yellow flowers

“I usually love this blog but it seems to be going a bit Gwenyth (sic) Paltrow-Goop-ish lately. The cheapest option for that training is £650 for ten sessions. If you do five sessions a week that’s roughly £1300 a month and £15,600 a year. How many people can afford that? And that’s just the basic training. Good for you and all, but sometimes I wonder if you are losing touch with your readership.”

Hi Coco

I didn’t publish yr comment immediately because I wanted a chance to think about what you said. Here’s the thing: You may or may not know that I started LLG as a place to record what I got up to. Essentially, an online journal.

That it attracted readers was serendipity, but its content is guided by my taste, my lifestyle, my interests. That’s not to say I don’t think all the time about the readers I have gained, (who I value enormously) but a (true) blog is not like a magazine which writes with a certain reader in mind. Essentially everything I cover is seen through my eyes.

Like many people, my tastes & preferences and, most importantly, my budget, vary from day to day, situation to situation and so LLG has always reflected that, always been about the hi/lo mix that exists in my own life. One night I cld be bunking down in a youth hostel dorm in California, the next I’m at the Ritz-Carlton. Yesterday I wrote an entire post about a £2 phone charger, today I mentioned a £300 pair of riding boots. Most importantly, I do not like spending money for the sake of it. No gold-plated bath taps here on LLG. If something is pricey and I have written about it, then that’s because I think it is worth it. Which leads me neatly to the issue of training, about which you have taken exception.

Regarding the training (I am still writing about it, so your question has pre-empted some of the things I would have covered) I would have hoped that you realised I have been writing about the benefits of training – not just extolling the virtures of particular (admitedly expensive) trainers. Firstly, most people do not need to train for five days a week unless their job requires it or they have oodles of spare time, so your sums are a little optimistic. (And nothing at Jonathan Goodair is ‘basic’ as you suggest.) My six week, 3 x a week training period is designed as a short, intensive introduction to get trainees up to speed and in my case, was their standard press arrangement. (Lisa Armstrong of The Times has recently completed the same series and wrote about it in her paper.)

But I believe in it so much that when my six week press period is up at the end of this week, I will be paying myself to train there twice weekly. Yes, it can be regarded as expensive. It’s certainly not something I can easily afford, but I will cut out other things from my life: so that I can pay for it. Because I happen to believe that investing in your health is the most important thing of all.

If you consider that Jonathan Goodair’s Total Body Plan training system, that has such effective results for me and many others, is the products of someone’s entire education, career & focus, then it doesn’t start to seem expensive, but good value. Not that that makes it necessarily affordable, but it is how some people choose to spend their money. Me, I have decided that I will rather pay for training than gig tickets, new shoes or eating out at expensive restaurants.

I have never, at any point, suggested blithely that anyone else train there in some ‘let them eat cake’ throwaway comment. I have merely written about my experience training, as I have written about anything that I experience, be it, as I noted above, a five star hotel or a youth hostel.

I do take issue with the concept that I should only be writing about things at a particular price level. I like to write about a span of things that interest me and they won’t all cost the same: where exercise is concerned, I have also written about swimming daily in Hampstead Heath Ponds – which are free/donation only, or hiking the trails above Santa Barbara. I have readers from all walks of life and affordability is relative: Some can afford to train with London trainers without noticing the cost, others like me will sacrifice to do it, and for others it will never be possible. As it turns out, three readers (that I know of, there could be more) are in the process of signing up to train at Jonathan Goodair as a direct result of my posts. And anyway, since when did not being able to afford to do something affect whether you wanted to read about it or not? I frequently read above my wallet’s capabilities.

Most of all, I hoped that maybe readers who have had problems or issues with training & fitness classes would look beyond the specifics and be reassured by reading my experience of learning to come to grips with my (lack of) physicality and think that if a mal coordinated, dyspraxia disaster zone like myself can do it, so may they. Where that would take place – be it a smart London gym, or a local swimming pool – would be up to them.

And, completely wonderfully, I have been overwhelmed by the generous comments, emails, Tweets & Facebook messages from readers who say that they have found it inspiring and that they have been prompted to start or re-boot their own training regimes as a result.

As with everything on LLG I hope people will take what is relevant to them from across a wide spectrum of posts. If I write about something I think is beautiful, albeit expensive, some fortunate readers might be able to afford to buy if they like it, some might decide to save for it or ask for it as a special gift, some might seek out something similar but more affordable – and some might laugh out loud at how hideous they think it is.

All responses are welcome; as a writer anything that resonates, be it positively or negatively, is rewarding.

