You might have heard that personal trainers recommend you train with them three times a week, but a personal training session can cost quite a bit of money, so how many pt sessions a week do you really need to get you to your goals?
Having at least a rough estimate would help you to work out your budget and the amount of time you’ll need to commit to your training; wouldn’t that be helpful?
Well, the good news is, I can help you with this. In this article, I’ll explain how many sessions you’ll need and how long it may take you to start seeing results from your training.
In a nutshell
The ideal number of personal training sessions to complete each week is three to four 1-hour sessions to see the fastest results. If your budget doesn’t allow for this, two 1-hour sessions a week is ample as long as you are completing several more sessions by yourself.
Here’s a sneak peek into what we’ll be covering in this article
- Should you train on your own as well as take PT sessions?
- Which session length will get you the fastest results?
- How many times a week gets the fastest results?
- How many sessions a month should you be aiming for?
- How long will it take you to start seeing results?
These are just a few of the points we’ll be covering, there’s a whole lot more that affects the rate at which you’ll start seeing results so that we can answer the question “how many personal training sessions to see results?”, so keep reading!
How many sessions a month should you be aiming for?
Without a doubt, the fastest way to achieve the results you’re after is by seeing a trainer as many times as possible each week, which for most people will be either three or four sessions.
As we will explain later, it is possible to achieve great things with fewer weekly sessions, however, the fact that you will be working with a trainer who will be ensuring you are working as hard as you can help with not only the efficiency of your workouts but also the level of commitment you dedicate to training.
Without a session booked in with a trainer, it’s very easy for life to get in the way and for you to miss training sessions. Knowing that you will be wasting money by missing sessions is an excellent motivator.
So, ideally, you should be looking to complete roughly twelve to sixteen sessions monthly to see the fastest results.
How long will it take you to start seeing results?
There are several factors that come into play when discussing the number of sessions you need to complete before you start to see noticeable changes in your body or performance (which we will discuss later on in this article). However, for the sake of simplicity, if you were to follow the guidance from your trainer and what is mentioned within this article, you should expect to see changes within six to eight weeks of training.
Which session length will get you the fastest results?
The standard length of a personal training session is one hour, this allows time for a proper warmup, a full session, and then a cool down and stretching session after.
There are plenty of other options available to you, and the length of the session really comes down to what your trainer can offer you and your availability. Some only sell single-hour sessions for simplicity, however, there are others that are willing to train people for half an hour, forty-five minutes, or even longer than an hour at a time.
Personally, I wouldn’t recommend training for more than an hour at a time, as if your trainer is working you to the maximum, you would be running the risk of training too intensely, which could lead to burnout.
The way in which you train will also change dramatically depending on the session length you opt for. For example, I used to advise 30-minute sessions for my clients that were particularly busy and needed to fit their workouts into a very short timeframe.
These were very intense sessions that had little to no rest periods built into them, and I made use of highly efficient training methods, such as supersets (working one muscle group, then working the opposing one straight after) as a way of getting the same amount of exercise achieved in a shorter time frame.
The reason I explain this is that you can get a great workout done in a short time frame, so don’t be put off if you can’t commit to an hour-long session. Explain to your trainer that you want to work hard in 30 minutes, and in reality, you should be able to get nearly the same amount of training completed within an hour-long session.
Should you train on your own as well as take PT sessions?
Yes, nice easy answer for you there.
No matter what your goals or timeframes, you should still try to find time in your week to complete your own workouts on top of what you do with your trainer. I would state that more is not always better, so you do need to be careful that you aren’t overdoing things.
If for example, you are training four times a week with a PT, you could aim for an additional session on your own. This number obviously increases if you are completing fewer sessions, but I would always advise you to try and get at least four of five sessions a week completed if you are looking for results as fast as possible.
How does your lifestyle affect the number of sessions you’ll need?
The way you live your life can either speed up or slow down your progress. For example, a person who cycles at the weekend and eats a generally healthy diet and doesn’t have tons of work events that involve booze and meals out is going to be able to see results much faster than a person who needs to do these things as part of their work life.
Of course, you can still make healthy choices and limit the amount of alcohol you drink, but your work will always be a part of your life, and if you know you are likely to have lots of late-night events and will need to be able to relax more at the weekends to recovery, this is something you should factor into your expectations.
There is no right or wrong lifestyle, but if you are looking for the fastest results possible, discuss with your trainer what they advise you to do in terms of adjusting here and there to speed things up. Remember, they are being paid to get you results, not just watch you lift weights, so sit down with them and discuss in detail where you can make positive choices in your life.
