Do I need an expensive personal trainer?

Hi folks,

I've been on the injury couch for a couple of weeks, first with shin pain, then knee pain, both of which have cleared up after a few days' rest.

I had a free session with a PT at the gym yesterday and he was brilliant, but charges £80 an hour!! He was in his 50s, like me, and it was clear that he was very experienced and knew his stuff and I would love more sessions with him but I am not a banker, or NHS manager, so am not in a position to pay this kind of money on a regular basis! (He didn't tell me his prices before the free session and I tried not to look shocked when I found out afterwards.)

He said I needed to strengthen my leg muscles/glutes/quads etc and my core to safeguard against injuries. Can I do this just as effectively for free by seeking out advice online - youtube etc - or is a PT worth the expense as an investment in my health? If so, perhaps I can negotiate with him...

Cheers folks.


Featured Content

Join the NHS Couch to 5K community

Couch to 5K has been designed to get you off the couch and running 5km in just 9 weeks

Start today!

Featured by HealthUnlocked

28 Replies

  • You need to have a personal trainer. Otherwise you'll forever be on the injury couch. And £80/hour is cheap, you really ought to have a look around to see if you can find someone with a bit more experience, and be prepared to pay for it.

    Sorry. That was facetious.

    Having said that, it would be very hard to read more than 1 or 2 running articles online without learnin gthat you need to strenghten your glutes/quads/core. He hasn't told you anything you didn't already know.

    You can find tons of online advice and very good generic training books that don't cost a fortune. It will mean taking some responsibility for translating your own personal needs to your own personal training.

    I would put the £80 towards a very nice night out instead of giving it to him.

  • Ha ha - you made me laugh there Tomas as at first I thought you were being serious! Thanks for your advice. I think I will spend some of the money I'll save on a pair of trail shoes, haha....

  • Hi! there are loads of exercises on line, but go for a reputable site. Any idiot is able to upload to YouTube remember.

    I am not any kind of expert but I know from a good source that you need to be injury free before you try to strengthen so be sure you are.

    Good luck.

  • £80.00 an hour ! Wowee, he would have to come studded in flippin' diamonds for that price !

    There are lots of information online and articles to advise you . In fact theres strength and stretches on here , there is a link on the Home page .

    You could consider maybe seeing a sports physio who could advise on your knee/shin pain and show you how to do the exercises correctly. That was my biggest concern when I started doing certain exercises , that I was not doing them correctly and risking further injury.

    My physio told me " Its all in the glutes ! " so I tend to concentrate on those , although not as regularly as I should !

    If you go on the Bridge to 10k forum ,there is a pinned post with strength and stretches on if you fancy giving those a go :-) xxx

  • Thanks Poppy, I will have a look at that forum.

  • I could be your personal trainer for £79.99 per hour and I am in my sixties, so may have more life experience than your guy. My training regime for you will consist of sitting on the sofa and surfing all the running websites such as and finding out just how much information there is out there, for free. Some of it is contradictory, but then so is the advice of some personal trainers.

    This is your free introductory session. From now on the hourly rate bites, until your bank account is run dry or I retire through guilt. Now where did I put that around the world tour brochure.............

  • More laughs... love it!

  • I would start some exercises on your own, work on them for a few months then consider a follow-up if you really enjoyed it. I think there can be great benefit gained with having someone help you ever so often, but after you've worked towards something for a bit and have questions, concerns, etc. I'd probably consider it more as a couple times a year drop in, rather than a regular session.

  • Yes, that was my way of thinking too - maybe a couple of sessions so that I could learn the exercises and then do them myself at the gym.

  • The thing is folks, when he comes back and tries to flog me his training packages - one costs over £1,000 for about 20 sessions - what do I tell him? I was thinking of saying I could only afford a half and hour session at £25 rather than £40. Or maybe I could just say I'd changed my mind. Or that I didn't like it (it was agony!).

  • You tell him to travel and procreate.

  • Seriously, though (and I meant the previous reply), you might want to pay £80/hour or £40/half-hour when you have something specific you absolutely need a professional to help you with. But for now, read up on the forum and runners world, spend 3-6 months doing strength training on your own, and THEN pay for someone to hel you fine tune your exercises.

    If it was running, would you pay someone to walk next to you and say "great stuff, you're doing amazing, keep it up" or would you save your pennies and listen to Laura (ltL).

    I thing ill copyright protect that abbreviation ;-)

  • Your best bet is to pay me £60 so that I can tell you to check out the FREE NHS site that gives you'll sorts of information and exercises/ stretches etc.

