Debunking 4 Myths Of What Fitness “Should” Cost

Debunking 4 Myths Of What Fitness “Should” Cost

By | 2020-09-11T02:15:59+00:00 September 11th, 2020|Fitness|0 Comments

I am going to cut right to it.  When it comes to what Group Fitness Classes and Personal Training “should” cost, there are some seriously flawed perceptions that should be killed stat (along with COVID). 

Let’s Start with Group Fitness Classes.

Before we do though, I think it is really REALLY important to distinguish between a Group Instructor and a Coach.

Group Instructors tend to run classes that are more choreographed and have flows that the participants can follow along to while doing the workout too. Coaches are there to demo, give verbal and visual cues and watch for safety and form (and are not working out along with the participants).

Group Instructors can spot and correct improper movements. Coaches can too and will go beyond that to help understand the “why” to prevent it from recurring.

Group instructors are skilled at programming workouts that will be sure to get your sweat on and heart rate up. Coaches program each class holistically and are methodical and deliberate with each exercise they include.

(I found a great blog that articulates these points beautifully: https://rhapsodyfitness.com/fitness-instructor-or-coach-key-differences/)

I consider myself to be a Coach, not a Group Instructor. It has influenced my own style of training and it is why I want to debunk so many fitness generalizations and misconceptions.

  1. Group Fitness Classes should not be priced like they are a ride share.

There is this perception out there that the more people who can cram into a group class, the cheaper it should be per person, like a ride share.  

We need though to stop thinking of classes like a ride share. Coaches are not Lyft drivers. We are not taking passengers from Point A to Point B. Classes are anything but linear and deserve better than to be viewed as the fitness equivalent cost of gas and mileage

2. Training and Programming Group Fitness Classes is the equivalent of hosting a dinner party where each guest has very different dietary needs.

Imagine having a dinner party for 8 guests, but they all cannot eat the same thing.

One is lactose intolerant.

Another is gluten sensitive.
Someone can have walnuts but not almonds.
Another is deathly allergic to shellfish.
One is vegetarian.

One is vegan.

Someone is Keto.
And someone just refuses to eat anything green.

As the gracious host that you are, you would probably end up cooking 8 different dishes to accommodate everyone’s dietary needs. That means you have to make 8 recipes, buy 8 times the ingredients and spend much longer on prepping and cooking.

It is JUST like that with group classes. People come into them with different levels of fitness, health issues and injuries. In one class of even 8 people, it is very common to have almost every single one with a restriction. One has a bad back, someone has a bad knee, another has tennis elbow, a few have wrist injuries, someone refuses to do squats and another has really bad cramps.  These are all legit and should be listened to.

That means though there is likely to be 8 variations of the same workout programmed. It takes TIME to put together a workout in advance with a few options to accommodate most people, but it is nearly impossible to have each workout executed as planned.

So YES the cost for a class is absofuckinlutely going to reflect all of this. It takes a trainer with serious skill, knowledge, talent (and not to mention patience) to have every single person workout first and foremost safely while still being challenged. To be able to modify movements for individuals ON THE FLY takes experience.

And now that we are in a predominantly Virtual World, that adds its own complexities. Keep reading.

3. Virtual Group Classes do not mean the bells and whistles are gone.

Ok, so I have already established that people in the same group class have various needs, injuries and medical conditions. That is just ONE aspect of what goes into programming and coaching for a class.

When classes are in person, either outdoors or at a gym/studio, the trainer knows going in what the space will be and what the available equipment is.  In the Virtual World, everyone has a different setup from one to the next. Some people are working out in their backyard while others are confined to a yoga mat squished between a couch and a wall. Some people have dumbbells, others have a kettlebell, many have resistance bands and some have no equipment other than their own bodies (which is bad ass and a machine, but that’s a different topic entirely).

Also, sometimes participants are at home and sometimes they are at an AirBnB or a hotel room because Virtual means no more having to miss a class just because they are out of town (Score!) So as a Trainer, I may have gotten used to training Mary in a group setting where she is working out in her sweet, pimped out garage gym and then she shows up for a virtual class two days later from a hotel room and has only resistance bands with her. Oh and her back flared up from the flight she was on so cross off any jumping movements (amongst other things).

My point is that Virtual Classes are not a fixed environment. In fact, whatever the most extreme opposite of that is, that is what they are. There are so many uncontrolled variables in group classes that often the trainer does not get any heads up and only discovers once the person pops into the class.

A mediocre trainer in that scenario will spend a fair amount of time fumbling through a solution while a phenomenal trainer will be able to react seamlessly.

Ok, so let’s get into those common Personal Trainer myths. Most overlap with the Group Fitness Classes so I am calling attention to a particular one that is ever so prevalent (and frustrating).

