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Can personal trainers become rich?

Can personal trainers become rich?

Posted by Tyler Spraul, Certified Strength and Conditioning SpecialistĀ® (CSCSĀ®) on June 4, 2023 ā€” Updated on November 14, 2023

Yes, you can become rich as a personal trainer if you are good at sales/marketing, you work hard, and you use technology and the Internet to do more than trade your time for money. Many “regular” in-person personal trainers can earn 6-figures, and those who add in an online personal training element to their business can earn well north of that.

PJF Performance
I sold a workout program and matched my yearly salary of in-person training within two weeks of selling to my community!
Paul Fabritz
Founder and BS, CSCS, NSCA-CPT, ACE, FMS, PJF Performance

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The truth is, personal training rates can vary widely depending on a number of factors. In this article, we’ll explore what most personal trainers charge per hour, what influences those rates, and ultimately, how you can become rich as a personal trainer by incorporating certain key elements to your personal training business.

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Dean Somerset
Owner, Somerset Fitness

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Personal training is a booming industry, with the demand for fitness professionals continuing to grow year after year. If you’re thinking about pursuing a career as a personal trainer, it’s natural to wonder about the earning potential. Can personal trainers really become rich? The answer is yes, but making a large personal trainer income requires dedication, hard work, and a bit of business savvy. Let’s take a closer look at the factors that can affect the income of personal trainers.

The earning potential of personal trainers

The fitness industry has been growing rapidly over the years, and with it, the demand for personal trainers has also increased. Personal trainers are fitness professionals who help clients achieve their fitness goals by creating customized workout plans and providing guidance and motivation. However, the earning potential of personal trainers is affected by many variables, and it is important to understand these factors to make informed decisions about pursuing a career in this field.

One of the most significant factors that affect the earning potential of personal trainers is their location. Personal trainers in big cities tend to earn more than those in smaller towns, but their cost of living may be higher as well. For example, a personal trainer in New York City may charge $150 per hour, while a personal trainer in a smaller town may only charge $50 per hour.

Another important factor that affects the earning potential of personal trainers is their qualifications. Personal trainers who have more certifications and education tend to earn more than those who do not. For example, a personal trainer who has a degree in kinesiology and is certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) may be able to charge more than a personal trainer who only has a certification from a less reputable organization.

Factors affecting personal trainer income

Location and qualifications are not the only factors that can impact the income of a personal trainer. Other factors may include the type of clients they train, whether they offer group training or one-on-one sessions, and whether they work as an independent contractor or for a gym. For example, personal trainers who work with high-profile clients such as celebrities may be able to charge more for their services.

In addition, personal trainers who are able to market themselves effectively and provide exceptional customer service tend to be more successful. This is because satisfied clients are more likely to refer their friends and family to the personal trainer, which can lead to more business and higher earnings.

Average salary and hourly rates

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for fitness trainers and instructors was $42,980 in 2020. However, this number can vary widely depending on factors such as location and experience. For example, a personal trainer who has been in the industry for 10 years and has a large client base may earn significantly more than a personal trainer who is just starting out.

Many personal trainers charge an hourly rate for their services, which can range from $40 to $150 per hour or more. The hourly rate may depend on the personal trainer’s qualifications, experience, and location. For example, a personal trainer who works in a luxury gym in Beverly Hills may be able to charge more than a personal trainer who works in a small gym in a rural area.

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Additional revenue streams for personal trainers

Personal trainers may also be able to supplement their income by offering additional services such as nutrition counseling, fitness classes, or online training programs. For example, a personal trainer who specializes in nutrition may be able to charge extra for creating customized meal plans for clients.

They may also earn money by selling fitness-related products such as supplements or workout equipment. For example, a personal trainer who has a large social media following may be able to earn money by promoting fitness products on their social media platforms.

The earning potential of personal trainers is affected by many variables, and it is important for aspiring personal trainers to understand these factors to make informed decisions about their careers. While location and qualifications are important, personal trainers who are able to market themselves effectively, provide exceptional customer service, and offer additional services may be able to earn more than their peers.

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The role of education and certifications

The fitness industry is a highly competitive field, and personal trainers need to stand out to succeed. Education and certifications can play a significant role in a personal trainer’s earning potential. Not only do they provide credibility, but they also increase knowledge and skills, allowing personal trainers to better serve their clients.

