As a personal trainer I take you behind-the-scenes to explain why personal training is expensive to save you $1,000’s.
In my 16+ years as a personal trainer, I noted 3 reasons less than 2% of gym members hire personal trainers.
*Disclaimer: Not all gyms or health clubs operate under the aggressive sales structures you will read about below. This article is for general awareness and advice.*
My video below explains how expensive personal training (fees/prices) prevents you from losing weight!
Why Personal Training is Expensive – Reason 1: 100% Commission pay structure
Many high-end health club personal trainers have NO base salary and work on 100% commission. This pay structure creates a gym culture of high-pressure personal training sales and lackluster customer service.
This is NOT a fault of the trainer; this is a fault of the for-profit fitness industry structure.
You the consumer end up paying 300% inflated prices to cover management bonuses and commission tips!
This is called conflict of interest: Your personal trainer has to sell as many products and services to maximize his or her paycheck. How does that help you improve your health?
You the gym member are stuck with 2 options:
1. Pay personal training fees to learn how to exercise.
2. Skip the personal trainer and figure out how to exercise on your own.
Why Personal Training is Expensive – Reason 2: Monthly sales goals & Financial incentives to SELL More:
At one for-profit health club I worked in (Lifetime aka LifeCRime Fitness), management incentivized personal trainers to sell more products/services to earn higher commissions:
The more personal training sessions a personal trainer sells you, the higher their commission percentage…
This means personal trainers need to sell you MORE sessions to get a bigger paycheck! BUYER BEWARE!
This is where the personal training package sales pressure comes into play… Everything is based off how well personal trainers can sell. (You end up with a bunch of skilled personal trainers turned corporate sales zombies by the $sales$ culture.)
For-Profit Health Club/Gym Logic
The higher the “status” the higher the paycheck commission percentage.
- Status 1 = Sell less than $3,900/month, trainer pockets 51% of sales
- Status 2 = Sell $3,900+/month, trainer pockets 53% of sales
- Status 3 = Sell $5,900+/month, trainer pockets 55% of sales
- Status 4 = Sell $7,900+/month, trainer pockets 57% of sales
- Status 5= Sell $9,900+/month, trainer pockets 59% of sales
It appears gym management has their own interest in mind when they encourage personal trainers sell you 30+ expensive personal training sessions…. (This is not about your goals; this is about them hitting their monthly sales goals. Buyer Beware.)
Why Personal Training is Expensive – Reason 3: Hidden Prices
Maybe you notice few, if any, commercial gyms post the price of personal training.
There is a reason for this, they intentionally hide the price to make you approach a staff member for a “price quote”. This is where the fun begins…
Gyms intentionally hide the total personal training “package” price which normally amounts to $2,000-$3,500! Why? Because they coach their personal trainers to use emotion and “pain points” to lure you into purchase expensive personal training sessions. Poor personal training persuasive sales techniques will be deployed, including the following statements:
- “It will take you 6 months to reach your weight loss goal but only 2 months with a trainer!”
- “You could hurt yourself using the equipment if you do not have a personal trainer to guide you.”
- “You have consistently failed to reach your goal for the past 15 years. I think you need a coach to guide you along and hold you accountable.”
Some of these techniques may be necessary for the habitually unmotivated and special populations. However, the 98% of people who do not have money to hire a personal trainer need something different. Read below to see what you need from your gym staff!
Gym Member Beware! You need a workout program, not a personal training package.
Use my exclusive workout suggestions below to exercise safely in any gym:
You need a CLEAR plan to follow
– How many days a week can you devote to exercise? – Check your scheudule and make a plan!
– You need to know what exercise type is best for your body and goals.
– Do you know how many of these workouts should be cardio, strength, flexibility?
– It helps to know of which pieces of equipment will work good for your goals and/or body type!
Not sure what to do? START HERE!
Disclaimer: Personal training is so expensive for many reasons: Personal training can be so expensive because the area you live has a high cost of living. Personal training is so expensive in some areas because there are fewer gyms. Personal training can be expensive because corporate greed and culture are reflected in high prices. Now that you know why personal training is so expensive you understand you can use your gym without a personal trainer!
Excuses are easy to offer. Excuses do not provide results.
Read these 5 common excuses to beat the excuse game and take charge of your health!
