Why Are Personal Trainers So Expensive? (And Is It Worth It)

why are personal trainers so expensive

Hiring a personal trainer can be beneficial for various reasons. Working out on your own can feel intimidating, especially when you’re a beginner. Sometimes, it can be difficult to stick to your routine on a consistent basis. Other times, you just need someone to give you an extra push to boost the intensity of your workouts.

But one of the biggest drawbacks of personal trainers is the cost, and hiring a personal trainer can cost you several hundred dollars per month.

So why are personal trainers so expensive, and are they worth it? Personal trainers are expensive because you’re paying them to give you their undivided attention for 30-60 minutes. Many trainers also have advanced degrees and additional certifications, which allows them to charge more money. Other trainers charge a lot of money simply because they know they’re good at what they do.

In this article, I’ll go through the cost of hiring a personal trainer and discuss all of the factors that contribute to their high prices. I’ll also discuss whether or not a personal trainer is worth it so you can decide if hiring one is the right decision for you.

If you don’t want to spend the money on a personal trainer, try the Fitbod app instead. The routines are customized to your individual needs and can help you lose weight, build muscle, and hit new PRs. Plus, your first 3 workouts are free!

How Much Are Personal Trainers?

how much are personal trainers

In general, you can expect to pay anywhere from $25 to $100 or more for a 60-minute session with a personal trainer. 

That’s a large range, but it’s hard to narrow it down more than that because the exact cost of a personal trainer depends on several factors, including:

  • Whether they’re employed by a big box gym, work at a small studio, or run their own business
  • How many years of experience and/or education they have
  • How many certifications they have
  • Your geographic location
  • What kind of package you buy
  • How long your personal training sessions are

If you hire a personal trainer at a big box gym such as Gold’s Gym or LA Fitness, you’ll also notice that the prices vary from one club to another. A personal trainer at one Gold’s Gym location may charge $85 per hour, but a trainer at a location in the next town over may charge $60 per hour.

The reason for these disparities is due to the fact that these large chain gyms are often franchised out, and franchise owners have the ability to set their own prices for different services.

You’ll likely also notice that self-employed personal trainers or those who work in smaller, more private studios charge more. Part of this is because they have their own taxes and business expenses to worry about covering. But it’s also because they typically provide more one-on-one attention and, in some cases, are more qualified than trainers at chain gyms.

Regardless of whether you’re hiring a personal trainer from a big box gym or a private personal trainer, you can buy sessions in bulk to help you save money. 

For example, if you were to pay for 12 sessions individually, they may cost $75 each for a total of $900. But if you buy them in bulk, it may cost $800, which comes to a little less than $67 per session.

Need a workout program? Get 3 free workouts on Fitbod right now.

Why Do Personal Trainers Cost So Much?

why do personal trainers cost so much

1. They (usually) have years of experience or education under their belts

While this isn’t true of all personal trainers, many have advanced degrees in exercise or kinesiology. And in addition to the standard personal trainer certifications they must receive, good trainers also keep up with new research surrounding fitness and nutrition. You’re paying for access to all of the knowledge they’ve accumulated over the years.

Lots of trainers are also certified in nutrition and specialize in other areas such as strength and conditioning, human performance, or lifestyle and behavior management. They also spend a lot of time working out themselves. When you pay for a personal trainer, you’re paying for the expertise they’ve built up based on their own personal experiences.

2. Their time is valuable

It’s easy to think that personal trainers do nothing but play around in the gym all day long, but that’s far from the truth.

Sure, personal trainers at big box gyms don’t necessarily have to worry about business operations or managing other employees. But they’re still there to do a job.

Good trainers want to see other people succeed and will dedicate each minute of their training sessions to their clients. You’re paying for their undivided attention, and the time they spend with you is time that they can’t spend with anyone else. They have to make it worth their while.

