Gym Versus Personal Training Studio, Which Is Right For You?

The first thought that typically pops into someone’s head who has decided to get into shape is, “What gym should I join?” After all, if you’re going to try to get into shape, why not go somewhere where there’s an environment for you to succeed. Equipment, classes, music and more can make your workout more successful than going about it at home in your living room. But how do you know if you should join a gym or a personal training studio? What’s the difference? Is there a difference?

A gym, or a fitness center, is typically on a very large scale (tens of thousands of square feet) with a large amount of machines, both strength training and cardio equipment. As long as you have a gym membership, you can walk in whenever they’re open and use any piece of equipment you’d like. Sounds great, right? Unfortunately, there are many cons to going to a large gym. To be a profitable business, a gym typically needs about ten times the amount of members as they can fit at one time in their space. This has a two pronged affect, neither of which benefit the member. First, that means the gym doesn’t actually want you to come consistently. It’s in their best interest to have people who pay and don’t come. Secondly, this means that at peak times, the gym can be extremely crowded. Gym in PhiladelphiaThe crowds can be so immense that it can cause wait times for certain pieces of equipment. And if you’re waiting behind the guy who sweats a lot and doesn’t clean up after himself, you’re out of luck. Most gym goers don’t feel confident that they know what they’re doing in a gym. So when the crowds reach these levels, being intimidated and having the fear of looking foolish while doing an exercise, only increase. If you’ve had enough and you decide it’s time to cancel your membership, it can turn out to be an extremely stressful experience. The contracts that gyms can make you sign can be several pages long, full of legal jargon that you may not understand. Worse yet, these gym contracts can be very difficult to break and usually require you give them at least 30 days notice to cancel. 

Personal training studios are on a much smaller scale. Typically, a studio will be several hundred to a few thousand square feet, full of more versatile equipment. Every person in the studio is either a personal trainer, or a client with a personal trainer. This means that the crowds are reduced and that every other client is in the same boat as you, which means you won’t feel like you’re being judged. At Philly Personal Training, we exclusively offer one on one training, which means one trainer, one client. We don’t offer group training or boot camps because we feel like each client is unique and deserves individualized attention and a unique program made just for them. Not only that, but by only having one on one sessions, it cuts down on crowd sizes even more, which means you get the most private workout experience in Philadelphia. Because you’re meeting with a trainer one on one, there’s no class schedule that remains rigid. Scheduling is done between you and your trainer, so you can come up with times that work for both of you if you need a change. While gyms may want to lock you into a long term contract, we at Philly Personal Training believe the only way to keep you as a long term client is to give you the best quality service. All packages are month to month, so if the client were to feel they weren’t getting the best possible service, or they had to stop training due to a change in job, schedule, etc., they can easily cancel, without needing 30 days notice. Of course, the quality of a personal trainer is important, whether it’s at a gym or a personal training studio. We are the only personal training studio or gym that requires our personal trainers to have a college degree in exercise. This means you get a trainer that not only has a top certification, but they have years of additional education that you just won’t get from a trainer at any other location.

Why go to a gym and be left on your own to get the results you want? At Philly Personal Training, you’ll get the accountability, the service, and the one on one attention you need to reach your fitness goal. Whether you’re looking to lose weight, gain muscle, or recover from an injury, our staff of qualified personal trainers can help you safely reach your goal. To work with one of our personal trainers on staff, contact us today for a free consultation, where we’ll discuss your goals and figure out a program that will work for you.

Is Group Training the Right Choice for You?

Group training has many appealing features that may draw both avid exercisers and beginners. It can be a fun environment, more socially engaging, and less expensive than one on one training. One of the major draws to group training is that the other participants around you encourage you to push harder and get a better workout. But does it come at a cost? In this post, we’ll take a look at what group training is and the potential risks of participating.

Group Training vs Group Personal Training group personal training

Before we dive into comparing group training to one one training, we need to define the differences between group training and group personal training. They may sound similar, but there are some differences. In a group training or group exercise class, the exercise is more synchronized between all of the participants (zumba, spin, step). The entire class is doing the same exercises at the same speed with the same rest time. Group personal training is training in a group setting where the participants may be doing completely different exercises with different weights, exercise times, etc. There is now more of a trend away from group training towards group personal training because it is more personalized for each person attending. However, does that mean group personal training is the right choice for you?


