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Do you just walk up to the most ripped guy at the gym and ask who he works with? Or go with the ones on staff at your local gym, even though you've never really felt a good connection with them? Good news: there's a much more effective way to get the guidance and expertise you need to make progress with your health and fitness goals.
Today you can use the web to either work with an online personal trainer, or find the perfect local fit for your personality and training needs. Whether you choose a fully-online personal trainer, or a local professional, depends on your situation. Is it important to have someone at your side, guiding you through each exercise and giving you face-to-face accountability? Or, does your schedule make it so that you need a personal training solution that is completely portable, with flexible sessions and on-the-go availability? Your answers to those questions will influence which type of personal trainer you choose.
Thursday, January 21st
Unlimited workouts, advice, and tracking, all for less than $100/month. Sounds too good to be true, right? Wrong. Trainiac connects you with a personal trainer that will help you develop the right plan for your body, your time, your activity level, and much more - at a price that's much cheaper than any in-person trainer you'll ever find.
Get started by taking their 16-question online fitness quiz. Tell Trainiac your primary fitness goal (losing weight, building muscle, or getting healthier), your motivations for making a change, and your stats (age, height, weight), among others. (One caveat: at the time of our review, Trainiac was only available for customers with an iPhone!) Once you've finished all of the questions, you'll be shown a list of Trainiac personal trainers that they think are a good match for the answers you gave. You'll see photos, a list of certifications, and then a box to click to see more about that particular personal trainer.
Once you've selected a trainer, you'll get access to Trainiac's program. Your first 30 days are billed at 50% off their normal monthly rate, and you have a 30 day money back guarantee. After the initial 30 days, you'll be billed at their regular rate of $99.99/month. Your subscription can be cancelled at any time.
Trainiac doesn't give too much away on their website, to show you what to expect from your $99.99 per month. Fortunately, their subscribers are enthusiastic about the ease of using the app, the effectiveness of Trainiac's personal trainers, and the overall awesomeness of the program. We love how accessible this program makes their personal trainers: 24/7 support, whether that's to answer questions about weightlifting form, how much protein to eat in a day, or just a motivation boost when something isn't working out as expected.
Another great way to get a peek at what Trainiac offers is through their social media channels. Want to see what your personally curated workout might look like? Check out their workout videos on Facebook! Curious to see how personal trainer Lola might design your plan to lower body fat? Catch her post on the Trainiac Insta account!
For most people looking for a personal trainer, Trainiac is the best option. It's affordable, easy to use, and gives you one-on-one access to a professional who will keep you motivated and progressing with a full-range fitness and nutrition plan for your unique needs. Trainiac is our top-rated choice for personal trainers.
Born Fitness has one question for you: "How good would it feel to finally have the body you want and never stress about what to eat or how to exercise ever again?" If you're like most people, the answer to that question is "It would be amazing!" Born Fitness can partner with you to make that your reality.
One aspect of Born Fitness that's very different from other personal trainer services we evaluated: spots are limited. That's right: you'll actually have to fill out an application (see the big yellow "Apply for Coaching" button? They're not asking for professionals who want to work there; they're saying prospective clients have to apply to access their services!). You'll answer some questions about yourself - goals, current fitness level and previous experiences, etc. - and the Born Fitness team will get back to you within 48 hours to let you know if they have room for you in their clientele.
If you're accepted as a client, you'll be contacted by your personal coach. Together (via Skype, phone or app), you'll get to know each other, and you'll tell your coach more about yourself so that he or she can get to work on your personal fitness and nutrition plan. This is the complete opposite of one-size-fits-all personal training: instead, you get a plan that is uniquely tailored to your schedule, your preferences, and your body, no one else's.
Just take a look at the section under "Imagine a Different Kind of Monday Morning" and see for yourself. Your Born Fitness app shows you exactly how much you're targeting in your personalized nutrition plan, gives you specific exercises in your training plan, and is absolutely impacted by your interactions with your personal trainer - from tweaks to add exercises you want to ones that will help you with any injuries or other issues. This is the ultimate plan for people who are striving to be their healthiest, best selves and who are tired of all of the guesswork that usually goes into nutrition and exercise.
