How Much Does A Personal Trainer Cost?

Is it worth hiring a personal trainer? What goes into the cost of a personal training session? Find the answers to these questions and more in this article.

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How Much Does A Personal Trainer Cost?

In, Columbia, Missouri, a one-on-one personal training session may cost anywhere from $27 to $70 and up per session (2020).1,2,3,4,5,6,7

The price for training varies widely from state to state and gym to gym.

Most workouts are an hour but some trainers work in 30, 45, and even 20-minute sessions.

In addition to session length, training settings vary and include:

  • Training alongside normal members in a large space.
  • Personal training only private studios.
  • Training at your home or office.

Let's talk more about what it costs to hire a personal trainer.

You'll find answers to the following in this article:

  • Is it Worth Hiring a Personal Trainer?
  • How Much Does a Personal Trainer Cost Monthly?
  • How Much is a Personal Trainer for 3 months?
  • How Much Do Personal Trainers Charge for Meal Plans?
  • Do You Tip a Personal Trainer at the Gym?
  • Why Don't Gyms List Prices?
  • Why Are Personal Trainers so Expensive?
  • How Much Does a Personal Trainer Make Per Session?

(Feel free to skip the last two sections if you don't want to learn about the business of training.)

Is it necessary to hire a personal trainer? Nah.

Is it Worth Getting a Personal Trainer?

Personal trainers can be one of the closest connections that you'll make in your life.

Your trainer can help you:

  • Build your motivation.
  • Learn to exercise safely and effectively.
  • Decide when it is time to make a referral to another health professional.

Your success depends on how much you can learn from your trainer.

At a minimum, your trainer should touch base with you on nutrition, sleep, and fitness.

Once you make some initial progress, you may decide to shift towards a new goal or end the relationship.

How Much Does A Personal Trainer Cost Monthly?

(Assuming two sessions per week at $27 or $70 per private session)

Private Training: $27 per-session: $70 per-session:
3 - months $238-261 $617-678
6 - months $227-238 $588-616
12 - months $216 $560
Semi-Private (60%):
3 - months $143-157 $370-407
6 - months $136-143 $353-370
12 - months $130 $336
Group Training (25%):
3 - months $60-66 $155-170
6 - months $57-60 $147-154
12 - months $54 $140

(The above numbers assume 104 sessions per year)

Some trainers will offer you a discount if you purchase multiple sessions or sign up for multiple months at a time.

You can typically expect to pay less in exchange for a longer membership.

At some gyms, this is could be as many as 18 or 24 months. 12 months of personal training is more common than 18 or 24.

Pricing typically follows these rules:

  • Private training - the 12-month rate serves as the cheapest price.
  • 6 months of private training - 5-10% more than the 12-month rate.
  • 3 months of private training - 5-10% more than the 6-month rate.
  • Semi-private - no less than 60% of the private session rate
  • Group training - between 15-25% of private (depending on size, model, etc.)

The reason why training is priced based on the cheapest session is business profit.

If a gym has a healthy margin at its cheapest price then every iteration from it will be good for business.

12 week personal training programs tend to be the most or second most costly.

Some gyms offer 1 month or month-to-month training packages. If the gym also offers longer agreements, these are priced higher to discourage people from taking them.

How Much Do Personal Trainers Charge for Meal Plans?

Personal trainers cannot legally charge you for a meal plan.

Unless your trainer is a registered dietitian, they are not allowed to provide a meal plan.

Meal plans are very specific recommendations. This is different from general nutrition advice.

Your trainer is allowed to provide you with recommendations such as:

  • Trying to eat a serving of vegetables at each meal
  • Aiming to consume 0.8-1.0 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight
  • Suggesting that you try to get and stay hydrated at the beginning of each day.

Your trainer can encourage you to improve your eating habits and provide you with nutritional ideas that support your goals.

Your trainer cannot:

  • Diagnose a medical condition.
  • Tell you exactly what foods to eat at each meal.
  • Prescribe a supplement to treat a perceived nutritional deficiency.

Some of these things fall into what is known as Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT).

MNT is performed by a Registered Dietitian (RD). What constitutes MNT can vary by state.

Dietitians use 24-hour recall, food diaries, and other tools to get an idea of nutritional status.

