Personal trainers are en vogue these days, not only for the very rich but even those moderately so, because let’s face it, it’s difficult as hell to follow a routine unless someone’s making sure you stick to it.

But for those still reluctant to open their wallets, here are some free tips from those in the know:

1. Never attempt a training session – if you haven’t eaten anything, or have barely had four hours of sleep, or are recuperating from a bout of flu or some other virus. In order to give optimum performance your body needs to be hydrated, fueled and fully-charged. Otherwise, that gym session is a mere waste of time.

2. Fitness is all about a lifestyle change. You’re never going to become super-fit by hiring a trainer or making monthly payments to a gym. You have to be ready to change the way you eat, drink, sleep and think.

3. Learn when to stop. It’s a good thing to get into a fitness routine, but it’s a great thing to know where to stop. You can’t push yourself too hard at the outset as it’s counterproductive. You must understand the difference between muscular pain while adjusting to a workout and burnout; there’s no point in overdoing it.

4. Get proper workout gear. If you’re serious about your fitness program, you have to be dressed for the part. Invest in buying proper trainers – not the run-down joggers that have been lying around for years – and well-fitting training clothes. It’s a deal that’s sure to pay off.

5. Consistent effort is the name of the game. According to experts, most people waste more than half their time in the gym, chatting, texting, dawdling. Remember what you’re there for. Half-hearted efforts aren’t going to get you to your goal. An intense 30-minute workout is better than an hour of just ‘spending time’ at the gym – for obvious reasons.