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How Much Does Hiring A Personal Trainer Cost? A Better Alternative...

How Much Does A Personal Trainer Cost And Is There An Alternative To Hiring One?

June 28, 2021


The health and fitness club industry has a market size of 30+ billion dollars in the USA alone, of which $10.5 billion rests in the personal trainer field, with 340,000 personal trainers currently working for a gym, a hospital, a fitness studio or as an independent trainer.

In the recent decades, the culture of fitness and self-care has reached the average American consumer, while personal training has grown in popularity and become accessible to more than just wealthy patrons and elite athletes. Currently, most Americans are either already exercising or looking to start — and personal trainers are excellent option in providing the structure and motivation many customers need to work out safely, productively, and regularly.

Read on, if you have been wondering:

  • Who can benefit from a personal trainer?
  • How much does a personal trainer cost?
  • Is it worth it to hire a personal trainer?
  • What time- and money-saving virtual alternative exists to hiring a personal trainer?

How Do Americans Work Out?

There are countless ways to get in shape, but the one common denominator that makes the difference between whether a fitness approach succeeds or fails is: you have to stick to it! And “sticking to it” is, unfortunately, the hardest part for most of us. Some particularly self-disciplined (or just overly optimistic) people go it alone, others need the support of peers in a group setting, others yet require the supervision of a professional trainer in order to keep the momentum going.

DIY Fitness: Works For Some But Not Others

From ancient practices to modern gadgetry, there are lots of ways for people to exercise without directly engaging a live professional trainer. Frugally-minded or well-disciplined individuals often opt for fitness solutions at little-to-no cost: be it getting the basic pass at the gym, working out at home with videos on YouTube or other free online platforms, or going on a daily morning run.

For some, the self-curated, self-motivated fitness routine is a good fit. As long as they are able to continue pushing for their fitness goals and (most importantly) keep exercising regularly one way or another, it works.

Many other Americans, however, struggle with the DIY approach to fitness. Juggling multiple demanding responsibilities of modern life can leave us tired, stressed, overwhelmed, and possibly depressed, which can make it so much harder to get together an exercise program we like and can stick with.

Trying to keep a positive outlook, we can sometimes overestimate our commitment to exercising on our own. This is evidenced by all the millions of dollars worth of exercise equipment collecting dust in closets, attics, and second-hand stores all over America. For example, in the nineties, virtually everyone had an “ab-roller” — and yet, only a small fraction of the population had “righteous abs” (and most of those people did not own ab-rollers!) There is a tendency to buy exercise equipment thinking that the financial investment and the apparatus’ physical presence will serve as the motivation to get one’s butt in gear. But it’s not enough. Missing from this formula are several important factors:

  • a mindfully customized fitness routine tailored to the individual’s unique fitness needs
  • the support and motivation provided by a knowledgeable professional to keep going and improving one’s form all the way
  • the accountability to another human being for staying on track

Let’s face it: the first couple of months of establishing a new workout regimen can be pretty daunting, especially if preceded by prolonged inactivity. In those initial weeks, we’re doing the hard work but don’t yet have the benefit of seeing dramatic changes in our bodies — and that can understandably be demotivating for some. “Am I doing it right?” is often a question that pops up, especially for novices or those who haven’t exercised in a while.

When the positive changes do come, and we start seeing and feeling them, it does become easier to stay on track (and, in time, it could even turn into a healthy “addiction”). Unfortunately, not everyone gets to this stage, as many are unable to stay focused/committed long-term on their own, despite desperately wanting to. Such individuals (who happen make up the majority of us!) can use the extra instruction, motivation and accountability to a third party that comes with hiring a personal trainer.

Personal Training As A Modern Fitness Trend

More and more Americans are on a search for the personalized services of personal trainer and the market reflects this: the number of certified personal trainers has increased by approximately 20% over the last decade.

