Below, I’ve listed 10 types of people that I most commonly chat with when it comes to helping them decide on the best option on where to start when getting in shape or starting their fitness journey. Read through and decide which one of these is you?
Hopefully, this gives you a better idea of what your ideal solution should be. 🙂
You have a plan; you know what your body needs; you are pretty in tune with it. You just need equipment.
Big box gym or small kiosk gym. Honestly, any gym will work, typically if you are this person then a big box will be your best bet with the ample equipment selection, though still look around at some smaller kiosk gyms they could surprise you. I have trained at a few TINY gyms that had the most awesome pieces of equipment, with an awesome atmosphere.
Money is tight, but you want and need to workout. Groups such as CrossFit and Orange Theory are out of the question, you want access to a gym and need some sort of plan, so you’re not wandering aimlessly from machine to machine.
Big box gym + template workouts. I can tell you right now that EVERYONE who has ever started working out has been here, and many people see amazing results. In fact, most personal trainers start out this way. A big box gym is going to be your most cost-effective solution, plus finding a few online coaches/trainers that have developed some template workouts will be your best option. If you go this route with coaches, make sure that the person you are getting your template from works with people in your demographic (age, goals, etc…). For anyone just starting out, I always say that a plan is better than no plan.
You know how to work out; you’ve done it for years and have made substantial progress on your own. You have some limitations, but nothing major, you’re pretty self driven you need someone to do the thinking for you.
Online coaching + gym access. Working with a coach online, someone to write up your workouts, your program taking into consideration your goals, your limitations (say achy knees or joints), equipment access. An online coach will do the thinking for you and help you get out of your own way. Consider finding an online coach that has a track record of getting people in great shape as works with your demographic and goals such as bodybuilder coach vs. CrossFit coach.
At this stage, I would probably avoid buying workout templates (not saying they won’t work), but they may not be your ideal solution taking into consideration your limitations. From my experience, if your this kind of person, you’ll do an exercise just because it says so on the templated workout plan even though it doesn’t feel good and causes you more pain.
You’re not a fan of working out, but you don’t dislike it either, you just haven’t found what you enjoy. You don’t do well by yourself, but you aren’t sure if you want a personal trainer.
Small or large group workouts. You’re going to do well in a group setting of either 6-20 people; you’ll feed off people’s energy and intensity, and seeing someone else going hard will help you hold yourself accountable to giving more as well. You’ll have begun to build a camaraderie with others in the class, and you’ll thrive on a routine because the days you don’t feel like doing it, you’ll remember that others will be there, and you won’t want to disappoint them.
Side note: Most times, when I find a person who doesn’t like working out, most cases, they haven’t found what they enjoy yet; in addition, their past experiences with workouts have not been the best. If this is you, you’ll have to try more than one kind of training to find a balance for you.
You’re similar to Person D, but you’re not a fan of large crowds; you also feel that you need some exercise variations because certain motions that everyone else does don’t feel good to you.
Small group training. In small group training, you’re still getting the camaraderie of being around a few other people and feeding on their energy, BUT you’re still getting 1:1 attention from a coach to address your specific needs. The workout could be similar to what someone else in your group is doing, but it’s NOT the same exercises or movements as the person next to you, so you can still feel like you are part of a group and not isolated by yourself.
Side Note: This is usually the best of both worlds in regards to working out with others BUT still getting one on one attention and customization from a personal trainer.
You want a total body overhaul. You’re sick and tired of being sick and tired. You’re tired of feeling fat, you’re ready to commit and change your life, you want to be the best version of yourself. You have some injuries or limitations to work with; you know that larger groups aren’t your answer and you want or need a bit more 1:1 attention.
Small group training + 1:1 Coaching/Online Coaching. You’re not scared of the work, you want to do it! You just need a guide to show to the fastest possible path and a community of people to lean on and help you along your journey. If you’re here, then you need to dive a bit deeper into your journey; just showing up to a class won’t cut it. You know you need more in addition to groups. Some things will need to be more customized or tailored to fit specific needs, and you’ll also want some time each week where you and a coach work 1:1 together to address injuries, refine technique, work more on nutrition. During your one on one with with a good coach they, will come up and help you execute a game plan to get you where you want to go.
I admit that the small group training + 1:1 training is one of my favorite solutions when it comes to a total body overhaul. 🙂
All groups make you uncomfortable, you like or want to do your own thing and be left alone… but you don’t know how to do it. There is so much conflicting information and going to the weights or some machines intimidate you.
General one on one training. This is going to be your perfect spot because here it’s just you and a coach either in a gym or a private studio with a few other personal trainers and their clients. When you’re with a good trainer, they are like your big brother or sister; only they can beat you up (hey, you’re paying for it lol) and protect you from everyone else in the gym. With them, you’re getting a mentor to teach you and show you how YOU need to move and what exercises are best for YOU. They write the blueprint that you have to follow, no more thinking on your part. You could work with them anywhere from 1-5xweek (depending on your goals) then be given specific workouts for you to do on your own.
Your body is a mess. Everything is hard; things don’t feel good to your body; you’re almost a bit embarrassed or self-conscious about working out because anything you try; you just feel like you’re going to hurt yourself. You know that you need someone with you the entire time and you want the most intensive plan to get you fixed so you can move on with your fitness journey.
Corrective one on one training + possible physical therapy. Not everyone needs one on one training, but there are people that DO NEED it and you’re one of them. If you’re here you want to change, you want to feel better. You’re not scared of hard work, but your body does need a very customized solution to fixing how you move and feel. A corrective 1:1 coach will create a very specific and customized plan to help your body move well again and eventually move on to group workouts. You most likely won’t be doing any of the big exercises because that’s not your goal; as of now, the goal is to get you out of pain and get you moving better so that eventually you CAN do the bigger exercises and get the big results.
You want to go to the highest level possible with your body and goals. You work hard, eat well, recover smart, but you feel there is still a bit more you’re capable of. You want a second set of eyes to help you with things you may not know about when it comes to reaching your full potential.
Sport-specific or specialized 1:1 training. You are in a very specific/specialized category with your personal goals. You’re trying to either podium, step on stage, or even in front of a camera. You are ready for the highest level of personal achievement. You need that second set of eyes looking over you and coaching on what needs to be done to seek out that few extra percent. If you’re here, then look for a coach with a proven track record of success for your goals. For example: If you’re trying to look good in front of a camera (photoshoot or pictures of any kind), make sure they have experience with that vs. working with a competitive CrossFit coach.
You don’t want to go anywhere; you want to workout from home. You don’t need a gym membership because you already have your own home gym and wonder why anyone would even go to a gym when they have a badass set up at home.
Online Coaching. You’re similar to person C; you’re not a complete rookie; you’ve got some seasons under your belt; you’ve even invested in gym equipment based on your goals, but you just need someone to do the thinking for you. This is where an online coach will help; they will take your equipment access into consideration, your goals, and abilities then customize a plan to get you there. Most likely you’ll get daily or weekly workouts and you will touch base with them via email or phone weekly.
Yes, there are one-off and maybe even a few more possible situations than what I just listed, but I can bet you or someone you know that is looking to start a fitness journey is pretty close to one of these options.
Again, I hope this gives you an idea of where you should start looking, and in my next email I’ll list out the steps you need to take to narrow it down even further so you know who to talk to. 🙂
In Health and Awesomeness,
Travis Merritt, BS, CPT, (and other letters behind the name) is the Owner of Rowlett Transformation Center in Rowlett, TX.
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