Excuse #1. “I’m too busy.”
– You are right, your attitude of “being busy” means results are not important. You can stay “busy” forever. OR…. Make a plan and change priorities! It is up to you to be “busy” not going to the gym or going. Either way you are making a conscious decision…
Excuse #2. “I don’t have time.”
– We all have 168 hours in a week, not sure where yours go? SO…. I am sure you can find 1 hour out of 168 that you can dedicate to exercise.
Excuse #3. “I know what to do, I’m just not doing it.”
– Then start doing it, or hire a trainer to hold you accountable. ….THIS excuse comes from somebody who needs accountability motivation or a partner! (or somebody who does NOT know what to do but is embarassed to admit it)
Excuse #4. “Exercise is too expensive.”
– Pushups, situps, and squats are free. When price is the issue, there are plenty of alternatives to a gym and personal training. Remember that free thing called play when you were a kid? It burned calories and gave you time with friends! Also, whatever happened to taking a 20 minute walk?
Excuse #5. “I don’t know what to do.”
This website helps you overcome the knowledge barrier! Look at all of the people in the gym: They had to learn how to workout just like you. We all learn how to walk as babies by falling and trying again! Exercise is the same thing! Once you learn you will get results, burn fat, and never look back! I use 13 years of professional instruction experience to teach you how to use your body and your gym!
At $50/month, a gym membership only costs only 7 cents per hour, USE IT!
Money is NOT the issue. Figure out what is stopping you and tackle that excuse! Try my new workout videos below to blast past the laziness excuses!.
STARTER WORKOUTS! – 3 easy video workouts to maximize calorie burning, muscle building, and metabolism boosting
Do you know how to workout? Did your high school physical education teacher show you how to exercise in a gym? When was your last workout or gym class?
The modern gym does not teach you how to exercise. Ideally, you should be equipped with a beginner workout and basic exercises before setting foot in a large confusing gym!
My new website www.GymMenu.com prepares you to lose weight by knowing how to navigate complicated gym equipment and programs!
Your first workout is waiting for you. Visit www.GymMenu.com to learn more.
- See how to be more; self-aware, “in control”, and more powerful! A very helpful piece of advice from a great book…
Reading, Priceless – The Myth of Fair Value by William Poundstone, gave me some thoughts about how self-awareness is the basis of many things, especially working out!
On page 283 of his book, Poundstone states the following:
“When people are made to be self-aware, they are likelier to stop and think about what they are doing. That in turn can lead to ‘more desirable ways of behaving.'”
Apply this quote to your health:
- Do you realize there are 168 hours in the week and you choose to either make time for the gym or make excuses not to go?
- Do you realize (a majority of) the people who go to the gym are in better shape than those who do not?
- Do you understand you make choices every day that can make or break your health?
- Do you see that you are in control of your choices?
- Do you realize your choices have the power to alter your behavior? (Even choosing to be positive versus negative)
Choose to be self-aware. Choose to improve yourself. Self-awareness is very powerful!
You are in charge! This is your life! You are aware of what you can do with your body…now do it! Make time for exercise, self-reflect and understand you are in charge of your choices, and ultimately, your own behavior!
The CDC has a few tips for those starting a workout program or exercise routine. These are listed below.
Still need more guidance? Visit my new website www.GymMenu.com for a customized workout program specific to your body and goals! GymMenu!
What Is Physical Activity?
“Physical activity is any body movement that works your muscles and requires more energy than resting. Walking, running, dancing, swimming, yoga, and gardening are a few examples of physical activity. According to the Department of Health and Human Services’“2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans,” physical activity generally refers to movement that enhances health. Exercise is a type of physical activity that’s planned and structured. Lifting weights, taking an aerobics class, and playing on a sports team are examples of exercise. Physical activity is good for many parts of your body.” – Source, NIH.gov
Physical Activity Guidelines
|If you are a healthy pregnant or postpartum woman, physical activity is good for your overall health. See our section on Healthy Pregnant or Postpartum Women.*The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans do not include guidelines for children younger than 6 years old.|
We are nearing 1,000,000 visitors so I am celebrating with the release of my survey results in the video! Thank you again for visiting and contributing to an affordable exercise education solution! The Future of Fitness is near…
By completing this 30 second survey you are helping change the world of fitness for ever! You are helping to reduce the cost of exercise education to make workout programs affordable to EVERY-Body on this Earth! Thank you!
