Updated: May 26
I've been asked a few times why I don't offer free trials of my services and thought I'd address that here. Sure, I could throw together a cookie cutter one-size-fits-all workout and offer that for free. However, that wouldn't be a true representation of what you would get when you train with me.
When I work with anyone, whether it is virtual, in-person, or through the Trainerize app, I always take time to get to know the person first through a questionnaire and a free consultation phone call. I need to know about any major illnesses and/or injuries the person has had so that I can be sure to take those into consideration when writing the workout.
For example, a person who has had knee replacement surgery will most likely (but not always) have discomfort when doing kneeling exercises. Consequently, if I see knee replacement surgery on their intake questionnaire, I ask if they are comfortable in a kneeling position. Some people have said yes, others have said sometimes, and still others say absolutely no kneeling. That makes a huge difference when writing the workout because it eliminates A LOT of exercises and even exercise modifications, such as a modified plank on knees. If one of their goals is to hold a 1-minute plank and they've never done a plank before, I'll need to build them up to it a completely different way than I would for someone who is comfortable kneeling.
When I have a phone consultation with a potential client, we discuss much more than just exercise. How busy a person is, what their daily life looks like in terms of movement, and how many hours of
sleep they get per night absolutely impacts how I'll write their workout program. A person who sits all day is going to need different exercises and stretches than a person who has a very physical job. Additionally, not everyone exercises for the same reason. Everyone has their own reason to do it and their own goals they hope to reach. A person who wants to get strong enough to lift her baby grandson definitely needs a different workout than a person whose goal is to lose 200lbs, or someone who wants to complete a 5k.
So why don't I offer a free trial? I put two to three hours of work into writing the first workout for a client, sometimes more if they have a medical condition I'm not familiar with and need to research it. I charge $50 per 60-minute session for personal training. That amount is not just for the time I'm with the client, it's also for the time I write the workout, do the research, re-read their intake questionnaire, re-read my notes from our phone consultation (to make sure I didn't miss anything), and prep the equipment we'll use in their session. There is just too much personalized work involved to offer a free trial.
Yes, personal training is an investment, but it is really an investment in yourself and your health. Think of the money you'll save down the road on healthcare if you get ahead of problems that can lead to very costly medical bills and long term conditions. Learning how to squat correctly can save you from future problems with your knees. Learning to eat right and lose extra pounds can save you from potentially developing diabetes, heart disease, and extra wear and tear on your joints that can lead to arthritis.
I know some trainers who charge double for the first session with a client or even charge for the phone consultation. I can't imagine doing either. The free phone consultation is an invaluable tool for both me and the client because it gives us both an opportunity to see if we're a good fit. I'm not the right trainer for everyone, and not everyone is the right client for me. I don't try to sell anyone during that call. I ask a lot of questions, but mainly I listen. If, after all of my questions have been answered and I've answered all of their questions I think I can help that person reach their goals, I say so. I let them know what I charge, and leave the ball in their court.
The bottom line is this: If a trainer is offering you a free trial, you probably aren't getting personalized service during the trial and most likely not when you're paying either. You are probably going to get a pre-made cookie cutter workout that won't be appropriate for you, your fitness level, or your goals. Why not invest in yourself by working with a trainer who will truly build the entire training program around you?