personal trainer

Today’s Angry Issue definitely hits home for me.

I’ve worked as a personal trainer for 20 years now and over the years have seen some crazy fluctuations when it comes to rates of pay. I’ve seen people charge incredibly high rates for one-on-one training and on the flip side, some gyms trying to get away with paying McDonalds money. In fact a few months ago I actually met with a potential employer about working some sessions in a new facility. No bull, I was offered $10 per hour-long training session! Now that makes the Angry Trainer mad… but it also got me to thinking. How much should a training session cost? And what would you be willing to pay for a trainer?

The truth is that the personal training landscape has changed drastically over the last 15 years. With the economic crash and now new technology making it possible for you to have a virtual trainer with you on your phone / ipad, I think that the value of the training industry has been greatly diminished. I mean, think about it – how many great sites are there out there (like this one) that give fantastic tips and workouts for FREE! Truth be told, everything I publish on ATF is something I USED to get paid for – it’s my expertise.

But let’s forget that for a moment and assume you need a trainer in the flesh and are thinking about hiring one. I’ve seen rates as high as $300 an hour and as cheap as $20. Does the higher priced session guarantee a better workout? Definitely NOT! This is really a matter of demographics and how the trainer markets themselves. For instance, in my area it’s routine for gyms and in home trainers to charge $85 – $100, but I’ve seen rates in other states that are fractions of that amount.

I personally think that the personal training profession needs an overhaul. And I also think it doesn’t get nearly enough respect, nor do the trainers who literally change peoples lives everyday. It’s a tough call, because in truth, no one NEEDS a personal trainer, the way you do a doctor (who are paid absurd amounts of money) It’s a luxury that some people can afford and budget for accordingly because to them, it’s valuable and adds quality to their life.

But I do think there comes a point where the money a trainer asks for is excessive. I think anywhere up to and including $125 per hour, depending on where you live, for an hour long session is okay. Beyond that mark, I think you’re paying for ego, status and to be part of an elite club. As I mentioned earlier, many people make the mistake of thinking that the more you pay for a session, the better educated the trainer will be. But trust me, that just isn’t true.

Then there are the gyms that feature a different pay scale for different grades of trainers, as is the case in some popular fitness chains. What kind of message is that? If you want a just okay workout, pay less and train with Joe, if you want a better experience, try Barbara, and if you want the best workout of all sign with one of our top trainers and have a great workout with David. Just ridiculous. Every trainer in every facility should be a great trainer.

Finally there’s the idea of how often you need a trainer… once a week, every day, once a month? Some people can’t seem to get out of bed without someone forcing them to workout… but how much long-term success are these people likely to have I wonder?

Okay, so what do you think? Have you paid for personal training now or in the past? How much was it and do you think it was worth it? What should a training session cost? And how often would you / do you use a trainer… comment away. (BTW fellow trainers feel free to comment on your own experiences and air your opinions!)