Is a personal trainer worth it? With the cost of personal training ranging anywhere from $40–$120 per hour (sometimes more), personal training sessions can add up fast and be a costly expense. However, really good trainers can produce really amazing results. And if a trainer can help you hit your fitness goals and transform your body, isn’t that worth it?
The Short Answer:
Since there are so many mediocre trainers saturating the market, this answer can sometimes become muddled. But the truth is that — yes — a good personal trainer with a solid track record who can keep you motivated, bring out the best in you during your training sessions, and constantly deliver amazing client results is worth every single penny — 100% without a doubt.
Understanding the Value Proposition
Nowadays, personal trainers are a dime a dozen. But please do not be fooled ladies and gentlemen; not all trainers are alike, in that not all trainers produce results — not by a long shot. If what you’re after is results, then that’s what you should be paying for.
Here’s my angle: Good lawyers charge a lot of money because good lawyers win a lot of cases. It’s no surprise then that the most winningest law firms charge significantly more than their competition based on their high win rates.
Why should a personal trainer or fitness coach be any different?
If their job is to help you build the body of your dreams and they’ve constantly made that happen for their previous clients, then shouldn’t they have the right to charge you more than the competition based on their success rate?
Whether their pricing fits your budget or not is an entirely different story.
By the end of this article, my hope is that you’ll have more clarity on the importance of a personal trainer, whether or not a trainer is within your budget, how to choose the right one, and the potential of utilizing online coaching as an alternative.
When you’re done reading, leave a comment down below to let me know if I succeeded with that. And if I didn’t, help me understand why. I’m always open to constructive criticism to improve the content that we offer on this website. 😃
Feel free to use the navigation box above to skip ahead at your leisure. If you want the best chance to land a trainer that gets you real results, then trust me, continue reading.
What’s the Purpose of a Personal Trainer?
A personal trainer’s role in your health and fitness journey is important for so many reasons. But let’s cover the most critical and relevant ways a personal trainer can help you get results:
- Personalize Your Training Program — A good personal trainer is going to be able to tailor your training program to your exact needs and requirements. They will have the experience and knowledge base to adjust your program on the fly to accommodate your mood, fitness level, any previous injuries, and even your energy levels on any given day.
- Get Educated / Learn Good Form — Many beginners shy away from a training program simply because they don’t know what to do or are afraid of getting injured. A personal trainer can guide you through the early stages of your training and development, instilling good form, overall training habits, and the confidence to have you train safely with a low risk for any injuries.
- Be Motivated and Held Accountable — At their very best, a good personal trainer is going to be able to bring out the best in you, keep you motivated, and hold you fully accountable when you go astray. It’s a really nice feeling having someone in your corner who’s constantly rooting for you through the ups and downs of your fitness journey.
- Maximize Your Effort and Results — A personal trainer can be great for individuals who are looking to maximize their results in the gym in as little time necessary. Too often people spend multiple hours in the gym multiple days per week, when instead they could be training much more efficiently with just 45-60 minutes 3x per week using a customized and calculated training regimen.
- Challenge You and Get You Results — Are you bored of your current training program? Have your results plateaued? Do you want to take your body to the next level? Are you interested in competing in a specific sport or event? A personal trainer can help you with all of the above.
The Bottom Line:
A personal trainer or fitness coach is like a life coach, trainer, nutritionist, and your #1 fan all in one; without them your fitness goals are simply harder to achieve.
Is a Personal Trainer Worth It?
Before asking the question, “Is a personal trainer worth it”, I think you need to ask yourself a more important question — “Can I actually afford one?”
The reason being, if by the end of this article you determined that they actually WERE worth the money, you’d still need to have enough disposable income available to you to hire one.
In addition, if you don’t have a budget or a vision to begin with, the lines can quickly and easily become blurred as to whether or not a personal trainer is worth the money.
