How much does personal training cost is a great question. The short answer is $45 – $125 per session. It depends on who you ask. A big box gym, a private studio, a local rec centre or an independent mobile personal trainer?
All these options and businesses have different pricing. The reason for the differences can be a variety of factors. The clients fitness level, rent or lease, area or location, skill level of a personal trainer, length of session, duration of the program/agreement, brand of the establishment (high end vs local community) and the sales level of the personal trainer. Let’s look at the differences why the costs vary from place to place and the above factors.
Personal Training Cost Factors;
Clients Level of Fitness
The personal training cost can vary greatly based on the level of fitness the client is currently at. There are many schools of thought on this. If as a mobile personal trainer I have an overweight client who is really out of shape, is it better for me to suggest 30 min sessions due to the inactivity level of the client or 1 hour sessions for greater overall caloric burn?
If a client has been inactive for most of their life, they might be only able to do 15 min of any activity initially. Let’s look at a female personal training client for example and she needs to lose 50 lbs. We would recommend a 6 month 3 x/week program at 1 hour session length. This way we can go at a slower pace initially because of her low lactic threshold, but still get a good caloric burn while learning form and technique. On top of this the female client should also do some personal cardio and follow a healthy nutrition plan.
Eight lbs/month for a female is doable. As a mobile personal trainer I always think in terms of calories burned throughout the workout. Typically a 1 hour workout can burn 500 calories for most people. In 30 min I try to get my clients to burn 300 calories. There in lies the problem too.
If my in home personal training client came to me because they can not commit to exercise on their own in the first place, how can I expect them to commit to several cardio sessions of their own without me? In most scenarios 1 hour sessions do work best.
Personal Training Session Length
Personal Training sessions can be 30 min in length or 1 hour in length typically 95% of the time. Pricing of 30 min sessions are normally 75% of the hourly rate. The reason for this is because the personal trainer still has to create an effective program for the session in a quick efficient manner.
Some fit, athletic-like clients can get a great benefit from fast 30 min sessions. These clients don’t look for major caloric burn, just time-efficient compound exercises. This is how I personally workout most of the time.
When it comes to 30 min personal training sessions, big box gyms really like to promote them because they can service several members/day back to back. In fact, 1 American fitness chain that recently came to Canada only sells 30 minute personal training sessions.
Most mobile personal training companies do not offer 30 min sessions due to the time driven out to the clients home. These mobile personal training companies try to service too large a territory and end up driving way too far for it to be feasible to service 30 min sessions.
Our mobile personal trainers service a small enough territory of a 20 min drive time maximum. This allows for proper servicing of 30 min session clients which can keep personal training costs stable.
Personal Training Program Length
In most personal training companies the length of the program will change the personal training cost. The longer the program commitment with the client the less of a personal training cost.
Many clients who might not know the personal training company or independent health club might only commit to a 3 month agreement for fitness training. The 3 month commitment is the higher price investment for personal training. As a general rule of thumb, if the personal trainer is recommending a certain program length for fitness results – really contemplate investing in it.
As long as the business is an incorporated company, or is registered with the Better Business Bureau, or has a merchant processor or has numerous joint ventures – it should be a trustworthy personal training service 99 times out of a 100. Yes, there are some independent personal trainers out there who collect cash only, have no website, give you no receipt, and have no agreement form – buyer beware.
With other professional companies there are plenty of payment options to spread out your fitness investment. Like we have a 0% financing option. This is where the client who invests in a 6 month personal training program can finance their 6 months over 12 months at half the monthly price – and no interest!
Personal Training Business Model
The place and type of business will change the price often.
- Gyms; If we look at a big box club or health club chain we know numerous factors determine this personal training cost. Factors like;
Rent/Lease – these massive facilities have huge square footage and with that comes massive monthly leases with long term agreements. This drives your price per session up.
Staff– many huge corporations have huge departments like… customer service, marketing, IT, human resources and regional or divisional managers. This all adds to the cost of personal training.
Big Advertising Budgets – spending money on TV, billboards, radio and then internet ads cost BIG BUCKS!!! This effects the personal training hourly rate too.
Fitness Equipment – how much do you think each commercial treadmill costs? Try on average $6,000. Never mind, each weight machine as well. This keeps up the personal training cost.
