How much does it cost to hire a personal trainer?
March 15, 2024

How much does it cost to hire a personal trainer?

David S.

There’s no universal price for a personal trainer because there are a number of key factors that determine the price point you’ll pay. Personal training can cost anywhere from $20 to $200+ per session, with an average around $40 - $90

Understandably, you want a professional trainer who knows their stuff, but you also don’t want to break the bank working on your health goals. 

Let’s take a look at those factors and tips for finding convenient and affordable personal training.

Factors that determine cost

1. Location impacts cost and accessibility

Do you live in a major city? In-person trainers are significantly more expensive in big cities, especially in California. Some trainers can charge up to $500 per session! 

Now, if you live in a quiet rural town where there isn’t a ton of demand for trainers, you can expect to pay much less. Some trainers only charge $25 per hour, which is a steal compared to Manhattan, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

But… if you live in a smaller town you might not have much access to a trainer or gym. Or there could be fewer trainers available, to begin with. 

2. Does your trainer rent or own their space?

Personal trainers need to cover the overhead whether that is studio space rental or mortgage for their private gym.

If a fitness trainer is paying commercial gym space to work in the gym takes a cut of their fees. If they have their own place, the price of that rent or mortgage is factored into their program fees. Either way you’re charged more. 

Now, if the trainer is coming to you, at your home or a public place, the cost should be less, but not always. A trainer might charge per mile driven, for example, and this will boost the price point.

3. How much experience does the personal trainer have? 

Is the trainer a veteran with over two decades under their belt? Or are they fresh to the industry with less than a year of active experience? A new personal trainer is usually going to cost less, but a lower price doesn’t always equate to a better deal. 

Keep in mind that a higher price point could result from years of hands-on experience that the trainer is going to give you in bite-sized, easily understandable pieces.

In other words, with a more experienced trainer, you’re getting more bang for your buck. With an experienced trainer, you’ll learn the fitness tips that took them literally years master in less time than if you hired a new fitness trainer. And that’s what makes a more experienced trainer worth it, even if they cost more. Plus, an experienced trainer will have worked with a wider variety of clients and will know how to better tailor sessions to your unique needs.

Which certifications should they have?

When looking at potential trainers you'll probably see a lot of acronyms next to their names such as NASM, ACE, ISSA, NFP, NCS, CSCS, and many others. These acronyms are all different types of "personal trainer" certifications from varying accrediting bodies. But not all certifications are created equal. Some certifications are much easier to get than others. One certification test may take months or years to study for, while other tests might be a quick 40 minute online quiz that takes less than a day to prepare for. So make sure to keep an eye out for certifications that are "nationally recognized".

That being said, certifications are only a small part of a trainer's expertise. Most of their knowledge and value comes from the years of them training other people. The trainer with the fanciest certification may not be any better than the trainer who has worked successfully with more clients.

4. Do you need a specialist or generalist?

Are you going to a personal trainer for a very specific goal like sports performance or have a physical condition that requires more knowledge? When a trainer specializes, they skyrocket their worth

Expert trainers are going to cost more because they have a wealth of extra training and knowledge in specific areas. This means extra certifications, school, and courses. And all of this costs money. What’s more, 

A general trainer can help you build muscle or increase your strength after an injury, for example. But more often than not, a trainer with injury prevention or corrective exercise certification can almost guarantee you’ll see results.

The same idea as experience level. Sometimes a higher price tag is absolutely worth every penny, especially if you’re serious about a specific goal. It all comes down to your needs.

5. Gym membership requirements

Let’s circle back to renting versus owning. Say that the trainer is renting out the space from the gym. In the contract with that gym, the trainer might be required to have their clients sign up with the gym.

So, in order to train with that specific trainer, you could have to join that gym. Depending on where you’re working out now, and your budget, this could be a good or bad thing.

If you’re already a member at another gym and overpaying, you’ll save cash by transferring to a different gym. If there is no cancellation fee, this will help offset the cost of the trainer (a great thing!).

But if you’re only paying $10 per month for a gym membership and you have to switch to one that’s $30 per month, you’ll obviously be upset. Or maybe you don’t belong to a gym and maybe you just don’t want to. 

With that said, if you end up paying more, consider the amenities you’ll have access to.

For example, your current gym might only charge $10 per month but it’s a bare-bones gym without the latest and greatest equipment. It doesn’t have a pool. No sauna, no no group fitness classes, etc. Maybe you care about those things and maybe you don’t.

But if you end up switching to another gym, you might find that you’re a lot happier because you’ll have access to all of those things. That’s a matter of personal preference (and budget). 

What’s the average cost of a personal trainer?

As we’ve discussed above, there is really no such thing as an average cost for a fitness trainer. the factors that contribute to a price can vary greatly.

Despite the average price of an in-person trainer varying greatly, you can expect to pay an in-person trainer somewhere between $40 and $90 per session! That would be between $160 and $360 a month if you met once a week. 

As mentioned above, in-person trainers tend to be more expensive because they have overhead costs to worry about.

But one thing is certain… online personal training will almost always be more cost-effective. Not to mention more convenient and flexible. 

How to find an affordable trainer?

Now that you know how much a personal trainer costs, you probably want to know how to keep the costs low while getting a good deal! The low cost (without losing too much quality) trainers will be the ones who are not completely new to training, but are also not veterans. So that would be a trainer with about 2 - 3 years of experience who is working at a large gym chain. They will probably have some solid experience and the prices will be relatively competitive if it is a gym chain. But you'll need to be careful with the large chain trainers, sometimes they don't put as much effort and focus into their clients as a trainer would who works for themselves.

Also remember, trainers come in all shapes and sizes as well. They don't need to look like Arnold or look jacked to be high quality fitness experts. Many trainers do not have body building goals, but other fitness goals that they personally focus on (such as strength or injury prevention). So you can also keep your costs down by keeping your options open and not immediately excluding trainers who aren't super ripped themselves.

Unfortunately, the price comes down to exactly where you live and what your unique needs are so sometimes the price will always be high.

Online personal training is the best of both worlds

Online personal trainers or trainers who provide sessions through an app or video calls can train you anywhere in the world. Virtual personal trainers don’t have the same overhead costs to worry about, and those trainers will pass the savings to you, the client! 

A bonus for you is they are equally qualified and experienced as the in-person trainers. You get the best of both worlds. An affordable trainer who is also highly experienced!

But sometimes doing Zoom trainer calls gets a bit clunky and you can't bring your laptop to the gym with you :/

That's why we created trainwell (formerly CoPilot)! The affordable remote personal training solution that gives you the expertise of in-person training with the flexibility of an advanced fitness app.

Trainwell is a revolutionary app-based personal training service that pairs you with highly qualified and certified fitness trainers with years of experience. 

You’ll enjoy working with some of the best trainers in the industry without the big city price points.

Trainwell fitness trainers don’t just focus on fitness. They recognize that health is more complex. You'll receive coaching around fitness, nutrition, mindfulness, and recovery. 

Best of all your trainer is available to you when you need them! You’re not left alone figuring things out in between sessions. Simple message your trainer and support is one click away. 

Are you ready to get the best of both worlds and make progress on your fitness goals? Sign up today for a free trial of trainwell

Written by David S.

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