The original title of this entry was supposed to be “Why Short Term And Casual Training Memberships Are No Good For Anyone”, which is rather a bold statement that I thought would get some attention or perhaps cause some controversy. It was too long though and didn’t look pretty with my website layout, so I had to change it.
Anyway aside from being controversial, it’s not necessarily true so first I’ll talk about the exceptions to the rule.
A small minority of clients are already active & motivated individuals, perhaps already attending the gym regularly. These clients may want some instruction on a particular exercise, or just a change from their usual training program. I like to think that perhaps a few of them are thinking “”that Dave is one hell of a great guy and gets great results all the time, so I might train with him for a few weeks and see if I can make some more progress”… whatever the reason is, these people aren’t looking for a long term arrangement with a Personal Trainer. This also applies in some cases to people who just want to train at home on their own, but need someone to teach them how to get started.
The average Personal Training client has different needs though, and these are best addressed through a longer term training package. I’ve talked in great depth and detail about what these needs might be several times already in this blog so I won’t go into specifics again, but it should suffice to say that they require a long term program providing regular and consistent improvements in order to achieve their goals.
Sustained motivation is also crucial factor in achieving any goal, and this is especially in relation to fitness or wellness. The support, encouragement and enthusiasm of a good personal trainer can be the difference between success or failure for many clients, who realise that they would be likely to lose motivation were they to attempt to go it alone.
So for the majority of clients, commencing a Personal Training program is a part of a lifestyle change, or at least an element in pursuit of a long term goal (such as weight loss and management) which they will participate in for an extended period of time.
Why then do so many training studios only offer short term packages, and even casual memberships?
These are counter productive arrangements for most clients. While the client has faith in the trainer’s ability to provide them with great results (otherwise they would not sign up), they may have less faith in their own ability to stay committed to their goal, especially if they have made previous attempts through dieting or other exercise programs but reverted to their old habits again… although they are enthusiastic to get started, in the back of their mind is that “I’m not sure if I really have what it takes” thought process.
By offering casual (ie you don’t have to come and train if you don’t feel like it) or short term (ie you can always drop out after a few weeks) packages, all we are doing is enabling this sort of self defeating negativity. As trainers our job is to motivate people to move beyond their previous limitations and make achievements they may not have thought possible. To do this, we need to encourage them to make that decision to commit to a new, healthier and more active lifestyle on a long term basis… not just for a few weeks.
What’s good for the trainer, is good for the client.
From the trainer’s point of view, obviously it’s better if the client trains regularly and on a long term basis. And this is not just about money and getting regular payments, it’s about getting great results for the client. If the client trains regularly and diligently, they are certain to achieve superior results compared to someone who trains sporadically without much of a schedule. Having regular scheduled training sessions also means that the trainer can proscribe a much better, long term program – again providing better results to the client.
Best of all (for everyone), having clients on long term training packages enables the trainer to offer them a huge discount, as it is not necessary to factor the costs of cancelled sessions (or non-renewals) into the fees. How much of a huge difference does this make? Depending on your training schedule you could save up to $1000 with DHPT when you commit to a long term training program.
Best results, best value? What more could you ask for?