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#1
Old 08-17-2007, 10:30 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Flushing, NY
Posts: 4,495
should I tip a "personal trainer" at a gym?

Several months ago I signed up at my health club/gym for a series of training sessions (25 of them) with a Personal Trainer. Overall I have found it a positive experience, I have learned several new exercises, corrected my form on other ones, and have been pushed hard without being abused or coddled.

My last session is coming up later today. Having never done this before, can anyone say whether or not it is considered customary to tip a trainer at the end of a series of sessions?
#2
Old 08-17-2007, 10:50 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: I'm right behind you!
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This site recommends tipping $60-100 'upon reaching goal' which I think is ridiculous. It would cross my mind to tip one as much as a nutritionist (i.e. not at all). I'd have some cash handy but ask around the locker rooms about the standard protocol. (Hopefully some Doper personal trainers will weigh in)
#3
Old 08-17-2007, 11:15 AM
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I hope I'm not hijacking too much, but for those of you who have used a personal trainer, how much benefit do you feel you got from the experience? What did they help most with? What were the sessions like?

Susan
#4
Old 08-17-2007, 11:45 AM
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I've been using a personal trainer for over 3 years now, and tipping has never occurred to me. Since I'm doing it through a chain health club, they have very structured policies for payment in place, and I even sign a contract for each bundle of sessions I purchase. I've never given money directly to either of the trainers I've been with.

If your "contract" with your trainer is less formal than that...essentially you've agreed to pay this person for their services on a handshake basis, then maybe tipping would be appropriate...

Quote:
Originally Posted by susan_foster
I hope I'm not hijacking too much, but for those of you who have used a personal trainer, how much benefit do you feel you got from the experience? What did they help most with? What were the sessions like?

Susan
All I can tell you is that I spent the entire decade of my 20s saying to myself "I really want to get in great shape" and never did. In my early 30s I joined a club and hooked up with a trainer, and I can now say with no reservations that I am truly in great shape. For me...a guy who works hard but is not good at self-structuring and not especially knowledgable about fitness...having someone to guide, instruct, and motivate me has been an essential part of reaching my goals.

I meet with my trainer once a week for a one-on-one guided workout, and he gives me written training routines to follow on the other days of the week. Those written workouts change every few weeks.

The one-on-one sessions focus mostly on core strength and stability excercises...things like standing on an otherwise unstable platform (upside-down Bosu(tm), or a ball of some kind) and doing squats with weights...different kinds of crunches and back extensions, etc.

My written workouts are more focused on weight lifting and cardio fitness.

I hope that helps.
#5
Old 08-17-2007, 12:03 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Winnipeg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by susan_foster
I hope I'm not hijacking too much, but for those of you who have used a personal trainer, how much benefit do you feel you got from the experience? What did they help most with? What were the sessions like?

Susan

I just started and I love it - she is very good and I am definitely "feeling" results.

My sessions are 1 hour.
#6
Old 08-17-2007, 12:08 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Flushing, NY
Posts: 4,495
Quote:
Originally Posted by Figaro
I've been using a personal trainer for over 3 years now, and tipping has never occurred to me. Since I'm doing it through a chain health club, they have very structured policies for payment in place, and I even sign a contract for each bundle of sessions I purchase. I've never given money directly to either of the trainers I've been with.
That fits the description for my scenario (my 25 sessions, with one free initial session, were given a package rate, at two sessions a week it spanned three months). In fact, if I cancel an appt. on too short notice (less than 24 hours), I get charged for the session.

Still, I have enjoyed my sessions and would hate to be "stiffing" my P/T.
#7
Old 08-17-2007, 12:20 PM
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: NoCal
Posts: 1,696
Former personal trainer.

I've never been tipped or expected it.
When I was training there were generally two ways it worked. Working for the gym or just working out of it. As a floor trainer for Golds I would not have expected it because it was usually part of an enrollment package. Working for myself I set the fees so no tip was needed or expected. I've heard of it in some of the more exclusive club but really that's a different thing, imo.

Re: is it worth it
Having someone motivating you will do wonders for the time spent working out. Not to mention watching your form, etc.
#8
Old 08-17-2007, 02:12 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 1,233
Quote:
Originally Posted by susan_foster
I hope I'm not hijacking too much, but for those of you who have used a personal trainer, how much benefit do you feel you got from the experience? What did they help most with? What were the sessions like?

Susan
I have been using a personal trainer for about 3 years, and am convinced I will continue to use one for as long as I can.
First, some background. I'm 48 and in easily the best condition I've been in, in the last 10 to 15 years. Seriously. I like to be pretty active (rock climbing, hiking, skiing), and using the trainer keeps me in shape during the off seasons.