Is there any way you can speed up results?
There are numerous ways that you can speed up the rate that achieves your desired outcome from training, these include following all your trainer’s advice (remember, they are professionals and it’s what you’re paying for), working out on your own outside of the sessions, following the diet advice your trainer gives you to the letter and remaining consistent in your training.
Life gets in the way sometimes, and you may miss a session here and there, and you may also slip up and eat a meal that isn’t exactly healthy, but the main thing to do, is not let it become a habit. A slip up here and there can be corrected, but it should remain a one-off.
How much should you train for different goals?
You may be wondering if your goals affect how many sessions you’ll need to complete before you start seeing results. And to some degree, you will start to see results faster if your goal is to lose weight than if you were looking to increase your muscle mass.
Much as it’s still tough to lose weight and requires a great deal of effort, as long as you follow your trainers’ advice, you should start seeing results fairly quickly, maybe not always in the mirror, but certainly when you weigh yourself.
Building muscle is a little trickier, as it takes time for the body to create enough muscle mass to be noticeable in the mirror.
I would say the number of sessions you complete should stay the same each week, as we have discussed this is the fastest route, but in all honesty, you may be looking at a few extra weeks and potentially months of training before you are going to be excited with your results when muscle gain is the goal.
It’s also just as important that you follow your PT’s advice on diet for muscle-building goals as it is for weight loss.
Do different body types affect how quickly you’ll achieve results?
There are certain body types that humans can be organised into, these include:
- Endomorph – Naturally pear-shaped but can add muscle at a faster rate
- Mesomorph – Medium frame with typically stronger and leaner bodies
- Ectomorph – Long, lean bodies with lower body fat, but find it harder to gain muscle mass
Of course, it’s easy to categorize people, however, in real life, there are a lot of people who could fit into none of these categories, and instead, have a body type that is a mix.
That’s why it is important to discuss your body type with your trainer so they can prescribe the correct course of training and diet to match both your lifestyle and your body type.
Please do not be put off by the body type you think you fit into from this list. If you are an endomorph that’s looking to lose weight, you absolutely can. And if you are an ectomorph that has always wanted a pack on some muscle, please remember that there are professional bodybuilders (who are not taking steroids) with ectomorph body types, so whilst it may take a little extra work and a few more months of training to see results, it can be achieved.
How much is all this going to cost?
It’s pretty complex to work out how many sessions you will need to purchase and complete before you’re happy with your results, as every person’s definition of success is going to be different.
However, we can make a pretty good estimation of how many sessions you’re going to be looking at, and a slightly rougher estimate of just how much that will cost you in most big cities.
Weight loss example
Joe wants to lose as much weight as they possibly can before a wedding coming up this summer so they can fit back into their favorite suit. They only have time to train twice per week, but will train three times on their own. Joe has three months until the wedding and wants to train for an hour each session.
Taking the average cost of a one-hour session in London (being £50), we can say that Joe should be completing 24 personal training sessions, which will cost them around £1200.
Weight gain example
Next, we have Robert who wants to gain as much muscle as possible, he’s an ectomorph and has struggled to gain weight in the past.
He can afford to train four times a week as he’s really dedicated to changing his physical shape. He knows how important diet is, so he will follow all the advice he’s given and will train twice a week on top of the four with a trainer.
Due to Robert being an ectomorph, he understands that it will take a little longer to start seeing the results he is after, so he commits to four months of training before re-assessing how things are going.
Unfortunately, Robert is a seriously busy office worker who cannot commit to hour-long sessions. So, he will be taking half-hour sessions instead.
The average rate in London for a half-hour PT session is around £35, so £2,240 should be set aside for Robert to meet his goals.
Of course, these are the average rates in London, so the amount it will cost in your local area is something you should check out yourself whilst you are deciding how much time you can commit each week/month for your training.
I hope this article has answered the question “how many personal training sessions to see results?” and helped you to understand roughly how many personal training sessions you will need to complete to reach your goals or at least start seeing good progress.
Every person is different, so of course, you will need to assess your own situation and discuss realistic goals with your trainer. One word of warning is that you don’t always need to train four times a week for one hour, so if your trainer is pushing for this number of sessions, ask them to explain why to make sure they aren’t just trying to drain your bank account.
Whatever your goal, I’m very glad you’re considering personal training, it’s a fantastic way of getting the results you’re looking for, and you’ll learn a lot along the way too.
I wish you the best of luck and have a great day!
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I was also recently featured in a roundup article about this topic, to see my answer regarding managing clients’ expectations, click the link below.