How Much Does Personal Training Cost?

Personal Training rates vary as much as $29 an hour to $500 an hour. The average personal training session is somewhere around $55 an hour. Personal training rates are typically set based on the trainers experience and credentials. It also depends on the demographics (city versus country), the type of facility (upscale, no frills, in home, outdoors) and the commitment made to training. A single session may have a premium on it compared to buying a package of sessions. For example, a single session may be $75, but a group of ten would be $600. The initial session which is sometimes called a consultation, should include the intake of health and exercise history, a fitness assessment and goal setting. It may be longer than an hour and is usually billed separately at a higher rate than the personal training session. You might expect to pay $75 - $150 for an initial session.

Session Length

Most personal training sessions are based on 55 minutes to an hour. The warm up is typically completed independently by the client 5 – 10 minutes prior to the session starting. If the client is a very beginner, the warm up may be part of the session. Some sessions are based on 30 minutes for which the rate is usually slightly more than one half of the hourly rate.

Shared sessions, meaning two people work with one trainer for the session, are usually billed at the regular session rate x 2. So if a trainer charges $50 for one client per hour, two clients would be $75 in total reducing the cost to $37.50 per person. A client can get an equally effective workout when working with partner compared to working with the trainer one on one. The trainer will most likely keep the clients together and have them perform the exercises simultaneously or swap back and forth performing exercises in the same area of the gym.

Payment Schedules

Some personal trainer’s payment system includes paying as you go for the sessions as you use them. Others collect for a package of sessions in advance and you are able to renew the package when those sessions are used up. There may or may not be an expiration on the sessions. Trainers ideally want you to commit to showing up at certain intervals such as two times weekly. This is to your benefit. Other trainers have a monthly fee for 1, 2 or 3 sessions a week and it’s a discounted rate for the commitment. Because the rate is so discounted, they policy is usually “use it or lose it”.

It’s not uncommon to meet with a trainer 3 times weekly in the beginning to jump start your results. In time, clients wean off to twice a week, then once weekly and ultimately to as little as one personal training session a month. Having the accountability of seeing your personal trainer once per month helps to keep your accountable and motivated. During that monthly session, you should review the past month’s exercise program as well as receive a new program. It’s wise for both the client and the trainer to have a consistent session day and time and to keep that commitment to each other.

Cancelation Policies

Most personal trainers have a twenty four hour cancelation policy. If you call in less than twenty four hours, you will be charged for the session. Some trainers require a retainer where you pay ahead for one session in case you miss. Most trainers are going to be understanding of last minute emergencies especially if you have been a loyal client who is committed and progressing in their goals.

Some trainers offer a money back guarantee, but there are conditions such as you must show up and follow the program. If you do everything that was prescribed such as showing up for all of your sessions, completing food logs, engaging in cardiovascular exercises on your own, and you are still not satisfied, you will be refunded. Most of the time you will not be refunded if you simply stop going. Trainers may or may not let you transfer the sessions to someone else. That is at the discretion of the trainer or club.

Personal Coaching

Personal trainers may also encourage coaching sessions in addition to training sessions. Coaching sessions are done in an office or over the phone and include going over food logs, goals, habits to improve, looking at accomplishments and so on. Coaching sessions may be billed a the same training rate or higher.

Overall, the client should feel like they are getting far greater service, value and results from what they are paying for the hourly rate. Keep record of what you have paid and what you have received regarding the number of sessions.

How often should it be done?

The American College of Sports Medicine Guidelines prescribe that individuals engage in physical fitness activities most days of the week. Physical activity does not necessarily include gardening and house cleaning. Formal exercise where the heart rate becomes elevated and the muscles and joints are challenged should be part of ones daily routine. There are some people who have a trainer 5 days per week, but unless they are a professional athlete, they are in the minority.

The ideal scenario would be to work with a personal trainer three days per week and then to engage in cardiovascular exercises on your own or with a group three days per week. Three days per week is going to produce the best results, however you can still get eighty five present of the results with two days a week that you could get with three. Even one day per week with a personal trainer can produce seventy five present of the results you could expect with three weekly sessions.

