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What should I do if I can't afford a personal trainer?

Take classes, most gyms have amazing classes. Or find a trainer who is with a client and watch what they do and adapt it to your body and goals. Place an ad for a workout partner. Lots of people at your gym are looking for the same thing. It is a great way to meet a new friend, and you can both help each other stick to your goals. If you take a class or have a partner, commit to it or them, just like you would have to with a trainer.
In early 2011, Sharecare will offer vitual personal training/coaching. I am not sure what the costs are going to be.  However from what the folks at HFPN and sharecare have told me, the rate will be very reasonable and quite affordable. You may want to look into that next year (a good New Year's Resolution start!)

We all are feeling the pinch of the economy.  I understand the hardship in not affording a trainer/ motivator.  Joining a group class can be just as good because you are surrounded by people who want to change just like you.  If that is not affordable fitness dvds can be a great tool but if you buy it make sure you use it.  If you have a friend that can buy in with  you when looking for a trainer it would definately make life easier for your pocket book.

Things will get better just be patient.

You don't have to be a fighter to feel like one. So let's train!   

Many gyms will offer an initial meeting with a personal trainer to help you get familiar with the available equipment free of charge. This can be a good way to start planning an exercise program even if working with a trainer at your gym is not within your budget. You may want to consider looking for a trainer outside your facility. While they won't be able to watch you exercise at your gym, they can definitely help you set up an exercise program. You might find the rates of a trainer outside your gym to be more affordable, but remember that you should not judge a trainer solely by the price of their services. Another option may be to look for a trainer either inside or outside your gym that offers a discounted rate for training more than one person at a time. Partnering with a friend or two with similar fitness goals and splitting the cost of a group training session can often make the price of a trainer more affordable.
Although having a personal trainer is great, it is not something you have to have in order to reach your goals. I highly recommend getting some form of professional fitness guidance in the beginning stages to insure a safe, effective and evidence-based exercise program. Here are just a few ideas you could consider:

If you have some funds to invest:
1) Online Health Coaching from HFPN and Sharecare that are literally a fraction of the cost of traditional personal training and very effective.
2) Ask a fitness professional to design an exercise program based on your needs and objectives. This will require a few sessions, but it’s not nearly as costly as having a trainer long-term.

And if you have no funds:
1) Group classes.
2) Free consultations or orientations offered at many for-profit or non-profit exercise   facilities. (Usually around a half hour in length.)
3) Many fitness books that you can check out from your local library can be a valuable resource. Although you should be cautious if the book claims outrageous results or “too good to be true” claims.

The key thing is having a long-term mindset and learning to be exercise independent by making the lessons you learn become a lifestyle, not just a “12 week program”.

If you can’t afford a trainer at the gym you should look into small-group training. This could serve as a more  affordable option that still allows you to train with a trainer. You just split the session cost with the others in the group. Small group sessions are great because you save money and share the journey to reaching your goals.

Hiring a virtual trainer is an option. It’s convenient and affordable. You can look into hiring a self-employed trainer that will come to your home. Sometimes they have affordable rates and it’s also convenient.

If you need help with some of the equipment or with a particular exercise the trainers at the gym will be happy to assist you. You can also look into some online workout programs. Some of them have some really well laid out designs.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.