The true cost of investing in a personal trainer
In recent years, getting a personal trainer is a common investment based on the desire to achieve specific health and fitness goals. For some it’s the lack of motivation most people have to exercise or build consistent lifestyle habits. A personal trainer bangkok can also be effective for added accountability, to disengage from work, get out of the office and purely to invest in themselves to live better and be healthier. Some invest in a personal trainer because they lack the confidence or knowledge to exercise safely or support nutrition choices in an effective and sustainable manner. Clients also have specific needs, or need a specialist with specific expertise around youth, pain management, rehabilitation, seniors / active aging or sport specific performance.
Then there are those who are seeking real expertise - a transfer of knowledge from an expert to help optimize their life, health and physical goals. So this goes beyond a personal trainer and more into coaching for long term complete lifestyle results.
For a quality personal trainer though, skill sets must go beyond just fitness, exercise and nutrition. Coaching therefore must include an integrated approach to lifestyle change, behaviours, habits, sleep, stress and goal achievement. Fundamental understanding of the mind in terms of habit architecture and basic psychology.
Not to be taken out of context, I don't mean they need to be a fully trained and licensed psychologist, just understanding habit formation, motivation and communication to help navigate towards positive change and pivot challenges of daily life.
Additionally, just like the level and quality of trainers, as for any industry, the reason WHY we seek a fitness coach or personal trainer also varies - which is why it’s essential for you to do your homework and first know what you need, support, education, quality you seek and price point in your budget to get you to your goals. This ensures the optimal experience for your personal needs and outcomes while keeping expectations realistic and result centric.
What does a personal trainer cost and what are you actually getting?
Well, that of course depends.
It’s fair to say that the pricing of the health and fitness industry varies greatly based on the quality of coach that you seek. As the old saying goes, pay peanuts, you get monkeys. This can be true for most industries and the fitness industry is no different.
What may influence the cost of a personal trainer.
Although there are exceptions to the rule, other factors to consider when choosing a personal trainer or health coach may include the cost of operating a business and the investment over time one has taken to build a truly world class team of professionals.
It’s not just time. Rentals, operating costs, technology investments in platforms, HRV, tracking systems, upskilling and education of the team to ensure the highest industry standards are all expenses that may affect the cost / investment - beyond the time. And therefore the quality of your trainer and the experience of your journey.
In general though, there is a correlation between the cost of a personal trainer and the quality they deliver. Therefore your results. What you also need to consider is that the investment is not simply based on a particular service, or an exchange of time.
Unfortunately most service based industries lead consumers to think it really is just an exchange of time for money. 60 minutes of time for my hour with a personal trainer to ‘workout’.
That might be for the personal training program, the attention, care, advisory and face to face time - during the session.
Let's break it down a little to help you understand what goes into becoming a world class personal trainer or health coach.
We will cover just a few key areas to help you understand the price / investment / quality equation:
- Education of the Personal Trainer
- Personal Training Experience
- What to look for when seeking a personal trainer
- Know what support you need
- Monthly Cost of a Personal Trainer
- The Hybrid Coaching Model.
To make it simple to compare and correlate, I’ve put together a simple table for comparison.
World class, Experienced Coach
10 Years Experience
World class, Experienced Coach
Average Personal Trainer
Degree - Education
Hours of education
Hours of education
Hours of experience
Hours of experience
Education of the Personal Trainer:
Keep in mind also that the average ‘career’ of a personal trainer globally is less than 8 months. Yes, that's the career! So the low barrier to entry also leads to a high exit and turnover. To be world class is not easy. To build the reputation of quality, results and high levels of service takes time, investment and focus to lead your industry and stand out from the rest.
Why do you think that is?
Keep these points in mind and also that generally, a personal trainer who has been in the industry for 10-15-20 years, probably has some merit. It’s a tough industry to sustain a career in. Of course some will slip through the system, but generally speaking, experience is a reflection of proficiency and abilities.
For example, over 25 years, I have invested more than 250,000 USD in my continued education. Now of course this is not standard or average, purely a reflection of my continued commitment and desire to be the best professional I can to help serve my clients and team as best as I possibly can. My constant pursuit for excellence, knowledge and understanding to achieve better results in less time. These investments go beyond training nutrition of course. Extending into neuroscience, human behavior, psychology, building high performance teams and business. They do all contribute and lead to the client experience and high standard of customer service and results.
In addition to the financial investment, the time investment to educate, learn, apply, refine and identify more effective methods and tools is unquestionably a high value that allows clients to accelerate their knowledge and results by accessing someone else's knowledge for their own personal gain and reward.
Some other things to consider regarding the price:
- It’s not just a trade of time for money. It’s expertise. Notice I said expertise, not just experience. Proficiency application and achieve of a specific outcome
- Celebrity trainers may not have the qualifications or abilities, just fortunate to connect with the right people and jump on the trends. Be cautious of instagram influencers claiming their expertise with high prices.