How Often To Meet With A Personal Trainer

How often one meets for personal training sessions per week largely contingent upon the client’s goals. It is suggested that a novice should meet with their personal trainer 1-3 times per week for the first 6-8 weeks. After this initial period, the client may keep the same regimen or either reduce or up the frequency of training sessions, depending on what their motivation for exercise is in the first place.

After those opening weeks, a client may opt for fewer sessions per month — because all they wanted was to set up a steady routine and, now that they nailed it down, they can take it from there and only occasionally check in with the trainer for questions and encouragement. A different client — one who wants to keep upping their strength, flexibility, stamina, and other fitness levels — could choose to meet more frequently with the trainer after the initial couple of months. Because, now that they are in better basic shape, they can start tackling specific, more challenging fitness goals and need the personal trainer to keep evolving / “tweaking” their routine (and perhaps diet, if the personal trainer also acts in the capacity of nutritionist).

Optimal Session Lengths For Exercising With A Personal Trainer

Most personal training sessions last an average of 60 minutes; while others can be set up for 30 minutes or 90 minutes — again, depending on the specific fitness goals the client has in mind. 30-minute sessions have been growing in popularity lately: clients consider them more affordable, and more personal trainers are claiming that they can provide a comprehensive workout in only half an hour.

How Much Does A Personal Trainer Cost In The US in 2021?

What it costs to hire a personal trainer will fluctuate in accordance with following factors:

  • Certified Vs. Non-certified Personal Trainer. As with many other fields, the professionals who had undergone formal training and received formal certification(s) charge higher valuations of their time (among the most trusted certification institutions are the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), the International Sports Science Association (ISSA), American Council of Exercise (ACE), and Fitness Mentors (FM)).
  • Expertise. Likewise, the more experienced the trainer, the more they charge for their time. For example, in a given gym, the price for a personal trainer may range from $60 per hour to $100 per hour: the trainers with most certifications and experience will charge on the higher end, while the trainers with least education or experience will charge fees at the bottom of that price spectrum.
  • Urban Vs. Suburban / Rural Location. In big cities, expect to pay more for fitness-related services because everything from rent to equipment maintenance to compliance with city regulations costs more for a fitness business than elsewhere.
  • How Many Personal Training Sessions You Pre-pay For. As it often goes with goods and services, the more of something you buy at a time, the less you pay per session/item. Training on a session-by-session basis will cost more than buying a package deal for several (typically 5, 10, or 20) training sessions in advance: the more “bulk” it gets, the higher the savings.
  • The Length Of Individual Sessions. Personal training sessions can last 30-90 minutes: certainly the price will reflect this difference in time spent per session.
  • Small Group Training Vs. Personal Training Sessions. Attending a class with only quasi-private attention, as opposed to having personal training sessions that cater exclusively to one’s needs and pace makes a difference in price. Small group sessions are great for people who enjoy bringing friends / workout buddies into a personal training session and saving a bit of money in the process. However, those looking for a customized fitness design, individualized nutrition suggestions, and all attention focused on their personal improvement, may consider it worth their while to pay more for a personal trainer they don’t have to share with other clients.

Personal Trainer Rates At Popular Fitness Center Chains

Let’s take a brief look at the membership and personal training session pricing for several of the most prominent fitness center chains across the country (please keep in mind that these are average estimates and you need to get in touch with each gym to find out the exact rates):

  • 24 Hour Fitness: with a monthly membership at approximately $40, the largest fitness center chain in America provides personal trainers at the average cost of $50 per half-hour and $80 per hour session.
  • Life Time Fitness: this health club charges membership dues between $55 and $140 per month, with personal trainer sessions ranging from $50 to $110 hourly.
  • Gold’s Gym: a membership here starts at around $40 per month, with personal training sessions costing between $60-100 per hour for members.
  • Anytime Fitness: his gym charges a membership fee of $25-40 per month, with personal training session costs ranging from $35 per half-hour to $30 per hour, depending on where in the country they are located.
  • LA Fitness: here, the cost of membership is around $35 per month; with a choice between a 30-minute personal training session for$45 or a full-hour one at $60 per hour.
  • Crunch Fitness: monthly membership at Crunch runs between $20 and $35, depending on the features the client wants to enjoy, with personal training charges starting at $100 per session.
  • Equinox: being among the most upscale gyms in the country, Equinox membership fees usually range between $170 and $300 per month, with personal training sessions costing an additional $110-160 hourly.

