How Much Money Do Personal Trainers Make? – Is It Worth It?

So how much do personal trainers make, and is it a career worth pursuing? To answer both questions, it helps to understand the driving force behind such a growing profession.

With obesity rates rising the way they are, it only makes sense to pursue a career where you get paid to help people improve their health.

Not only that, but who wouldn’t love wearing sneakers and gym clothes everyday?

But as awesome a career in personal training may sound, making money with it just isn’t that easy.

Yea i’m sure you’ve read articles that say you can make up to $50,000 early into your career, but as someone that has lived the life of a personal trainer, that definitely isn’t the case.

Now i’m not saying that it’s impossible, but you need to be in a really good situation in terms of location and clientele to make great money.

 But for the majority of aspiring personal trainers, making real money in this industry can be a real struggle.

But if you’re still someone that is interested in pursuing this career, or maybe looking for an alternative to it, you should definitely continue reading this article.

Because I plan on breaking down what it takes to make good money as a personal trainer, and also showing you another way to make money and still help people doing what you love.

What Level of Education Is Needed To Become A Personal Trainer

To be honest, as long as you’ve graduated high school, you can pursue a career as a personal trainer.

However, one issue you may find yourself running into is if you’re looking to work for a gym or start your own business as an independent trainer.

Many employers require you to be certified, and some even prefer you to have a degree.

So if you’re serious about becoming a trainer, then it will help to get some level of education.

As someone who has worked out for many years before getting certified, there was so much I wasn’t aware of when it came to helping someone get in shape.


You learn so much about how the body works, it helps to know these things to help get people the best results.

There are a few places where you can get certified, like NASM and ACE. There are many others, but these two are considered highly reputable in the fitness industry.

Many gyms accept these certifications as they provide you with many tools to successfully train clients.

Part-Time vs Full-Time - What To Expect

Although it may seem obvious, but the amount of money you make will depend largely on how many hours you plan on putting in training clients.

If you plan on putting in part time hours, then it’s safe to say you should expect part time money.

If you’ve ever had a chat with any personal trainer, then you know that their schedule is planned around the availability of their clients.

And since most clients have jobs, the best times for them are usually early in the morning, or in the evening after work.

This could leave the trainer working a very long schedule each day.

What also affects the type of hours you put in as a personal trainer is your type of employment.

Going as an independent trainer will allow you more flexibility since you’re reporting to yourself.

Compared to working for a big box gym where you will be assigned a shift and have to work a set amount of hours.

Independent Trainer vs Employee - Who Makes More?

As soon as I got certified as a personal trainer, the first thing I wanted to figure out was if I should work for a gym, or just go as an independent.

So I thought it would be a good idea to interview at a local gym just to get an idea of what they pay their trainers. All I can say was I was very disappointed in what I saw.

There were 4 different tiers of trainers depending on experience level and clientele.

But for those just getting started, you get paid just $12 an hour but most sessions are only a half hour long.

So that is only 6 bucks per training session. Yes there are some bonuses, but to keep the numbers simple, I’ll just use base rates.

Of course as you gain more experience and get more clients, you can make it all the way up to tier 4 where you can make up to $22 an hour.

Already I could see that It was going to take a lot of work to make good money as a personal trainer at this gym.

And it’s not like i’m not up for working hard, but it just didn’t seem worth it to me.

Also keep in mind that each gym have completely different pay structures. But don’t expect any of them to pay all that well as you get started.

Learning this, I made the decision to just go as an independent where I controlled how much I got paid training clients.

Since you’re able to dictate how much to charge clients, the opportunity to make good money was there.

Just know that one has the potential to make significantly more than someone that is an employee at a gym.

Although this may seem like the way to go, it isn’t necessarily the easiest thing to accomplish.

You have to factor in finding a place to train your clients as most gyms won’t allow independent trainers to do so.

I can remember doing just that with clients, and acting like I’m working out with them to keep staff off my back.

Now if you can find a studio to rent, then you can avoid this issue. But this will require you having money saved up to pay the rent for the space.

There are a lot more pros and cons when it comes to independent vs employee, and I plan on going over them very soon.

Ways To Improve Your Earnings

How much more money you make will depend on your status as a trainer. If you decide to work with a gym, then moving up in tiers will increase the amount of money you make.