If you have an existing injury, you may (and should) be doing a completely different workout than those around you. If you’re injured and those around you are not injured and you’re still doing the same workout, you as a participant, are drastically increasing the risk of further injury. One of the major aspects of group training is to the motivation that the group gives you to work hard and keep up with the rest of the group.  If you’re doing a different workout because you have an injury, that motivation is non existent since the workouts look completely different from one another, thus losing one of the biggest appeals of the group training atmosphere. This doesn’t need to be a major injury like a torn rotator cuff or sprained ankle either, something as insignificant seeming as a “bad knee” should cause the trainer to give you different exercises from the “healthy” participants.

Less Expensive, But at a Cost

One of the reasons many trainers decide to switch to group personal training from one on one training is to make more money per hour. The logic is that it may be easier to get 10 people to pay $15 than it is to get one person to pay $150 per hour. If group personal training is still “personal” and the trainer works with each individual based on their personal goals, it seems logical that since they have up to 4 to 5 times the number of clients of a 1 on 1 trainer, they wouldn’t be able to give you nearly the attention you would need, both on the design of your program, and during the class itself. While no one can argue that group personal training is less expensive than 1 on 1 training, it may not be worth the extra money you’re saving.


In a group setting, whether everyone is doing the same exercise or not, how closely can the trainer pay attention to your form? If there are 6 people in a class and 2 need help on form at the same time, can the trainer really help both of the clients at the same time and still have an effective workout? Correct form is crucial to ensure that the correct muscle groups are being engaged and that injury is being avoided. Incorrect form can cause both acute and chronic injuries, meaning having bad form even just once can cause injury, but so can having bad form over the course of several weeks of workouts.

Philly Personal Training and One on One Training

At Philly Personal Training, the only training service we offer is one on one personal training. This ensures all clients get personalized attention with correct form, individual motivation using exercise psychology techniques that motivate that specific client, injury rehabilitation and prevention techniques, and a personalized workout program designed specifically for that client. Other benefits include workouts on your schedule, not the class schedule, more consistent support from a trainer who isn’t bogged down by 60 other clients they also need to take care of, and working out in a facility that is not overcrowded with large groups. Philly Personal Training is the most private, exclusive personal training experience in Philadelphia due to the fact we do not have large group training or boot camps. If you’re interested in working with one of our talented personal trainers, contact us today at our Rittenhouse Square location.


What Qualities Should I Look for in a Personal Trainer?

When searching for a personal trainer to work with, there are many different qualities and traits that can separate the good from the bad. The difference between a good trainer and a bad trainer can be the difference between safely seeing results, and risking injury while struggling through a plateau. Here are just some of the traits and qualities we feel are important when hiring a personal trainer.


Like any other profession, education is extremely important in evaluating the effectiveness of your trainer. While most personal trainers only possess a certification, there are a select few who posses a college degree in exercise. This means the client will enjoy a level of knowledge that will be able to help them push through plateaus, prevent injury, and work around barriers that a less educated trainer might not be able to. Unfortunately, it’s become commonplace and almost accepted that a personal trainer can get away with not having a college degree in their field.  Would you trust a doctor, lawyer,  or an accountant without a degree? A personal trainer is in charge of your health and instructs you on how to perform potentially dangerous movements. It’s extremely important that your trainer has a strong knowledge of exercise science.


Does your trainer have any experience? Experience can be very valuable because even with a lot of education, a lot can be learned through a personal trainers’ experience with clients. Of course, all trainers have to start somewhere and we were all newbies at one time. As a client, if your trainer is green, you just need to know that your experience might be affected by their lack of experience.


A client must connect with their trainer on some level. It shouldn’t be social hour, but the fact remains, you should feel comfortable around your trainer and be honest about issues or concerns you may be having about your health and fitness. You should also note if they truly pay attention to you. Does your trainer listen intently about your goals and fears, or do they already have their mind made up about what type of training you’re going to be doing? 