- Qualifications don’t directly equate to proficiency. I’ve had trainers work for me with 20 certifications and 10 years experience. Yet were outclassed by younger less experienced, less credentials trainers who had the EQ and communication skills to really inspire their clients to change.
There are plenty of experienced people out there, that doesn't mean they are great at what they do. So choose wisely.
Imagine working with a financial advisor who doesn't have any savings or has any money invested in any funds without any evidence or return on their own investments. Compared to a financial advisor and experienced investor who for 20 years has a track record of smart investing experience and proof of personal and client returns throughout different economic crises, navigating inflation, pandemics, stock crashes, recessions, property crashes and bubbles across various funding options, plus working with and being mentored by leading global investors and fund managers
Would you pay more for the confidence, experience and mastery of the experienced financial advisor?
Who would you invest your money with? Is it worth the extra cost of working with a more experienced, yet more expensive financial advisor? Or would you prefer to risk your money with a fresh recruit with 1 year experience?
The choice is clear.
Regarding your preferred choice of personal trainer and coach, it goes a little deeper.
Personal Training Experience:
With my team, I talk about ‘clinical hours’, just like a doctor, or carpenter, they are masters of their craft. That wisdom and experience comes from thousands of hours working in their field, exposed to different situations, people, environments and pressures. They have their own winning formulas, strategies and skills they can draw on to deliver a superior outcome.
You can have inherent communication skills, knowledge, but the true mastery comes from clinical hours. Time on the floor, more hours with different types of clients, coaching, communication, support and helping clients change behaviours outside of training hours.
Taking the example above, does the financial advisor need to follow up with you after the consultation? Did you track your spending this week? Have you opened your account, how much did you invest? Did you diversify your stock portfolio? Have you prepared for the recession? How are you navigating inflation, how's your portfolio going this quarter etc etc.
No, of course not. It just doesn't happen.
However a world class coaching professional and personal trainer will. Check ins, follow ups, designing programs for you to follow on your, checking your habits, routines and following up with your nutrition.
If you would calculate the ‘time for money’ exchange that goes into supporting clients outside of training hours, it would be a hell of a lot more than the price you pay for the 60 minutes of time together.
And if we didn’t do that? The chances are you wouldn't stick to your routines. The other 166 hours in the week would be a big gap to fill with compliance, consistency, awareness of choices, implementing systems.
So, you have a choice, you can stick to the time for money exchange and have no additional support outside of training hours… OR… understand that the support you get outside of the gym is simply factored (to a small degree) into the ‘hourly rate’ you frame the price of training into.
Unfortunately, this is where the industry is broken. There are not many professions that NEED to give so much support outside of appointments than the health and fitness industry.
Still, the time / money equation is still the first through rather than the exchange of expertise and ability to transform behavior into results.
It reminds me of the story of the old ship engineer.
The story goes something like this…
“A container ship engine was broken. The ship’s engineers couldn't fix it. So the ship owners brought in an outside ‘expert’ to fix it. They couldn't, so they found another and another, and tried one, but none of them could repair the engine. .
Then they decided to bring in an old man who had been fixing ships since he was young. He had an old set of tools with him, daggy clothes and torn pants. He started to inspect the engine. He looked around the engine very carefully, and took his time to look at the variables.
Two of the ship’s owners were there, watching, hoping he would know what to do. After looking things over, the old man reached into his bag and pulled out a small hammer. Took aim and gently tapped something. Instantly, the engine roared into life. He carefully put his hammer away. The engine was fixed!
A week later, the owners received an invoice for ten thousand dollars.
“What, you're mad?” the owners exclaimed. “He was only there for 5 minutes!!”
So they wrote back to the old man saying, “Please send us an itemized bill.
The man sent an invoice for the following:
Tapping with a hammer………………….. $ 2.00
Knowing where to tap…………………….. $ 9,998.00
Effort is important, but knowing where to make an effort makes IS the difference that makes the difference!
It’s not what you do, it’s how you influence change. Both in behaviours and metabolic adaptation.These both go beyond habits and the scale.
This covers not just experience in years, but also the diversity in types and numbers of clients each professional trainer has worked with over their career. A personal trainer at the top of their game and industry, links to their emotional intelligence and ability to draw on the diverse nature of clients and human behavours to influence and guide with greater efficiency, support, knowledge, systems and goal achievement relevant to the specific needs of each client.
What to Look for When Seeking a Personal Trainer.
Especially from a gym/studio with a team of personal trainers..
A company with a team of professionals who have developed or follow a specific methodology for results. What is a methodology? It’s a proven systematic process all team members and trainers follow based on previous experience and results of clients. Identifying a process that is valid, reliable and repeatable.