Most of the above-mentioned and other gyms offer discounts for booking multiple sessions in advance. Many allow clients to invite up to 3-5 friends into the mix to do “small group” training sessions and cut / split the costs. Monthly membership as well as personal training prices may vary quite dramatically from package to package and location to location, with most expensive pricing concentrated on the West and Northeast coasts as well as several major cities across the US.

In smaller local gyms, expect to pay an average of $250-400 per month for packages that include two 1-hour personal training sessions per week. Some boutique fitness centers charge high membership fees but let clients bring in their personal trainer to the gym at no additional cost.

If working out at the gym does not sound good to you, check out our article on the alternatives to a gym.

Self-employed Personal Trainers’ Rates

As with trainers attached to large gyms, what independent personal trainers charge depends on the experience, certification and niche knowledge they bring to the table, as well as where in the country they are located.

On average, self-employed personal trainers who come to your home/workout location can charge anywhere from $60 to $100+ per session.

Why Are Personal Trainer Rates So High?

While, unfortunately, not everyone can afford a regular personal trainer, the seemingly high fees fitness experts charge are quite justified, considering the following factors:

  • If a trainer is attached to a gym, they are likely paying a sizable chunk of what they earn to the facility.
  • If a trainer is operating independently, they have business-operating costs / taxes to factor into their fee. When the customer pays $60 per session, they must realize that the trainer only gets to keep a portion of this sum after taxes.
  • If a trainer lives in a higher-than-average expensive area, they must charge enough for their work to cover their high living costs.
  • Every good personal trainer has invested considerable time and money into obtaining their education, certifications, and work experience. Personal trainers do more than supervise workouts and give pep talks. They take the time to understand each client’s body type, medical issues, nutritional needs and psychological state — and to craft a beneficial regimen that fits the abilities, health, pace and comfort levels of each unique person. The value a good personal trainer brings to a client is often more lasting and impactful than the financial compensation they receive for it.

The Technological Evolution Of Personal Training: Merging The Best Of Both Worlds

Anyone who has ever put together their own workout plan knows that it takes some research as well as trial and error to arrive at the routine that is designed and timed just right.

Anyone who has ever had a personal trainer knows that it is a scheduling commitment that often necessitates a gym membership and extra commuting time.

But, thanks to modern technology, there’s a new way to take the best parts of solo exercise and working out with a personal trainer. Now, you can merge them into a singular interactive, personalized system that lets each person work out on their own time, but with a systematic personal attention / evaluation of an elite fitness professional every step of the way.

Meet System2.

System2 is a virtual at home fitness coach app that takes all the “homework” and guesswork out of crafting an fitness plan that works — with the added benefit of regular constructive feedback on the client’s progress. Relying on the latest technology, System2 uses a cutting-edge combination of video, activity trackers, and artificial intelligence to monitor the clients’ workouts (with super-easy to use hardware provided upon signing up), ensuring that each client’s fitness journey is the best possible fit.

More activities that were thought to only be possible in “real life” in the past are now successfully transitioning into interactive online space. Let the System2 virtual fitness coach free you from the stress of “reinventing the wheel” of fitness! Let it set reasonable and productive fitness goals for you, with a human professional to supervise, evaluate, and adjust the process along the way to your greatest benefit. And you do it all on your own time and terms.

Give the System2 virtual personal trainer program a try: at only $99 monthly subscription fee, and with a 14-day free trial, you risk nothing but success!

Written by: Maria Malyk


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