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How Much Do Personal Trainers Cost?

We get this question a lot, so we figured why not unshroud the mystery of personal training prices. When you begin your journey to find a personal trainer, the first question you will most likely ask is "what is this going to cost me?" And after doing some quick Google searches, you will soon realize most personal trainers and training facilities do not post their prices publicly. This is actually a point of recurring debate amongst the fitness industry, but the general consensus agrees that posting prices might scare off clients before trainers get a chance to demonstrate the value they can offer. While that may be true, that doesn't help the average person trying to decide if hiring a fitness coach is right for them.

So let's get to the unshrouding of the mystery. How much do personal trainers cost? The answer is: it depends. In reality, the cost of a personal trainer depends on several factors with the most important being location and experience. We'll cover these two factors in this post and also offer some general guidance on the prices we see in the community.

Location, Location, Location!

Personal trainers have expenses too. And typically their largest expense is their location. Whether it be a big box gym, a small local studio or their own facility - your personal trainer is paying rent in some way. This could be a flat monthly rent, like you would pay to rent an apartment. Or it could be one of many models including revenue sharing, hourly rates or a price per client. Regardless of how the personal trainer pays for their location, the cost of their location is baked into their pricing. And depending on what corner of the country you are located in, rent prices can vary wildly.

For a couple of extreme examples, a 1,000 square foot studio in a sparsely populated suburb could cost less than $10,000 in rent per year. If that same studio were located on upper Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, it could cost well over a million dollars in yearly rent. So the cost of rent is a large reason why personal training prices vary so much from city to city.

Let's also not forget the equipment though. Commercial gym equipment isn't cheap. And if your trainer is using a facility that has premium equipment, the cost of the equipment is trickling down to the personal trainer's wallet also, which then gets reflected in their pricing.

So then how do these items impact the personal trainer's overall pricing? Well think about it this way, if you are meeting your trainer in a nearby park and using free weights and resistance bands, you should expect a steep discount on pricing - somewhere between $30 and $45 per hour would be reasonable because the personal trainer doesn't have many expenses. Keep in mind, you get what you pay for. When you train outdoors, your personal trainer will not have all the equipment at their disposal to optimize your exercise, and at some point you will be dealing with the elements. Harsh weather can totally disrupt your training plans, which will limit your ability to actually achieve your fitness goals.

If you are seriously looking to get results, you need to find a trainer that has a dedicated training facility... with equipment. These trainers tend to pay hefty sums to use that location. A good rule of thumb in the fitness industry is a 50/50 split, meaning half of the cost of personal training goes to the personal trainer and the other half to the facility. So if you're paying $50 per hour for a personal training session, the trainer is only getting $25 of those dollars. That's still better than the median wage of $18 per hour for personal trainers who work as an employee at big box gyms across America, but as you can clearly see, the trainer would be better off charging you $35 to train in a local park. That's why personal trainers with dedicated space typically charge over $50 per hour for a session. And $50 really is the low end, as some trainer charge well over $100 per hour for space. This could simply be because they are located in Los Angeles or Manhattan, or it could be because of the other important factor we mentioned above: experience.

Experience Matters

There is an old adage of a cargo ship with a major mechanical failure that multiple mechanics could not resolve. The owner of the vessel brings in the foremost expert mechanic and is willing to pay whatever it costs to get this multi-million dollar ocean liner up and running again. The mechanic spends five minutes diagnosing the problem and another five minutes solving the problem. When the mechanic presents the bill for his services, the owner balks at the $20,000 fee. He asks why the mechanic deserves $20,000 for ten minutes of work, and the mechanic responds with one single word: Experience!

So what do sailing vessels have to do with personal training - well, not much. But the moral of the story poses an interesting question: if you could pay more to increase your chances for actually achieving your fitness goals, would you? This answer should be yes. When you pay for a personal trainer, the expectation is that their coaching will get results. Fitness professionals with decades of experience tend to know what they're doing, and as a result they also tend to charge higher prices than new trainers.

Years of experience isn't the only important point here though. The second half of the experience factor is the overall experience you are being provided as a paying customer. Is your personal trainer operating out of an outdated studio with a leaky roof and staring at their phone while counting your push-ups? Or are they providing you with a premium experience so that you actually enjoy your workouts and know that they are dedicated to your success? This is difficult to asses until after you've gone through a session with a personal trainer.

It truly depends on the trainer, their location, their years of experience and the overall experience provided to you when determining what a fair price for personal training will be. Not to mention add on services that personal trainers offer including workout plans for the time in between your sessions and nutrition plans. Simply put, experienced trainers that provide a full suite of services and a premium experience are going to cost more, and that is why you might see some trainers charging over $100 per hour. However, the average personal trainer in most metro areas around the country is going to fall into a range of roughly $60 to $90 per hour.

Final Thought

Deciding on whether or not to hire a personal trainer is a big decision and a big commitment. Research shows that individuals who exercise with a coach achieve better results and are more likely to stick to their exercise regimen. So if you are serious about reaching your fitness goals, the better questions to ask is: what price can you afford within your budget? Keep in mind that you can save money by training outdoors or working with newer trainers, but you are more likely to reach your goals by working with an experienced professional using modern equipment.

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