The problem with big box gym trainers is 2 fold as I see it.
The gym expands so rapidly that they are in a constant need of new personal trainers and hire just about anyone from a weekend certification course, fit or fat. The personal trainer might smoke, eat big macs for lunch and exercise 1 x/year and presto – they are hired. Remember, no discrimination.
The moment you get to know your health club trainer they are gone! Either from lack of sales or because corporate paid them too low.
2. Studios; now if we look at a business model like a personal training gym or stand-alone franchise, let’s see how their sessions are priced?
Rent/Lease – the monthly on these facilities is not enormously huge like a big box but it is still rather hefty due to the high end boutique-like locations in busy retail corner malls. Thus adding to your per session rate or overall personal training cost.
Staff – normally it is the owner themselves doing most of the personal training with the help of maybe a couple employees. They are the marketing, sales, cleaners, accounting, customer service and personal trainers as well. This might not increase your rate as much but your rate is still being offset higher because of location.
Small Advertising Dollars – these personal training studios don’t have much left over after opening the business via renovations, franchise fees and more. So their advertising expenditure is not huge. However if it is a franchise, corporate will typically jump in and help jointly for the initial launch and maybe more. This typically does not greatly add to your rate.
Fitness Equipment– this depends largely based on business model to business model. Some studios have expensive pilates reformers, expensive high end commercial cardio equipment and elegant changes-rooms too. They might have their equipment off-set by depreciating clever accounting. Your rates might be the highest at a stand-alone or boutique type studio.
The problem with these personal training studios is that you want to train with the owner because he or she is the most invested and committed to their craft. Good luck getting an appointment in.
3. Recreation Centre; Let’s look at your local rec centre in terms of personal training costs.
Rent/Lease – Who pays for these rather large but not massive local community fitness centres? We do. Through tax dollars to get built initially and then monthly memberships by citizens who attend. Smart business idea by the city/town I think? This is the reason why personal training is at its lowest cost here. Looking at the focus, energy and effort put toward promoting better health and fitness education via personal training – there is none. They barely promote it.
Staff– The monthly membership and citizen tax dollars help fund the payroll for all city employees, especially those who work at the centre. Most towns or cities you would work for offer great coverage of health, dental and unions as well. There is no marketing and sales department at the city/town to make money off of personal training (or very small if any). In most cases I never see options for you to buy more then 10 at a time never mind 3 x/week. These are more reasons why their cost per session of personal training I typically see there is lower.
Advertising Budget– Normally the only advertising I see for any type of fitness through the town or city is on city owned items like buses, bus shelters, sandwich boards, benches and so on…They don’t pay for these things so they can keep their personal training costs low because of this.
Fitness Equipment – Often it is used or very outdated. The upkeep of the facility tends to be less than expected. Make sure you wipe down the bench or seat before getting on. That keeps their personal training session cost lower than most.
The only problem is most of their rec centre personal trainers are part-time going to school still, have hectic schedules and are still learning about fitness or something else even?
What they do learn they might be trying on you? Rec centre trainers look to be an average age of 20 years old. They tend to be like most young adults and not know what they really want to do yet, party on the weekends and don’t take their job as serious. I don’t see them as real results oriented. However there might be a few who do?
4. On-Site Personal Training; these companies will typically have a similar personal trainer cost to that of a boutique and here is why…
Rent/Lease – This is a non-factor for most mobile personal training services. The consideration is what is their mobile office? I joke saying Starbucks but it is typically their car. A mobile personal trainer needs to have a newer, more reliable car that is well maintained. The vehicle should be great on gas and require a low cost to operate. It just doesn’t make sense to drive around in a Hummer for example. The client rate would have to be $175/session to just offset the fuel. My mobile office (car) total costs are around $1,500/month on average.
Staff– the in home personal trainer owner is typically the operator as well. Personal Training you is their priority and then they work on all other aspects of the business as well. They have no staff but themselves to compensate for their drive time there, session length and drive time back.
Advertising Budget – An independent trainer will allocate only so much toward marketing and advertising. Most of their growth is through referrals and word of mouth. This bearing in mind, consumer trade-shows play an important marketing role to the serious in home fitness services. Business trade-shows are important as well for brand awareness.
