It was 2:00 PM on a normal office day and I was with my colleagues in a small café near the office, just eating and chatting. It was the topic of fitness today in our daily dose of discussions and everyone started talking about the gyms they went or planned to go to. If you’re too amongst one of those people who go to the gym or have thought of joining one, chances are you must have been part of such a conversation. And it was our turn today.

One question that was asked to everyone who went to a gym was – “How much do you pay for your gym”? Some people said they paid Rs.12k for a year’s membership while a few others said they managed in Rs.10k. The Gold’s gym’s members said their membership fee was around Rs.16-18k for a year. The question travelled around in the circle and I saw it fast approach me. I really hoped to avoid it but couldn’t. When it arrived, I spoke in a soft voice, with a hint of hesitation, and said – “I pay Rs.19k”. To this, they said – “That’s slightly expensive, but it’s okay”. They were about to move on to the next person when one of my friends who already knew about my situation said out loud – “Ask him 19k for how many months”? Everybody got curious and turned their heads to me. I said – “Every month”. The look I got was one I had not even expected to get if I would have killed someone. And now the interrogation started. “Whaaaat? Are you crazy?” somebody yelled. Another joked – “What the hell does this gym do? Give you a lap dance while doing the press”? And what not? The questions didn’t stop. I knew it would be a tiring process having to explain to everyone the reason why I paid so much but I got the courage to speak and explained in the next 10 minutes. I’m sure I was able to convince a few people about it, though half of them still gave me strange looks.

This is one question, which is asked to me very often, but one which takes me quite some time to explain to people. While this post will explain that, the actual motive behind this post is something different. This post offers a convenient solution to those people who are members of a gym but are either not able to go regularly, or who have left the gym because of the same reason, and those who are looking to join one .

The first thing which I should tell you is that I take personal training from a trainer in the gym. This means that he is there with me for the entire 70-75 minutes every session that I take. He is responsible for making my entire workout schedule; making me do the exercises and finally helping me achieve my fitness goals.

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Me with my personal trainer, Bhim

And  here’s a breakdown of the monthly fee.

  1. Rs. 2994/- is the gym’s monthly subscription.
  2. Rs. 12k is the cost for taking 11 personal training sessions. I end up taking around 15 every month, which costs me around Rs.16.5k.

In total, it comes out to be around Rs.19.4k every month.

So let me explain why I take the personal training over and above the normal gym membership even though it’s crazy expensive. I have certain fitness goals – improve body strength, core strength, lose weight, and increase endurance, all to compliment my squash and for this, I need to go to the gym regularly. I use to go to a gym before too but somehow I found myself to be irregular, and largely undisciplined about the whole thing. Sometimes, I didn’t go because I slept late or because I told myself I was tired. There was no one to push me at such times to help me get off the bed. There was also no real incentive to go as doing pretty much the same exercises got too boring. By the way, I did not even know whether I was doing them correctly. Also, I was uneducated about a couple of more things – how to increase my workout progressively and how to track improvement. And because of all these factors, I never achieved my fitness goals.

And it was then when I explored the idea of taking personal training. And it has worked so well for me that I now endorse the idea of it. I have not just achieved my fitness goals, but I actually see exercising in a gym a fun activity which I had always found to be boring (biggest reason for not going regularly). So why exactly am I a big fan of taking personal training? I have listed below the major benefits of taking personal-training over self-training. Read them carefully, try to relate to your own experiences, see the video at the end and then evaluate the idea of personal training for yourself.


1. You start being regular to the gym.

I constantly found myself not at the gym when I did not have a personal trainer. The reason is simple. When your alarm rings at 7AM in the morning after you’d slept late at night, you chose the long winter’s sleep that you have settled for over having to get up and work out. But by taking personal training, there is always that “virtual danda (stick)” that comes implicitly with a student-teacher relationship which sort of pushes you to at least attend the classes. And well, since you have paid for it too, you do end up going.

2. You have a personalized workout plan, one suited to you.

Whether your goal is to lose weight, bulk up, prepare for a sports tournament, or just be fit in general, the workout plan differs a lot according to your goal, current level of fitness, past fitness history, health conditions and lifestyle. So that’s why all of our workout plans will vary ‘a lot’ from one another’s, even though our fitness goals are the same. What I have seen with most of my friends is that they get a workout plan prepared by a gym trainer 3 days after joining which would seem “personalized” but is really not. The trainers do this to every guy who walks in and it’s definitely not well planned enough to meet your goals. The crazy thing about workout charts is that they change very often depending upon your progress and lifestyle and this requires a very close attention to your progress and adaptation in detail, something only a personal trainer can do. The chart prepared by your personal trainer is as close to perfect as possible because he constantly monitors how you do exercises, the progress you make, and alters it accordingly more often than you think. This is the reason why all serious fitness professionals too have a personal trainer.