Furthermore, sure… trainers can be “expensive”, but then again, you can’t really put a “price” on the health benefits you stand to gain and the physique you stand to obtain. At the end of the day, your health is really your greatest asset; you should be absolutely willing to invest in it.
Breaking Down the Cost
If you’re a novice or beginner, a good personal trainer is going to recommend that you train with them at least 2–3x per week. Depending on your goals and the desired timeline you wish to reach them by, maybe even as much as 4–5x per week.
As mentioned earlier in this article, pricing can range anywhere from $40–$120 per session. In case you’re wondering what that’s going to look like from a weekly or monthly standpoint, I’ve created a few simple tables to make it a bit easier to understand:
Personal Training Costs (Weekly)
|Training Frequency||Low ($40/hr)||Mid ($80/hr)||High ($120/hr)|
|2x per week||$80 / week||$160 / week||$240 / week|
|3x per week||$120 / week||$240 / week||$360 / week|
|4x per week||$160 / week||$320 / week||$480 / week|
|5x per week||$200 / week||$400 / week||$600 / week|
Personal Training Costs (Monthly)
|Training Frequency||Low ($40/hr)||Mid ($80/hr)||High ($120/hr)|
|2x per week||$320 / month||$640 / month||$960 / month|
|3x per week||$480 / month||$960 / month||$1,440 / month|
|4x per week||$640 / month||$1,280 / month||$1,920 / month|
|5x per week||$800 / month||$1,600 / month||$2,400 / month|
As you can see, personal training sessions can add up quickly, especially if you’re training more often and opting for a trainer with a proven track record in a higher pricing bracket.
Something to keep in mind is that most personal trainers offer training packages which consist of multiple training sessions paid in a lump sum. This usually reduces the cost of each session greatly, especially if you commit to more sessions.
Packages are a great idea if you’re 100% committed to your goals and you’ve made a solid decision on your trainer. They usually expire after a set amount of days. So if you’re not planning on showing up for your training sessions or if you’re still test driving your trainer to see if they’re a good fit or not, it might be a good idea to stick to a pay-as-you-go pricing scheme until you figure your situation out.
Be Honest With Yourself
The pricing tables are listed for you up above; this is exactly what it’s going to cost you.
Ask yourself: Can you afford the weekly or monthly expense of a personal trainer? If the answer is no, that’s perfectly fine; there’s nothing wrong with that.
What you shouldn’t do, however, is start bargaining with a really good and experienced personal trainer who’s got a great track record just because they’re not within your budget right now. Instead, if your goals are that important to you, start saving up or cut down on some of your other expenses to make it work.
Here’s the other thing: I know people who are overweight with $1,000/month car notes who complain that personal trainers cost too much money. If all your car does is get you from point A to point B, then I think cars cost too much money.
I suppose we’re all entitled to our opinions on what’s valuable and what’s not. 😉
The point is, if you’re just going to assume something is overpriced right from the get-go — especially if you’re basing your opinion off someone else’s experience — without trying to understand the value proposition, then you’re NEVER going to see the value in it no matter what anyone tells you.
Finally, if you don’t have a budget for personal training — or anything else for that matter that requires an extended period of time to reap the rewards — then it’s NEVER going to feel like it’s worth it; especially when you’re being financially irresponsible and scrounging for the cash to make it work.
Consider Online Fitness Coaching as an Alternative
Online coaching programs are on the rise. It’s no wonder since they’re only a fraction of the cost of personal training and can deliver the same, if not, better results.
It is definitely to be noted that these programs usually work better for individuals with previous training experience, since you lack the obvious benefit of having a personal trainer working with you 1-on-1 in the flesh.
Still, it’s a cheaper yet viable alternative and can still produce absolutely amazing results. For example, with our online fitness coaching program, we’ve been able to help tonnes of people worldwide (at all levels) achieve the bodies they’ve always wanted — for way less than the cost of a personal trainer.
