How to Choose a Gym, Trainer, or Training Group: Beyond the Price!

Most businesses have done their homework on how much they need to cut even, to live, and to provide their service. I am yet to find a small business in this industry that deliberately overcharges (although I’ve found plenty that shouldn’t be charging at all – they need experience and education!). When you’re choosing a gym or method of exercise, you have to look beyond the price to understand what it is, exactly, that you’re purchasing.

If you want big groups, you’ll probably get “cheap” training (which is in inverted commas because it’s a relative term… i mean “cheap” in comparison to other forms of training!). You’ll also probably get a great social group, or in the very least, one other person that you’d go to coffee with! Social groups increase your chances of sticking to the training and also enjoying it more! On the flip side, a large group means less attention (that’s IF the trainer makes a concerted effort to divide their attention equally). A large group environment also means that the numbers that this business is based on depends on volume of customers – that’s how they get away with charging less for the same time. This type of training is perfect for an extrovert, as your bubbly personality will thrive with the large group, and also attract the attention of the trainer; but make sure you have a good understanding of your own physiology, how to modify exercises for your injuries and issues, and all that you want from your gym or trainer is the company and a bit of direction! An introvert may find this mode of training overwhelming or intimidating.

If you want “cheap” one on one training – go get it! Cheap training is everywhere with new and inexperienced trainers, some are unregistered (often uninsured), and almost all compete on price because they do not know what else there is! They have no specialty, no unique training point, and will provide cheap company for your exercise. The price you pay for a one on one session has a lot of factors; rent, experience of the trainer (you’ll pay more for someone who has been around the block a few times), education of the train (which we pay for), registration (which you need continuing education for), insurance (we are ranked for risk alongside Oil Riggers), etc. The advantage of spending a little more on a personal trainer that has been in business for many years is that they will have systems that they know will work (and they’ve discarded ones they have seen fail). Cheap training is great for company, it’s also great to support a new trainer with your business, but make sure that you know what “good” pain is Vs an impending injury.

If you want good quality trainers – pay for them. I cannot emphasize this enough. A good quality trainer will have invested heavily in their education, thousands of dollars a year, and they cannot continue doing that if they do not earn the money in the first place. You need a quality trainer if you have ever had a baby, if you have any injury or unique health issue, or want to prevent ever developing one!

Small group training will be more expensive because the numbers are capped at a lower number. It is basic economics. There are a variety of reasons why a business will cap their numbers; but in the case of IntoYou, it’s so that we can continue to provide quality exercise and a decent amount of individual attention. Most of our clients are mum’s, and they need to do things well if we are going to improve their LIFE fitness and prevent the development of pelvic health problems down the track. Even in a small group of 4, you get just 7 minutes of individual attention in a 30min session – imagine if there were 20 of you! You’d only get a minute every couple of weeks!

If price is all you know to ask, and all you compare training opportunities by, you must understand that you’ll get a corresponding increase or decrease in experience and quality. There are better ways to choose your gym, trainer, or training group. The first thing is to understand what you want and need!

If you need company, then large group settings are brilliant. If you’re an introvert that just needs a bit of direction, a cheap PT will be perfect! If you’re riddled with hernias, find the best PT (which will cost more) who has experience with hernia. If you’re a “special” population, like a mum or cancer survivor, but are otherwise healthy, a small group will suit you to a T. With opportunities like fitness passport, you’ll get variety in trainer, mode, and type of exercise; but you wont get someone who knows you or your body (or even cares!).

Here are some alternative questions to ask when looking for a gym or trainer:

  • What qualification for training women/kids/men/me do you hold?
  • How long have you been training women/kids/men/people like me?
  • How long have you been a PT?
  • Who are you registered with? (Because registration brings insurance and an assurance that they’re appropriately certified).
  • What is your passion? (Because if you’re a breast cancer survivor and the Trainer is passionate about teenage girls, you may find a “gap” in their knowledge which will work against your goals and training needs).

There is a place in the fitness industry for every mode of training, cheap, expensive, large group, small group, and specialty! The key is to understand what YOU are looking for, then ask the right questions to find that perfect fit!

Clare is a Level 3 Master Trainer, LEvel 2 Strength and Conditioning Coach, and an internationally accredited Business Coach. See what coaching products might suit you here: 

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