Philly Personal Training on Yelp

Does your trainer have a good reputation in the community? Do they have any reputation? Maybe you know someone who has used their services. If not, do thorough research online to check out reviews on multiple sites to see what others are saying about their services. Check to see if the reviewers sound like someone who is in your current situation. If you have injuries you’re concerned about while working with a trainer, check to see if there are others who also started with injury concerns who ended up having success. 


While a general training philosophy is important, a trainer shouldn’t always give the same program to every client they have. For example, a 20 year old football player might benefit from doing Olympic style lifts. However, this may not benefit the 70 year old grandmother with osteoporosis. Being able to adapt to each individual client is the sign of a good personal trainer. Ask them what their training philosophy is and how they would go about training someone like yourself.

While this list contains the must haves, there are still other qualities you may be seeking in a trainer, depending on what you’re looking for. At Philly Personal Training, we take these qualities very seriously. We are the only gym or personal training studio in Philadelphia that requires our trainers to have a college degree in exercise. Our extensive hiring process allows the trainers to demonstrate their personality, their experience, and their unique program they apply to each individual client. Because our trainers possess all of these qualities, our reputation is second to none. Philly Personal Training has over 100 5 reviews across the web and we continue to work hard to make improvements so our client experience is unmatched.

If you’re interested in working with one of our personal trainers, contact us today!

How Often Should I See A Personal Trainer?

If you’re in the market for a personal trainer — or a Pilates instructor, or any type of fitness class of any sort — you’ve probably wondered how many times per week you should attend. The answer may not be as short as you would like. There are many factors that go into making such an important decision about this investment in your health.


personal training budgetThe first and most obvious factor in deciding how many times per week to train would be your budget. By looking closely at your expenses, you may realize your budget is bigger than you think. By cutting down on things like going out to eat or going out for drinks, you’ll not only save money for training, but you’ll also be helping your cause by improving your health. Another important thing to remember is that you’re paying for the results you want. Maybe training one more time per week will stretch your budget to an uncomfortable level, but if it actually gets you the results you’re looking for, isn’t it worth it? Many have wasted years and hundreds or thousands of dollars on things that haven’t worked, so if it costs a little bit more to finally reach your goal, you may find it’s well worth the money.


How disciplined are you when it comes to exercise? If you work with a personal trainer once per week, but it’s your goal to get in four workouts per week, are you disciplined enough to do those three workouts on your own, or will you most likely skip them? This is the time to look yourself in the mirror and decide how accountable you’re going to be for your own workouts. If you’re going to skip your solo workouts, chances are you’ll need to train more frequently with a personal trainer or another fitness professional to see the results you’re looking for.


Speaking of results, you should have a good idea of what you want your end result to be and when you want to reach it. If you’re looking to get in significantly better shape for your wedding in 3 months, you may want to work with your trainer more frequently. If you’re looking for a more long term program, you may not need to be as aggressive.


workout scheduleMaybe you can afford to see a personal trainer three times per week, but your schedule will also need to work out in your favor. Ask yourself if you have time to get to your trainer that often without interrupting your everyday life.

So, what’s the ultimate answer? It varies. Some individuals may get the results they’re looking for by training only once per week, while others may need two or three, or even more, depending on the factors in this article. Remember, no matter how many times per week you decide on seeing your personal trainer or fitness professional, keep in mind that it’s going require you to make sacrifices. If you truly want results, you’re going to have to sacrifice part of your budget, part of your schedule, and parts of your lifestyle that may be holding you back from reaching your goal. It’s important to realize that your health is not going to change by doing the same things you’ve been doing, so be ready to make changes and sacrifices to your lifestyle.

If you’re ready to take the plunge and start working with a personal trainer in Philly, contact us today to see how we can help!

How Everyday Choices Affect Your Health

Everyday choices are important – it’s the small things we do daily that can lead to large changes to our health because they are repeated over and over for a long period of time. To illustrate this, suppose we have to women, Lucy and Molly, who are identical twins and have the exact same body weight and composition. In order to maintain the same body weight they need to consume 1800 calories per day so let’s also assume that they eat identical meals at breakfast, lunch and dinner.

personal-trainerLucy starts her day by getting up at 7 AM, eats her breakfast and then meets with her personal trainer for a 60 minute session of resistance and weight training (-500 kcal). After finishing her lunch during her break, Lucy takes a walk outside (-100 kcal). After work when Lucy gets home, she takes her dog out and then takes the dog for a 2 mile walk (-200 kcal) to decompress and relax. After dinner she sips a cup of green tea and makes sure to go to bed at a time that will ensure she gets 8 hours of sleep.