4. Stop expecting Virtual Personal Trainers to charge less because they are not in person.

I am not sure where this idea that Virtual Personal Training should cost less than in person came from, but I’ll tell you what, I don’t like it ONE BIT. It is arbitrary, entitled and silly.

(*The only caveat I can consider for this statement is if a trainer had been going to a client’s house, then yes possibly a reduced rate for Virtual makes sense if the travel time is eliminated).

Otherwise, our time is not worth any less just because we are training clients behind a computer instead of in person. More importantly, we are not providing a lesser service just because we are not in person. Virtual PT is as effective as in person.

The only things that are different between Virtual and In-Person PT are very similar to the points made about classes: access to equipment and the space in which a client workouts in at home.

Trainers can still see clients for form. Unless a trainer was extremely handsy in person (which eww, gross), being able to correct and explain movements only require visual and verbal cues. I personally never was a touchy feely trainer and rarely had to physically touch a client to make a cue more effective.

The other thing is, programming for Virtual PT can be far more challenging and time-consuming than in-person sessions.

Here is a perfect example. Before COVID, my clients had access to barbells at the gym where I was renting space from. That meant we could do some strength cycles for lifts like back squats, strict press and deadlifts. I was able to program for a few months at a time to increase strength by manipulating the number of sets, reps and weight lifted.

Being virtual means a lot of clients have access to far less. Most do not have a barbell at home, some have varying dumbbell weight and some have 1 set of dumbbells, sometimes even really light. It takes skill to find ways to hit strength gains using very little. It is completely possible to do, but it requires an experienced and innovative trainer to do.

I have the perfect real life example to support this. I have a client that I train 2-3 times a week who has some knee and ankle injuries that she is working with a Physical Therapist on, who has communicated to me to focus more on core and upper body strength and no lower body or cardio.

This same client only has 1 set of dumbbells which are just 5 pounds.


It takes more time and creativity to program for her specifications and goals given what is available. And that is by no means a dig for the record. She’s freaking bad ass and committed and I love training her.  It means though as a trainer, I am going to spend more time researching ways to keep her inspired and safe while programming innovative and challenging workouts with minimal equipment and exercises. It also means more communication outside of sessions so I am in the loop on how her Physical Therapy recovery is going so I can factor that into her workouts.

So yeah for all these reasons (and more), Virtual in no way should be valued and priced less than in-person.

Ok

I am going to cut right to it.  When it comes to what Group Fitness Classes and Personal Training “should” cost, there are some seriously flawed perceptions that should be killed stat (along with COVID). 

Let’s Start with Group Fitness Classes.

Before we do though, I think it is really REALLY important to distinguish between a Group Instructor and a Coach.

Group Instructors tend to run classes that are more choreographed and have flows that the participants can follow along to while doing the workout too. Coaches are there to demo, give verbal and visual cues and watch for safety and form (and are not working out along with the participants).

Group Instructors can spot and correct improper movements. Coaches can too and will go beyond that to help understand the “why” to prevent it from recurring.

Group instructors are skilled at programming workouts that will be sure to get your sweat on and heart rate up. Coaches program each class holistically and are methodical and deliberate with each exercise they include.

(I found a great blog that articulates these points beautifully: https://rhapsodyfitness.com/fitness-instructor-or-coach-key-differences/)

I consider myself to be a Coach, not a Group Instructor. It has influenced my own style of training and it is why I want to debunk so many fitness generalizations and misconceptions.

  1. Group Fitness Classes should not be priced like they are a ride share.

There is this perception out there that the more people who can cram into a group class, the cheaper it should be per person, like a ride share.  

We need though to stop thinking of classes like a ride share. Coaches are not Lyft drivers. We are not taking passengers from Point A to Point B. Classes are anything but linear and deserve better than to be viewed as the fitness equivalent cost of gas and mileage.

  • Training and Programming Group Fitness Classes is the equivalent of hosting a dinner party where each guest has very different dietary needs.

Imagine having a dinner party for 8 guests, but they all cannot eat the same thing.

One is lactose intolerant.

Another is gluten sensitive.
Someone can have walnuts but not almonds.
Another is deathly allergic to shellfish.
One is vegetarian.

One is vegan.

Someone is Keto.
And someone just refuses to eat anything green.

As the gracious host that you are, you would probably end up cooking 8 different dishes to accommodate everyone’s dietary needs. That means you have to make 8 recipes, buy 8 times the ingredients and spend much longer on prepping and cooking.

It is JUST like that with group classes. People come into them with different levels of fitness, health issues and injuries. In one class of even 8 people, it is very common to have almost every single one with a restriction. One has a bad back, someone has a bad knee, another has tennis elbow, a few have wrist injuries, someone refuses to do squats and another has really bad cramps.  These are all legit and should be listened to.

