There are lots of ways out there to get in shape and stay in shape.

Two of the most popular ways are Gyms and Personal Training. The sad fact is that many people choose the wrong option to help them get in, and stay in, shape so here I'm going to help you identify which approach is right for you.

Disclaimer at the start: I obviously own and run a personal training business so you may think I'll be biased writing this article.  However, because we are a small intimate studio we don't need huge numbers of members to be full so I'm more interested in getting the right people than anyone with a purse and a pulse. Hence this piece is straight down the line.

Let's start with gyms:

Positives:

  • Cheaper than personal training. You can join a gym for £15/month upwards so good for those on a budget.
  • Wider range of facilities than a personal training studio (more equipment, cafe, pool, sauna etc).
  • More flexibility of when you can go and work out. Gyms are open anything up to 24 hours a day and you can just go in whenever you want.
  • Often have lot's of classes you can attend as part of your membership.

Negatives:

  • Lack of accountability. If you don't go they don't care. In fact their entire business model is built on you paying your membership and NOT going.
  • No real guidance on creating an effective exercise routine or optimum training frequency. You're left to your own devices either trying to create your own routines or follow some from magazines or the internet which may suit you or may not. Feeling lucky?
  • Higher risk of injury as you have no one checking your technique is good when exercising, advising you how to warm up and cool down etc.
  • No guidance on nutrition.

And now a Personal Training Studio...

Positives:

  • Accountability. You're a walking billboard for us so we care about you getting results. That means we go out of our way to help you and follow you up if you miss a session.
  • Effective exercise routines designed by professionals with experience so you know they will work for you. No more guessing or hoping. Just follow the plan!
  • Reduced risk of injury as your technique is being watched carefully and adjusted as need be. You're also put through a proper warm up and cool down.
  • Nutritional coaching so you learn what to eat, when and why. Take it on board, adopt it as your new way of eating (instead of a diet) and you can lose weight and keep it off forever.
  • Real sense of community. Personal Training Studios often encourage a certain type of member who is sociable and supportive of other members. Combined with social events you create a network of friends and support for when you;re having the inevitable wobble. In short you aren't alone.
  • Less flexibility. This is a positive and a negative. A positive because in so many cases people say to us that having some time fixed in the diary for exercise means it actually gets done rather than continually being put off.

Negatives:

  • Often considerably more expensive than a gym membership. You're paying for experience and coaching which isn't cheap in any professional field.
  • Less facilities. Most Personal Training Studios don't have cafes, swimming pools and what not. In fact I can't think of any that do.
  • Less flexibility. Personal Trainers are people too and have families themselves so often there are set times you can come in and train at a Personal Training Studio. Have to work late unexpectedly? probably means you'll miss your session.
  • No classes. Most Personal Training Studios won't have additional classes running alongside the personal training sessions.

So there you have it, the pro's and cons of gyms and personal training studios.

It's up to you to decide which of those options suits you best. Remember there is no right or wrong, just which option works for you to get in shape and stay in shape.

One thing I would say is if you have a history of joining gyms and not going then don't think a new gym is going to be any different. A leopard doesn't change its spots and if you have shown in the past you don't attend a gym regularly when you're a member then the odds are that won't ever change no matter how much you tell yourself that this time it will be different.