Most online coaching programs range from $150–$500+ per month compared to $320–$2,400+ per month for personal training. If your pockets are a bit tight, definitely don’t rule this option out. At the very least, you could always give it a try for a month or two and then reassess to see whether it’s working out for you or not.
The Bottom Line:
If you’ve got the budget for a personal trainer, definitely give it a shot. If not, consider online coaching as a viable alternative for your success.
Are You Ready for Personal Training?
Not many people take the time to really ask themselves this question. “Of course I’m ready for personal training! Why else would I be inquiring?!” Simple. Because people like to explore their options — yes — especially when they’re not entirely committed.
Have you set a goal? Do you know what you want? Are you taking this whole thing seriously? Are you committed? Are you ready to do whatever it takes to get your results?
If you’re struggling to answer ANY of these questions right now, then you desperately need to read our free Mindset Guide. 👈
Good personal trainers are going to ask you these types of questions because good personal trainers don’t want to work with clients who aren’t serious.
It’s a waste of time for both parties involved.
Mediocre personal trainers, on the other hand, will take your money week-to-week regardless of whether or not you’re taking the program seriously or even seeing any results.
It Goes Deeper Than Just Your Training
The thing most people don’t realize — beginners especially — is that even if you have the absolute BEST personal trainer in the world, the training aspect of your fitness program only accounts for 20–30% of your results.
The remaining 70–80% will be highly attributed to your eating habits and recovery.
You’re only going to be spending 3–5 hours per week with your personal trainer. And what you do with the other 160+ hours per week will make ALL of the difference in regards to whether or not you hit your goals.
This includes sticking to your meal plan and eating within your target calorie allowance, getting adequate sleep each night, stretching and performing self-therapy when necessary, keeping your stress levels low — and the list goes on.
So now the question of “Are you ready for personal training?” becomes more like “Are you ready for this new lifestyle change that simply INCLUDES a personal trainer?”
You’ve got to dig really deep here and ask yourself the following:
- Am I ready to make my fitness goals a top priority right now?
- Do I have the bandwidth (time and energy) to stick to my program?
- Am I in the mental space to achieve my goals right now?
- Can I commit to eating healthier outside of my training sessions?
- Do I have time to cook or can I afford a meal prep delivery service?
Of course, there are many more questions that you should ask yourself. However, if you answered “no”, “maybe”, or anything but a 100% confirmed “YES” to just the few questions listed above, then that alone settles it.
As of right now, a personal trainer is NOT worth the money at all given your current situation.
The Bottom Line:
Justifying the ongoing costs of a personal trainer has a lot to do with YOU; where you are in life right now and whether or not you’re truly ready to start a program.
Are You an Ideal Candidate for Personal Training?
Let me start off by saying this: In my personal opinion, absolutely EVERYONE can benefit from a personal trainer. Even with my 15+ years of experience working out, I still benefit greatly from training with colleagues of mine who push me to my absolute limit.
Generally speaking, everyone is a “good” candidate for personal training, but that’s not what I’m getting at here.
There are certain individuals who stand to benefit at a much greater scale compared to others and are therefore IDEAL candidates for working with a trainer.
Here are some reasons that might be you:
- You’re a novice or a beginner
- You’ve struggled with a fitness program in the past
- You like being pushed to your absolute limit
- In general, you’re not a very self-motivated person
- You need help with very specific fitness goals
Novices and Beginners — As previously discussed, people new to training and fitness can benefit greatly from personal training because they can train more confidently. They can learn the correct and safe ways of performing all of the exercises, severely reducing risk for injury. In addition, a personal trainer can perform a health and needs assessment and craft the perfect program tailored specifically to your fitness level and achieving your goals.
You’ve Tried and Failed — If you’ve tried to lose weight or build muscle in the past but were unable to achieve your goals on your own, hiring a personal trainer for their expertise, guidance, mentorship, and accountability can be a major difference maker if you’re ready to give it another shot. They can very well be the exact thing you’ve been missing to not only get you started in the right direction but also to help give you the confidence to keep pushing until you cross the finish line.