That means though there is likely to be 8 variations of the same workout programmed. It takes TIME to put together a workout in advance with a few options to accommodate most people, but it is nearly impossible to have each workout executed as planned.

So YES the cost for a class is absofuckinlutely going to reflect all of this. It takes a trainer with serious skill, knowledge, talent (and not to mention patience) to have every single person workout first and foremost safely while still being challenged. To be able to modify movements for individuals ON THE FLY takes experience.

And now that we are in a predominantly Virtual World, that adds its own complexities. Keep reading.

  • Virtual Group Classes do not mean the bells and whistles are gone.

Ok, so I have already established that people in the same group class have various needs, injuries and medical conditions. That is just ONE aspect of what goes into programming and coaching for a class.

When classes are in person, either outdoors or at a gym/studio, the trainer knows going in what the space will be and what the available equipment is.  In the Virtual World, everyone has a different setup from one to the next. Some people are working out in their backyard while others are confined to a yoga mat squished between a couch and a wall. Some people have dumbbells, others have a kettlebell, many have resistance bands and some have no equipment other than their own bodies (which is bad ass and a machine, but that’s a different topic entirely).

Also, sometimes participants are at home and sometimes they are at an AirBnB or a hotel room because Virtual means no more having to miss a class just because they are out of town (Score!) So as a Trainer, I may have gotten used to training Mary in a group setting where she is working out in her sweet, pimped out garage gym and then she shows up for a virtual class two days later from a hotel room and has only resistance bands with her. Oh and her back flared up from the flight she was on so cross off any jumping movements (amongst other things).

My point is that Virtual Classes are not a fixed environment. In fact, whatever the most extreme opposite of that is, that is what they are. There are so many uncontrolled variables in group classes that often the trainer does not get any heads up and only discovers once the person pops into the class.

A mediocre trainer in that scenario will spend a fair amount of time fumbling through a solution while a phenomenal trainer will be able to react seamlessly.

Ok, so let’s get into those common Personal Trainer myths. Most overlap with the Group Fitness Classes so I am calling attention to a particular one that is ever so prevalent (and frustrating).

  • Stop expecting Virtual Personal Trainers to charge less because they are not in person.

I am not sure where this idea that Virtual Personal Training should cost less than in person came from, but I’ll tell you what, I don’t like it ONE BIT. It is arbitrary, entitled and silly.

(*The only caveat I can consider for this statement is if a trainer had been going to a client’s house, then yes possibly a reduced rate for Virtual makes sense if the travel time is eliminated).

Otherwise, our time is not worth any less just because we are training clients behind a computer instead of in person. More importantly, we are not providing a lesser service just because we are not in person. Virtual PT is as effective as in person.

The only things that are different between Virtual and In-Person PT are very similar to the points made about classes: access to equipment and the space in which a client workouts in at home.

Trainers can still see clients for form. Unless a trainer was extremely handsy in person (which eww, gross), being able to correct and explain movements only require visual and verbal cues. I personally never was a touchy feely trainer and rarely had to physically touch a client to make a cue more effective.

The other thing is, programming for Virtual PT can be far more challenging and time-consuming than in-person sessions.

Here is a perfect example. Before COVID, my clients had access to barbells at the gym where I was renting space from. That meant we could do some strength cycles for lifts like back squats, strict press and deadlifts. I was able to program for a few months at a time to increase strength by manipulating the number of sets, reps and weight lifted.

Being virtual means a lot of clients have access to far less. Most do not have a barbell at home, some have varying dumbbell weight and some have 1 set of dumbbells, sometimes even really light. It takes skill to find ways to hit strength gains using very little. It is completely possible to do, but it requires an experienced and innovative trainer to do.

I have the perfect real life example to support this. I have a client that I train 2-3 times a week who has some knee and ankle injuries that she is working with a Physical Therapist on, who has communicated to me to focus more on core and upper body strength and no lower body or cardio.

This same client only has 1 set of dumbbells which are just 5 pounds.


It takes more time and creativity to program for her specifications and goals given what is available. And that is by no means a dig for the record. She’s freaking bad ass and committed and I love training her.  It means though as a trainer, I am going to spend more time researching ways to keep her inspired and safe while programming innovative and challenging workouts with minimal equipment and exercises. It also means more communication outside of sessions so I am in the loop on how her Physical Therapy recovery is going so I can factor that into her workouts.

So yeah for all these reasons (and more), Virtual in no way should be valued and priced less than in-person.

Ok so for the love of fitness and respect for the professionals that keep us all healthy, sane, happy, safe and inspired, let’s appreciate and respect what we collectively offer. And let’s appreciate and understand the value behind that.

ove of fitness and respect for the professionals that keep us all healthy, sane, happy, safe and inspired, let’s appreciate and respect what we collectively offer. And let’s appreciate and understand the value behind that.

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