Want to get that “I am a block of naked muscle” look? Or maybe like me, you’re tired of modelling for the front cover of Beached Whales Monthly. A fitness trainer can take care of it, sure. But the price might stop your heart before their exercise routine does. Damn sadists. Look at those reps! Look at that sweat! Look at the goddam bill! In this article, we see how the poor and portly can keep up:
What is The Standard Trainer’s Fee?
In Singapore, most fitness trainers get between $50 – $70 an hour. This is seldom included in your gym fees. Most trainers do not charge extra for travelling to your condo gym*.
* But most condos disallow this, since it overcrowds the gym. Check with your management committee.
Here are five steps to minimize the cost:
- Ask about their quota
- Don’t Pay for Simple Exercises
- Find one in the right sport
- Check for time limits
- Set a stop point
1. Ask About Their Quota
I spoke to a trainer from a local “chain gym”, places like True Fitness and California Fitness. These gyms are notorious for their sales tactics (pushier than Alex Ong on a crowded bus).
But the trainer, who doesn’t want his name disclosed, claims you can use their sales process against them:
“We’re expected to close a certain number of sales, because we’re trainers AND sales…you can ask trainers about their quotas and deadlines.
Always buy your training package as they come closer to their deadlines.
Sometimes it’s near the end of the day, other times near the end of the week. I’ve seen trainers go as low as $40 an hour, just to meet quota.
Most trainers won’t tell you how close they are to their quotas. But if they do, only bargain if they are close to meeting their target. If they are way off, they actually become less desperate. When they have given up already, they won’t feel the urgent need to sell cheap.”
2. Don’t Pay for Simple Exercises
How do you get taught to jog? Beyond “walk forward, but do it faster,” what else do you expect? And yet people keep paying trainers to stare at them jog, do push-ups, and other Primary School PT things.
Some words from our unnamed trainer:
“When you buy the package, there are a certain number of sessions. Say 10 sessions, or 30 sessions. To be honest, most trainers will not teach you everything in that time.
Otherwise you don’t need them! But not all trainers are like that.
If you are scared of this, tell the trainers you will do the circuit training or treadmill on your own. Use the time to learn things like Pilates or free weights, where you need specific instruction.“
3. Find One In The Right Sport
Yes, I know you’re not looking for a sports coach. But even then, it helps to find a fitness trainer who’s into the same sport as you.
I’m not just referring to the physical benefits (they know the right muscles to train). I’ve also found that these trainers tend to moonlight as sports coaches. That leads to a range of little bonuses, like:
- They can get you discounts into sports clubs
- They always know where to find the (good) budget equipment
- They tend to give you extra time
- When they move to a cheaper gym, they may clue you in
4. Check for Time Limits
Some training packages are divided into sessions (see point 2). In which case, demand to know the time limit on those sessions.
For example, 50 sessions doesn’t always mean you can show up 50 times, whenever you want. You may be obliged to use all the sessions within a set number of months. Most gyms are not contractually obliged to refund or conduct unused sessions past the expiry date.
Our un-named trainer says several customers have lost out:
“They buy the sessions, then because of work or laziness, they don’t come down. After four or five months, their package expires and they have unused sessions. Then we have to explain those sessions are forfeit.
I have seen one client lose as many as 17 sessions on his package; no refund. Sometimes the admin will tell you ‘Don’t worry, we know you, past the expiry also you can come down; it’s okay’. But you better don’t trust them.
They make those promises without caring how many trainers they have, and how committed we are. Come the day of expiry, if there are too many clients, they will break their promise and cancel your sessions.“
5. Set a Stop Point
Exercise is a lifelong thing. Trainer fees shouldn’t be. When you start your package, set a stop point for yourself; one that isn’t time based.
More words from our masked trainer:
“You don’t set a limit like, oh, I will stop when I lose 20 kilos, or I will stop after one year. Your stop point should be a specific learning target.
Write down all the explanations and routines the trainer gives you. You can stop once you have all the basics of weight training, for example. Once you have that, do it on your own. When you reach the next level, then come back for more training.
Lazy people prefer not to learn; they want the trainer to tell them ‘what next’ and spoon feed them all the time. You can still get fit that way; just prepare to keep paying non-stop.”
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