Ballpark Estimate: $50 to $100 an hour and up
If you want to lose weight, tone your body and get in better overall shape, you may benefit from the support of a personal trainer. This is someone who can work with you on an individual basis to help you set personal fitness goals and then motivate you to reach them effectively.
Resolving to Shape Up
There is growing awareness today of the link between physical activity and a host of physical and mental health benefits. That’s why each January many Americans resolve to start a regular exercise routine to look and feel better. However, within the first month many of these would-be exercisers have already lost steam. The gym membership is quickly forgotten and they slip back to their old sedentary habits.
That’s where the expertise of a personal trainer can make a big difference. People who invest in the services of someone who can help them determine how best to get in shape and provides support throughout the process can be key to leading them to sustain their efforts.
Same Premise, Different Settings
Recent statistics estimate that as many as 5 million people in the United States currently rely on the services of a professional fitness trainer. You can find these fitness experts operating in a variety of places. For instance, most health clubs and fitness centers have personal trainers available (at an additional cost) for their members. You can also find personal training studios in some cities and towns. In addition, some personal trainers work independently and will come to your home or your office setting. They may have their own equipment they can bring to your session, or else they can help you work with the equipment that you have on hand, depending on your needs and your preferences.
Finding a Trainer
Finding a personal trainer these days is easier than ever. If you already belong to a gym, you may want to look into those trainers that are available to work with the members. While some may be on staff, others may work independently.
If you don’t yet have a fitness club membership, you can access a list of gyms at Health Club Directory or The Fitness Almanac. Or, look in your yellow pages or do a search online to see what is available locally.
You can also find a national directory of personal trainers online through Personal Trainer Direct and The Fitness Almanac. This site allows you to tailor your search to target people working in your area.
When selecting a personal trainer from the options that exist, it is important to find out what experience and training each professional brings to the table so you can find the best fit for your ability level and needs. At a minimum, most people recommend you find someone who is certified in the personal training field. Just keep in mind that not all certifications are created equal. Some of the most well-respected certifications include those from the American Council on Exercise (ACE), the American Fitness Professionals & Associates (AFPA), the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), and the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), as well as from a handful of other nationally-recognized organizations. You will also want to select someone who stays up-to-date on the latest techniques and practices and is professionally trained and certified in CPR and the latest first aid practices. Finally, make sure that whoever you choose has liability insurance.
A Personal Approach
An important benefit of working with a personal trainer is that he or she can design a workout plan that is tailored just for you. For instance, if you already exercise regularly but just need some help staying focused and getting results, you may just need a handful of sessions with an expert to come up with some new and exciting routines you can do. However, if you are just starting out in the gym, you may need someone to give you an in-depth overview of how to use all of the equipment properly and to design a plan to help you increase your strength and your stamina.
If you have a set budget you are working within, you should talk to your trainer up front and find out how you can get the most benefit from your investment. Some people do well spending a month or two of regular personal training sessions to get started and then just need occasional follow up visits every month or two to help them stay on track with the program. Other people do better spreading their visits out over a long time, perhaps having a few initial sessions to design a plan, then meeting with a trainer every other week or as often as makes sense to stay motivated and keep the momentum going in the right direction. The great thing about working with someone one-on-one is that you can alter your frequency as needed.
What to Expect
When you sign up to work with a personal trainer, you can expect him or her to spend some time asking about your overall health, risk factors and challenges, and current physical abilities. You will also have a chance to talk about your goals for your workouts, such as losing weight, becoming more toned and increased stamina and strength. Trainers often take a multi-faceted approach to helping you to accomplish these and other milestones. You may incorporate a treadmill, elliptical machine, stationary bike, along with free weights, weight machines and various strategic exercise tools such as resistance bands and balls.
What It Costs
What you can expect to spend on a personal trainer can vary a great deal, depending on how experienced the trainer you select is and how often you plan to have individual sessions. The least expensive trainers start at about $25 an hour, but the average per hour range is more like $50 to $100 in most parts of the country. You can also find trainers who charge much higher rates, commanding in the range of $350 an hour or even more. The higher end trainers often work with celebrities and other wealthy clients.
When comparing trainers, make sure to find out how long a session lasts (for instance, one trainer may charge you $50 for a half hour session, while another one may charge $75 but this may be for a full hour’s time. It’s important to factor in these differences.) It is also essential to find out if there are any gym membership fees for which you will be responsible or special equipment you will need to purchase, since these things can up your financial investment considerably. Some clients who use personal trainers regularly (such as two or three times a week a week) report spending in the range of$1,000 to $2,000 or even more each month.
So you can expect to pay anywhere from $25 an hour on up to $350 an hour for one-on-one fitness mentoring from a trained professional.
If you are excited about having the expertise of a personal trainer to guide you but just don’t think you can swing the expense, it may be worth it to find out if there are any discounts or packages that can help lower the cost. For instance, some trainers offer discounted rates if you prepay for your sessions by the month, while other trainers provide similar package deals for multiple sessions. In addition, many trainers are willing to do small group sessions. While this often costs more per hour, you can also split the cost with the other participants so you all come out ahead.
An Online Alternative
If the price of a personal trainer is still too rich for your budget even with some cost-saving techniques rolled in, there is one other, more cost friendly, option to consider. You can always hire a personal trained to guide you via the Internet. Online personal training sessions start at under $10 a month and provide users access to a variety of fitness and nutrition experts who can tailor a plan for you and help to monitor your progress and keep you on track via the Internet. This is a cost-effective way to solicit professional help getting – and staying – in shape.