    Oh, hang on. Darn!!

  • Decide what you want and then be absolutely honest with him. If you don't want any package just say so, you won't be the only one who doesn't take up a package.

    If however you want to negotiate, be clear what you are wanting. Half an hour how often? What do you want from it? Is what you are looking for going to deliver what you need etc etc etc.

    You could say 1 hour once a month or six weekly for example, to develop an exercise plan, learn how to do it, and go away and work on them. Don't do anything in haste, if you are paying you need it to do what you want. Good luck northernlass1965

  • Ps, I'm not endorsing paying, just clarifying the options. I'm with everyone else, try it by yourself first. Also I think that is very pricy, I know rates locally and they are nearer half that 👍🏼😃

  • Thanks for the advice Jacs. Yes, I was expecting to pay about £25 for half an hour.

  • Eighty... *cough choke*

    Well everyone needs to strengthen their core and glutes to some extent, and it's completely possible to do that by yourself. However it's really important to do the exercises (squats, bridges etc) with the correct technique - very easy to do them in the wrong way and not gain much benefit. The good news though is it only takes about 5 mins for someone in the know, for example a physiotherapist, to show you how, and you can then take control of your own destiny...

    I have seen a private physio, they are £50 an hour and that's in London, so £80 seems a LOT for a PT.

    Have you tried Pilates? I am a massive convert, it's brilliant for core strength and all the things a runner needs.

  • I was thinking about giving Pilates a go, actually, Turbotortoise. Does yoga have the same effect?

  • I saw an N H S physio. She recommended some exercises for glutes/quads, showed me how to do them properly...and Yoga as well. To my shame I started on the yoga but have let it drop, but it did help. We have a self referral physio, which is great, but don't know if this is getting more common around the country!

  • To some extent I think so, but yoga's more about flexibility, breathing, mindfulness, where Pilates is more dynamic (it does borrow a lot from yoga though). I do a class using the machines (reformer, core align etc). I had a freak accident earlier this year and broke my pelvis and one of the things that has helped me the most in my rehab is Pilates (and doing mat exercises on my own between classes). I'm able to run again now.

  • Gosh, sorry to hear that Turbo - that sounds pretty traumatic. I am glad you are on the mend and running again! I will definitely look into Pilates now. Thanks!

  • It was a bit grim but I am definitely on the mend! I have also had common or garden ITB knee pain (before I broke anything) and found doing a few simple strengthening exercises at home really helped.

  • Amazing what a difference some stretching and home exercise can make! That's where I've gone wrong. Hope you continue to go from strength to strength, Turbo!

  • Thanks Greylady, but what is a self-referral physio?

  • Of course the £80 an hour PT is nice. For that price he can be anything you want him to be...... he only needed to surf the net, get the info and regurgitate it to you. So really all he would be good at would be company and support, which is what we re giving you here and our fees are a virtual drink or maybe a virtual thank you BBQ.

    Use google, check the NHS website, your local health fitness swimming pool community centre. Where I live, they run all sort of classes with special prices if you join in, or at $8 per session if you prefer to be independent. I have been thinking about taking up boxing to firm up my arm wings.....

    I was never a sporty person. I have done the C25K without injuries and I am inching towards 70. Don't feel guilty and bullied by a good salesman. Just use common sense and spend your money on shoes, outfit and organised runs. Or go to a nice place and have a drink on the PT. £80 will give you some nice cocktails....

  • Also download the app Pinterest. It is free and you can pick up good ideas

  • I got my exercises from the NHS physio and did them at home 4 times a day for weeks and weeks. I also do Jillian Michaels DVD's, which contains a mixture of moves and are really good. you can't do the JM though til the shin splint issue is sorted ☺

    The physio was basically foot lifts, calf raise followed by an ankle drop. no equipment just stairs and a bannister. No running for many weeks though. You have to give the leg time to heal

  • You have had lots of good and funny advice. About 10 weeks as a postgraduate I found I needed advice both to progress in endurance and to deal with some niggling aches. I used a pt at my local council leisure centre (East Midlands ). I pay £15 for 30mins which is enough time for advice and learning new skills (I doubt if I could remember anymore). I only book about one session a month as it takes that time to embed the new skills and stamina into my body . It has paid off -three sessions so far . She advised cross training to strengthen core and hip muscles thus preventing overuse injury. It is working for me. Good luck with what you decide. The nhs resources online for strength are also good.

You may also like...