Your results helped me design www.GymMenu.com. Thank you again for your contribution!
Do you buy Fitness Magazines? 3 Reasons to change your mind!
You probably purchase (or subscribe) to one or multiple fitness magazines in effort to change your behaviors and become healthy.
Below, I am going to show you 3 important reasons you should NOT buy fitness magazines.
Reason 1: Old wine in a new bottle.
Magazines are selling pre-packaged advice over and over again with minimal changes to the content. Rarely does anything
“Earth-shattering” get published in any given month. Take a look at your magazines. They tell you the same things every month:
- Move more.
- Eat less.
- Change your behaviors.
- Stop being lazy.
- Make time for exercise.
Now the magazine publishers might not be as blunt as I am above, so they use try some fancy wording as you will read in Reason #2.
Reason 2: Selling the sizzle and not the steak.
Magazine companies are very good at designing covers that draw you into purchasing them. (A behavior change in
The following are verbaitim “bait” lines commonly used by devious magazine marketers:
- Longer leaner legs!
- More Energy, Less Stress!
- Slim Down for Good!
- Sleek Abs and Arms!
- DROP TWO SIZES in just 4 Weeks!
- The All-Natural Tummy Tuck!
So what do all of these sleek sayings have in common? They appeal to your IDEAL image of yourself. Who wouldn’t want nicer legs, arms, abs, etc.? Who couldn’t stand to lose a few pounds?
Sorry to burst your bubble, but these magazines are being marketed to EVERY SINGLE PERSON who looks at them, not just you. You are not special to them, you are a pay check. These are very generic goals selling the “sizzle not the steak”. They are selling the benefits (results) not the actual product (exercise). They are literally selling you the dream!
Reason 3: The Big Catch – Magazines vs. YOUR behavior *Disclaimer*
If you are like other people, you may already have a stack of (half read) magazines at your house.
By the time you finish work and make it home through traffic, you probably ignore those magazines!
Many magazines offer great advice, but you have to actually USE the advice to have any progress. Most of these fitness magazines are full of professional advice and wonderful photographs and workouts and diets to help you succeed. However, the best “Burn 300 calories in 20 minutes!” article does you ZERO good when you, like many other magazine readers, read the article and do nothing.
How many times do you need to read about the “best workout ever” before you actually change your behavior?
Here are some benefits of not buying fitness magazines:
- Cancel subscriptions – Less clutter.
- Save Money.
- More time to go to the gym and exercise vs reading about it.
- BEHAVIOR CHANGE comes from within, not from a magazine….
These magazines offer a great starting point, but they do not sell motivation, that must come from YOU.
You can motivate yourself.
You can exercise! You can get all of the “cover goals” like lean legs, firm buttocks, sexy arms, etc. All you have to do is move….
This article empowers you save $1000’s by understanding Lifetime Fitness sales pitches, pricing, and fees. Empower yourself and be self-sufficient and independent while avoiding lifetime fitness personal training sales pitches! Lifetime Fitness has a typical 4 part sales pitch which I explain below…
Lifetime Fitness Personal Trainer/Personal Training rates are set up as “levels” as follows:
Level 1: $69/hour
Level 2: $79/hour
Level 3: $89/hour
Level 4: $99/hour
Level 5: $109/hour – Managers may charge $119/hour
These rates are based on questionable criteria including; how many personal training sessions the personal trainer sold during the previous 3 months (aka how much money they made the company), how many sessions a personal trainer sells on average, how many clients a personal trainer sells to other trainers, how many times a trainer raises their rates to make more money on a single sale/fitness assessment, and how many months in a row a trainer hits their personal training sales goal, and every now and then education.
Be careful when hiring a personal trainer. Personal trainer rates are expensive in corporate fitness worlds because they build in 100% commission fees. You pay double the costs for typical personal training rates to help Lifetime Fitness afford flat screen televisions, granite countertops, and gloss polish for their workout studios.
Lifetime fitness personal trainer fees and lifetime fitness personal trainer rates and lifetime fitness personal trainer costs are confusing because they do not want you to know anything up front. Remember: A clueless customer is worth more money (personal training sales) versus an informed and confident independent gym member!
