Looking At A Personal Trainer Salary – How Much Do They Make?

by Josh Hanagarne on January 5, 2011

jillian michaels personal trainerI’ve known a lot of trainers over the last few years. Many of them are worth much more than they charge. Many of them are not worth a kick in the juevos as they train people from templates taken out of magazines and do nothing to educate themselves. Many of them don’t make nearly as much as they deserve, and then there are trainers like Jillian Michaels who are an industry unto themselves.

Yes, I’m generalizing, but I’ve seen some scary stuff come from “trainers” who are supposedly in the industry to “help people.”

So, the person trainer salary–is it possible to figure out an average? It depends on who you’re using as your sample size. After talking with some of the guys at my local Gold’s Gym, I was shocked to see that many of them are making less than $8.50 an hour if they’re not actually training, and they’re not actually training if they haven’t booked clients. So, their first incentive to fill up their slots is to make more money. Nothing wrong with that.

But when I asked some of these trainers how they valued their various certifications, very few of them said they needed to know what they had used. They could tell people what to do and they would do it. The information gap is between trainer and client is perceived to be larger than it is, and most people just seem to want someone to blow the whistle.

At the other extreme: I am friends with trainers who charge $200/hr, make over $20,000 each month, and deserve every penny. They own their own gyms. They do a combination of group classes, boot camps, one on one personal training, and online training. They also prep people for powerlifting meets, High School Athletics, and do a lot of mobility work.

The best trainer of all help people train themselves. The best trainers I know are not about closing the sale and setting up endless sessions. They are about helping people become competent enough to not need a personal trainer.

But that’s for another post.

If you’re interested in seeing some real numbers and averages, take a look at this personal trainer salary payscale. The range is pretty big, and dependent on many factors.

But one thing is sure: some of them are being paid too much, and some are being paid too little.

If you’re going to go into the business I would urge you to make sure that you’re going to be one of the good ones so you can deserve everything you make. That’s how you’ll help people, and that is how you’ll find yourself in the high end of the payrange.

Josh

Strength Training for body and mind

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