If any deficiencies are detected, your RD will prescribe a personalized nutrition treatment plan.

The only person who is allowed to give you a meal plan is a registered dietitian.

Check out these resources to learn more about RDs:

Do You Tip a Personal Trainer at the Gym?

You do not need to tip your trainer.

Assuming you're in the United States, it's not customary to tip.

(It may be a practice in another country that I'm unaware of)

If you feel compelled to thank your trainer, find something small that you feel they'd appreciate.

My clients know that I enjoy puzzles. I've received a number of those as gifts over the years.

Why Don’t Gyms List Prices?

Gyms don’t list prices because they want to talk to you. The more information they gather, the more confident they feel in making a sale.

You might be able to sell the same membership to two different people if you learned more about their needs first.

For Example:

  • A rehabbing client looking for the safest exercise program out there.
  • Moms-to-be looking for the confidence to prepare themselves for childbirth.
  • A doctor looking for more energy throughout her workday.
  • A couple looking to feel sexy on an upcoming beach trip.

If you tell someone that your gym has the "safest" training programs around and they're looking to feel sexy, they won't think it's quite the right fit.

Some gyms choose to list prices believing that only the "serious buyers" will contact them.

For example, Evolved Personal Training lists the following as of 4/20/21.

  • 45 minute small group training, "fit in 45" (all doing the same workout):
    • 1x week - $125 per month
    • 2x week - $225 per month (includes a monthly lifestyle accountability session)
    • "Unlimited"* - $300 per month (includes a monthly lifestyle accountability session)
  • 3x week 30 minute group training class, "fit over fifty" (same workout):
    • 1x week - $60 per month
    • 2x week - $100 per month
    • "Unlimited" - $120 per month (includes access to weekend classes)

*some gyms include this unlimited option banking on a client showing up often enough for business to remain profitable.

It's time to start

If you came to this page looking to learn more about Personal Training in Columbia MO, you're in the right place. Let's chat, establish goals, and build a sustainable plan for your fitness.

Why are Personal Trainers So Expensive?

Personal trainers are expensive because they lack benefits and their careers are often short.

Most trainers are not full-time employees. Some trainers work part-time while others work as independent contractors.

As an independent contractor, a trainer has to pay for their own:

  • Taxes
  • Social Security contributions
  • Disability insurance
  • Healthcare insurance

The trainer gets paid cash. The amount of cash depends on experience and the gym.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for trainers in 2019 was $40,390.

How much does a personal trainer make per session? The average hourly rate for a personal trainer was $19.42 per hour in 2019.

Most gyms keep 40-60% of what a client pays per session so this figure is likely lower than you expected.

When you consider that a lot of trainers work part-time or on weekends, it makes sense that trainers need to charge more to make a living wage.

What Affects the Cost of a Personal Trainer?

Personal training session cost varies depending on several factors:

  1. Session length
  2. Number of sessions purchased
  3. Type of training facility
  4. Number of people in class or session
  5. Trainer certification
  6. Trainer specialty

Exercise is an inexact science. Two personal trainers can share the same information and write two completely different fitness plans.

Gyms come in various shapes, amenity levels, and sizes. Because of this and differences in trainers, packages between gyms vary greatly.

1. Session Length

While most are based on 45 to 60 minutes, some personal trainers offer sessions of different lengths.

Some training can last as little as 20 and 30 minutes. If a gym offers this, it's typically high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Longer sessions may last as long as 90 or 120 minutes.

2. Number of Sessions

Some gyms sell sessions in packages or by the month. If training is sold by the session, packages of 5, 20, 50, or more are common.

In this scenario, the gym likely offers a discount for buying more sessions at a time. Sessions also likely carry an expiration date.

A more recent model involves offering training sessions regularly.

Ex;

  • Twice per week
  • Three times per week
  • Four times per week
  • "Unlimited sessions” per week

As mentioned above, this may be layered with the concept of a 3,6, or 12-month agreement.

3. Type of Training Facility

Gyms often sell training as a premium add-on to regular membership. You have to pay for training on top of the price of your regular membership.

The gym may have a separate room for training or you may work alongside everyone else.

Boutique or private training studios offer “personal training only” type services. These facilities tend to take up a smaller footprint than traditional gyms.