You will never find a chart showing you the lifetime fitness personal training rates/fees because the company utilizes high-pressure sales tactics, similar to car sales. (yuck!) The company encourages personal trainers schedule members for fitness assessments where the sales games begin in the following styles; 12, 24, or 36 sessions. Get ready for a shocker!
The sales assessment
Lifetime Fitness personal trainers typically sell personal training (with above fees and training rates) in groups of 12, 24, or 36 sessions. (see examples below)
36 sessions = 3 sessions a week for 3 months
24 sessions = 2 sessions a week for 3 months
12 sessions = 1 sessions a week for 3 months
The personal trainer attempts to SELL you on the biggest package aka 36 personal training sessions. For the 97% of Lifetime Fitness members unable to afford the corporate personal training rates, the personal trainer will attempt to “negotiate down” the rate of the training package. Below, you will find the 4 predictable gimmick sales pitch steps…
Sales step 1:
Trainer suggests 36 sessions at $69/hour rate(fee). This totals $2484. This does not include the $370 for heart rate monitor, metabolic testing kit, and metabolic tests. Grand total of $2850 + tax. *99% of people object to this used car price and ask for other options.
Sales step 2:
Trainer “backs down” to 24 sessions at $69/hour rate(fee). This costs $1656. This does not include the $370 for heart rate monitor, metabolic testing kit, and metabolic tests. Grand total of $2000 + tax *98.5% of people are unable to afford this package equivalent to a week long all expenses paid cruise to Tahiti.
Sales step 3:
Trainer “reluctantly offers” for you to purchase 12 sessions at $69/hour rate (fee) at the total cost of $828. This does not include the $370 for heart rate monitor, metabolic testing kit, and metabolic tests. Grand total of $1200 + tax. *98% of people skip this offer equivalent to many people’s monthly mortgages.
Sales step 4:
Trainer suggest you start with cardio testing and a heart rate monitor at total cost of $370 + tax MINIMUM. Cardio testing costs $180 for 2 tests to learn your optimal heart rate zone and resting metabolic rate. This test requires a $40 testing kit/mask. This also does not include your $150 – $300 heart rate monitor. 2-3% of Lifetime fitness members fall for this fancy science and sign up for metabolic testing and purchase 1980’s looking over-priced LCD watches. (The treadmills show you how to find your optimal heart rate training zone and conveniently offer heart rate handles that show your heart rate when needed)
Lucky for you, 97% of people in this particular gym skip the expensive personal training costs and workout on their own. There are plenty of non-personal training exercises you can do such as; group fitness, workout with a friend, ask another gym member how/why they do the moves they do. Ask people for help; most people are friendly and would love to help you out.
Need a customized workout program to use your gym with ease? Visit my new website www.GymMenu.com to get a convenient and affordable workout plan to exercise on your own with confidence!
Good luck with your workouts and understand you CAN exercise on your own. You have used YOUR OWN UNIQUE body your entire life, now it is time to improve it! Start with my EASY Beginner Workout Video and use your gym with confidence!
I volunteered 7 hours of my fitness services during a live Q/A session HERE (My username “HeartAtak”) to help thousands of people find the motivation to start their New Years Resolutions with helpful workout knowledge! Read my responses below to see the truth about for-profit gyms & exercise.
Some of my responses should answer your questions and may actually be similar scenarios you experienced! Enjoy! (If you still have a question ask me!)
Comment: I’m not sure I can really put my faith in you. I respect your credentials and experience but I’m just not sure here.
You said that pretty much all supplements are “unnatural” and useless, when there are completely natural supplements such as creatine, glutamine, fish oil, etc. which have scientifically proven beneficial effects. There is no substitute for hard work, good diet, and rest, and only a fool believes that a tablespoon of creatine and some curls a day will get you jacked, but plenty of supplements are not bullshit. I suggest you do some research, there’s great stuff out there!
Also, most serious weightlifters will recognize Planet Fitness as an intensely for-profit gym that hooks those “New Year’s resolution” folks but provides them no incentives to stay. Their business model is not based around improving their clients’ physical fitness, seeing as how it’s almost nothing but cardio and weight machines, the latter of which often force you into unnatural movements that can get you injured and also are not as effective as free weights. Plus, they kick you out for grunting.
My Answer: Thank you for your comments.