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42 comments

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The phrase ‘I frequently read beyond my wallets capabilities’ resonates! Reading most media you come across quite alot of aspirational experiences and material goods. I seem to also spend some of my time spending beyond my wallets capabilities too!

Enjoy the training endorphins! A

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I do think 650 is a lot for 10 sessions but then I know there are lots of people out there that wouldn’t even bat an eye lid at that! I like reading about It though as it’s great to hear other people’s journeys to get in shape! I guess it’s just easier for press to write about things when the money hasn’t come from their own pocket and obviously the proof of the pudding will be when you continue on when it’s not free any more!! Best wishes Victoria xx

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Great post, and I can see both sides of the argument.

Even if I gave up my luxuries I still couldn’t afford £65+ph for a personal trainer but I don’t begrudge the fact that you can – as you say health is so important and of course with your lil sis suffering from MS you can see that first hand.

I do want to add however, I think that Coco’s comment actually reflect well on your wonderful blog, LLG. Most negative/disagreeing comments that we see on blogs are unfortunately bitchy and childish but Coco writes articulately and politely, and that only goes to show that your readers will always have respect for you.

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LLG I would like to say huge thank you! A huge inspiration and a step forward in life. Sent you an email, due to the fact it’s going to take up a little more than your comment box 🙂

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LLG – I’m typing this from a coffee shop bec. I can’t afford my internet right now. That’s right. Never thought I’d be in this position…but I am enjoying LLG as much as always – maybe more. I enjoy your tweets re: your adventures about town, as well. And I also read above my wallet’s capability…

Finding it all very inspiring.

Cheers, LLG

xoxo

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I am so impressed with your response. My own response would have been far less articulate and thoughtful, and I *might* have been tempted to turn Steve loose on the unfortunate critic, which we all know would end in tears.

I am proud of you for doing the training – investing in one’s health and well being is worth the sacrifice. (I’m really struggling with this these days, and your posts have been a shot in the arm.) In the meantime, there are lots of cheap thrills to enjoy, as you have pointed out. To me, what this blog is about is joie de vivre. The joy comes from feeling like one’s best and most authentic self.

xoxo, P.

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It was a challenge writing that response, and so eloquently put by both yourself in your response and from your critic.

I follow your blog and training sessions, and perhaps this one criticism has allowed you to dig deeper justifying why you’ve embarked on such a training schedule and at the said cost. It’s both a physical and emotional challenge to take on a training program (I’ve done similar) and it’s wonderful as your reader to hear about your session, but your critic has unearthed another layer and I LOVE the challenge and the response.

Look forward to more training chronicles, and perhaps more future challenges. X

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LLG I am sorry you feel the need to justify yourself. I am pleased to read your are writting for yourself and not your idea of your readers.

In the last few years I have spent/invested thousands of pounds on pilates instruction – I cannot keep up with group classes so I have to pay for expensive private sessions, but I have found the benefits out weigh the costs. I have made sacrifices to do this- cloths, holidays, restaurants but if I get a bit more energy and fall over one less time that is fine. Sometimes I can’t afford it so I save until I can block book sessions and do what I can at home between times. I believe it is important exercise is written about for all it’s benefits to health and well being and not just as a means to get into a bikini.

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I’m a graduate student so my budget is next to nothing, but that’s never stopped me from enjoying your blog! Even if I can’t afford fancy dresses and shoes right now, that doesn’t mean I don’t want to see photos of them. I’ve also really enjoyed reading about your training — about a month ago, I set up a running and weight training plan for myself and am sticking to it! The emphasis on health and well-being is really important (and helps me keep going at the end of long runs).

Looking forward to reading lots more from you!

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What’s interesting about this discussion, to me, is that no one compares the cost of training with Jonathan Goodair to other, less notable, trainers. I’m in the U.S. and I can tell you that an hour of personal training with a run-of-the-mill, newbie trainer can easily amount to (converting now) 45-50 British pounds. Yes, Jonathan’s rate of 65 BP exceeds that, but does it seem out of line for someone who apparently has attained a very high level of expertise in his field? Don’t get me wrong, personal training is a luxury, especially in these difficult times, but I’m simply making the point that if you are able to indulge, these fees are really not that excessive.

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@Afternoon Tea Fan: Hey there. In interests of full disclosure must add that Jonathan himself costs quite a lot more than 65ph. (All the costs are openly up on his website)That is the cost at which training starts with one of his (brilliant & highly trained) staff. It’s a small gym with extremely personal atmosphere. But I do agree: if one can afford it/or save hard to do it, then the cost/value ratio is exactly where it should be. Frankly for the extraordinary one to one training I think it’s amazing. LLGxx

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