Highly Motivated Individuals — If you’re the type of person that likes attacking your goals ALL out, holding absolutely nothing back, pairing up with an experienced personal trainer can be an absolute game changer in helping you to achieve your goals in both a safe and highly efficient manner. One of the main benefits of having a PT is when you think you’ve got nothing left in the tank, they’re there to tell you, “Let’s go! 10 more reps!”
Low Self-Motivation — Being motivated (external) and being self-motivated (internal) are two entirely different things. Someone who is highly self-motivated always has a little voice in their head telling them, “C’mon! You can do this! We’re going to stop at nothing! Today we’re going to win the day!” When they don’t “feel” like going to the gym, they go anyway; where others give up during a set, they keep going; when their gym partner quits, they show up without them. If this isn’t you, you are an absolute ideal candidate for personal training.
Specific Goal Training — If you’ve got very specific fitness or physique goals (such as “widening out” your back, learning how to perform heavy compound or olympic lifts, building a bigger booty, adding more girth to your legs, or anything else of that nature) and aren’t exactly sure how to tackle them, an experienced personal trainer can design a fully-customized program for you to help you achieve exactly what you’re after.
The Bottom Line:
Personal training can benefit EVERYONE greatly; however, there may be more perceived value in the expense for those with greater needs and requirements.
What to Look for in A Personal Trainer
There’s nothing worse than spending several months in the gym with a personal trainer only to find out — hundreds or thousands of dollars later — that they’re just not getting you any results. In fact, that’s like the absolute worst-case scenario.
Of course, you’ll also want to make sure that you’re holding up to your end of the bargain outside of the gym and that you, yourself, are not the one to blame for the lack of results due to poor nutrition.
Nonetheless, hopefully you’ll never have that kind of experience and, with these next few tips, if your training situation is anything less than ideal, surely you’ll be able to figure it out much sooner.
Finding a good trainer can be a difficult process. Again, trainers are a dime a dozen, so you’ll have to weed out the losers who don’t really care about your success and are really only interested in training you for a pay cheque.
A great personal trainer does much more than just show up to sessions and put you through a workout. They should be there for you whenever you need them; even outside of training hours. They should feel like your #1 fan and actually be more excited to see you win than you are!
Here are the most important things to pay attention to when making a decision:
- What are their certifications?
- How in shape are they themselves?
- Do they get people results?
- Do you like who they are as a person?
- Are you compatible with each other?
Ask About Their Experience, Certifications, and Credentials
Everyone and their brother is a “personal trainer” nowadays. And with so much saturation in the market, it’s hard to tell who’s really got the accreditation and who just has a nice or decent-looking body and is trying to pull one over your head.
If you’re hiring a trainer out of a big box or even a boutique gym, the likelihood is that they’ve been certified through an accredited organization. Gyms don’t want the liability of hiring anyone without their paperwork in order because they don’t want to take the fall if something goes wrong.
Regardless though, if they’re a freelance trainer or they work out of a gym, it doesn’t hurt to ask your trainer what their certifications consist of. Then ask them to explain what their certifications mean!
Also, it’s usually a good indicator if they’ve been continuing their education each year and haven’t just tapped out at learning the basics.
Now the caveat to all of this is…
Just because a trainer is certified, it doesn’t mean they’re good at what they do!
Similarly, just because someone has a “degree”, it doesn’t mean that they’re highly skilled or that they’ll even land a successful job or career. It just means that they were successful in passing their preliminary learning courses.
I know a TONNE of people who train freelance, with absolutely no certifications whatsoever, that have achieved some of the most amazing results with their clients.
Heck! I, myself, was coaching people for years with absolutely no “certifications” — and for FREE just out of the kindness of my heart — and was helping loads of people knock their fitness goals out of the park!
On the other hand, I know PLENTY of personal trainers with certifications up the ying-yang who yield minimal results with most, if not all, of their clients.