I do not recall stating, “All supplements are “unnatural” and useless”.
I simply do not think highly of supplements and prefer people go the natural route. People seeking supplement advice SHOULD SEE A REGISTERED DIETICIAN not A PERSONAL TRAINER.
I agree some supplements do wonders for people hitting plateaus and rough patches. However, I do not suggest beginners load up on them based upon the SIZZLE of (most of) the MARKETING B.S. My PERSONAL take as a trainer, which is MY take not everybody’s, is to NOT push supplements. I respect if you use them, get results, or know people that use them. Again, I defer to the R.D. 🙂
I am not here to push Planet Fitness. I am just a member. I am sharing my experience. Everybody has their take on what works and what doesn’t.
Honestly, people could save the money and workout at home. However, most people at home will turn on the tv and eat. There is no one size fits all solution. It is a tough situation. But I agree that any gym giving away tootsie rolls, pizza, and bagels is NOT helping the situation 🙂
Thank you for your remarks!
Questioner Response: Thanks for replying even though I didn’t have a question. You’re a cool dude.
I totally agree, because I don’t like to see beginners loading up on mass gainer stacks and preworkouts they don’t need, or even experienced people buying stuff just because it has a cool name and a jacked guy on the label. It’s just the use of the word “unnatural” that bothers me, because supplementing with creatine or fish oil is no different than taking a protein shake – it’s just a more efficient way of getting raw materials without eating ungodly amounts of food. It’s not like you’re pinning 800mg of test every day 😛 I’d consider that unnatural
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Question: What percentage of people actually use their gym membership?
My Answer: AWESOME question! I wish I knew the exact answer. That will be different per club. I can tell you from my experience at a large gym we had a small regular AM crowd and decent sized regular PM crowd. I would guess anywhere between 5-25% varies per club. Big range but some clubs are huge and informal, others small, intimate, very caring.
Honestly, I think what happens is 2 part; 1. confusion – people think they will join a gym and be shown exactly what to do…. yeah right, that rarely happens. 2. optimism bias – behavior change does not happen overnight. Think about babies; how many times do they fall before they can finally walk on their own. Parents and family ENCOURAGE them to succeed and they learn to do it! Same goes for gyms… you need to surround yourself with people who support you to be successful.
From my communications studies; people need 2 things to adhere to a new behavior or message: 1. motivation – people lose this over time (New Years resolutions crowd) 2. ability – We all have the ability to exercise but see #1. We lose motivation for many reasons.
Join a gym for free health care…. your workouts are free health care..
Sorry I do not have statistics but I do know the human behavior patterns are very predictable. We are a lazy creature :-O
http://www.flickr.com/photos/85961891@N08/8662933741/ (not the best quality pic, but look at the behavior pattern) This is why I named my website FitnessPatterns!
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Question: Do personal trainers lie to get clients?
My Answer: I do not believe personal trainers lie to get clients. At least not the good ones anyhow.
Personal trainers in big corporate gyms typically work on 100% commission and have to sell X amount of sessions per month to make sales goals etc. Sometimes these trainer will “TTWTWTH – Tell Them What They Want To Hear” to sell a few extra sessions.
Example: “Without a trainer you might hurt yourself. It could take you 6 months to reach your 30 pound weight loss goal. BUT! If you work with a trainer you will not get hurt and might reach your goal in 3 months!
Again, trainers are VERY GOOD but sometimes the corporate structure causes them to be very pushy, much like “the stereotypical car salesman”. (no offense to car salesmen)
Audience Response: I don’t even talk to the trainers in my gym any more. It’s a bit of a shame ‘cos I’m a friendly guy but I just get the impression that I’m wasting their time. The only reason they seem to talk to me is to sell me personal training that I will never buy (one session cost more than a months membership) and a few have got pretty butt hurt when I’ve turned them down after them chatting me up and all.
My Response: Excellent points. One commercial gym I worked for set the same “atmosphere”. Maybe how people feel when they walk onto a car lot. I keep using this analogy bc I feel people can relate.
You do not want to be SOLD. I understand you on this one. This is why I LEFT the corporate fitness industry to do my own thing! The sales ruin the environment for good regular members such as yourself 🙂
Just remember you can be friendly but let them know you are HAPPY with your body and routine!