The way to do this is by getting more certifications and gaining experience where you work. Some gyms also have training within the company to help you get certifications.

As an independent, you can get more creative compared to a gym where you’re a bit more restricted.

But as an independent trainer, there are many ways to increase your earnings. A trend that is happening in the training industry is more people are attending group fitness classes.

A reason for this is due to it being more affordable.

Think about a personal trainer training one client for an hour, let’s say you charge the client $60.

But what if in that same hour, you can train 10 people and charge each of them anywhere from $10-$20. You could easily make $100 - $200/hr.

This makes it more affordable for the client, and puts more money into your pocket.

As an independent trainer, being creative is something you will have to be to find success in this industry.

But if you put in the work...and trust me it takes a lot of work, the money is there to be made.

Those that are able to take the time to really learn how to make money as a personal trainer, are the ones that find success long term.

Is It Worth It? The Reality of Being A Personal Trainer

To be honest with you, and this is just my personal opinion, it really wasn’t worth it for me to be a personal trainer.

Yea I know you hear programs out there selling you on the idea of getting paid to workout, but believe me, it isn’t as great as you think it is.

You have to really grind to make it as a personal trainer.

Below you will find a list of all the pros and cons of becoming a personal trainer for both independents and employees of gyms:


  • Get to help people improve their health
  • Can wear cool gym clothes to work
  • Dictate how much you get paid per session (independent)
  • Very flexible work schedule
  • A lot of room to grow and learn in the fitness industry
  • Free gym membership (if employed at a gym)


  • Only get paid when training
  • Dealing with clients can be tiresome
  • Can be difficult finding space (if independent)
  • Very low pay when getting started

Success as a Personal Trainer Requires Thinking Outside The Box

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind working hard for what I want, but for me, I like to look at the end game. Ask yourself this question, how long do I want to be training people for?

As you get older, the goal should be to work less, and make more. And with personal training, you only get paid when you are actually training someone.

So as you get older, you need to start finding ways to create income that doesn’t involve training clients. So how would you do that?

For many, one of the popular ways is to open up your own personal studio or gym. And if you have the money to do so, then this would be a great idea.

But for me, I like to take it a step further. Keep reading to learn what I mean when I say “take it a step further.”

Why Work Harder, When You Can Work Smarter

As someone who’s always been very business minded, my goal was always to try and find ways to work less yet make more.

And as much as I like helping people get in shape, I knew that personal training wasn’t something I could sustain long term.

Because like I mentioned earlier, you only get paid for when you’re training someone.

So instead of working hard for that active income, I wanted to to learn how to create passive income.

Meaning I wanted to create income that is being earned whether I’m working or not. Because if you haven’t realized it yet, our most valuable asset we have is our time.

That is something that we can never get back, so it’s crucial to maximize it to the fullest.

So as a health professional looking to find success within the fitness industry, what is the best way to maximize that time?

Well if you haven’t guessed it by now, it’s through the use of the internet which allows you to leverage your time to make more money.

The Power Of The Internet

Of course money will always be a driving factor when choosing any profession.

But one of the most satisfying things about being a personal trainer is being able to have such an impact on the health of people.

Helping people change their lives for the better is a very rewarding thing in life.

But at the same time, personal training takes up a lot of time and energy, and only allows you to help a limited amount of people.

With the internet, you can help a lot more people with a lot less effort. Not only that, but as technology advances, the internet is becoming the place where people look for answers.

Every year more and more people are using the internet as a way to help solve their problems. Whether it be money or health problems, you can be that person that becomes the solution to their problems.

So how can you position yourself to take advantage of what the internet can do for your personal training business?....Affiliate Marketing, that’s how.

So What Is Affiliate Marketing and How Can It Help You Financially?

Affiliate marketing is using the power of the internet to help those that are looking for solutions to their problems.

As an affiliate marketer, you would be recommending either products or services that are being searched for on the internet to your readers.

To accomplish this, all you need is a website and the training to learn how to attract visitors to your site.

Once you’re able to learn how to get traffic, you can then monetize that traffic and create that passive income I spoke about earlier.

So if you’re interested in learning more about affiliate marketing, just click the link below.

Learn How To Make Money Online - A Guide To Affiliate Marketing