If you’re looking to improve your fitness, recover from an injury, or simply learn a new skill, the best way to reach your goals is through hiring a personal trainer.
But what does that look like? We break down the investment and what you should look for when hiring a personal trainer.
How Much Does a Personal Trainer Cost?
Experience, degrees and certifications, location, venue, and style of training will all determine average personal trainer cost.
Generally, the range is between $50-$200 per hour. Yes, that’s a big range, so let’s break that down. The higher end personal trainers will probably be anywhere from $80-120 per 1 hour session. The lower end pricing is typically $50-$70 per 1 hour session.
Hiring a Personal Trainer: Factors to Consider
Experience is probably the most important factor when it comes to determining how much you will pay for your personal trainer. The more years a trainer has under their belt, the better trainer they will be. When it comes to hiring a trainer with experience, you usually get what you pay for. This isn’t to say that new trainers aren’t good trainers, but just like with anything in life the longer someone has been doing a craft the better they will have honed that craft.
Degrees & Certifications
You will most likely pay more if you hire a trainer with more advanced degrees and more certifications. These trainers will generally have more knowledge they can apply to their coaching with you and more tools in their toolbox for you as a client. Make sure your trainer has at the very least a nationally accredited personal training certification. Look for certifications or credentials from ACE, NASM, ISSA, NSCA, or another reputable institution. Please do not hire your favorite fitness influencer (or buy their programs) on Instagram just because they post pictures of their abs. This is not a personal training credential.
For us, we both have masters degrees in an exercise science and applied health science. During our degrees, we both participated in research and human performance labs which helped us to really understand the intricacies of physiology more than the average personal trainer. An advanced degree can help a trainer understand each individual client and program according to their specific physiological needs.
Does every good trainer need advanced degrees? Absolutely not. In fact, experience working with people in real world settings can ultimately be a much bigger benefit than experience working in a research lab. But, an advanced degree can give a trainer an edge and some additional deep knowledge of human physiology that can really elevate their training style.
Are you in a big city or a small town? This will significantly sway the cost you are going to incur when it comes to hiring a personal trainer.
Usually, big cities have more of a talent pool to choose from because there are more people, so most health clubs will weed out and hire top notch trainers. Another factor is the state you live in. Live in California? You are probably going to pay top dollar for your personal trainer. Live in Missouri? You probably won’t be paying as much as California. Why? Cost of living is significantly higher in places like California, Texas, New York City, Chicago, and Denver versus cities in the Midwest and most of the southern states.
Type of Club, Gym, or Studio (Setting)
Your high-end boutique gyms will most likely have a higher cost associated with personal trainers. Again, they are hiring top notch trainers at these places and making their studios as competitive and desirable as they can.
Your big box gyms such as 24 Hour Fitness, LA Fitness, Chuze Fitness, LifeTime Fitness, Crunch Fitness, Planet Fitness, and Golds Gym will likely have trainers with less experience which means you will likely pay less per session. Within each of these gyms, they will typically have a trainer tier system. The higher tier trainers have more experience and will cost more. The lower tier trainers are usually your green trainers looking to gain experience with clients so they will cost less.
Keep in mind when hiring your personal trainer, big box gyms typically charge a fee and only give a portion to the trainer. This is the model at many gyms versus smaller independent studios or gyms that contract personal trainers. In these models, a lot of trainers will build their own business, bring in some of their own clientele, and pay rent to the space. The trainers typically see more of the income in these settings. Sometimes you will pay the same amount for a trainer, but the actual trainer may see less or more of your money depending on where you shop.
Type of Training and Personal Training Specialties
If you are an elite athlete that requires specialized training, then you are going to have to pay more for a trainer who can program for those specifications you need. If you’re looking for a specific style of training or someone with expertise in a certain area, you can expect to pay more for that additional expertise.
Is Personal Training Worth the Money?
While it may seem like paying for a personal trainer is a luxury, if you want to get the most out of your workouts it is absolutely worthwhile. You will learn so much about proper technique and programming according to your specific needs and goals. Random workouts outline can’t do that for you.
Motivation and Accountability
Personal trainers also provide motivation and accountability. Even when you don’t want to show up to workout, having an appointment scheduled that you paid for will keep you consistently showing up! Your trainer should have your workout ready to go for you when you show up so all you have to do is put in the effort. Some people just aren’t going to workout unless they have a personal trainer waiting for them and watching them do their exercises. That alone makes a trainer’s value infinite for some people because without them, that person won’t keep up with the habit of exercise.
Proper Training Protocols
Personal trainers are experts when it comes to workout parameters. They will deploy the sets, order of exercises, reps, load, rest, and tempo necessary for you. Trainers will push you just enough to see results. Doing too much or too little can significantly hinder your progress. Good personal trainers know the sweet spot for each person they train due to their expertise. You will get just enough stimulus to spark strength gains, but not too much to where it becomes detrimental and you get caught in the workout/recovery trap. A trainer will help you balance tension with relaxation.
Mastering Proper Form
Execution. Having a personal trainer there in real time means they have their eye on you and can watch and fix your mechanics for each specific movement as needed. This means you are getting the maximal benefit from each movement you are doing.
Finding an Affordable Personal Trainer
Is the cost of personal training still too much? If access is an issue, there is an option for you. Online personal training and remote fitness coaching is the second best thing to personal training. An online personal trainer can individualize your program, give you guidance and feedback, and help you reach your goals for a fraction of the cost of in person training. Online personal training packages tend to be much less expensive and more accessible for most people.
There are also some cases where online training is a better option than in person training. If you are consistent with your training but want more direction as far as programming and accountability to your goals (or you want to compete in a specific strength sport such as powerlifting or olympic lifting), online training is probably the best option for you. This option gives you flexibility and convenience to train on your own schedule. So fitness enthusiasts, athletes, and people who understand the benefit of exercise and have the motivation to do it themselves usually benefit tremendously from hiring an online personal trainer.
Want to learn more? Listen to the Stronger Than Your Boyfriend Podcast Episode #69: How Much Does a Personal Trainer Cost?