My main point is that there is definitely something to be said about experience as well. And with or without any certifications, someone’s personal experience alone could be the very thing that leads to the breakthrough of your success.
A trainer’s certifications can be a great starting point in proving their competence and professionalism, but it certainly shouldn’t be the one and only deciding factor.
What Do THEY Look Like
I’m a firm believer in leading by example. As far as I’m concerned, if your personal trainer isn’t in great shape, I don’t think you should be trusting them to get YOU in great shape.
Simply put, a good personal trainer has to have done the work already themselves. They have to have succeeded with flying colours at the very thing that they are helping you and other people do.
An even more important criterion I think is this: Your fitness coach should be someone who used to struggle at being in shape and now finds it ridiculously easy to be in AMAZING shape.
This couldn’t be truer for myself! I struggled for years with my weight; yo-yoing up and down season to season. Now I maintain 10–12% body fat or less year-round almost effortlessly, while eating all of the things I love to eat!
Also, I’m not in the boastful habit of showing off my abs every chance I get like most of these fitness buffs. However, if a client ever does want to see if the proof is in the pudding, I will gladly raise my shirt up to reveal a nice looking set of abs — any time of the year.
If this is what your coach looks like when they’re texting you about your new training program for the week, you’ve got a real problem on your hands. ☝️😄
In all seriousness, please take this with a grain of salt. There are definitely trainers who have the experience and the knowledge base to help you achieve your fitness goals even though they’re not in great shape themselves, but these are few and far between.
And personally, I still can’t condone this; especially not in 2022.
Would you trust a nutritionist or dietician telling you what to put in your mouth if they were 100 pounds overweight? Would you respect a doctor’s advice on living a healthy life if they smoked a pack of cigarettes a day? I certainly wouldn’t!
So why would you trust a personal trainer who doesn’t look like they work out?
Now, I’m not saying your trainer needs to be super jacked, ultra ripped, or competing in pro bodybuilding shows, but they at least have to look like they lead an active lifestyle and follow the advice that they’re going to be giving to you. Wouldn’t you agree?
If you’re interested in a funny little rant on this very subject, feel free to check out this hilarious video from Tyrone Magnus:
Image isn’t everything, but I think it’s safe to say that it’ll certainly keep you more motivated and inspired if your trainer is in way better shape than you are.
Do They Have a Winning Strategy
This is by far one of the most important things to look out for when selecting a trainer or coach. Ask them if they’ve ever worked with someone like you before and what their results were after the program was all said and done.
More expensive training fees don’t guarantee the best results. Elite training certifications don’t automatically make someone an elite trainer. Neither of these should be the determining factor. Instead, focus mainly on whether or not this trainer gets results!
Ask them about their strategy for SUCCESS! See if they’ve got a real answer with lots of important details that speak to you personally or if they just bulls#!% their way through and answer like a top-class politician.
To produce optimal results, a really good and experienced trainer or coach needs to be highly adaptable; since every client has different needs and therefore requires a different program, approach, and training style.
One of the first things they should do is perform a thorough needs assessment with you. Once they’ve identified your goals and needs, they should build a fully-customized program based on that criteria. How else are they going to get you any results?
And as far as I’m concerned, a trainer is only as good as the results they can produce time and time again. If they’re really good at what they do, they’ll even measure their success rate. That’s exactly what we do here with our MyQuest Coaching program.
In fact, really good trainers and coaches will even pre-qualify their clients to make sure that their potential client is someone who’s actually ready to commit to their goals before accepting any money from them. This is something we also do with our program.
At the very least, ask to see some before and after pictures of previous clients. If they’ll provide you with references, of course, that’s even better!
Do You Genuinely Like Their Personality
Honestly, I think I’d go as far to say that this should be your BIGGEST contributing factor on choosing a trainer or coach to work with.
This is the person you’re going to confide in. This is the person you’re going to turn to when s#!% gets tough (which it will).
This is the person whose shoulder you might even cry on at one point or another. This is who’s going to hold your hand until you cross the finish line!