Personal training certifications are available from a variety of organizations, but not all certifications are created equal. Some of the most respected certifications in the industry include NASM (the National Academy of Sports Medicine), ACE (the American Council on Exercise), and NSCA (the National Strength and Conditioning Association). These certifications require significant study and preparation, but they can set personal trainers apart from their competition and open up new opportunities.

Popular personal training certifications

NASM is one of the most popular personal training certifications, and for good reason. The NASM-CPT (Certified Personal Trainer) program is highly respected and covers a wide range of topics, including functional anatomy, assessment, and program design. NASM also offers specialization courses, such as Corrective Exercise Specialist (CES) and Performance Enhancement Specialist (PES), which can further increase earning potential.

ACE is another well-respected organization that offers personal training certifications. The ACE-CPT program covers topics such as exercise science, program design, and behavior change. ACE also offers a variety of specialization courses, including Health Coach and Group Fitness Instructor.

NSCA is a leading organization in the strength and conditioning field, and their Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) certification is highly respected. The CSCS program covers topics such as exercise science, program design, and testing and evaluation.

Continuing education and specialization

Personal trainers who continue their education and specialize in a particular area may be able to earn more than those who do not. Specialization can also help personal trainers stand out in a crowded market. For example, a personal trainer who specializes in working with athletes may be able to charge a higher rate and attract more clients.

Continuing education is also important for personal trainers. The fitness industry is constantly evolving, and staying up-to-date on the latest research and trends can help personal trainers provide better service to their clients. Continuing education can also lead to new opportunities, such as teaching workshops or presenting at conferences.

The impact of education on income

While a degree may not be necessary to become a personal trainer, it can certainly help increase earning potential. A study by the American Council on Exercise found that personal trainers with a bachelor’s degree earned an average of $48,400 per year, while those with a master’s degree earned an average of $52,500 per year. This shows that education can have a significant impact on a personal trainer’s income.

In addition to formal education, personal trainers can also benefit from informal education, such as reading books and articles, attending workshops and seminars, and networking with other professionals in the industry. By constantly learning and improving, personal trainers can become more valuable to their clients and increase their earning potential.

Building a successful personal training business

Becoming a personal trainer is one thing, but building a successful personal training business is another. Let’s take a look at some of the key steps to building a thriving business.

Finding your niche

The personal training industry is highly competitive, so it’s important to find a niche that sets you apart from your competition. This might mean specializing in working with a particular population (such as seniors or athletes), or offering a unique type of training (such as TRX or Pilates).

For example, if you choose to specialize in working with seniors, you might consider partnering with local retirement communities or offering group fitness classes tailored to their needs. This can help you establish yourself as an expert in this niche and attract more clients who are looking for specialized training.

Marketing and branding strategies

Effective marketing and branding are crucial for building a successful business. This might include developing a strong social media presence, networking with other fitness professionals, and positioning yourself as an expert in your field through blogging or speaking engagements.

One effective marketing strategy is to offer a free consultation or trial session to potential clients. This can give them a taste of your training style and help build trust and rapport. You might also consider offering promotions or discounts to new clients to incentivize them to sign up for your services.

Client retention and referrals

Retaining clients and generating more personal training referrals are key components of building a successful personal training business. This means providing exceptional customer service, developing strong relationships with your clients, and consistently delivering results.

To improve client retention, consider offering personalized training plans and tracking their progress over time. This can help clients see the value in your services and feel more invested in their fitness journey. Additionally, offering incentives or rewards for reaching fitness milestones can help keep clients motivated and engaged.

Generating referrals can also be a powerful way to grow your business. Encourage satisfied clients to refer their friends and family by offering referral bonuses or discounts. You might also consider partnering with other fitness professionals or local businesses to cross-promote each other’s services.

Expanding your personal training empire

Once you have established a successful personal training business, you may want to consider expanding your offerings and generating additional revenue streams. There are several ways to do this, and here are some of the most popular and effective options:

Online personal training and digital products

Offering online personal training or digital products such as workout guides or meal plans can be a great way to generate additional income. With the rise of technology and social media, many people are now looking for convenient and affordable ways to access fitness resources and guidance. By creating informative and engaging digital products, personal trainers can tap into this growing market and establish themselves as experts in their field.

