Why Are Personal Trainers So Expensive?

If you’ve ever tried to hire a personal trainer, you might have been shocked when they told you their prices.

You might be wondering, “why are personal trainers so expensive?“, and it’s a justified question.

It’s easy to assume that all personal trainers are just super greedy, after all, most people can’t just decide to start charging half of what some people make in a day for one hour of work right?

Well, I was a PT in the City Of London for nearly ten years, so in this short article, I am going to explain exactly why personal trainers cost so much.

Sound good?

Let’s go…

Here’s a sneak peek of what we will be covering in this article

  • Personal trainers may only work a few hours each day
  • They are experts in their field
  • The gyms take a large portion of the money you pay for sessions
  • Personal trainers have years of experience

This is only a small section of what we are going to cover in today’s article, so keep reading to learn exactly why personal training rates need to be so high.

Why is personal training so expensive

Why are personal trainers so expensive?

The gym takes a BIG cut of what they charge

This is without a doubt, the biggest reason that trainers have to charge the amount they do.

You might be surprised to discover that gyms are fairly greedy when it comes to hiring trainers because they can net a great deal of profit from them. In fact, in some of the gyms I worked in, the income they gathered from the fees personal trainers paid made up 30% of the monthly profits.

We are talking about some pretty huge companies with massive targets, so 30% of a monthly budget ends up being a substantial amount of money.

As an example, one of the gyms I worked in had 28 personal trainers working at any given time. They charged us a monthly rental fee to use the gym and its equipment of £800. This would equate to £22,400 per month and £268,800 per year in pure profit.

As a trainer, when you are being charged £800 a month just to cover your rental fees, you need to make sure you are charging enough to make a small profit. I can assure you that for most trainers, it is a small profit for each session.

Even the companies that hire trainers on zero-hours contracts take around 80% of the money you pay as a client and leave the trainer with the remaining 20%. That means you have to work seriously hard to earn even an average income!

There is a ton of competition in each gym

are personal trainers expensive

I said previously that one of my gyms hired 28 personal trainers at a time, and this is a fairly common number for gyms in larger cities.

This means that there are 27 other trainers in the building that you are competing with for clients, making it very difficult to build up enough sessions per week to cover your costs.

If you were to charge anything less than the going rate in that area, you would certainly not be completing enough sessions each week to even cover the rental fees of the gym.

Most gyms also have set fees that trainers are not allowed to go below for a 1-hour training session, this is to prevent trainers from undercutting each other and pricing everyone out of the market.

So, even if a trainer thought that the price they were charging was too much, they would be prevented by the gym itself from lowering their prices.

Personal trainers have years of experience

Sure, there are plenty of new trainers joining the industry each year, but there will be a large number of trainers in your gym or local area with years worth of training experience under their belts. Even if they are new to being a professional trainer, they have most likely been training themselves and studying exercises for a considerable time.

The money you pay to a trainer is (in part), compensation for the amount of time they have had to dedicate to studying and understanding the most effective workouts possible so that you don’t have to.

You could save yourself a whole lot of money by reading exercise and anatomy books for a few hours a day, watching a few hours of exercise technique videos, then round off the evening with a few hours of nutritional study, or, you could hire a PT who knows it all already.

They may only work a few hours each day

can i afford a personal trainer

An additional issue caused by a large amount of competition in commercial gyms is that it is very difficult to gain more than a few sessions per day.

This could result in a trainer only completing 3 or four sessions on a daily basis, so again, if they were to reduce their session cost, they would be very unlikely to ever be able to cover the rental fees, let alone make any kind of profit from their business.

It’s interesting, because from the clients’ point of view if you were to hear that a trainer gets paid £50 a session and only works 3 hours each day, you might think they had the best job in the world. This is a big misconception about the realities of personal training, trainers who are only working three to four hours each day really wish they were working a whole lot more, and it has nothing to do with greed at all.

They put in a LOT of effort to give you your money’s worth

why do personal trainers cost so much

A slight disclaimer before I make this next point is that not every trainer is the same, there are good trainers, there are bad trainers, there are lazy trainers and there are trainers who give you everything they have.

The good news is that nearly all personal trainers are fantastic and really do care about how much progress you make from their training. After all, their clients are walking billboards for how effective the training they provide is, if they give you a poor quality service, they will get no recommendations and will have to work a lot harder to build up a client base.

Trainers constantly learn as much as they can about health and fitness, it’s far more than just telling people how to pick heavy things up and put them back down again for a few hours a day.

A great deal of effort and thought goes into the training regimes as well as nutritional advice that is tailored for each individual client they have. It takes a long time to become truly proficient in understanding how the body works and reacts to exercise in different individuals, so one of the main components you are paying for in your trainer is their expert level of knowledge.

As I said, there are some trainers out there that never go beyond what they were taught in the training courses, and for some that’s fine, but they are the exception and certainly not the rule.

I myself used to spend entire weekends writing up training programs and progressions that would most benefit my clients. This is time spent that the client would never know about, so you are getting quite a lot for your money when hiring a trainer.