You may start out for the first month with three sessions a week. After a month you can evaluate your progress and confidence in exercising independently. At that time you may want to wean off to two days per week for another month and then ultimately down to one day monthly. The amount of time you spend with a personal trainer will depend on your goals, your health, your schedule and your budget. If you have ten pounds to lose and are apparently healthy, you may be able to reach your goal in one month with a trainer three days per week. If you have one hundred pounds to lose, it is going to be at least a year long process and will take the support of a team of professionals of which a personal trainer will play an integral role. If money is not an option, who wouldn't’t want to have a personal trainer three times weekly? It’s a wonderful amenity and the very best way to get into fabulous shape. Personal trainers are body transformation specialist and understand how to work and move the body to achieve results, most consumers could not receive on their own.

Keeping you on track

You are paying for a personal trainer’s expertise just like you would for a chiropractor or other medical or allied health professional. If you are not motivated to exercise on your own, you may always want to budget for a personal trainer. Some see personal training as a necessity to give them the confidence, mental clarity, stress reduction and a healthy strong body. If schedules and budget allow, three days per week would be ideal. Personal training could then be complimented with a running group, cycling club or other class that compliments the conditioning received with a personal trainer.

Days off for rest

One day a week should be observed for rest. Your time in recovery is just as important as the training time for producing long term results. Training 7 days a week will lead to overtraining. Ideally total body strength workouts should be alternated with cardiovascular workouts. For example, Monday, Wednesday and Friday would be reserved for strength and conditioning with a personal trainer and Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday would be for cardiovascular exercise. Sunday would be a day of rest. If you are working consecutive days of strength training, body parts should be alternated. This is known as a split routine. It’s also common to exercise both cardiovascular and strength systems on the same day for convenience.

Engaging in some form of exercise most days of the week gives your metabolism a boost along with a host of other benefits for every system of your body. If you have not been motivated to do it alone, enlist the services of a personal trainer.

What can go wrong?

Thankfully there have been very few lawsuits against personal trainers considering the number of personal trainers there, the number of sessions they conduct weekly and the number of people they reach. One of the things that can go wrong is choosing the wrong trainer for you. They may be the wrong trainer because they are not qualified, your personalities don’t match, they are not professional or you do not agree with their styles of philosophies.

To avoid this scenario, do your research to find the right trainer. First ask friends who they use and if they are pleased with them. Contact the trainer and have questions ready to ask such as:

  • Are you taking new clients?
  • Who are you certified by?
  • How long have you been training?
  • What is your philosophy on training?
  • What demographic of clients do you train?
  • Do you have any specialties or special training?
  • Can you give me the names and numbers of 5 clients who you are currently working with?
  • Can you give me the names and numbers of 3 clients who you are no longer working with?
  • What is your schedule like?
  • What are your rates, payment and refund policies?
  • Do you have professional liability insurance?
  • Is your CPR and personal trainer certification current?
  • Where do you train your clients?
  • What is your refund policy?

Starting with your new trainer

When you have done your homework and feel like you found the right trainer, meet for a consultation. You may not want to commit to a large package of sessions until you know you are a match with the trainer. You should also ask the trainer what their policy is if the sessions are not working out between the two of you.

If you need to transition to a new trainer, you may have the original trainer meet with you and the new trainer to discuss your history, progress, exercise routines, goals and so on. They may even both train you together for one session so that the transition is smooth for you.

There is also always some risk involved with exercise. The risks are low compared to the benefits of exercising. Those who are apparently healthy have a low risk when exercising. Those who have injuries, risk factors for disease or known disease have a higher risk when exercising. The greater health risks a person has the more qualified a trainer they want to look for.

There is also always a slim chance for an accident to occur such as spraining or straining a muscle, tendon or ligament. In slim cases, a person may also be injured by equipment, but it is typically more of a user than a machine problem – although that has happened.

In some cases, clients should be weary of trainers giving information on supplements or diets. Make sure the trainer is qualified to give out such information and investigate the programs they are endorsing.

Overall your experience with a personal trainer should be excellent and life changing in positive ways. It’s rare for something to go wrong.

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