Sports Minded How-To: Personal Training On A Budget

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Link to main program workout page
iTrain Online Program

$10.00/ mo.
Available at:

We all know personal trainers are expensive, but we also all know how effective they can be (Gwen Stefani – baby weight, hello). So how does one manage to pitch for that hot little number from BCBG and still have the cash required to get the bod that will fit inside it? Having had all kinds of experiences with various fitness programs over the years, I can honestly say there is nothing like having a personal trainer. That being said, here are five ways you can cheat and still get something worthwhile enough to completely justify the money you will save, and then some.

1. Ask for a Less Experienced Trainer
Generally speaking, the longer a trainer has been around the higher their fee. If your goals are relatively simple (i.e. you’re not trying to lose 40 lbs. before a wedding in a month), there’s no reason not to go with a less experienced trainer. They might be green, but they also might run 50% or more LESS than the most experienced staff.

2. Semi-Private Sessions
Look for trainers who will double up clients (2-3, more than 3 is probably too many) at a reduced price and you and a friend can save 50% or more off what might be the training rate at a gym. Many smaller gyms offer semi-private sessions, the rate for a half hour session at the Yoga Den (Corona, CA) for instance, is more than 60% less than the rate I paid at my gym.

3. YMCA “Coach Approach”
In this program, you have an initial assessment with a trainer/coach where you set goals and develop a workout program. This is put into a tracking system and you work out on your own, logging in when you hit the gym. Regular meetings with your Coach let you assess your progress and change your program as necessary. The program is free for members, a Y membership generally runs about the same or slightly less than a health clubs’, with the added benefit of helping the community. Many branches of the YMCA offer the “Coach Approach,” find yours here (mine was Mission Valley, San Diego).

Shape Magazine
$15.97/ 12 mo.
Available at:

4. Online Fitness Community
Online fitness communities cost pennies compared to a trainer, if they cost anything at all, and are great if you can stay motivated and want a trainer primarily for the program they can put you on. They offer everything from downloadable trackers/planners, to discussion forums, to full-on tailored workouts complete with daily menus, schedules, and shopping lists. and are a couple examples. FitWatch is free unless you want the Deluxe version, in which case you’ll have to fork over $5 per month. CorePerformance is geared more towards athletes, but they do have planning based on lifestyle goals (i.e. general fitness). They have a free three-week trial, a whole year will run you $80 (which might get you 2 sessions with a trainer... if you’re lucky and have a cheap trainer).

5. Fitness Magazines
Fitness magazines are putting a whole host of content on the web these days, most of it free and some of it on par with the online fitness community. Women’s Health, for instance, has a Fit Plan which is a free 6-month program you can join that will help you assess your fitness level and tailor a workout to improve performance. And both Women’s Health and Shape have a “Workout” section chock full of exercises to help you change up your routine or focus on that one body area that just drives you nuts, whichever the case may be.

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Hannah Foster is the Stiletto Jungle Sports & Fitness Editor. Hannah's current athletic pursuits include snowboarding, motocross, yoga, and avoiding the high school guys in the gym. She's played soccer, volleyball, and football competitively, loves swimming, hates running, and is certain being Captain of a 30 girl cheerleading squad gave her grey hair. Her degree is in biology/genetics.

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