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 min read

How much do personal trainers really make? Personal trainer salaries and more

How much do personal trainers really make? For the year 2020, we're going to breakdown trainer earnings - both online & offline, state-by-state, and more.

How much do personal trainers really make?

For the year 2020, we're going to breakdown trainer earnings - both online & offline.

We'll cover:

  • Becoming a trainer
  • The difference between trainer types
  • How much in-person trainers make
  • How much do independent trainers make
  • How much online trainers make
  • What states and gyms have the highest paid trainers

Types of trainers

First off, there are three types of trainers. There are trainers who train at a gym, trainers who train online, and trainers who train independently at private training gyms.

You can be a mixture of all three, but typically a trainer falls into either one or two of these buckets.

We'll cover all three of these career paths as we go through the article.

Becoming a trainer

Being able to customize your own hours, work with who you want to work with, and help clients transform their bodies can seem like a dream. For a lot of trainers, it definitely is.

However, it's not all sunshine and rainbows. The constant travel from gym-to-gym-to-home, the uncertainty of clients early on, and the lack of effort you receive from some clients can be exhausting.

More often than not though, most personal trainers we know (especially on WeStrive) absolutely love their job. Sure, it can be stressful, but so can every job. There aren't too many jobs where you get to have a deep dive into someones goals, build them a plan, and then watch those goals slowly be achieved right before your eyes. It's truly beautiful.

With all that being said, the number one question we get asked by potential future trainers is... how much do personal trainers make? What's the average salary of a trainer? We'll break that down below. You might not start off as a master trainer but it's good to know what a typical personal trainer salary is.

Personal trainer salaries vary

We'll cover both the high-end trainers and the earlier trainers in this section. Keep in mind, salaries are typically based on experience and a certified personal trainer typically makes more as well. 20-year veteran personal trainers will consistently receive much higher pay-outs than trainers in their first year. This is one of those jobs where you typically make more money over time - no matter where you go.

You might know of a personal trainer who makes $150-$200 per hour. This is uncommon but definitely achievable over time. As you grow your hourly with experience, you're also growing your network and demand. As your demand grows as a trainer, you're able to increase your price.

How much in-person trainers make

For personal trainers that work in gyms in the US, the average base salary for a trainer in the United States is $36,074 (According to Glassdoor). However, if we look at Ziprecruiter.com, you'll see that the average salary is $48,853 with each state varying in price (see graph below).

Ziprecruiter state-by-state breakdown

States like Washington, Maryland, and Nebraska topped the charts at over $1,000 a week for average trainer salaries...while states like North Carolina fell about 1/3rd on the weekly rate at $681/Week.

Personal trainer salaries at specific gyms

There are hundreds of gyms: LA Fitness, Golds Gym, Lifetime, and YMCA to name a few. These gyms are scattered all over the United States and their salaries are even more scattered. On top of that, each salary can be broken down based on tiers or levels at that respective gym. A gold's gym personal trainer hourly pay will be completely different from a master personal trainer at Equinox.

For example, trainers at 24 Hour Fitness can start off expecting to make around $2200/month and will typically finish careers with the company at around $5500/month. This will include pay-raises over time, bonuses, increased sales, and more.

  • At LA Fitness, the minimum wage is $12-$15/hour or per session and there aren't a lot of incentives to move up as a trainer.
  • YMCA minimum wage is $15-$20/hour or per session and tier 4 trainers can earn upwards of $30/hour as you grow within the company
  • Golds gym is in a similar scaling boat with $10/hour or per session starting out that can reach upwards of $30/hour
  • A higher-tiered gym like Equinox will pay trainers between $26 & $31/hour to start off (depending on hours/week) and allow you to earn all the way up to $74/hour

How much do independent trainers make?

Before we talk about how much independent trainers make, let's talk about what being an independent trainer means.

If you're looking for financial freedom then the independent trainer route is for you.

