There are many objections to exercising regularly. Time, energy, equipment – whatever the reason, many people have trouble exercising as much as they should even to maintain their health. Similarly, there are many objections to hiring a personal trainer. One common objection is that it seems too expensive. Of course, a personal trainer is a valuable resource for many reasons, from their education to their hands-on experience in designing effective workouts. But did you know that the act of hiring a personal trainer can benefit you? A recent study suggests that the cost of a personal trainer just might give you the motivation you need.
This study was conducted on a group of nearly 300 overweight adults, and examined the effectiveness of different financial incentives. All groups were assigned daily fitness goals for several weeks, but some participants were charged money if they did not meet their goals while others were either paid a set amount or entered in a lottery. The control group was given the goals, but neither received nor paid money. The number of days participants met their goals was used to compare the groups’ motivations. Surprisingly, the groups being paid to meet their goals showed the same amount of participation as the control group. Only the group who lost money if they didn’t exercise showed increased achievement of their goals. In the absence of the motivation, all groups showed decreased participation; habits did not carry over once the participants didn’t risk losing money.
But how does this relate to hiring a personal trainer? Once you’ve committed to hiring a trainer, you have to spend a certain amount of money. If you don’t show up for sessions, or if you don’t follow through on your training, you lose that money. Thus, hiring a personal trainer has an added financial incentive: keep up with your training and nutrition or waste your money. In a way, by hiring a trainer you are investing not only in a trainer, but also in increased motivation.
Of course, trainers can also help with motivation by providing accountability and structure, and can make working out easier for you by adapting to your needs. A personal trainer may seem expensive, but their knowledge, experience, and ability to provide motivation is more than worth it. By investing your money in a trainer, you are also investing your time and effort. After all, if a personal trainer is an investment, you wouldn’t want to waste that money by not showing up, would you? Thus, hiring a personal trainer can help resolve the multitude of excuses not to exercise as much as you should.

Patel MS, Asch DA, Rosin R, Small DS, Bellamy SL, Heuer J, Sproat S, Hyson C, Haff N, Lee SM, Wesby L, Hoffer K, Shuttleworth D, Taylor DH, Hilbert V, Zhu J, Yang L, Wang X, and Volpp KG. 2016. Framing Financial Incentives to Increase Physical Activity Among Overweight and Obese Adults: A Randomized, Controlled Trial. Ann Intern Med. [Epub ahead of print 16 February 2016] doi:10.7326/M15-1635 [Abstract]