Developing digital products may require an initial investment of time and resources, but can ultimately provide passive income over time. For example, once you have created a workout guide, you can sell it repeatedly without having to invest additional time or effort. This can be a great way to supplement your income and reach a wider audience.

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Opening your own gym or fitness studio

For personal trainers who want to take their business to the next level, opening their own gym or fitness studio may be the next step. This option requires significant investment and business expertise, but can provide a high level of autonomy and income potential.

By opening your own gym or fitness studio, you can create a unique and personalized environment for your clients. You can also offer a wider range of services and amenities, such as group fitness classes, specialized equipment, and nutrition counseling. This can help you attract a larger and more diverse client base, and ultimately increase your revenue.

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Partnering with other fitness professionals

Partnering with other fitness professionals (such as massage therapists or nutritionists) can be a great way to cross-promote services and generate additional income. This type of partnership can be formal or informal, and can ultimately benefit both parties.

For example, you could partner with a massage therapist to offer a package deal that includes a personal training session and a massage. This can be a great way to attract new clients and provide additional value to your existing clients. You could also partner with a nutritionist to offer a comprehensive wellness program that includes personalized meal plans and fitness coaching.

Continuing education and specialization

Another way to expand your personal training business is to continue your education and specialize in a particular area of fitness. By becoming an expert in a specific niche, you can differentiate yourself from other personal trainers and attract clients who are looking for specialized services.

For example, you could specialize in post-rehabilitation training for clients who are recovering from injuries or surgeries. Or, you could become a certified yoga instructor and offer yoga classes as part of your services. By continuing to learn and grow, you can stay ahead of the competition and provide the highest level of service to your clients.

What is the earning potential of a personal trainer?

The earning potential for a personal trainer can vary greatly depending on several factors such as location, specialization, years of experience, and the types of clients they serve. On average, personal trainers in the U.S. can make anywhere from $20,000 to over $100,000 per year. Personal trainers who run their own business or have a high-profile clientele can earn even more.

Can a personal trainer make six figures?

Yes, it is possible for a personal trainer to make six figures. This generally requires a combination of factors such as having a large client base, offering specialized services, charging higher rates, and leveraging online training and digital products. Using a platform like Exercise.com can help trainers increase their income potential by offering a platform for online training, selling digital products, and managing clients more effectively.

How do personal trainers increase their income?

Personal trainers can increase their income by expanding their client base, offering group training, specializing in a niche market, selling fitness products, and providing online training. With the Exercise.com platform, trainers can also expand their services beyond their local area and offer online personal training, which allows them to reach more clients and create a new revenue stream.

Is owning a personal training business profitable?

Owning a personal training business can be highly profitable, especially with the growing interest in health and fitness. However, the profitability largely depends on how well the business is run. Exercise.com provides the best PT tools for effective business management, from client scheduling and tracking to digital product sales and marketing, making it easier to run a profitable personal training business.

What is the highest-paying job in the fitness industry?

The highest-paying jobs in the fitness industry often involve owning a fitness-related business or offering specialized services. These might include owning a personal training studio or gym, becoming a specialized fitness consultant, or providing high-end personal training services to athletes or celebrities.

Can an online personal trainer make good money?

Yes, online personal trainers can make good money, often even more than in-person trainers. This is because online trainers can work with many more clients than they could in person. They can also sell digital products like workout plans and nutrition guides, and offer subscription-based services. Platforms like Exercise.com can facilitate this process by providing the tools needed to run an online personal training business effectively.

How can using a platform like Exercise.com improve a personal trainer’s income?

Exercise.com can significantly improve a personal trainer’s income by providing an all-in-one platform for managing and growing a fitness business. It allows trainers to offer online training, sell digital products, manage client scheduling and tracking, and much more. This can help increase revenue, reach more clients, and streamline business operations, all of which can lead to a higher income.

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Co-Founder, AMPD Golf Performance

Getting Started

So, can personal trainers become rich? The answer is yes, but it requires dedication, hard work, and a bit of business savvy. By focusing on building a strong reputation, continuing to learn and grow, and exploring different revenue streams, personal trainers can build highly successful businesses. And if you’re passionate about fitness and helping others achieve their goals, the personal training industry can be a highly rewarding and fulfilling career.

Ready to see if you qualify for the best software platform for fitness business owners serious about leveling up their business?

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Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for Exercise.com. He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-Certified Strength and Conditioning SpecialistĀ® (CSCSĀ®). He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life.
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