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Personal Training Costs: What to Expect When Starting Out

Personal training costs can be a bit of a battle when getting started with your personal training business. When getting started, you will have to pay your way through education and purchase all the essential items you will need to cater to the clients you want to help. The costs for equipment will depend on how you focus your training. Another thing to consider is where you will be conducting your training. These days, many people are going virtual, so you will have to pay for a method for reaching clients online.

The aforementioned points are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all things considered for personal training costs. Therefore, we are going to break down the costs you should expect starting from the certifications you receive to the delivery method of your training experience. We will even go over how much you should cost as a personal trainer.

Personal training costs: Donut chart infographic
These are the personal training costs broke down into how much you will spend in each sector.


As a personal trainer, you have many different options for certifications. Getting certified will be the largest of your personal training costs. Some certifications are specific to certain training styles. An example of a specified certification is from the National Strength and Conditioning Association. No need to guess what that certification specializes in. Nonetheless, these options vary depending on where you are located as well. Here is a quick overview of pricing for the top three certifications for the United States, the U.K., and Canada.

United States

Many certifications based out of the United States are internationally recognized. Therefore, the following certifications apply to the following countries. However, different governing bodies set standards for fitness instructors all over the world. Also, these certifications are all available for financing over time so that you can get certified without breaking the bank all at once.

International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) – This organization offers certifications for personal trainers at the basic level and up to earning the label of Master Trainer. The basic package to certify as a personal trainer is priced at $1,598. The master trainer package is priced at $4,794. These packages include certifications in personal training and nutrition and additional courses for extended learning.

American Council on Exercise (ACE) – Right now, the three pricing options for becoming certified as a personal trainer through ACE are all 50% off. Usually, the full package is $1,499 and the smallest package is $849. The resources you want to purchase to prepare for the exam and to refer back to throughout your career determine the price package. ACE requires that you recertify by taking an assessment for your knowledge and taking continued education classes.

National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) – This certification is slightly cheaper where the minimum package is priced at $799 and the highest package with the most resources is priced at $1319. There is a much bigger difference in the tiers in terms of the resources you purchase. With a NASM certification, you are much better off to put the money down for the full package to have long-term support and resources. With this package you also are recertified for life, so you do not have to continuously repay. You just have to maintain your education.

United Kingdom

The UK is a bit different in structure for deploying certifications. They have schools with courses that are certified by the governing bodies like CIMPSA, Active IQ, Reps, and YMCA. Many trainers in the U.K. are also certified through NASM and ISSA. Personal trainers learn in levels to build upon knowledge and certification for different levels of fitness instruction.

HFE – An industry-leading training provider of personal training courses with affordable prices and flexible payment plans. Personal training courses start from just £545 for Level 2 Gym Instructor course and £1,110 for Level 3 Personal Trainer course. As standard, each programme includes cutting-edge print and digital learning materials as well as expert training and unlimited support for each student.

PT Academy – £2000 is the most you would pay for a single course. This school actually offers bundles of courses to save money and ensure a comprehensive learning experience. Right now, they have their courses on sale for up to 70% off.

Study Active – This is one of the cheapest options for personal training schools in the U.K. and they are certified by Active IQ, CIMPSA, and Reps. The most expensive Level 3 course is £1,248.

Origym – This personal training school is a partner of FitSW and offers comprehensive courses from Level 2 up 4. They have three tiers of course packages with the Elite level being their highest and priced at £2,699. The lowest-priced is the Gold Diploma at £999.


Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) – With this certification, you would be looking at spending about $1,215 (CAD) on the high end. The price varies by how many extracurricular sessions you attend for extra test prep.

Canadian Fitness Education Services (CFES) – Certification through this national fitness organization is around $200 (CAD). With this program, you have to learn through tiers. Initially, it will cost around $126 to get your weight training certification. After that, you have to pay an additional $73 to become a fully certified personal trainer.

Canadian Fitness Professionals (Canfitpro) – The prices for this certification depend on the timing of your enrollment. If you enroll in a course three weeks before the date of the class then, you will get the early bird prices. Membership with Canfitpro also affects their prices for getting certified. For non-members, it costs $647 for the full certification package, and for members, it costs $519.


No matter how you want to reach your clients, you should have a set of equipment that you can take anywhere with you. Equipment does not have to be ridiculously pricey especially because your clients might benefit from purchasing their own equipment. Now, if you are becoming a trainer in a health club, then this does not apply to you!

Health Equipment

First, you will need some equipment to track and monitor your clients’ metrics. This could be to track their body composition progress or to make sure that your clients are in the right condition to complete workouts.

You should have a blood pressure kit and stethoscope to monitor clients who may have health conditions that make strenuous exercises a bit dangerous. This kit should cost anywhere between $20-$30. They have cheaper kits, however, you want to ensure that your equipment is reliable.

Blood Pressure Kit from Amazon
Blood pressure monitoring is extremely important for clients with health conditions.

Additionally, for clients with lung conditions, it would be beneficial to carry a pulse oximeter to monitor their oxygen levels and heart rate. This will cost around $20 to $25.

