How to Make Personal Training Affordable

You can work with a personal trainer without breaking the bank.

personal training

Personal training will whip you into shape—if you can afford it. Photo via Shutterstock

Working out with a personal trainer seems like a luxury reserved for celebrities and pro athletes (or the really rich). But the benefits of working with a trainer are undeniable, like better form, more accountability, trying new things, and less time spent working out. Fortunately, personal training doesn’t have to be the investment that breaks the bank. There are several affordable options out there— you just need to know where to look.

Use the Internet

Search a website like Thumbtack to find someone local. Many of these trainers operate independently and typically don’t have a lot of overhead expenses. This allows them to offer competitive rates. You fill out a short questionnaire, and then the site will request quotes from all the personal trainers in your area that fall within your requirements.

Ask about Payment Plans

A little known industry secret is that in some cases, you don’t have to foot the bill for 10 or 20 sessions up front. Many trainers are willing to be flexible with payment plans in exchange for a longer commitment. You’ll find this more often with independent trainers and small studios rather than trainers at the larger gyms. But keep in mind that the more flexibility you require the more of a commitment you’ll have to make. Try negotiating a three to six month contract and offer to have monthly payments automatically debited from your credit card. If you take this approach, you will most likely get a good deal. No trainer is going to walk away from a guaranteed paycheck as long the deal is mutually beneficial. So never be afraid to ask, regardless of what their rate card says.

Semi-Private Training Sessions

If monthly payments still make the cost of a one-on-one session impossible then consider sharing your time with one to two other people. Unlike a group class, semi-private training still guarantees that you’ll get individualized attention. Trying semi-private training is more affordable and can be motivating since you will be in a small group. It fosters camaraderie and promotes healthy competition. In a group of two, you could get training at half the cost of a one-on-one session. Bump that up to three people and you can cut the costs even further. Try the payment plan tactic above for even more flexibility.

Off-Peak Hours

Many gyms offer discounted personal training rates for what they call their “off peak” hours. The exact hours may vary from one gym to another (depending on location and demographics), but the hours usually fall between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. and then again from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. This works well for people who have a flexible schedule. The discounts may not be deep, but some trainers may be willing to come down a bit on their hourly rate to fill their schedule during what would otherwise be dead time.

Virtual Training

Technology like Skype has made location and price less of a factor when it comes to hiring a personal trainer. Virtual training allows you to connect to your trainer from anywhere. With one click of the mouse you have someone there offering you their expertise, and holding you accountable to your goals. Unlike an exercise DVD, your trainer will be on the other end interacting with you, providing constant feedback and motivation. But virtual training isn’t quite the same as in-person training and may not be the solution for everyone. It works well for individuals who are disciplined enough to work out on their own but could use some new ideas and an extra push. With most virtual programs you will have weekly check-ins and receive a new workout every four to six weeks at a lower cost than in-person training.

Do you work with a personal trainer? How do you keep it affordable?