You get to be the boss, set your prices, and earn 100% of what you make (minus expenses and gym rent of course).

We highly recommend not starting here. It's always best to get your feet wet in the training industry at a corporate gym for a few years, start adding a few online clients on your own, and then move to the full in-person independent trainer role.

A negative of running your own business is just that...you have to run your own business. You miss out on all the perks that come with working at a corporate gym.

When you go solo you'll miss out on benefits like 401k, medical insurance, disability, and PT insurance.

With all that being said, once you're ready to be independent, there are countless perks to your business.

  • Set your own hours
  • Make a lot more money
  • Work for yourself
  • Pick all of your clients
  • Charge what you want
  • Build your personal brand
  • and so much more

Keep in mind, unless you're training clients out of your home or theirs (or a park somewhere), you're going to have to pay rent to an independent training gym. This can cost a pretty penny, starting in the hundreds, and sometimes costing thousands of dollars (depending on the quality of the gym).

Now, let's get down to it... just how much do independent personal trainers make?

The answer is...it totally varies!

The average successful personal trainer that trains on their own earns around $55-$70K/year. The top % of trainers can earn $150K+ each year depending on how much they charge per hour.

Let's do some quick math:

If you charge $75/hour for your training sessions, you've grown your business to do 30 sessions a week, and you pay your gym a rent of $1000/month.

You'll earn $8000 every month ($9000/month - $1000 rent) working only 30 hours a week.

This number doesn't include all the other expenses that come with running a business (and we can't forget those lovely taxes) but if this was you, you'd be pulling in almost $100,000 a year.

That's not too bad for someone who helps people live better lives for a living 😏

How much do online trainers make?

At WeStrive, we're a little biased to online training... since.... you know... we're an online training platform. With that being said, we're biased for a good reason. Online training is the number one way to grow your training business and it really isn't that hard once you get started.

Online training can truly be the easiest way to grow your overall monthly revenue & clientele while you're still working in-person training clients.

Imagine, you work 35 hours a week at a gym, earning $2500/month just grinding every day at work.

One of your friends from home messages you, "hey, can you help me lose weight?".

You reply, "yes of course, I charge $250 for online training".

And boom, you're now making $2750/month and that extra car payment is covered.

Over time, more and more clients will flock to your online business and using platforms like WeStrive make your life insanely simple.

Once you get the hang of it, you can build month-long programs, track client macros, and see their progression all from one dashboard. It just takes about 5-15 minutes per client per week to manage and grow your online empire.

With all this being said, there isn't really a number we can pin-point to say, "you'll make X amount per year from online training" since it 100% depends on how many clients you have and how much you charge.

What we CAN say, is that based on our users, most of our trainers work in-person as well and then add anywhere from $250-$2000/month to their monthly revenue just from using WeStrive.

Let's do some math though for the trainers who want to move fully online. We know some trainers that make $15K/month ($180,000 per year) training online so here we go:

  • 15 Clients
  • $275/month for programs & macro-tracking

This scenario will earn you $4125/month AKA $50,000 a year... all to work online. You can sit behind your computer, watch your clients grow right before your eyes, and earn Fifty thousand dollars a year.

This is why online training is so powerful - because you can completely scale your business from your computer or phone.

In Closing

There are so many different types of training, different ways of getting paid, and different ways to approach your business.

Things like degrees, certifications, what state you're in, and what gym you're at all play a factor into how much you'll earn as a trainer.

Personal training can be a very rewarding career. As long as you stick with it and keep growing, you'll find yourself retiring with a long list of impeccable transformations under your belt and a solid retirement to lean on.

Our biggest tip, whether you choose to train independently or in-person is to add online training to your business. Even just one client can go a long way when it comes to covering bills and supporting your family.

If you're just starting out, it's going to be a long journey, but you're going to love it!

If you have any questions for myself or the team, just message us through the chatbot or email us at Help@westriveapp.com

Keep Striving,

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