I am an undergraduate at Madison, WI, with a goal of building my body and stay in a strong fit. As a start, I have been enrolling for group classes such as Cyc Fitness (intense cycling) and Muay Thai, but I might need a personal trainer as I have no idea about how to use various instruments, what exercise I must do per day (I learned that I cannot simply do shoulder, back, leg, etc. exercises in one day), meal plan, etc.

As with quite many other college students, my financial stability is not quite strong, so I cannot afford famous personal trainers from private gyms near my area (cost like $1000 per 20 sessions, one session for 50 minute long)...My university's sporting department offers paid personal training (much cheaper than the private gyms) but the trainers are fellow undergraduates that might not have strong experience as trainers form those gyms. I do not mean any offense to student trainers, but I am debating whether it would be good idea to get personal trainer.

Specifically, I am debating if I should suck up and train with those private personal trainers, or choose campus' personal training. What are your thoughts? How long one must do personal training before able to do on my own?

I am very sorry for this long email!

  • Just because a trainer is famous, doesn't mean they're any good. Equally, just because a trainer works for a small gym and is still training themselves, doesn't means they're any worse. Go for the cheaper option and see how you get on with it.
    – Dark Hippo
    May 10, 2017 at 7:51
  • What is your actual question? SE is a 1Question-1(correct)Answer format, not a discussion board.
    – John
    May 10, 2017 at 8:06

1 Answer 1


There are excellent, well qualified personal trainers working at private gyms, but the minimum standards in the industry are quite low. Check out what the requirements of any certificates they have actually are - they range from completing a weekend seminar to sitting exams after at least 2 years of college/university training. Work experience on the other hand can improve their ability on how to successfully train people.

Your university requires their trainers to have passed the ACE Personal Trainer exam and some in house training, which I believe is sufficient for your needs as a beginner.

As for how long to achieve effective independence from a personal trainer, that depends on how quickly you learn why the trainer is having you do what you do rather than merely how. Note that some gyms discourage their trainers from teaching the why in order to maximize revenue.

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