Molly starts her day by getting up at 7 AM, eats her breakfast and then leisurely drinks her coffee and watches the Today show until it is time for work. She eats lunch at her desk and does some online browsing during the remainder of her break. After work when Molly gets home, she takes her dog out and then has a glass of wine to decompress and relax (+200 kcal). After dinner, she stays up late watching her favorite shows and then gets the urge for a late-night snack (+300 kcal).

Even though both women had the same meals, they had very different physical activity levels and habits. When these small differences are added across the whole day, Molly has netted 1300 more calories than Lucy. If these patterns are continued every other day, after a month, Molly has netted 19,500 more calories than Lucy, which results in several pounds gained. You can see how these small choices can lead to big differences in weight when continued month after month.

Although there is nothing wrong with skipping the gym sometimes, staying up late once in a while or having a glass of wine occasionally after work, when these choices become habits weight gain can occur very gradually. At the same time, making exercise a priority, taking daily walks during lunch, and being active after work are great habits that can lead to improved health, strength and well-being.

Why Online Personal Training Doesn’t Work

Online Personal TrainingThe invention of the internet has made so many services easier and better for the consumer: online banking instead of having to go to the bank and writing email instead of written letters are just two ways the internet has improved services that already existed. These online services save you time, money, and they can save the businesses themselves time and money. However, there are some online services that just aren’t as good as the real thing. One such service in the fitness industry is online personal training. Even though you can find online personal training programs run by fitness magazines and other fitness professionals pretty easily and for very little money, they may not be the best option for you.


One thing you’re never going to get from an online personal training service is accountability. Sure, you’ll get an email once a week or more “checking in” on you, but there’s no one there making sure you’re getting in your workout each day. One of the number one reasons we hear people wanting to train with us is just to have someone make them accountable to work out that day. An email asking if you’ve worked out that day may not be enough for you to get into the gym that day.

Fitness Assessments and Evaluations

When signing up for an online personal training program, you might answer a few questions about yourself: height, weight, goals, and you might say what injuries you have in rare cases. However, there is no formal assessment of your current health and fitness status so it’s impossible for the online trainer to know what kind of shape you’re in. No matter how detailed the questionnaire is, it will never substitute the evaluation you’d get from a professional in person. We have several clients who sign up every month who are unaware of what their injury even is. They might say they have a knee problem, but it’s really a problem originating from their hip. Or they might say they’re completely injury free but they’re heavily quad dominant (quads are significantly stronger than the hamstrings and hips), which can cause future injury. Height and weight are just simply not enough to determine the fitness level of the client. If you were to take 3 people who were all 6’0 and 180 lbs, they could all be completely different fitness levels. Designing one cookie cutter workout for all three is dangerous and flat out irresponsible. Look at it this way, if you felt you had a serious illness, would you rely on a Web MD diagnosis or would you go to a real doctor to find out what was wrong?


bad exercise form

Whether you’re training with a DVD or using an online personal training program, who’s watching your form on each exercise? Bad form leads to injuries, and when you’re injured, you can’t work out.

So Why Do These Programs Exist?

So if these programs are so poorly run, why do they exist? The simple answer is so the company running the program can make an easy buck. Online personal training is completely automated for the personal trainer, which makes it a “set it and forget it” type program. Once the client is set up, they can collect the money and let the software continue to run its’ course. A lot of people are willing to try online personal training programs because it’s cheap and you get your workout plan almost immediately. However, we have one simple question for you. Do you really think you can completely change your body and your health from a program that only costs $29.99 per month? As the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. The harsh truth is, personal training is not cheap. If you’re seriously interested in changing your health and fitness, you need to evaluate what your biggest needs are and what type of training method will meet them. Most people need someone who will hold them accountable, someone who will watch their form, or someone who will track their progress and motivate them to continue to work hard. Most people need someone who can do all three and more.