Furthermore, personal trainers often spend a huge chunk of their time doing check-ins or creating routines for their clients. They may not always get compensated for the work they do outside of their one-on-one training, so they have to make it up elsewhere.

3. They have to make a living

Personal trainers are just like the rest of us in that they need to provide for their families, pay bills, and afford basic necessities. Each hour that they spend not working means their income takes a hit, especially if they don’t get paid a base salary in addition to their hourly rates.

This is especially true for trainers at chain gyms. The gym will often take a large cut of the revenue its personal trainers bring in, and the trainers need to charge a lot so they can still make a decent living.

4. Each workout is customized

Working with a personal trainer means you’re getting a workout routine that’s specific to your goals and body type while also capitalizing on your strengths and helping you address your weaknesses.

When a personal trainer creates a program for you, he or she must take into consideration your experience level, injury history, current strength levels, diet, lifestyle, and much more. They need to be able to combine all of that plus their knowledge of how the human body works to come up with a logical routine that meets your individual needs. 

Related Article: How To Create Your Own Workout Program (Ultimate Guide)

5. They’re good at their jobs

This is another point that isn’t true in all cases but is one of the main reasons why personal trainers are so expensive. The ones who have a long list of satisfied clients to prove how good they are can afford to charge more because they know they’re better at their job than others.

But what makes a good personal trainer? Beyond just having the right qualifications, good personal trainers have strong interpersonal skills and excel at empathizing with people who may not be happy with their bodies. They should also be selfless and care about helping people reach their goals.

They should also be able to push you without making you resent exercising and listen to you when you have concerns. And in addition to telling you what exercises to do, they should also continuously teach you the “why” behind what you’re doing so you can develop the confidence you need to work out on your own in the future.

Is An Expensive Personal Trainer Better?

It’s important to note that just because a personal trainer charges a premium for their services doesn’t mean you’ll get top-notch results.

Some trainers can have a plethora of certifications and a long list of initials after their name but lack the social skills necessary to successfully work on-on-one with others. Likewise, someone can be knowledgeable about a certain topic but have no idea how to teach others to apply that information to their own circumstances.

Furthermore, the reason that many trainers at chain gyms charge a lot of money isn’t just because they have a strong educational background or have had a lot of success with previous clients.

Those things matter, but it’s also common for trainers at chain gyms to charge a lot simply because they’re good at selling their services. They often have quotas to meet, and if they consistently hit those targets, they move up the ranks at the gym and can ask for more money.

However, being able to convince people that they need a service doesn’t mean someone is good at creating an effective workout routine or teaching you how to lift properly.

Another thing to think about is how well you get along with your trainer. They could have dozens of success stories that justify their high prices, but they may not mesh well with you.

This doesn’t make them a bad trainer — it simply means that they’re not a good fit for you. But you shouldn’t feel obliged to shell out a ton of cash for a personal trainer who doesn’t “get” you just because 100 other clients before you saw amazing results.

Takeaway: Expensive personal trainers aren’t always better. They may charge more money because they have more education or a long list of credentials. But they may not have the interpersonal skills necessary to apply that knowledge to training people on a one-to-one basis, and sometimes they just won’t be a good fit for you.

Should You Hire A Personal Trainer?

should you hire a personal trainer

The answer to the question of whether you should hire a personal trainer isn’t a straightforward one. Personal trainers are valuable for a host of reasons, but it’s not necessary to hire one if you can’t afford it or just don’t want to.

That said, there are a few scenarios where you may benefit from working with a personal trainer.

1. You’re new to fitness

If you’re completely new to working out, a personal trainer can show you how to use different pieces of equipment, show you proper form, and teach you all of the components that go into creating a routine that works for your body.

They’ll also be able to help you improve your strength and cardiovascular fitness over time and teach you how much fun working out can be. If needed, your personal trainer may also be able to give you nutritional guidance to help you develop healthy eating habits.