3. You start pushing yourself to the limit

How often does it happen that we find ourselves in a situation of giving up during those last few seconds of exercising in the gym? I’d say pretty often. But when you have a trainer, he keeps motivating you throughout the exercise including those last few painful seconds. And you know what, it is actually those last few moments which help you become stronger both physically and mentally. It is those few extra repetitions in a set that actually help you improve. This becomes really difficult while doing it alone, as it has to be completely driven by internal motivation, which is far more difficult than being driven by external one given by the personal trainer.

4. You do exercises ‘correctly,’ something which is most important

You must have heard the saying that – “If you think 1 minute is less, try doing planks for a change”. Isn’t it true? Exercises like planks make us hate the gym. One interesting thing about such exercises is that even the slightest of posture changes can make the exercise much easier. And that’s exactly what the body involuntarily does when it’s tired. For example, I tend to ‘involuntarily’ drop my lower body towards the end of doing planks because I can’t hold it anymore (do notice in the video at the end). Even though I know it’s not right, I don’t even have the energy to think about it. But it’s exactly now when the trainer interrupts and bangs me slightly at the back to correct it immediately. In all the exercises from squats to push ups to press, we all tend to ‘involuntarily’ deviate from the correct posture when we’re tired to make it slightly easier for us. We either don’t go as down as we should or we don’t push as hard we should. And it is now when the trainer jumps in and corrects us, and all we feel like is killing him. But like I have said before, it is these painful moments which we have to go through to actually improve, and the trainer ensures that happens.

5. You’ll never get bored from doing the same exercises because now you have hundreds of them.

I used to get very bored doing the same exercises all over again as written on my workout chart. But now, my personal trainer knows the importance of mixing it up. This is one point I realized only after taking up personal training. He makes me do 10 different types of squats, 5 different variations of push-ups, and countless different exercises for every muscle group there is. This variation is important for 2 reasons – One, it ensures you don’t get bored. And two, all variations of one exercise actually focus on a different sub-muscle of the main muscle group. And it’s really important to work on all the sub-muscles to have a comprehensive development overall.

6. You have that friend you always wanted to go to the gym with.

I always wished to go the gym with my best friend so that I had something to look forward to. But let’s face it; it’s very rare that such a thing happens. So what then? Well, your personal trainer can become your best bud. My trainer, Bhim, has become such a great friend of mine. We got to know each other better and found common interests. We now talk about football, startups and what not. A nice trick I use sometimes when I’m tired is start talking about football and he forgets about the exercises briefly enough for me to get my breath back. Moreover, he is not just an instructor to me but also someone whom I look up to. He knows his stuff really good, is super fit and is eager to learn more. One needs more people like him. And that’s why I love going to the gym even more.

7. You now seriously follow a target-oriented training.

One thing which people usually miss while going to the gym is setting up goals for themselves. For example, we could set a target of losing 3 Kg in 2 months, doing 3 sets of planks for 2 minutes in a session in 30 days, or lifting 50 Kg weights while rowing by the end of the week. But it gets difficult to set such realistic goals ourselves due to the lack of experience. But a good trainer not only plans these targets for you, but also makes sure you achieve it. Trust me, I can’t stress enough the importance of having a goal-oriented training in mind and  having that someone to take care of that for you. Because in the end, achieving the goals is the only thing which matters. (Read about how I achieved a full split using short term goals here)

Well, enough said! Now check out a few clips that I managed to capture while training. Do notice at all times how the trainer pushes me to the limit, keeps correcting me every few seconds whenever I start to go wrong, and of course, the different kinds of exercises I am made to do. Hope you enjoy.

Pretty cool, isn’t it? Well, it definitely is. Anyway, I would like to end on a note that I know personal training is really expensive, but is significantly better than doing exercises on your own. It makes sure that you achieve your fitness goals. Especially if you’re in a situation where you’re not able to meet your fitness goals due to any reason, there can be nothing better than this. And here’s is something most people don’t realize. The money that is spent in your health is something whose Return-on-Investment (ROI) is really huge. Since it’s not quantifiable, people tend to miss it. But remember, health is the most important thing in the world and never compromise with it at all. Please don’t wait. Stay Fit. Stay Strong.