At Philly Personal Training, we like to feel that we get very in depth with our personal training packages. Not only are we the only personal training studio or gym in Philadelphia that requires our personal trainers to have a college degree in an exercise-related field, but we also give every new client a full fitness assessment and evaluation, a personalized workout plan (once they have mastered all of the movements, of course) and each client gets a consultation with our registered dietitian to make sure their nutrition is on track. This method is proven and has gotten results time and time again for our clients. Why not give it a try? Contact us today for a free consultation!

New Personal Training Studio in Rittenhouse Square

Philly Personal TrainingPhilly Personal Training is opening a brand new personal training studio at 1429 Walnut Street in Center City, Philadelphia, just blocks away from Rittenhouse Square. The 2200 square foot studio will have top of the line equipment that many personal training studios and even some gyms in Philadelphia do not have. It will also have plenty of open space for group training and a full bathroom with shower for clients on the go. But what really sets Philly Personal Training apart from the other personal training studios and gyms in the area is the highly qualified and experienced staff. Unfortunately, the field of personal training is highly unregulated and fitness enthusiasts can simply pass one multiple choice test to become a certified personal trainer. We feel like personal trainers should be held to a much higher standard. All personal trainers on the staff at Philly Personal Training possess a bachelor’s degree or higher in an exercise-related field in addition to having the most recognized and respected certifications in the industry. We are the only personal training studio or gym in the city of Philadelphia that requires this level of education from our staff.

The studio is days away from being finished and we will be accepting new clients as the studio is completed, which will be on September 1st, 2014. To schedule a free consultation, please contact us today!

Want to check out the progress of the studio? Check out Philly Personal Training on Facebook to see up to date progress photos of the studio being finished.

8 Fitness Myths That Just Won’t Die

Everywhere you go, you hear people chattering about working out and staying fit. I hear it all the time: in the grocery store, in the gym, on the sidewalks, everywhere. It never fails that I hear one person give the other person they’re with a piece of advice that’s just not true and sometimes flat out dangerous. This scares me to death because I know fitness “knowledge” spreads faster than a juicy rumor in a high school hallway. Let me give you an example of how fast it can spread.

When I was in college, I worked in the fitness center as a personal trainer and a fitness supervisor. At the beginning of every year, packs of freshman boys would walk in surrounding their biggest friend, the leader of the pack. They would follow him around to every machine and listen to his every word. After all, he must know what he’s talking about, he’s much bigger and stronger than they are. One year, I walked in at the beginning of my shift and saw a few freshman guys running around the gym, from machine to machine, station to station. I wondered how long this was going on, and asked what they were doing. “Oh, we’re running from exercise to exercise to keep our heart rate up.” Not only was this dangerous for them, but it was also dangerous for other members of the gym as one of the ten guys running around could easily run someone over. The next day I arrived to work and again, saw a different group of what I assume were freshman running around. This time, one of them was white as a ghost against one of the pillars in the gym. It seems all this running around got him dizzy and nauseous to the point where almost lost consciousness. It took just 24 hours for this sage piece of fitness advice to spread around campus and it had already gotten someone hurt. Just imagine the power that a bad piece of advice in a fitness magazine with a reader base in the hundreds of thousands could have.

It’s time to let these fitness myths die. They’re keeping people from achieving their goals, it’s causing people to get hurt, and it’s causing mass confusion to the millions of people trying to get in shape. Here are the top eight fitness myths that need to die.

Lifting Weights Will Make Me Bulky1 lb of fat vs 1 lb of muscle

Lifting doesn’t make you bulky, cupcakes make you bulky. It’s very simple, take a look at one pound of fat versus one pound of muscle. The difference is huge! A pound of fat is noticeably bigger than a pound of muscle. So if you replaced 10 pounds of fat with 10 pounds of muscle, how could you possibly look bulkier than you look now? The only possible way to add bulk while you’re lifting is to not lose the fat you currently have. If you add 10 lbs of muscle and keep all of the fat you currently have, yes, you’ll be a little more bulky. The solution? Change your diet and you’ll be amazed at the transformation.

You Have to Train for at Least 1 Hour to See Results

This myth causes two problems: one being that people seem to skip working out all together if they don’t have one hour to dedicate to a workout, and two being that people tend to slow down their workout to a very low intensity just so they can make it through the hour. If you were at work and your boss said that you could go home after you finish a project, would you drag it out until 5pm? Of course not. You’d use laser-like focus to get that project done so you could be out by noon. The same goes for a workout, work as hard as you can and you’ll see twice the benefits in half the time.

