Is Personal Training Dead?

I learn a lot of my lessons in the gym. Lessons related to exercise, communication, and being a professional. It is also safe to say that it has been a big part in creating my identity as a consumer. My experience has a huge impact in my decision making as a consumer whether it be grocery shopping, selecting a hotel, or parking in a coffee shop. Of course cost effectiveness is something that remains in the back of my mind, but if a positive consumer experience comes with a slightly larger price tag I am alright with that. 


This concept is something that remains in the back of my mind for quite some time when discussing the future of training. The concept of personal training has evolved to become an experience that is now available in a variety of ways whether it be getting involved in a semi private or boot camp setting. 


We now have the ability to reach out to a much larger population as there are more options available that allows bringing change to a larger population. For that reason it makes perfect sense to get involved in training in a semi private setting from time to time. Not long ago it was a major ambition of mine to build a large portion of my training business around this model. I was able to free up some time in my day as well as slightly increase my value per hour. When it came down to making the most of my time it was pretty effective. However, I did not feel completely fulfilled at the end of a session. I felt that the individual attention that I was able to provide in a one on one environment was somewhat lacking and I felt that there were certain components of my workouts that seemed to fall through the cracks. I began to question my abilities as I was doing my best to make it as personalized as possible but was just unable to dig deep like I would when I am working in a one on one environment. My biggest eye opener came when it was time to renew and the people that were working in the semi private environment were more than willing to make the extra investment to work privately. 


Working one on one has always been my personal preference because of the way it can allow me to dig deep. It is what I have built my reputation on, I feel more fulfilled at the end of the hour and for the people I work with it appears to be worth the investment. Do I influence as many people within a day? No. Is it as effective from a time management standpoint? No. Is it as lucrative? No. However when raising the question of whether or not it is worth it, for me it really is. I still take part in some semi private training, and I think that it is extremely effective. However I also believe in rolling with what works the best for me and more importantly the people that I work with.


For that reason I do have to question the statement as to whether personal training is either dead or dying. It certainly is evolving into a concept that is allowing us to reach out to more people but when it comes to making the extra investment for an enhanced experience I can't help but look at training falling into a very similar category. 


What Is It That We Do?


It can be a long winded list when we talk about the job description of a trainer but to make it short it is our duty to enhance the well being of the people that we work with. This means identifying their specific goals as well as limitations and providing the best possible solution to them. What I can say about specificity is that everyone has their own unique characteristics to be identified and dealt with whether it be structural, muscular or behavioral. Not to mention that the same unique characteristics are paired with declining levels of activity. What this has meant for me is a much greater attention to detail and how things are done is becoming just as important as what is being prescribed. Pairing a population with a growing need for attention to detail with a training environment that may not always provide that can be challenging. I can completely understand the idea that people just need to get moving, but for the sake of consistency, individuality, intimacy, and longevity nothing will replace what can be done in a one on one environment.


Change. Volume vs. Magnitude


Any successful trainer can tell you that it goes beyond whats on the menu each particular day. The big picture goal is to create positive change. In my opinion, nothing can provide a foundation for change the way that habitual exercise can. The way that training has evolved has given us the opportunity to reach out and influence a larger population. After a number of years both in the one on one and the semi private setting it really comes down to the magnitude of change that keeps me going and nothing does this like a personal environment. If it came down to either having a larger population complementing my programming and the results that they have achieved it is great to see. However if that population was considerably smaller and their feedback far more profound, that to me is what I consider to be fulfilling. I am not sure if it is the right answer but it certainly is my personal preference.


Is Personal Training Dead?


The question that has been burning me for quite some time now. I believe that personal training concepts are definitely evolving but to say one on one training is dead, dying, or bad for a trainer's bottom line may be a little ignorant. I think that there are just too many variables out there to completely wash away the idea of one on one training. Variables in mechanics, body types, and capabilities. Not to mention the idea that the people that you are working with may need your help in more ways than just your ability to work them out. For some people you may be that one hour of the day where they know that you are there for an individual and that attention is undivided. I found this out for myself in a few occasions and I am not sure what the outcome would have been if that line of communication was divided in session. 


If it was up to me, it would be proficiency with one on one training would be a required pre requisite before filling the day planner with groups. Not to mention if you have three people in front of you at any given time, you damn well better feel like you just trained three people at one time. Rather than falling victim to rep counting, time keeping, decks of cards, and unspecific prescription. To me the training profession goes well beyond that. We are meant to deliver results in a way that promotes specificity and longevity and if it means me working a few extra hours I am okay with that.