Pulse Oximeter for Personal Training
A pulse oximeter for monitoring client’s oxygen levels and heart rate.

Metrics are extremely important to track for the client and the trainer. Calipers are a vital tool for trainers to track BMI wherever they are. Digital calipers can cost between $10 and $25.

Caliper tool for BMI

Exercise Equipment

A ton of different options exist for getting started with purchasing equipment, but these are the ol’ reliable. I will only include pictures of the items that you should specifically watch out for. No need to hurt your intelligence because I’m sure you know what a yoga mat or a foam roller is.

Carry around a couple of yoga mats for you and your clients to use. A decent mat will cost you around $20. Floor exercises without them are extremely uncomfortable! It would be a shame if your client forgot theirs and you had to adjust the whole workout.

Suspension training ropes are an important piece of versatile equipment to have with you as well for bodyweight workouts anywhere you go. An average lower-end kit ranges in price from $50 t0 $80. Make sure to purchase a kit with multiple anchoring methods. You do not want to limit where you can suspend them.

Suspension training kit

Resistance bands are another good item to have and can be relatively cheap with prices ranging from $8 to $10 for a starter kit.

Foam rollers are great to have with you for those cooldowns post-session. Foam rollers come in all different shapes, but a decent one to start with will cost you around $25.

Don’t forget the classic cardio machine – jump ropes. Jump ropes provide a great workout and are one of the essentials for any trainer. You can get a digital jump rope that tracks metrics like speed for you for $15 and under.

Personal training costs - Digital jump rope

Cones and agility ladders are a great purchase for any workout cardio, speed, and agility related. You can find these in a kit for around $20

Personal training costs - Agility kit
Find a kit like this for agility exercises.

The last piece of recommended equipment is a plyometric box. This will probably be the priciest piece of equipment ranging from $80 to $140 depending on your preference of foam, wood, metal, and other features. They all do the same thing and have similar sizing. Just make sure the one you purchase will not collapse on you or your clients!

Software and tools necessary

Your personal training costs for this sector break down into some pretty simple segments. Think about the tools that you want to employ to help your marketing and your managing.


For marketing, you have lots of options. To start, word of mouth is your best bet but focus on developing your brand. Brand awareness is extremely important and facilitates client acquisition. In a previous article on branding, you will find some information for creating branded gear that you can sell or give to clients.

Social media is a free form of marketing! Have your friends and family share about your training services on social media and keep yours updated as well.

Although you can share about your business for free, you can also run paid advertisements for as little as $5 a day on Facebook. This will run ads specific to your target audience outside of the followers you already have.

To make sure your investment is worthwhile, you need to be strategic with your audience and the composition of your ad. You can build a very specific audience for retargeting ads with data from your webpage.

Set up a webpage! You can do this for free through many sites or you can use the FitSW platform. For as little as $20 a month you can host a website, manage your clients, track their progress, and much more. We can get more into that in a bit.

Mailchimp is a tool that you can use for free to get the ball rolling on a regular newsletter for your clients and prospective clients.


Tools for client management improve your efficiency and can allow you to spend more time helping a larger number of clients achieve their goals. Thus your revenue will grow exponentially with small monthly personal training costs to client management software.

FitSW is an example of software that automates every step of the process from onboarding clients to delivering workouts, nutrition plans, and multi-day programs. You can even host live classes to meet with clients remotely.

Clients can find you as an online trainer through the sister site FindTrainGain and sign up for your services there. This is also another form of marketing that comes with the $20 per month cost.

At this price package, you can manage up to 15 clients. These clients can purchase packages, subscriptions, sessions, and make on-time payments to you all through the app. In the best-case scenario, all of these clients meet with you three times a week for an hour or less at around $60 per session. This puts you at around $9,700 per month… $2o is a cheap price to pay for that kind of power. This does not include the sales you make for assigning and guiding nutrition plans, programs, and workouts to do at home.

Setting your rates

Setting your rates depends on how many clients you believe you can onboard initially and the competition around you. Factor in the amount of time you will spend on each session and how many sessions you fit in a day.

People will usually search what average personal training costs are and they will find information for the national average. The national average is between $60 and $70 for one hour sessions.

However, location also determines what you should charge. A personal trainer in Los Angeles will cost much more than a personal trainer in Colorado Springs. the demand for trainers there is much higher and much more valued.

Your competition will be the best indicator of how to set your rates.


As a trainer, you probably won’t need a place of business, and you won’t need to purchase a business license either. Perks of succeeding in personal training are that personal training costs for running the business are relatively low.

Compare this to any other type of business and you have to worry about much more than just some equipment and a couple of software subscriptions.

As an individual, you also have full control over your business model and where you do business. You can travel to people’s homes, deliver online coaching, and never travel anywhere for work. Even better, you meet up with your customers at your home or a public park.

Often, trainers form relationships with people who own gyms and book set times to use the gym to meet with clients. Relationships you form as a personal trainer have lots of value. Relationships you form can save you a lot of money and make you a lot of money in the long run

With all of the aforementioned costs in mind, good luck and get training!

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