Only Cardio Will Help Me Lose Weight

Cardio can be a great way to lose weight, but it absolutely should not be the only way. While cardio can burn calories, weight training can help build muscle and raise your metabolism. One pound of muscle burns more calories at rest than one pound of fat. So if you add ten pounds of muscle and lose ten pounds of fat and just sit on the couch all day, you’ll burn more calories than you did sitting on the couch all day the day before with ten less pounds of muscle. Pretty cool, huh? It’ll be pretty hard to add that much muscle though if all you’re doing is cardio.

Cut Out Carbs Completely If You Want to Look Fit

Did we learn nothing from the Atkins Diet craze? Carbs are essential to your diet. They give you the energy to get through your day or your workout. Without them, you will feel lifeless and cranky and you won’t see the effects you’re looking for. If you’re feeling good after cutting out carbs, then there’s a good chance the carbs you were consuming were high in sugar and poor choices for carbohydrates. Choose whole wheat carbs and balance out your diet.

Don’t Work Out If You’re Injured

While this one sounds like it’s only trying to help, it’s really not. If you’re suffering from a severe spinal injury, then please, do not work out until your doctor says it’s ok. For pretty much any other type of injury, you can always work around it. Sprained your ankle? Great, that has no effect on your upper body and there are still some lower body exercises you can do. Hurt your shoulder? There are still plenty of lower body exercises and core workouts you can do. The point is to not let one injury stop you from continuing to get better at other exercises. If you stopped everything every time one muscle hurt, you’d be in pretty bad shape.

Women Shouldn’t Lift Anything Over 5 LbsPhilly Personal Training

This myth seems so antiquated that it sounds like it should be in a fitness ad from the 50′s. The fact is, you cannot put a limit on a weight lifted simply because everyone is different. Is a five pound dumbbell going to be challenging for a bench press? Probably not. No matter what weight you’re using and what exercise you’re doing, it should be challenging for you. If you’re just going through the motions, you’re wasting your time.

A Cleanse Will Jumpstart My Routine

I get it. You’re frustrated with your body and you want results right this second. So a cleanse sounds like a great way to put your fitness results in warp speed. The only problem is that a lot of cleanses lack essential nutrients (usually protein), and you end up starving and more likely to binge once you come off of them. What good is a cleanse if you eat an entire pizza the day you go off of it?

Eat as Little as Possible

Another myth that seems like it should work. Weight loss is just calories in versus calories out, right? Yes, but it doesn’t really work that way. You see, when your body goes into starvation mode, it actually shuts down some of the nonessential functions and slows your metabolism down. This means not only do you lose not weight, but your body will have less energy. Think about when your cell phone battery is dying, most phones have a setting where certain functions no longer work when the battery is critically low. This is to conserve energy so your battery doesn’t die. Your body does the same thing. It slows everything down and shuts itself down so you don’t die. Pretty useful if you want to stay alive, not useful if you’re trying to lose weight.

Now that you’re aware of these myths, go tell your friends, family, co-workers, and anyone else you know that has been lied to about how to achieve their fitness dreams. The best way to do it? Share this article!

Make sure to follow Philly Personal Training on Facebook!

13 Reasons to Exercise

Everyone has days when they don’t feel like working out.

We could all use a little more motivation to get going and get on with our workouts which is why I’m listing the top 13 reasons to exercise.  Use this list to motivate you when you’re having one of those days you just don’t feel like working out.

1. To Prevent Disease
There are countless studies showing how exercise can prevent any disease you can think of.  Health disease, osteoporosis, and diabetes are just a few that are prevented through exercise. Continue reading

Top Excuses For Not Working Out

As a personal trainer, I’ve heard some of the worst excuses for people not being able to work out.  Excuses are often used to justify failure.  The fact is, if you really want to do something, you do it, there are no excuses.  So, if you’re serious about getting in shape, you need to stop making excuses now.  In this post, I’m going to give you the top excuses for not working out and how you can beat them.

Excuse #1: “I don’t have time to work out.”  Continue reading