Born Fitness has an excellent satisfaction guarantee: if you try their program for 30 days and don't feel like it's the right "fit" (pun intended), you'll get a full refund for your first month's fees and no additional payments. You'll want to make your decision within that first month, because Born Fitness requires a 6-month minimum commitment to their program. At $199/month, that's pretty steep if you decide after two months that you don't like it - you'll still be paying your monthly fees until you hit the 6-month mark. But, when you consider how much it costs to work with a personal trainer, usually somewhere around $50 per session, you're getting a lot for your money with Born Fitness. See the testimonials on the site and check out the before-and-after photos if you need any convincing!
If you're ready to make a transformation once and for all, and you know that you need a lot of one-on-one input to make it happen, Born Fitness should be one of the first options you consider for personal trainers.
Thumbtack is a referral service for professionals across a variety of industries, mostly in the home repair/improvement fields. They also include Personal Trainers in their available services, and we were pleased to see that there were more than 100 in our suburban area.
Start by choosing Personal Trainers as the service you're looking for and then enter your zip code. You'll get a list of people in your location, and you can further sort your results by where you prefer to work out: Trainer's gym or private studio, public outdoors location, your home or apartment gym, or a location recommended by the trainer. You can also indicate if you're training alone or in a pair (with a friend, significant other, etc.). Then, choose your preference: female trainer, male trainer, or no preference.
Even if you don't indicate your preferences and just go directly to the list of personal trainers in your area, you'll still be asked those questions when you find one you like and click the button to check for availability, so be thinking about what your answers would be. You have to enter your email address in order to find out the person's availability - so expect to be contacted directly if you take that step.
What we love about using Thumbtack for finding a personal trainer:
What we think Thumbtack could improve:
Overall, Thumbtack was a very pleasant surprise! People looking to match up with a personal trainer in their area should be able to find a great range of professionals for hire, and with so much information available upfront, there's no risk involved in using the service to "shop around". And, as a company with an "A" grade and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau, Thumbtack shows that it's a name to trust when choosing a personal trainer. This is our top choice as a referral service specifically for in-person, local personal training options.
Livekick is a NYC-based startup that wants to make fitness accessible to everyone - by getting rid of obstacles like crazy work schedules, inconvenient gym hours, and hard-to-reach local personal trainers and putting the control into the client's hands. This is an excellent app if you travel for work, because there's no need to get out of your fitness routine: it goes with you!
Each online Livekick session is a private, one-on-one live fitness and/or yoga workout that lasts 30 minutes. Livekick lets you choose any of their instructors: maybe you want to hear Ethan's fantastic South African accent as he coaches you through calisthenics, or you think you'd connect well with Janie from Atlanta who not only teaches yoga but is also a certified Barre instructor. All of Livekick's instructors are certified by accredited organizations and educated within the platform's preferred, science-based methods of personal training.
We love that Livekick has a free two-week trial period. Given that their program is on the expensive side, you'll want to know that it's the absolute right approach for your lifestyle and needs before you commit. Here's what you can expect to pay with Livekick:
Within each of these plans, there are options for rescheduling. Under the Rise plan, you'll need to notify your personal trainer at least 24 hours in advance if you need to cancel and reschedule a class. On the Elite plan, you only have to let them know 12 hours ahead of time, and you can rollover any unused sessions in your week. And, if you're a Warrior plan subscriber, you also get rollover sessions and your cancellation timeframe is just 6 hours in advance.
Live workouts are not all you get when you subscribe to Livekick. After you create your profile with your fitness goals, your trainer will create a custom fitness plan to help you reach them. Plus, outside of your weekly live sessions, you'll be given custom workouts to do on your own. All of these workouts use your own body resistance - no kettlebells, bands, or free weights necessary (although if you have equipment available, your personal trainer can incorporate them into your customized exercise sessions).
That makes Livekick completely portable. Whether you're on vacation for a week and want to use 30 minutes of down time to get in a workout, or a business trip has you on-the-go, you can schedule your weekly session(s) at your convenience - helping you stay on track to achieve your desired fitness level.
