How Much Does a Personal Trainer Make?

-Make More Money as a Personal Trainer-

(5 min read or 30s read if you jump to the summary at the end)

How much does a personal trainer or coach make? 

Like every profession, a minority make a majority of the income in that field. 

Known as the Pareto Principle or the 80 / 20 rule, this idea states that 20% of the participants within any category receive 80% of the resources, income, and attention. 

So the question becomes: how do you transform your practice of training and coaching to become one of the high-earning professionals? 

One of the strongest and most controllable factors is value

The coaches who can bring the most value to their clients typically make the most money. 

Since different markets can demand different compensation, we’ll frame this discussion of income in relative amounts from $ up to $$$$.

$ – Base Level

This is the entry-level. This is where every coach and personal trainer starts and where many stagnate. The value coaches at this level bring is a hard workout. This is also the obstacle of this level. 

Unfortunately for the ambitious trainer, nearly anyone can provide a hard workout. Yes, this is different from a smart workout, but often clients can’t initially distinguish between the two. 

Providing an adequately challenging workout is like a car having four wheels, it’s the universal expectation. 

This is a crowded tier for a trainer to try to earn significant income. Everyone is providing demanding workouts so a natural progression occurs: Clients train, rarely see the results they want, so they hop from trainer to trainer to trainer until they land find one who has offers more value beyond the base level of hard workouts.  

When tough training is the unique selling proposition, the income correlates to a single $. 

$$ – Advanced Coach

The Advanced Coach understands that a hard workout is easily found and most clients are looking for more. They want to realize their goals and have a trusted guide. The advanced coach learns more and does more. The advanced coach put more tools in the tool box. 

As with any toolbox, you need to start with the essentials. In fitness, understanding nutrition is a logical key piece. After all, most clients want weight loss and body composition changes and nutrition is the gateway to many of those results. 

A coach at this level can identify many of the obstacles standing in the way of their clients’ progress but still fail to consistently produce results. Coaches and trainers at this level receive a relative income of $$. 

Why not $$$? 

The answer is that identifying the caloric offenders and the deficiencies within a client’s diet is often not enough. Even with this knowledge, most clients still fail to make progress on their goals. Trainers at this level lack the tools to implement and consistently execute the appropriate habits and behaviors into their clients’ lifestyles. 

And that brings us to the next level.

$$$ – Fitness Professional

Personal trainers and coaches at this level are earning a relative income of $$$ and most often with the schedule that works best for them. That’s a lifestyle that moves from a good job to a career.  

So how do they do it? 

They’ve built on the previous levels. 

What were “hard” workouts are now well-designed training sessions crafted toward the client’s goals. 

Their understanding of the nuances of nutrition has expanded. They know which big rocks to address within each client’s health and fitness journey. 

And, most importantly, they’ve come to the realization that understanding the technical side of training and nutrition is not enough. 

Since the goal is to change client behavior to produce significant and lasting results, personal trainers and coaches at this level know that a fundamental understanding of psychology is a must. When the science of behavior change is addressed, trainers can impact their clients outside of the gym like never before. 

This requisite knowledge is critical to climbing the professional ladder and earning more money. That’s why we created the Behavior Science Powered 360 Wellness Coaching Certification. It’s your fast track path to earning the money you want and having the impact you desire by showing dedicated fitness professionals like you how to apply the principles of psychology to the field of fitness. 

With more knowledge, professionals at this level can customize and implement targeted strategies for each client to make progress on their goals. 

This is a rare skill set to possess, and clients will compensate you handsomely for the impact you bring to their lives. 

$$$$ – Elite Coach

The top earners in this field understand the value offered at each of the previous levels and have embraced the journey through each ascending level. 

They design targeted training programs. 

They understand the appropriate focus for each client’s nutrition. 

They have embraced the science of behavior change to produce significant and sustainable results for their clients. 

And they understand that the journey is just that, a journey. 

The top earners are already in rarified air. 

Even so, they continue to expand their skill set and knowledge base. 

The top earners are life-long learners. 

And since they are constantly increasing the value they bring to their clients, they are compensated proportionally. 

Now it’s time to turn the conversation to you. 

Where are you at on this continuum? 

What resources can we provide so you can grow your skillset and help impact more people’s lives? 

Let us know here

And to sum it up…The Summary:

  • The key offering of a base-level coach is a hard workout. Since that is the top value they can offer their clients, they command the least amount of money.
  • Advanced coaches build on that foundation by bringing an understanding of the science of nutrition to their clients. This value-add translates into greater income. 
  • Fitness Professionals continue to ascend the income ladder by understanding the offerings of the previous levels (training & nutrition) and continue to expand their value by possessing an understanding of behavior change. 
  • Elite Coaches are at the top of the income hierarchy. As lifelong learners, they are also the apex earners. 

One sentence takeaway: 

Bringing more value to your clients is the key to consistently increasing your income.