A premium studio is more likely to offer a premium price of $70+. Some charge similar to larger gyms, closer to $40 or $50 per session.

A third “place” that you may have not thought of is in-home personal training.

When I first started my business, I offered this service. In-home training is very labor and time-intensive for a trainer. For this reason, it can often be the most expensive training in the market.

4. Number of People in Class or Session

Personal training comes in many different sizes and client-to-trainer ratios.

The main ways you can work with a trainer include:

  • One-on-one personal training
  • Semi-private personal training (1-5 in a session)
  • Small group training (4-10 in a group)
  • Large group personal training classes or boot camps (10-20+)

Some gyms offer "couples or partner sessions" at a discounted price from one-on-one training.

The two differences between semi-private training and small group training are the number of clients in a room and the design of the routine.

In semi-private, no more than 5 people may be in a room. Each client is likely doing their own training program, they're just sharing a room.

In small and large group training, there may be more clients in a session and they're likely performing the same workout. This is common in CrossFit.

The size of the group may limit the exercises that can be performed.

There are ways to "individualize" a routine within a group format;

  • Progression, regression, or scales are recommended (fewer reps or less weight).
  • Some exercises are selected due to their flexibility (inverted or ring rows).
  • Clients may be offered the option to perform one of two alternate workouts (Rx or not in CrossFit).

Equipment can limit exercise selection in larger classes. If a gym does not want to spend a lot of money on barbells, they likely avoid programming heavy glute bridges.

Client-to-trainer ratios are less obvious:

  • One-on-one training - one client to one trainer.
  • Semi-private training - one to five clients to one trainer.
  • Small-group (4-10 in a group) - four to ten clients to one to two trainers.
  • Large group classes or boot camps (10-20+) - Ten or more clients to one or more trainers

With an 8-20+ client to trainer ratio, there isn’t much time to focus on each individual.

None of this is to say that this training format cannot be successful. College athletes work with this sort of athlete to coach ratio very successfully.

5. Trainer Certification

Believe it or not, some gyms have trainers who may not have a certification yet. Often, new trainers are allowed up to six months to attain certification.

This may mean that trainers carry varying costs in the same facilities.

6. Trainer Specialty

Some trainers work with special populations and therefore may have a higher demand for their services.

Some examples of niche training populations include:

  • Pregnancy
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Older
  • Post-Rehabilitation Clients (ex. Back, knee, or shoulder surgery clients released from physical therapy)
  • Athletes

Your market may be above or below these prices. An independent trainer may charge more or less. There is more risk in working for yourself and you have to cover more costs than a standard gym trainer.

Ex. a trainer may spend anywhere from $1000 to 35,000 on equipment starting a new facility.

Personal training can be well worth the money if approached correctly. Be prepared to spend about a small car payment per month though prices can exceed this number.

What Does A Personal Trainer Cost Near Me? Answered

In Columbia, Missouri, a personal trainer costs between $27 to $70 per session. Some trainers around the world charge as much as $150 and up per session. It all depends on the trainer's market power.

Online trainers charge a wide variety of prices. It's difficult to tell how much you should expect to pay when looking into this.

Some online coaches hire others to perform services on behalf of them without a clients' knowledge.

Here’s How to Shop For Personal Training:

  • Check Your Area. Find out local gyms, studios, and remote offerings you have access to. Some trainers work independently, online, or in commercial gyms.
  • Perform background research. Make a couple of phone calls and check google search results. Ask friends and family.
  • Find out what to expect. Search Google and Facebook reviews to get information from people who’ve tried the service. What can they offer to help you with your goal(s)?
  • Talk to a personal trainer. See if pricing information is listed. Many gyms have a website, not all maintain them. Some require you to talk to sales.
  • Ask questions. Some gyms offer an initial consultation for a fee. Other gyms may discount or waive a consultation fee if training services are purchased.
  • Book a consultation (if necessary). If the training program seems like a good fit for you, reach out to schedule a consultation. They'll tell you the pricing then.

Personal training prices vary ($40 to $150+) depending on the size of the session and location.

The landscape has changed dramatically due to COVID-19. Several gyms have shut down and changed the way they do business.

Because gyms don't list prices, you may need to call around a bit.

This article was originally published on 12/21/2020

Last updated: 4/21/21