Clients say that Livekick is worth the investment. As on person described, it's easy to give less than full effort when working out in a big class or with an exercise DVD, but not so easy when working out one-on-one with a personal trainer.
The one area that Livekick doesn't cover in much depth is nutrition. Although you get chat access to your trainer outside of your workout sessions, that doesn't necessarily mean you'll be given guidance for what to eat and when, nutritional plans if you're trying to go keto or testing out intermittent fasting, or overall encouragement for the food component of your regimen. You may need to try a different personal trainer resource if you want more than just amazing 1:1 workouts and a fitness plan for your non-session days.
Livekick is one of the industry's best resources for people who want access to personal trainers wherever they are, from their living room to vacation and beyond. If you're looking to take your physical training to new levels, and you're already confident in your nutritional approach, consider using Livekick to reach your goals.
FitnessTrainer is a referral service that connects you with local personal trainers near you. As part of the MyTennisLessons family of online referral services, this company has an excellent "A+" grade as an accredited business with the BBB.
Get started by entering your zip code, to see who's available in your area. Or, get more specific by answering a few questions about your age, when you would like to train, and your fitness goals. We like that FitnessTrainer lets you sort through the personal trainers in your results list according to several criteria:
Compared with other services offering local personal trainer referrals, this is a definite advantage for FitnessTrainer. In our metro area (a mid-range larger city), we found more than 20 people within 10 miles or less of our suburban location.
We like the amount of information provided to prospective clients who are looking for a personal trainer. For example, just on our results page, we were able to see profile photos (some more professional than others!), the trainers' specialties like bodybuilding or athletic performance, number of years as a personal trainer, and their usual hourly rate. Where we live, the hourly rate ranged from a bargain $22/hour up to $100/hour.
Clicking on an individual profile, the information you'll find depends on what the trainer has provided. Usually, you'll be able to see buttons for scheduling and messaging, more "About Me" kinds of details, what to expect when training with him or her, client success stories (sometimes with before and after photos), and a map showing any training location (e.g. home gym/studio) and service range.
We spotted a pop-up when visiting FitnessTrainer that offered 10% off our first training package if we entered our email. There was also a promo at the top of the site advertising a 12% discount sitewide. The site also says you get a discount as the number of sessions you book in advance increases.
There are a few things to keep in mind when using FitnessTrainer that differ from some of the other referral services we evaluated. First, you have to make a 4-hour minimum commitment when selecting one of their personal trainers. The good news is that the company has a 100% money-back guarantee if you're not happy after the first session. Or, if you get a few sessions in with a trainer and feel like you need something (or someone) different, you can't get a refund but your prepaid amount can be switched over to a new personal trainer of your choice.
That also means that you'll pay your trainer directly through FitnessTrainer, either with a credit card or PayPal. You'll be billed once you've spoken with the personal trainer you select and confirmed your training details. Any cancellations have to be done at least 24 hours in advance.
If you'd like to do your training with other people, you can save on your trainer's hourly rate. Each person that you add to a session is an extra $10, so you can split the costs and have fun with a friend (or two or three...) at the same time.
We also didn't see nearly as many personal trainer reviews as we found on FitnessTrainer's biggest competitor site. In fact, in our list of results, there were only 4 trainers in our first 20 that had any client reviews, and no trainer had more than 7 reviews entered. That makes it really hard for prospective customers to know that they're getting a trainer with successful experiences, and might be an indicator that many personal trainers are getting more clients through other platforms.
So, in a nutshell: FitnessTrainer is a solid option for finding a local personal trainer to work with you on your fitness goals, and their online portal has some nice features for sorting the possibilities by location or price. But, if you prefer not to make a 4-hour minimum commitment or if you want to pay your personal trainer directly, this service isn't your ideal fit.
Find Your Trainer is the official partner of the American Council on Exercise: the industry's gold-standard organization when it comes to certifying personal trainers. That gives FYT some instant cred.