Personal trainers are experts

The average 1-hour driving lesson in the UK costs around £30, and most people would say they are happy to pay this amount because they are learning 1-2-1 from an expert in the field, so they’re more likely to pass than if their friend teaches them.

It’s exactly the same with a personal trainer, these guys are experts in fitness and are your closest thing to a shortcut to fitness success.

Many trainers spend their weekends attending training courses, going to nutritional lectures, and doing everything they possibly can to make sure they know the answers to pretty much any question you could ask them, all in the hopes that they can help you reach your goals faster.

Yes, personal trainers may be more expensive than the driving instructor example I used earlier, but I can assure you, that a driving instructor has far fewer expenses to cover each month.

If they aren’t with a client, they aren’t getting paid

i can't afford a personal trainer

The two options a personal trainer has for working in a gym are either paying a fixed monthly rent to the gym to be allowed to use the equipment and have access to its members or, they are hired on zero-hours contracts where the gym takes a large cut of the sessions the trainer sells.

There are some studios that will hire trainers and pay them on an hourly rate no matter how many sessions they complete, but this is exceptionally rare, and incredibly competitive because of the luxury of being paid a set and reliable salary.

Therefore, when the vast majority of trainers aren’t training a client, they aren’t getting paid a thing.

As stated above most trainers will only be working a few hours each day, but these sessions may be spread out from 6am until 8pm each day. That’s fourteen hours of being in a gym with only three hours they were getting paid for.

Because of this, trainers need to make sure any time that they are being paid is worth it for them to be able to justify giving up the hours they are.

They have to earn a living

This point is often forgotten when discussing the price of personal training, a trainer isn’t a person who likes gyms so much that they are willing to spend their whole days in them helping out people just for the sake of it, it is their job.

Just like you work in order to pay your bills and live a comfortable life, a trainer needs to do the same. Sure, you may think a £50 rate per hour is a little steep, but when you take into account the amount of rent a trainer has to pay to even be allowed to train people in a gym, they are probably making the same as you on an hourly basis, and they almost certainly aren’t getting paid for every hour they spend in the gym.

Personal training costs FAQs

Are personal trainers expensive?

In general, personal trainers are expensive, but it’s often not through their own choice. As a result of the cost of gym rent, the trainers are required to pay, they have to have high hourly session rates to be able to cover their monthly expenses.

After being a trainer for nearly a decade, I can assure you that I always thought I was charging too much money for my sessions, not because I didn’t think I was worth it, I knew what I was doing and I taught great sessions, it was just that I know that just because someone is working in a city, doesn’t mean they all have five-figure digits with money to burn.

It seems that over the years, £50 has become the most common price for an hour-long session with a trainer. The inner-city gyms have taken this number and multiplied it by four to give us an average gym rent of £800 per month. So now, every trainer has to charge £50 an hour to be able to afford the rent.

I would say that £30 an hour for a training session is far more reasonable, and it’s a great shame that by making training so expensive, it’s incredibly elitist and denies a lot of people who could really benefit from additional training help because they are simply priced out. I don’t think this is fair at all, everyone should be able to afford to benefit from the help of a trainer and I’m sure a lot of trainers would agree with me on this.

Are personal trainers a waste of money

Personal trainers are only a waste of money if you don’t follow their advice. Paying for a trainer is only the first step, you still need to put effort into your own training and nutrition to gain the full benefits of employing one.

How many people blame their lack of success on their trainer still amazes me. I have seen my own clients leaving my sessions and then going straight to the pub afterward to undo every benefit they would have got from the session only to complain weeks later that they aren’t seeing results.

You can’t think that training for an hour each week is enough to combat overeating, drinking too much alcohol, and not doing any additional exercise yourself. Even if you are lucky enough to be able to afford several training sessions per week, you will still need to pay close attention to your nutrition and the amount of exercise you are doing outside of your sessions.

Just because you have hired a trainer isn’t a guarantee of success, your trainer should give you additional workouts to complete when you are not training with them. Ideally, you should be having two to three sessions a week with a trainer, whilst completing two or three additional sessions yourself.

If you put in these hours, pay careful attention to your nutrition, and follow the advice your trainer gives you, your chances of success are much better.


I am sure that a lot of these points will come as a shock to a lot of people.

I understand the perception is that becoming a trainer can be a get rich quick scheme because of the money they can charge for a session, but hopefully, after what you have read today you will understand that trainers charge what they do, not out of greed, but out of necessity.

I hope this article has fully answered the question “why are personal trainers so expensive?”, and given a little more perspective on their pricing structures. If you decide to go ahead with using a trainer, I wish you the best of luck and hope you get some great results.

If you enjoyed this article and feel it might help others, please feel free to share it or link back to it.

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Chris Walker

Chris Walker worked in the City of London as a fully qualified REP's level three personal trainer for just under ten years. He built and maintained a client base of 40 individuals and worked with several high profile clients, including actors, actresses, comedians and politicians.

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