Personal trainers and fitness coaches work with PEOPLE; therefore, they need to be PERSONABLE! Their whole root purpose is to motivate and inspire you to do better and be stronger!
They need to be able to bring out the best in you and they ABSOLUTELY need to be a positive influence and a pleasure to be around.
Ask yourself: Do I genuinely enjoy training with this person? If you don’t have a genuine liking towards them and you don’t enjoy working out with them, then what’s the point!
Now, before you jump the gun on answering this question, give them a little bit of time! This likely isn’t something you’re going to figure out within the first session or two. You’ll need some bonding time! 💖
My advice would be to allow your new trainer 4–5 sessions to have an impact on you. If there are no fireworks or you feel nervous, uninspired, bored out of your mind, or anything in between, then it might be a good idea to start looking elsewhere.
Your personal trainer is supposed to be personable, keep you motivated, and get you fired up. The last thing you want to do is work out with a dud!
Are You Compatible With Their Training Style
As previously discussed, great personal trainers usually have GREAT personalities, and this is usually directly reflected through their training style.
There are typically four main types of personal trainers:
- The Aggressive Screamer
- The Respectful Assertive
- The Laid Back Passive
- The Ignorer / Eye Wanderer
- “The Aggressive Screamer” — This trainer doesn’t give a s#!% about your feelings; not one single bit. Their whole thing is: “You’re here to train! You’re paying me money, stop wasting it! Stop whining! Get down and give me 20! I don’t care how your day went! 10 more squats! I don’t give a f#$% how bad your legs hurt! That’s what you’re paying me for! Let’s go!” … I think you get the idea.Believe it or not, some people actually really love this training style.
- “The Respectful Assertive” — There’s a big difference between being aggressive and being assertive. This trainer is going to tell you what’s on their mind, but they’ll do it in a more respectful and empathetic way. They’ll talk to you for 5 minutes before your session and even in between sets, but when it’s time to lift, it’s time to lift. They don’t take any s#!%, but they won’t hurt your feelings.In my opinion, this is the best training style of them all.
- “The Laid Back Passive” — This trainer is going to let you get away with a lot. If your rest time is only supposed to be a minute but you’re both engaged in a conversation, they’ll continue the conversation and let you rest for 5 minutes instead. They’re not going to state their opinion much and they never want to hurt your feelings or offend you — ever.This is the “nice guy” or “nice gal” of all the trainers.
- “The Ignorer / Eye Wanderer” — This is by far the worst type of trainer of them all. This is the trainer who is texting, sending emails, or scrolling through their instagram feed while you’re resting instead of engaging with you. This is also the douche-bag male trainer who’s constantly watching women in a super perverted way as they walk by instead of focusing on you. Finally, this is the trainer you don’t want to train with.
Stay very, very far away from this trainer (male or female).
So, is a personal trainer worth it or not? 🤔
This article was certainly a lot to digest, especially if you read through the entire thing, but I know this will help a lot of people who are on the fence about hiring a trainer or coach to help them hit their goals. So let’s bring this all together.
First things first, I think you need to identify whether or not you can actually afford a personal trainer. If you can’t, you should definitely consider an online coaching program instead, especially if you’re having trouble achieving your fitness goals.
The most important thing to look out for is a trainer or coach who gets results! In addition, the individual you’re working with should have a genuine interest in helping you and wanting to see you win. You should both enjoy working with each other and be as compatible as possible.
If you’re an ideal candidate for personal training, you’ve got the budget for it, you’ve found a trainer with a proven track record and you absolutely love training with them, and you’re 100% committed to putting in the work, then I am 100% confident that you will enjoy the experience and it’ll DEFINITELY be worth it in the end.
I’m interested: What are your thoughts? What’s the most important thing for you when choosing a trainer? What has your general experience been with personal training in the past? Is personal training or online coaching worth it for you or do you not see the value in at all? Leave a comment down below and let me know!