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How to Fit a Personal Trainer In a Tight Budget

photo: istolethetv

Most of us can’t afford a celebrity personal trainer – but you can get the extra fitness push you need from a quality trainer even on a tighter budget. Here are some tips to help you stick to your budget without compromising the quality of your workouts.

Set a Fitness Budget - And Stick to It

First things first: you should know exactly how much you can afford to spend on a personal trainer based on your monthly income and spending. Whether you have $40 to spare or $400, it’s important to stick to that budget. The only way you could go over it if you created a healthy habit (like reducing the amount of drinks you have on a night out) that ultimately reduces your spending.

The money you save this month can be dedicated towards training for the next month. (Don’t add to your budget any savings you expect to see in the future, though.  This is an easy way to create budget hangover.)

Let’s say, for example, that your budget can handle $200 of personal training. Using Mint.com, you’ve realized that you spend around $20 on after-work drinks each Friday night, or $100 a month. Now let’s say you decide to cut that spending in half, thus saving $50 a month. This would allow you to purchase $250 worth of training the following month, instead of $200. But if you increase your training budget before you actually see those savings in the bank, and at the end of the day (or week) you find it too hard to give up that extra drink, you could end up exceeding your budget by $50. (For similar tips, check out Lose 10 Pounds Of Overspending.)

Know How To Spend Your Fitness Dollars

How much can you expect to pay for a trainer? Adventure Boot Camp National Master Trainer Kelli Calabrese provides a few estimates.

* A good personal trainer is likely going to be upwards of $60.00 an hour, up to a maximum of $250 an hour.

* Semi-Personal Training (for two to five people) would range from $25 to $35 an hour per person.

* Group personal training, such as boot camps ranges from $15 to $20 an hour per person.

You can combine these options in a variety of ways. For $200, you could buy one monthly appointment with a high-end trainer or three days a week of boot camp. You could also get a $100 training session and five boot camp sessions.

In any group setting where you see the same trainer each time, your trainer will be able to provide specific advice to help you attain your fitness goals based on your routine.  Seeing a trainer on a weekly, biweekly monthly or quarterly basis provides accountability and keeps you on track, says Calabrese. “It also gives you a fresh new workout and helps you progress to the next level.”

Purchasing a package of several sessions in advance will typically help you reduce your per-session costs, but you should make sure you like the trainer before you commit. Don’t buy in bulk before you’ve experienced at least one session of individual or group training.

Find the Right Match

Before shelling out the cash for one or more sessions, do your due dilligence.  Start by reviewing the trainer’s website. Calabrese suggests looking for a trainer with an exercise-related degree or a certification from one of these institutions or associations: The American College of Sports Medicine, The National Academy of Sports Medicine, The American Council on Exercise, The National Strength and Conditioning Association, The Cooper Clinic and the National Exercise Sports Trainers Association.

Having professional education and/or certifications is one sign that you’re dealing with a trainer who will be able to adapt exercises to your specific needs and any injuries you may have. Besides education, Calabrese says, you’ll want to look for a trainer with years of experience and happy clients who’ve achieved results.

A credentialed, experienced trainer will likely costs more, says Calebrese. But that extra cost may be worth it, especially if you’ve had injuries in the past. Consider buying fewer sessions with that trainer or balancing personal training with group classes.

You should always choose a trainer you click with, but you need someone who’s going to have the experience to push you, vary your routine to keep you interested, and help you to maintain and improve your health.

With any trainer, you should also ask a few questions before your private or group training sessions, including:

* What equipment do you use?

* What equipment will I need to purchase?

* What is your general training philosophy?

* Have you worked with others with my injury? (That could be a shoulder, knee, hip or any other problem area you have.)

* How far in advance do I need to schedule an appointment?

Add It All Up

If you do it right, hiring a top-notch personal trainer will be less expensive than you might think. Unless you have the budget to hire someone three days a week, though, ask your trainer for a workout that you can do at least three times a week on your own — and meet them once a week or even month to adjust that routine and measure results.

With a combination of budgeting and fitness exercises, you’ll have the trainer and the discipline to accomplish your fitness goals without sacrificing your finances.

Reyna Gobel is a freelance journalist who specializes in financial fitness. She is also the author of Graduation Debt: How To Manage Student Loans and Live Your Life.