How much does a personal trainer cost? Average rates & ways to save
HOW MUCH DOES A PERSONAL TRAINER COST?
Deciding to work with a personal trainer is a huge first step toward achieving your fitness goals.
But how big of a hit will it put on your financial goals?
The national average cost of a personal trainer can range from $50 to $150/hour (with rates hovering around $100/hour or higher in bigger metro areas). Other options may exist to stretch your dollar, from 30 to 90-minute sessions to group classes to discounted packages, but as a rule of thumb it’s safe to estimate that you’ll pay $75/hour+ to work with a quality trainer.
So what cost is right for you, and what are the factors that go into determining these rates? Are there certain things you should prioritize when deciding how much to spend on a trainer, and do any hacks exist that can help you afford the level of expertise and guidance you need? Read on for our take.
Online vs in-Person
As you probably know, these days you can select to work with an online trainer, where you’ll have scheduling flexibility, constant access to their expertise, all for an affordable rate. Or you can opt for the more expensive, in-person route, where trainers meet you at agreed upon times and locations, can give you form checks in real time, and can add that extra layer of motivation due to the simple fact that it’s harder to bail on an actual real life human being.
The online option is both more flexible and more affordable. By working with an online trainer through a service like Kickoff, you can have unlimited access to an expert, dedicated trainer for $3/ day. No matter what diet question you have, when you want to workout, or where you have to travel, your trainer will be there with you, every step of the way.
For In Person, It Starts With The Zip Code
From the certification of your trainer to the length and frequency of your sessions, numerous factors go into the monthly cost of a personal trainer. But the biggest factor can often be zip code. Just as the cost of real estate or the restaurant tab differs from city to city, so too do the price of personal trainers. Meaning, if you live in major metro areas like LA, San Francisco, or New York City, expect to pony up an average of about $125/hour for a quality trainer. If you live elsewhere in the country, especially in a small town, you may be able to find somebody good for as low as $50/hour.
On average, if you work with a personal trainer for one hour twice a week you can expect to pay between $400-$1,000 a month.
Hack: Purchase a package of training sessions in advance. Options can range from 5-20 sessions. Not only will they keep you motivated, but -- depending on how many sessions you book -- they can also offer savings of up to 30%.
*The benefit of working with an online trainer is that you’ll pay a flat (and far more affordable) monthly fee no matter where you live.
The Gym Route
Many people connect with a trainer through a gym because it’s the path that requires the least amount of research, especially if you already have a membership. Simply waltz up to the front desk and ask who’s available.
While many gyms will have good personal trainers, it’s worth noting that the cost of these trainers will reflect the cost of your gym. If you belong to an upscale gym, expect to pay upscale prices. If you belong to a more budget gym, expect to pay less, though the certifications and experience level of these trainers might suffer, too. For example, at the YMCA, you might pay one of their trainers as little as $50/hour, while at Equinox you can expect to shell out $150/hour (on top of their $166+ monthly membership fee).
This option makes sense if you’re already a member of the gym and regularly go. Since their personal trainers are gym employees, they are only available to gym members. You might still want to work with them, but if you’re not already a member then you need to factor monthly gym membership into the cost.
Another option is to enlist the services of an independent trainer -- someone not affiliated with a specific gym. An independent trainer will come directly to your home or other agreed upon meeting place, meaning you don’t need to pay for a gym membership to work with them. Because trainers on staff at a gym have to split their profits with said gym, many of the best trainers decide to go independent. If quality matters to you, and you live in a big enough city where this is a reality, independent trainers can be a great option.
On average, independent trainers who come to your home will cost between $60-100/hour depending on their qualifications and where you live.
Hack: One way to defray this cost is by turning your at-home trainer sessions into a group class (more on that option below). If you have a group of friends with the same fitness goals, you can organize sessions with a trainer in your home, all at a shared rate that will make the expense more affordable for everyone.
The Higher The Degree, The Higher The Cost
With accreditations comes added cost. Some trainers have one certificate, others have many, a few will even hold Ph.D.s in exercise physiology (just be wary if they demand you call them doctor).
Before you get bowled over by all the degrees, first ask what was required to obtain each one (and look out for certificates that were given out after the completion of a simple weekend course). It’s all well and good to pay a premium for education and experience, but make sure they are legitimate and specific to your fitness goals.
Some of the top certifications include NASM, NSCA-CPT, ACE, and ISSA. For those looking to gain strength and muscle, it can be especially helpful to find a pro that also has the NSCA-CSCS (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist) certification.
While extra certificates and degrees will certainly ratchet up a personal trainer’s hourly rate, it’s worth noting that — once properly vetted — these accolades can be worth it. Quality trumps quantity here, and if you work with someone who truly knows what they’re doing then those sessions will pay dividends when you’re applying what you’ve learned to your own workouts.
If you’re willing to sacrifice one-on-one attention in a bid to save some bucks there’s always group training (think: SoulCycle, Rumble boxing etc.). From partnered sessions (that means you and one other client) to small group training, forgoing constant individual instruction in favor of sweating it out with folks who might well become your friends could be the solution you’re looking for. Group sessions can be fun, offer that extra dose of motivation through friendly competition, and usually run you $35 per class.
Online training platforms like Kickoff may include group workouts in addition to connecting you with a dedicated trainer.
*It is worth noting that if you’re injury prone/nursing a chronic injury, group sessions might not be the route for you. In these cases, it’s better to work with a personal trainer who can devout themselves entirely to your unique set of needs.
Getting in shape can be a tough journey. But it doesn’t have to be. Rather than cut corners or make another promise to yourself that this time you’ll stay consistent and motivated, why not work with a pro who can help you with all these things? A personal trainer will create a bespoke plan based on your fitness goals, lend you their expertise, and — in the case of Kickoff, where you’ll get unlimited access to an expert, dedicated trainer for just $3/day — be there with you every step of the way to guide you, motivate you, and hold you accountable.