This subject has been rambling around in my head of quite some time. The health and fitness industry is constantly changing and the value of Personal Trainers and Exercise Instructors is changing as well. Although the quality of knowledge and skills is becoming much better, the perceived value to the average person is going down.Will there be a day when alliances and guilds will form to protect the integrity of the health and fitness professionals in our country? I believe so.
I first acquired my Personal Training certification before the National-Accreditation became a requirement. I worked for a YMCA at the time. There was such a variety of groups and a wide range of ideas about what personal trainers should know and be able to do. Then I earned my Personal Training certification from NETA when national accreditation had become required, in order to standardize certification testing requirements. Now varied thoughts about whether Personal Trainers should have a bachelor's degree in Exercise Science or a related field abound. The unfortunate part is that the requirements are becoming more stringent, yet the pay rates has been in steady decline over the past few years. I expect that there will become a shortage of health and fitness professionals as it doesn't pay well enough to justify the cost of the education.
Now it seems with the onslaught of all the gyms with $10 and $20 monthly memberships, the value of exercise professionals has greatly degraded. The gyms coming in so cheap are large chains trying to outdo their competition. Unfortunately, gyms in the area have to cut costs so they cut the hours and pay rates of the staff. They even eliminate jobs and restructure in order to change the income-outgo ratio of the finances. Here are the results I have experienced along the way:
1. No one is available to help gym members with questions or spot a potential safety issue. If there is someone, it is usually a front desk person who does not have certification or someone working on their certification.They may earn $8-9 per hour for 10-20 hours a week. This is not only a liability issue for the gym, but a safety issue for you.
2. Personal Trainers are being pressured to have a Bachelor's Degree by gyms trying to keep up the appearance of quality. These trainers now have student loans and only make $20-30 from a $50-60 as commission per training session. But Personal Training prices have been lowered to $35-40! Their pay reflects that change. It is a feast or famine market. Most have to work other jobs to pay their bills, limiting their time availability to you. If they are truly "full-time", these trainers open and close the gym--literally. Some of them have a key and can unlock the doors for training sessions at other times with the permission of management. In such a grueling environment, they will have spent 12-14 hours a day at the gym for $30,000 a year, in most cases, as a salaried employee who has to meet and exceed sales goals.
3. Personal Trainers who have not had the ability to get their degrees still bust their backsides to keep their certifications current and exceed the minimal requirements so their clients get the best benefit they can offer. Most certifying agencies require 20 CECs. That translates into at least $300-500 per year. Most are required to have liability insurance costing $180-300 per year. Add on health insurance expenses the employer will not cover, so the health and fitness professional has to shell out money for Obamacare. By the way, the degreed Personal Trainer also has all of these issues if he or she is not full-time!
As you can see, the $20-30 per hour long training session value drops greatly. They must have exercise clothing and shoes that can withstand the rigors of their work days. The hour long training sessions actually is another hour outside of the training doing research, revamping workouts, answering questions of clients via text, phone and email, and transportation costs. Wow!
So why in the world do we bother to do what we do? Because we love what we do for you! We believe strongly in helping you achieving your goals, helping you avoid problems in the future. We meet great people who have a need for what we can offer. It is a challenge with great intrinsic rewards!
As an independent contractor, I still have expenses to deliver services to you. My rates are competitive, the same as many of the local gyms' personal training prices for in-gym sessions. Most personal training sessions for in-home/office are $65-80 per hour. I want to keep the costs down for you as best as possible. However, I still have overhead costs: CECs & continuing education, college student loans, CPR/AED re-certification, liability insurance, health insurance, the cost of this website, equipment, clothing and transportation, business cards and other advertisement. Just for your information, I pay for this website to avoid ridiculous ads from companies who may be totally opposite of what I stand for as a Christian health and fitness professional. Although I am not fantastic at website construction it is not the reason I am here writing to you. I share these things with you to help you understand what is not readily visible. A worker is worthy of his/her wages ( I Timothy 5:18).
What do Personal Trainers do for you? We do more than make you look good. We do that safely, correcting muscle imbalances whenever possible. We also work with the variety of health issues that put variables into our clients' goals. We help you perform better,increase flexibility, reduce high blood pressure and blood sugar levels, control pain, reduce depression and get you to consider some possible goals you may have never considered. There is more to what we do than meets the eye.
What can you do? Don't expecting something for nothing. It is one thing to look for tips and helps, but quite another to expect a personal trainer to give away free training! Insist that health and fitness professionals in your area receive a fair wage. Speak up at your gym about the lowered rates for personal training sessions. Try a personal training session when you need help or a tune-up in your program. Remember that you are hiring a professional consultant. Be courteous if you must cancel your training session by calling more than 24 hours in advance when possible. This way the personal trainer can help someone else in your vacant time slot. Do reschedule as quickly as possible so that you can receive the best benefit of what he/she has prepared for you. Since health and fitness is a consumer-driven market, you have plenty of influence with your health and fitness dollars.
God bless you!