Ask deeper questions regarding their systems.
- How do you assign trainers to clients?
- What training systems do you implement to upskill your team?
- What if I’m not happy with the trainer?
- How do you support clients outside of training days?
- How long has your team been with you?
- How do your personal training programs fit to individual goals?
- Do you have success stories and testimonials?
- Can I speak with some of your current clients?
- How do you ensure results for your clients?
- How long have you had your clients for?
This last point is a big factor. At Aspire for example, we have had some clients for over 15 years.That’s a long time to retain a client. And we have many clients continuing for 3-5+ years.
Again, your specific needs will determine the duration that you wish to work with a personal trainer. Your goals may change. The reason you want to continue with your personal change will definitely change.
For example, initially you wish to work with a personal trainer for motivation and achieve a specific outcome. Then through your experience you learn that you train better, your coach is constantly improving smaller details around posture, pain or the investment simply make health and training more enjoyable with positive impact in other areas of your life.
Know what support and expertise of a Personal Trainer you need
Know what your goals are, specifically, in detail. Additionally, WHY are these goals important to you?
Understanding the driving force or aspirations behind achieving a specific goal is essential to know the purpose and reason behind your investment in energy and finances towards your goals.
Therefore, I suggest you recruit, don't just buy a personal training package. You're not buying a thing, it's a service. And that service quality is dependent on many factors.
You want a ROI right? That return on investment will be directly correlated with the skills, experience, qualifications and track record of the personal trainer you choose. The upfront initial investment might seem greater, however the results and impact on your life goals, confidence and health will definitely save you money, frustration, energy and time in the long long term.
When you do find the right personal trainer for you, here’s what you can expect.
- Accelerated results
- Support on habits, lifestyle and results
- Fun, challenge, in the right dose
- Punctual, organised appointments planned
- Always feel better after your session
- Knowledge transfer - a lot!
- Making complicated concepts simple
- Focus on what’s necessary
- Debunking myths and confusion
- Positive motivation and mentoring
- An emotionally intelligent professional
What else are you getting outside of the personal training session:
Quality personal trainers know the essential value added services and support required to deliver outstanding service and results. Here’s a list of other benefits you might find with quality trainers.
- Technology, online training support, programs, nutrition tracking and habit tracking software.
- Activity trackers, devices, watches and wearables.
- Support groups. Managed private communities for continuous support and accountability.
- Courses: Access to more education you access in your time. These have costs to subscribe, create and manage.
- Masterminds: Group coaching sport with weekly online coaching sessions, learning experiences and webinars / seminars.
- Tools, checklists, journals, shopping lists and resources.
Should a personal trainer have life coach skills?
If they are the best at what they do, then absolutely yes.
Why? Because the factors in one’s life will determine their ability to make positive long term changes and navigate the distractions and challenges that prevent most people from achieving their true health and fitness success. It's that simple.
Again, this is what defines an average personal trainer from an outstanding trainer - or as I have explained, a coach. Working with you to achieve optimum health and lifestyle results.
With the additional skills to coach behaviours, habits and help you get better results, then the increased investment would be far greater return than just a standard trainer who only focuses on ‘exercise, workouts and basic nutrition.
Bottom Line Cost of a Personal Trainer.
As you can see, there are many factors that must be considered that go into your decision to choose the right personal trainer and fit for you and your goals.
Just like any purchase, cheaper usually reflects quality. So here are some price points to help you decide to find the best match for a personal trainer with the different cost levels and pricing options of personal trainers around the world.
Cost of a Personal Trainer per Hour:
If simply looking at the traditional time vs money equation, the cost of a personal trainer on an hourly rate basis varies greatly. Those variances may depend on what we have covered above and others not mentioned, such as competition, trends, specialization, fame, city / location, facility standards and pure demand in the market.
The other difference lies between those working independently and ‘freelance’ vs those working for a commercial gym or private studio. Usually, commercial gym rates are lower than specialised studio’s, and freelancer trainers would vary based on their location, experience and targeted demographics / specialties.
The cost of a personal trainer can vary greatly. Ranging anywhere from 20 to 200+ USD / hour based on the factors already outlined above
20-30 USD per hour
This price point would usually be personal trainers with less than 3 years experience and holding basic certifications and minimum requirements.
30-50 USD per hour
A personal trainer at this price point would usually have a degree in exercise science, physiology, kinesiology and nutrition, with 5-10 years of experience.
Personal trainers in this price range are also likely to have 10 years experience. As a professional with this amount of experience they would have usually niched into specific specialties that help them develop greater expertise in a particular area such as women, rehab, performance or weight loss.