There are two ways to use the service: either answer a few quiz questions about your health and fitness needs and goals, or search all trainers in your area. We decided to see all personal trainers in our area, and we were a little disappointed to only get a list of 13 possible professionals. Other services matched us with dozens, sometimes hundreds, of candidates. We were also puzzled to see someone in our list who was listed as a trainer in a state hundreds of miles away.
On a positive note, we like the search and filter options on FYT, more than some of their competitors' sites. FYT lets you search by keyword, along with filters for training location, areas of expertise, desired workout day of the week, and so on. We didn't need to filter our very short results list, but for people who may live in an area where there are a lot of personal trainers, that would be really helpful.
As you look through your results list, you can see lots of details at a glance, from photos and training locations, to specific available session times and the personal trainers' starting hourly rate.
To work with a personal trainer through FindYourTrainer, you'll need to book a "subscription" of either 4 sessions, 12 sessions, or 24 sessions in advance. Prices start at $54/session, and you'll get savings of 5% and 10%, respectively, on the larger packages. After we browsed the site for a while, we also got a pop-up offering a savings of $20 on our first personal training purchase. Any sessions you book are transferable to any trainer who works at the same hourly rate or lower on the FYT platform. And, one perk is that your prepaid sessions never expire.
Find Your Trainer offers a limited money-back guarantee: if your first session isn't what you were hoping for, you can get a full refund of your entire purchase, including the amount for the session you used.
For the most part, clients are happy with the service they receive when using Find Your Trainer. We found lots of satisfied customers who loved the trainer they worked with and who got some of the best workouts of their life. The few complaints we found usually described frustrations with trainers who missed sessions and didn't rebook, challenges with getting problems handled by FYT's customer service department, and other billing issues.
If you're looking for local personal trainers and like the capability of booking a specific date and time for your first session, FYT could be the right service for you. Just keep in mind the package booking requirements, since you'll have to pay for several upfront.
My Home Personal Trainer is probably the most no-frills service in our review. It's also the cheapest, giving you access to fitness videos, a fitness plan generator, a full library of workout plans, hundreds of meal and recipe ideas, and a couple of fitness and nutrition e-books for the rock bottom price of just $3.99 to $6.49 per month.
If you want personalized input on your current state of fitness or any other one-on-one support, you'll need to add on My Home Personal Trainer's Fitness Coach option. This costs an extra $79.99 month, and only gives you access to your designated coach via email.
This is all part of their Fit Pro account membership. The site also offers a database of in-person trainers near you, free online resources, and an online fitness store if you need to buy weights, yoga mats, or other gear for your workout.
While there's nothing wrong with My Home Personal Trainer, it lacks the features and attention of most of the services in our review. Their website feels very outdated and definitely lacks visual appeal.
Plus, a lot of what they offer in their paid membership plan is available for free with other wellness apps like MyFitnessPal and SparkPeople. Considering that you'd be spending at least $80/month to get access to the fitness videos, nutrition plans, and email support from a coach, your money would probably be better spent on a personal trainer plan that gives you the same for less - or much more customized workouts and nutrition advice, instead of generic videos and recipes, even if you have to invest a little more to get it.
We recommend you consider some of the more fully-featured personal trainer services in our review, especially if you want nutritional and fitness advice that is specifically designed for you.
Working with an in-person trainer gives you some advantages. You can choose a professional that has worked with other clients in your area and who may have access to local fitness facilities for your sessions together. Especially for beginners who are just learning how to safely and effectively use free weights or body weight exercises, it's reassuring to know that each rep will be done with the proper form, making injury less likely.
On the other hand, the range of possibilities when working with online personal trainers is incredible. You tend to get more for your money, scheduling at your convenience, and more support outside of your actual live training sessions. Plus, if you regularly travel for work but want to maintain your wellness routine, no problem - you can still do your session via video chat on your phone, and your trainer will give you a workout that doesn't require any extra equipment.
Whichever type of personal trainer you prefer, there are several criteria to keep in mind when making your selection. Here are some things to consider:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best Personal Trainers available today. We hope these reviews give you all the help you need to find the perfect fitness expert for your goals!
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