As part of this new membership, I got 4 free sessions. I was highly skeptical that it was just a ploy to sign you up for more sessions (which it was, BTW). I ended up getting one of the best trainers in the gym out of luck. He kicked my ass...seriously. I had been working out on my own, twice a week. And after describing my routines, he easily saw that I had fallen into the same phenomenon that happens to so many: I had plateaued, and was "stagnant".
After the 3rd session of exhaustion, as I was becoming more convinced that "I don't need this sufferring" - it suddenly hit me: I DO need this sufferring ! That is, I realized I am not able to push myself like my trainer does. I had started to try to repeat his sessions, and though they were good workouts, they weren't as intense as when he was driving me.

So the two biggest aspects of (a good) personal trainer, I feel, are:
1. Variety of exercises. Your body "adapts" to training, and you have to continually change things up to keep forcing your body to use muscles in a different way. I have been amazed that even after 3 years, my trainer still comes up with new ways to work me.
2. The drill sargeant. Unless you are very motivated, and very disciplined, I don't think you can get as good a workout as having someone push you. People sometimes use friends, but with a good trainer, they can tell a little better just when you're really exhausted or whether they can coax a little more out of you. And it is in doing that "little more" that you improve.

A key factor is to have specific goals. About 5 years ago, I started seeing the signs of aging: a knee injury that required physical therapy, a broken ankle from a fall. And so I see training as "preventative" in keeping me fit to allow me to do the things I enjoy. So instead of the 99% of the people whose goal is "lose weight", I simply told my trainer what activities I enjoy, and that I wanted him to keep me in condition to be able to continue to do those things.
And he's done an outstanding job !
It is expensive. But given how important doing these activities are to me (and just looking down the road to being able to be more mobile/active when I retire), I see it as money well spent.

As to the OP about posting, I've never even thought about tipping. And it doesn't seem to have been an issue.
In a way, you are "advertising" for them. My trainer has told me that he's signed on new people based on them watching our sessions (especially when he tells them my age). So if anything, I figure that's "tip" enough.
#9
Old 08-17-2007, 03:39 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2000
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My experience was very much like cormac262's. My sessions with my PT were absolutely brutal. There was absolutely no way I would have been able to push myself that hard (and if I were to try, it probably would not have been as safe).

Add to that the fact that I had not, prior to signing up with the PT, set foot in a gym, it was a really great way to learn what to do and how to do it. I've been carrying on in the gym, in an obviously reduced way, since ending the physical training (I had gotten to the point I wanted), but the time I spent with her was invaluable.


(And this is excluding entirely the fact that she was freakin' hot. )
#10
Old 08-17-2007, 03:44 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Winnipeg
Posts: 5,952
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gozu Tashoya
My experience was very much like cormac262's. My sessions with my PT were absolutely brutal. There was absolutely no way I would have been able to push myself that hard (and if I were to try, it probably would not have been as safe).
My trainer is like this - super tough, kicks my ass everytime we meet, which is twice a week. I work out the rest of the time on my own, using what she has shown me - just not as well

Also I would think the trainer, rather than a tip (especially if it's their own business) would prefer that you ask for a bunch of their cards and give them out/refer them to everyone that you run into/asks about how good you look.
#11
Old 08-17-2007, 03:57 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2003
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cormac262
In a way, you are "advertising" for them. My trainer has told me that he's signed on new people based on them watching our sessions (especially when he tells them my age). So if anything, I figure that's "tip" enough.
Heh. My sessions are early in the morning when the gym is full of retired guys mostly talking football and socializing. All they ever say to my trainer is:

[dessicated old guy voice]"what are doing...tryin' to kill im?"[/dogv].

It always makes me laugh.
#12
Old 12-09-2013, 01:50 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2013
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REgarding benefits (hijacked)

I never ever had worked out or exercised--I never played sports, etc. But at age 54 I looked at my dad and decided I did not want to end up like him at age 80. He is in extremely poor physical shape. I joined a gym and began working with a personal trainer. I have experienced great benefits. My trainer is not a boot camp type--he is encouraging and very knowledgeable about physiology, anatomy, health, etc. I like it because it is not a class each week at the same time--rather, I fit it into my schedule. I try to go three times per week. My cholesterol and sugars are in the normal range, my weight is down, and my stress levels in my life are much more manageable. I never expected to benefit as I have. And I've stuck with it for almost three years, which is a new experience for me.
#13
Old 12-09-2013, 02:04 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2013
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I also tip him. He frequently mentions how much he gets from watching me improve and my gratitude. But he is a contract employee, like all the trainers at this gym. I can afford to tip him, so I do. I think he deserves it and give him $150 at the holidays.

Last edited by joho; 12-09-2013 at 02:04 PM. Reason: typo
#14
Old 12-09-2013, 04:10 PM
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