Personal trainers above 100 USD / per hour form the elite niche experts who engage more into higher level coaching beyond just training and nutrition. It’s important that you also inquire about their methodologies, experience and client success as ‘celebrity’ trainers may just be in great shape themselves and are lucky to connect with the right people without the expertise, education or qualifications of real experts.
Tru expert trainers and coaches would have their defined systems, developed over many years that to them, are proven pathways to client success and results. If you can invest in quality coaches over cheaper personal trainers, you are much more likely to achieve better results, which actually saves you money in the long term.
Treat your investment as you would with any other high ticket investment and seek a specific return and result.
Personal Training Packages.
Typically across the globe, personal training packages follow a bulk economy of scale. The bigger the commitment and package, with more personal training sessions, the lower the rate per hour. So pricing is rewarded based on investment and commitment.
They might follow packages of 10, 20, 40, 100, or 12, 24, 48 based on the business and packages chosen by the trainer or fitness business.
Each company or trainer will have different terms and conditions related to the expiry dates, extensions and use of their sessions. So be sure you ask for the details and terms of your package.
What we’ve found is that most commercial operations have strict expiry dates with very little flexibility on extensions unless related to health complications, doctors certificates or extended travel.
Our approach has been much more client centric. Being understanding to the clients needs and life situations has helped us increase the lifetime value of clients as well and encourage high numbers of referrals from our happy clients.
Monthly Cost of a Personal Trainer
Here I explain a few options that have evolved in recent years that have proven to be super cost effective for those looking for quality coaching combined with online support, accountability and education.
Recurring Personal Training Solutions
The recurring model. About 8 years ago, we introduced a different personal training package model. Taking the client centric approach of ‘solutions’ we redesigned the packages to incorporate everything a client wants and values based on surveys and asking the clients what they wanted. Asking for consistent feedback from clients is always a great idea and absolutely essential to successful client experience.
Long term commitment with the ability to manage their finances, while also taking into consideration the ideal life time value of a client that also gives them the support and higher success rate for their results.
The recurring mode then became our most popular personal training solution. Clients liked the fact that they could choose the best personal training package option based on their financial price point with the added accountability which allows them to be consistent for the long term.
Usually offered as a 6 month or 12 month program for consistent lifestyle change over time, these options have the client the choice to work with a coach or personal trainer 1, 2, 3 or 4 times per week.
The payment cycle is monthly, like a recurring subscription, similar to a gym membership, yet now includes the services of a personal trainer. This allows clients to manage their finances, stay consistent, and be committed to their desired frequency of training hours per week.
These personal training solutions can range from 300 to 1,000 USD per month based on the frequency of training and coaching.
The Hybrid Coaching Model.
Cost of Personal Trainer with hybrid approach which includes some in person training sessions plus the added online support.
The benefit of a hybrid program means you need to spend time and money on in person face to face personal training, with the added support and accountability of online coaching and training.
Usually this will include accountability and developing your programs and nutrition plans to follow on your own and in your own time.
This option requires your motivation and discipline to do some work, training on your own.
A great solution for someone who wants some face to face contact and accountability, who also has the desire and discipline to exercise and follow structured exercise programs on their own.
The monthly cost of a personal trainer with a hybrid combination of in person training and online training would also depend on the frequency of in person training sessions.
As you can assume, 1 session per month versus 1 session per week would greatly vary.
One Session with a personal trainer per month + online training, expect to pay around 200 per month, or 50 USD per week. 1 session with a personal trainer plus online training option, more likely to cost 300-400 USD per month. As you can see, the cost dramatically increased based on the frequency and number of private sessions per month.
Overall, you will find the lower cost personal trainers at commercial, high volume facilities and branded gyms and health clubs with an increasing rate for private studio’s and freelance trainers based on their experience, qualifications and specialities.
When looking for a personal trainer and comparing costs of personal training services, know your outcomes, understand your needs and specific areas of support you need whether it be nutrition, habits, stress, weight loss or accountability.
Do you research, recruit and interview your top pics and short list candidates, just as you would staff or a financial advisor. Remember, investing in a personal trainer is an investment in your health, your performance, longevity and capacity to be the best version of you.
Personal training is an investment. You want and expect a specific standard of service and are seeking the best returns and results possible.
Take these points into consideration, invest the time to research, interview and choose the best personal trainer or coach for you, your needs and your desired outcomes.
About the Author.
Dan Remon is theCEO and founder of Fitcorp Group. A diverse health coaching and leadership performance company and founder of Aspire coaching, based in Bangkok.In addition to pioneering exclusive private personal training studio’s, he is the founder of ASPATA Personal Training Academy, Lifestyle Health Retreats, and Fitcorp Global, specializing in health and high performance leadership coaching for executives and corporate teams. All inspired to raise the standards of the health and performance industry while educating clients and professionals to deliver unrivaled, world class personal training and health coaching services to impact their world to live a healthier more impactful life.