Audience Response: This is the exact reason I quit my job as a personal trainer.
Audience Response: Same here. I switched to the group exercise scene. Spin Instructor. I was able to help people change their lives and not be pressured to rack up numbers.
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Question: How effective are personal trainers?
Do you think people use trainers for motivation, maximum results, or a combination? If I were to get a personal trainer how can I best go about reaching my goals and what can I do to ensure we’re a good fit for each other? Thank you for the Ask me anything Q/A session!
My Answer: Thank you for the wonderful questions. I believe personal trainers are VERY effective (when affordable). At a previous gym where I worked, less than 3% of the membership base could afford hiring a trainer. Translation: Personal training is effective only for those who can afford the service (not many people) 🙁
I think people use trainers for hundreds of reasons. Everybody has their own reason for hiring a trainer. Motivation, accountability, attractiveness, workout partner, gossip partner, need the extra PUSH, boredom, etc. Many people it because the results are pretty much 100% as long as your honestly follow the tips.
If you were to hire a trainer; tell the trainer what you want SPECIFICALLY. Example: I want to lose 20 pounds, fit into my size 6 jeans, and run a 5k in 18 minutes…. be specific. (Not your goals, just using examples). Be sure the trainer UNDERSTANDS and repeats your goals. Also, the NUMBER 1 rule is you have to like him/her. If you do not like the personality do not hire them. Kinda like a date…. do not force a second, third, and…. 20th date if you buy a package….
Basically, you like the trainer, you are good to go. IF there is awkwardness, then…. maybe look for another person. You are NOT stuck with whoever performs your fitness evaluation. You are the customer, you are always right! Good luck with your workout goals!
Question: I’m a 30 year old woman, 5′ tall, and 400lbs. Where the hell do I start?
My Answer: Thank you for the question 🙂 Also, going to the gym is awesome! Do not let anybody tell you otherwise!
Start with a plan. You need to have goals. Write down your biggest grandest goals. Then divide them by 10.
Hypothetically, your goal is to lose 50 pounds! That sounds like a crazy never going to happen goal for most people. Well, divide it by 10 and now you have 10 – 5 pounds steps! Lose 5 pounds, not too hard, repeat! 🙂
At 5′ tall and 400 pounds you want a medical clearance from your doctor before starting a workout (as does any person really). Be sure your doctor tells you what you can/can’t do and take this to a trainer. For that kind of person, I would suggest hiring a trainer and dietician for maximum support and motivation 🙂
The most important thing for you will be BEHAVIOR CHANGE. All the little changes will add up to weight loss and healthier happier lifestyle in the long run! You can do it!
Workout routines are often sold as “scare information” when they are often times generic advice pre-packed and advertised to the masses.
In his book Influence – The Psychology of Persuasion, Author Robert Cialdini stated the following regarding scarcity:
“According to the scarcity principle, we find a piece of information more persuasive if we think we can’t get it elsewhere.”
Personal trainers make a living convincing you that their workout routine is scarce information that “only you” can have customized to your body and goals. I hate to break it to you but they tell everybody the same thing. They want you to believe you must purchase sessions from them to access this vital info. They will attempt to convince you that you are unable to succeed on your own. They want you to feel only THEY have the key to your success.
These sad persuasive attempts, all efforts to sell sessions, are all blatant lies.
Think of the P90x workout routine, any Jane Fonda workout routine, or even Richard Simmons workout videos! They are all a pre-packed grouping of exercises that you must simply DO to succeed.
None of these workout programs are “personalized” to the millions of people who purchased them.
- They sell RESULTS.
- They sell MOVEMENT.
- They sell BEHAVIOR CHANGE.
Why do people buy them? Maybe they think a new workout video will bring them success?
The funny thing is, ALL WOROUT VIDEOS will bring your success. EVERY WORKOUT ROUTINE will provide results. You have to WORKOUT to get results!
It is really pretty simple.
Every time I have a checkup my doctor says 2 things: Eat well and exercise. This is the same prescription for every human on this Earth. Has your doctor ever told you to eat raw spoiled food and lay around doing nothing for 5 years?
People work pretty hard avoiding the truth.
The truth is, you have to exercise to get results….
Now you can get in shape with a workout program designed specifically for YOUR body and goals.
Visit my new website www.GymMenu.com to get your customized workout plan!