Ballpark estimate: $50 to $100 an hour+
As many as 5 million people in the United States today rely on personal trainers to help them step up their fitness efforts. If this sounds appealing, you may want to follow in their footsteps. A personal trainer can work with you to lose weight, gain strength, tone your body, improve your stamina, or just help you get motivated to reach your fitness goals.
Why Hire a Personal Trainer?
Making exercise a habit is sometimes hard to do. Often, our good intentions are not enough! Making your workout part of your daily or weekly routine with the help of a trainer is a great way to set realistic goals and stay focused to achieve them over time. Trainers can also provide valuable one-on-one motivation. When you’re paying for a trainer’s expertise, you are more likely to value the process, which is key to helping you stay committed and feel more accountable to someone other than yourself. (After all, you might cancel on a friend who you planned to work out with, but if you have a non-refundable training session planned, you will be a lot less likely to cancel your workout even if you had a busy day at work or don’t feel like driving to the gym after dinner.)
Better yet, a personal trainer can design a workout program just for you that will be tailored to help you reach the specific results you want to see. For people who already work out regularly but don’t feel they are getting the full benefits, it can be a life changing experience to have the expertise of a personal trainer to help them tweak their fitness activities to get more impact from their efforts. On the flip side, if you are new to working out, or haven’t done it in quite a while, a personal trainer can teach how to use the equipment properly and can help you slowly begin to build up your strength and stamina so you can continue to challenge yourself as you make progress.
Many trainers can also can also come up with a nutritional plan that can help you lose weight, get healthier, and look and feel better over all.
How to Find
These days, it’s very easy to find a personal trainer. You can find them at local health clubs, athletic studios (such as a yoga or karate studio), gyms, YMCAs, and colleges and universities, among other places. Some trainers are on the staff of the gym or health club and members can pay extra for the trainer’s expertise. Other gyms hire trainers as independent consultants and allow them to train club members using the gym’s space and equipment. There are also trainers who are independent consultants who do not have any affiliation with a gym or health club. In this scenario, if you decide to hire an independent trainer, they will need to have somewhere to train you. (Some gyms will allow independent trainers to come in and “rent” their facility to work with a client on site, but many prohibit this practice since it takes away business from their own trainers, so you’ll need to find out in advance what’s allowed before you make any arrangements.)
In some cases, you may want to hire a personal trainer to come and give you private sessions in the comfort of your own home. Just beware that if you hire a trainer to come to your home, you may need to purchase very expensive equipment to meet your goals. Further, if you do go with an independent trainer, be sure that they have liability insurance in the event an accident or injury occurs.
What to Look For
When selecting a personal trainer, many people prefer to find one who has received extensive training in the field and/or is accredited by a reputable organization, such as the American Council on Exercise (ACE), the American College of Sports Education, IDEA Health and Fitness Association, and the International Sports Sciences Association. This will help ensure that you hire a trainer who is up to speed on the safest practices and who hopefully stays on top of the science of fitness and can put any new research findings to work to help you achieve your goals.
Weighing Your Options
You can expect a trainer you’re considering hiring to ask you some strategic questions about your routine, lifestyle, eating habits, sleep patterns, and goals. The information you provide can help them determine the best plan for your situation. Just be sure when shopping for a personal trainer that you also have your own list of questions to ask him or her, as well. For instance, you’ll want to know things like what experience the person brings to the job, any training or certifications, whether he or she is current on the latest life-saving techniques, what a session consists of (such as weight lifting, cardio, toning, etc.), how long a session lasts (a half hour or an hour can be common, but you need to know which you are paying for), if you need to provide any equipment, how you will monitor your progress, and whether you will get nutritional advice or an eating plan.
Cost of a Personal Trainer
When determining the cost of a personal trainer, the best way to budget is to determine the scope of the sessions. This means you’ll need to consider the trainer’s per-session rate, the length of the session, and how many sessions you’ll require each week so you can determine your overall investment in this endeavor. For instance, some trainers provide 30 minute sessions, while others train for an hour or even 90 minutes. Be sure to ask the trainer if the rate you are being quoted is per session or per hour (this is especially important if the session is longer, since it can add up quickly). Some trainers will offer a package deal if you pay up front for multiple sessions, or pay a monthly rate, which can often bring some cost savings.
Generally, the level of education the trainer has will effect the rate they can charge. New trainers who have earned general certifications will usually be on the lower end of the price scale, while trainers with extensive experience and training and a solid track record behind them can command much more for their expertise. The same is true of trainers who work for high-end gyms. The more you pay for your gym membership, the higher the rate of the trainer there is likely to be. (Although this is not always true. Sometimes a lower hourly rate for a trainer or package deal is part of the perks of a high-end membership.)
Your geographic region will also impact the cost of a trainer. Those personal trainers working in cities like New York City, Los Angeles, and Boston can command more than a trainer in a small suburb where the cost of living is much less.
Generally, experience trainers will charge between $50 and $100 for an hour session. However, on the low end, you can always find trainers starting out who might charge as little as $25 an hour, and you can also find personal trainers with expertise in a specialized area, or who work with athletes, celebrities, and wealthy clients might charge upwards of $350 an hour or even more. The trainers who charge on the high end of the spectrum will often work with celebrities and other wealthy clients.
Just remember to look beyond the hourly rate to whether the trainer will meet with you weekly, bi-weekly, or every other day. The answer will of course have a huge impact on what you can expect to pay.
A Budget Option
If your budget can’t afford the hourly rate for a private personal training session on a regular basis, you do have a few more economical options. First, some gyms offer personal trainings for a group of people at once, which keeps the costs down and can also be a great way to meet more people and also have added motivation from others in the group. The cost associated with this type of group personal training session can range from $10 to $25 an hour. In such a group setting, there is typically a limit of five people per session, thus ensuring each client will receive ample time with the trainer to get the full benefit.
Training Sessions Online
In addition, you may be able to find a personal trainer online who can help you develop a personalized training schedule, along with training videos you can follow at your convenience, or you can arrange a face-to-face online training session. The downside to this approach is that you won’t get as detailed feedback as you would in a face-to-face workout, but you will still get a customized plan, valuable encouragement and motivation, and someone to guide your efforts as you go along. Many people today are finding this an appealing choice that doesn’t strain their schedule or their budget. Better yet, the cost for an online personal trainer for a month can start at about $100-$150 and go on up. This can be equal to what you might spend for just a few hours or less of in-person sessions, making is quite an appealing option.