Fitness Equipment– I have yet to see on-site personal trainers drive around with any ellipticals in their trunk. Most trainers have very functional and portable less expensive equipment that is funded by themselves. This is why most trainers can still be under the personal training cost per session of a high end boutique studio.
The only problem with independent mobile personal trainers is it is hard to find one that is legit. Ask if they are certified, have a current background check, are members of the triple B and have numerous referrals of clients who have used their service?
Personal Trainer Skill Level – In some personal training businesses trainers get compensated more income based off of the level of skill and education they have achieved. A kinesiology graduate might argue that they deserve more income based off their qualifications, rightfully so.
However I have met many self-taught certified personal trainers who know much more about fat loss, motivation and weight management than a university graduate in health sciences at times. Is this always the case? No. This is why though that some fitness training services choose to not pay their trainers according to education.
We have a dynamic of everyone on the Trainers On Site team; Kin grads, College Fitness grads and certified personal trainers. The real neat thing about our team is that when one personal trainer is stumped on a question we can ask our colleagues for answers. In big box gyms that is never the case because the other trainers on the floor want to keep their training secrets to themselves. They feel threatened in regards to acquiring more clients.
Personal Trainer Sales Level – it is very common at big box gyms to see different descriptions or titles of trainers on their profile or even on their shirts. Once a trainer achieves a certain sales level per month consecutively they prove to management that they can sell personal training at that price point. With more sales and more experience at the club, management decides to allow the fitness club trainer to charge more per session, thus your personal training cost goes up too.
With mobile personal trainers there is no way to recognize how someone looks or is titled differently based on their shirt. Also, typical mobile personal training businesses don’t have more than 1 personal trainer in a given region anyhow to show that sales level difference.
Personal Training Location / Area – when looking at the area or location the personal training establishment is based out of you want to remember the cost of living there. Looking at downtown Toronto, it is much more expensive there per square footage than a place out in the country with plenty of land. For example, you cannot park anywhere in Toronto without paying for parking. Of course like mentioned before, high rent equals higher personal training cost in general.
Average Personal Training Costs
Big Box Gym Chains are all over the map. I have seen rates as low as $52 per hour and as high as $115 + tax per hour downtown Toronto.
Personal Training Studios in general are typically higher priced around the average of $90 + tax or more per session averaged out.
Recreation and Community Centres have average per session rates of $60/hour + tax it seems.
Independent Mobile Personal Trainers can start at $50 cash and be as much as $100/session + tax from what I have seen (again, be careful if ever giving cash away to businesses). We don’t take cash in our personal training business.
Personal Training Cost Summary;
So there you have it. If you are looking for a personal training service it might not be as wise to shop around a price first? Maybe start with making a connection or asking friends and your network if they personally know of any good trainers. Get to know the personal training service, follow them and what they are doing and make sure you can trust them.
I remember reading or listening to a coach who had mentioned this analogy when looking for “the best price” on something like a car or a service. He said “in his many years of buying and selling products and services he has yet to discover one that contains all 3 of these criteria”;
– The finest quality of product/service. The best of the best.
– The highest quality of customer service. They don’t leave you high and dry.
– The lowest price.
Look at the dollar store for example. They might have the lowest price product out there based on a buck or 2, but can we actually say it is the finest quality product out there? I think not. Do they have the best customer service – never.
How about Mercedes Benz automobiles? Clearly there are other car manufacturers available to choose from that are lower price and perhaps have many more features…but there is a reason why droves of people dream of owning this luxury automobile. Personally I know their service department is top notch as well. They even have admins following up on pre-appointment bookings and surveys sent out afterwards This is why Mercedes dealerships seem to be always busy across the world.
So what will you sacrifice when investing in a personal trainer?
Lowest price, finest quality, superior customer service..?
I think you know the answer.
I would love to hear your comments and thoughts on this. Is your Personal Trainer delivering based on the personal training cost per session and total investment?
If you still want to read more info, check out this Women’s Health article —-> Personal Training Cost <—–
If you live in the Greater Toronto Area and you are looking for an in home personal trainer, contact us so we can help —– Book An Assessment
by Robert Foster, Milton Personal Trainer