2. You lack discipline

Working out takes a certain amount of self-discipline that is difficult for some people to tap into. If this sounds like you, you may benefit from hiring a personal trainer who can hold you accountable for keeping up with your workouts.

Scheduling a session with a personal trainer can help make your workouts feel like a firm commitment that you can’t back out of. And if you form a strong bond with your trainer, you won’t want to let them down or disappoint them by skipping your workouts.

Related Article: Top 5 Excuses Not To Workout: Which One Do You Fall Into?

3. You don’t push yourself when you work out alone

Some people have the discipline to train on a consistent basis but struggle to push the intensity during solo workouts. A good personal trainer will be able to recognize when you’re slacking and can motivate you to move at a faster pace.

Personal trainers can also be good sources of motivation if you’re attempting a new personal record or trying to complete a workout in a certain amount of time. Self-doubt can creep in when you’re trying to lift a new 1 rep max or reduce your 1-mile run time, but a personal trainer can help you develop more confidence in your abilities.

4. You’re coming back from an injury

Getting back into a fitness routine after suffering from a major injury can be challenging. Ideally, you’ll have worked with a physical therapist as part of the rehab process. But a personal trainer can take it a step further and create a workout routine for you that will help get your entire body stronger again post-injury.

The same is also true when you’re coming back from any event that significantly impacted your body, such as childbirth or surgery. 

5. You’re bored with your current routine or you reached a plateau

It’s easy to fall into the trap of doing the same workouts over and over again because they’re familiar to you. But if you’re no longer seeing results or want to try something new, a personal trainer can give you ideas for switching up your workouts.

Personal Trainer Alternatives

personal trainer alternatives

If a personal trainer is out of your budget but you still need some guidance when it comes to working out, consider one of the alternatives below.

1. Fitbod

The Fitbod app is designed to create customized training routines that you can do at the gym or at home even if you have limited equipment. And while it’s not the same as having someone watch your form and give you feedback in real-time, there are demo videos for every exercise so you can make sure you’re doing them properly.

The Fitbod app is intuitive and will create your workout program based on your schedule, goals, and the muscle groups you want to focus on. Each day, you can also tell the app how well you’ve recovered from your previous workout. It’s just like having a personal trainer in your pocket to guide you through workouts based on your energy levels and preferences.

2. YouTube videos

YouTube is an excellent place to find workouts that you can do from the comfort of your own home. Fitness Blender is one channel that I recommend looking into, as it offers short but effective workout routines with modifications for every experience level.

YouTube is also a great place to find videos on proper technique and tips on how to create your own fitness or nutrition plan. Just be sure to do a lot of research and check the background of the person whose channel you’re watching to ensure they’re qualified. Some YouTubers are notorious for spreading a lot of misinformation about diet and working out.

Drawbacks:  One of the drawbacks of working out exclusively with YouTube is that you’ll likely be repeating a lot of the same workouts, which over time will lead to stagnation in your results. 

Final Thoughts

Several factors go into the cost of personal training services, including the trainer’s credentials, how many years of experience they have, what kind of gym they work at, geographic location, and how long your sessions are. Personal trainers can cost as low as $25 or more than $100 per session.

However, expensive personal trainers aren’t always worth it. They could have an extensive educational background, but that doesn’t mean they have the ability to impart that knowledge to others and coach people through effective workout routines.

If you don’t have the budget to pay for a personal trainer, you can look at less expensive options such as the Fitbod app. While you won’t have someone there to coach you through your workouts in person, it will still provide a customized routine based on your goals, equipment, and schedule.

Related Article: Cross-Training vs Crossfit: Differences, Pros, Cons

About The Author

Amanda Dvorak

Amanda Dvorak is a freelance writer and powerlifting enthusiast. Amanda played softball for 12 years and discovered her passion for fitness when she was in college. It wasn’t until she started CrossFit in 2015 that she became interested in powerlifting and realized how much she loves lifting heavy weights. In addition to powerlifting, Amanda also enjoys running and cycling.