and support the personal training program. Ask your trainer what you can do on the days that you’re not meeting so that you can meet your goals.

Things to consider:

  • walking 30-90 minutes daily
  • foam rolling
  • yoga
  • massage
  • playing a sport


5) Eat a vegetable every once in a while – Some will say that you need to be extra diligent about your diet when you’re exercising. The only thing I don’t like about that perspective is that it implies that if you’re not exercising, you can eat whatever the hell you want. And we all know that’s not true either.

But if you want to support the money you’re spending on personal training, it’s in your best interest to eat well so that your body can put that exercise to good use.

I don't need a trainer so much as I need someone to follow me around and slap unhealthy foods out of my hand
I don’t need a trainer so much as I need someone to follow me around and slap unhealthy foods out of my hand

If your goal is fat loss:

  1. Eat fewer calories than your body needs to maintain your weight (if your goal is muscle gain, make sure you’re eating more than you need!)
  2. Eat as many vegetables as you can – so that you’re getting enough nutrients
  3. Eat enough protein to ensure that you’re not losing muscle
  4. Lay off the alcohol and sweets – when you’re in a calorie deficit, you need your foods to work for you. So fill your diet with whole, unprocessed foods
  5. Get some sleep! Your body needs to repair. Give it the rest it needs. And no – watching television on the couch is not the same as sleeping.


Your money is valuable. You don’t want to waste it. And your trainer doesn’t want you to waste your money or your time either. Your trainer wants you to be successful. She wants you to be an ambassador of her services – a walking billboard of what she can do.

If you see her for twice weekly for 30 minutes, that is .6% of your week. Not six percent: Point Six Percent!

So, help an old girl out here. And yourself in the process. Save yourself some money, and accomplish your goals at the same time!


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