How Much Does a Personal Trainer Cost? Average Rates and Ways to Save
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Whether your main goal is weight loss or beginning strength training, deciding to work with a personal trainer is a huge first step toward achieving your fitness goals. But how much does a personal trainer cost?
Trying to increase your overall fitness and wellness shouldn’t break the bank. However, the cost of in-person training can spike your heart rate (and not in that amazing-HIIT-workout way).
The national average cost of a personal trainer can range from $50 to $150 per hour (with rates hovering around $100 per hour or higher in bigger metro areas). Now, granted, there are a few tricks to bring this cost down (we’ll go into detail soon). But as a rule of thumb, it’s safe to estimate that you’ll pay $75 or more per hour to work with a quality in-person trainer.
So, what are the factors that go into personal trainer rates? How do you decide your training budget, and what tips can help you afford the level of expertise and guidance you need? (Spoiler: Online training is much more cost-effective.) Read on for our take.
Online Fitness Coaching: The Flexible, Affordable Option
Let’s start with the good news — you don’t have to pay the $75/hour we mentioned above for sustainable, empowering personal training. While some people prefer in-person training, online training can be more effective and more affordable.
When you work with an online personal trainer, you can work out when and where you want instead of aligning your schedules. Plus, you’ll have constant access to your personal trainer’s expertise (sometimes through social media). And, you’ll pay less.
By working with an online trainer through a platform like Kickoff, you get unlimited access to an expert, dedicated fitness trainer for $3 a day. No matter when you want to work out, where you have to travel, or what questions you have about your diet, your online trainer will be there with you every step of the way.
The best online personal trainers provide customized workouts and workout plans for your specific goals and fitness level, whether you're a beginner or a fitness pro. They also track your progress through regular check-ins, online messaging, and, in some cases, video chats.
Depending on the coaching program, you may also get nutrition coaching, meal plans, or advice on supplements.
In-Person Training Costs Start With the Zip Code
From your trainer’s certification to years of experience in the fitness industry to the length and frequency of your sessions, many factors go into the monthly cost of an in-person 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 does the cost of a personal trainer. 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 per hour for a quality trainer. If you live elsewhere in the country, especially a small town, you may be able to find somebody good with personal training experience for as low as $50 per hour.
On average, if you work with a personal trainer for one hour twice a week, you can expect to pay between $400 to $1,000 a month.
Hack: Purchase a package of personal training sessions in advance. You might be able to purchase 5-20 sessions. Not only will they keep you motivated, but — depending on how many sessions you book — they can lower the individual session costs, offering savings of up to 30%.
The benefit of working with an online personal 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 requires the least amount of research, especially if you already have a membership. You can simply waltz up to the front desk and ask for the training prices and who’s available. (The first session is often free as well).
While many gyms will have experienced trainers, it’s worth noting that training rates are often related to the cost of your gym. If you belong to an upscale boutique gym, expect to pay upscale prices. If you belong to a more budget fitness center, you’ll likely pay less, though the trainers may have less experience too. For example, at the YMCA, you might pay one of their trainers as little as $50 per hour, while at Equinox you can expect to shell out $150 per hour (on top of their $166+ monthly membership fee).
This option makes sense if you’re already a member of the gym. 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 still develops an individualized fitness plan, but they come directly to your home or other agreed upon meeting place for private sessions, meaning you don’t necessarily need to pay for a gym membership to work with them.
Because certified personal 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 an area where you have access to independent trainers, they can be a great option. If you don’t, an online platform like Kickoff can help you vet personal trainers to make sure your coach is qualified and can help you meet your specific goals — something that’s harder to do on your own.
On average, independent trainers who come to your home will cost between $60 to $100 per hour-long session, depending on their qualifications and where you live (and whether or not they have to bring equipment to you).
Hack: One way to reduce 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 everyone can afford.
How Much Does a Personal Trainer Cost? How Certifications Factor In
Before you get bowled over by all the degrees, first ask what was required to obtain each one. Look out for certificates that were given for completing 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, a program that dives a bit deeper into exercise science as it relates to sports and athletics.
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. But keep in mind, the quality of certifications matter more than the quantity.
Working 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.
What About Group Training?
If you’re willing to sacrifice one-on-one attention to save some bucks, there’s always group training (think: SoulCycle, Rumble boxing etc.). From partnered sessions (you and one other client) to small group training, 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 extra motivation through friendly competition, and save you money. They might run you $35 per class as opposed to paying the trainer’s full hourly rate yourself.
Online training platforms like Kickoff may include group workout programs in addition to connecting you with a dedicated trainer.
Tip: It is worth noting that if you’re injury prone, nursing a chronic injury, or have other relevant health concerns, group sessions might not be the route for you. In these cases, it’s better to work with a personal trainer who can devote themselves entirely to your unique set of needs and create a fitness program specifically for you.
Do You Really Need a Personal Trainer?
Losing weight and getting in shape can be a tough journey, but a personal trainer can make things easier for you. If you have a difficult time staying consistent, or you just need someone to guide you along the way, a personal trainer is a smart investment in your health.
A personal trainer will create a custom plan based on your fitness goals, lend you their expertise, and be there to guide you, motivate you, and hold you accountable.
While in-person training will cost about $75 per hour, on average, online personal training through a program like Kickoff gives you unlimited access to an expert, dedicated trainer whose qualifications have already been vetted for just $3 per day.