Influencers Vs. Fitness Professionals

When a person decides they want help getting in shape or improving their fitness in 2024, they are inundated with countless options. You have online trainers, Instagram and TikTok fitness influencers, inexperienced personal trainers, medium-level personal trainers, and elite fitness professionals. The cost of these options varies from free to $5,000 per month. Which option is best for you will depend on your experience (how long you have been lifting), your current condition (do you have medical issues or injuries impacting the way you exercise), and your preferences. Making the best decision is important because spending any amount of money on the wrong trainer who could hurt you or mislead you is a poor financial decision.

Let’s start first by identifying and providing a framework for who these fitness coaches are one by one.

Online Trainers: These are trainers who you will never see in person. They do all of their work online, which means your programming, correspondence, and other things of that nature will generally take place through email, text messaging, and potentially some phone conversations or Zoom meetings. These trainers can be amazing and highly skilled, or they can fly by night and have no idea what they are doing or talking about. The biggest thing to consider if you are getting an online coach is to look for personalization. You want to make sure the program they are writing is for you and is not just a “drive-thru” routine that they use for everyone who signs up.

Who it is for: people who already know how to workout and have the motivation to do so on their own. People who have minimal injuries or health concerns.

Who it’s not for: people who have no idea how to exercise, lack discipline or motivation, and have injuries and health concerns.

Instagram and TikTok Influencers: These are not trainers! These are generally eighteen to twenty-five-year-olds, many of whom are naturally in shape and have picked up the hobby or habit of working out. They are not all bad, but if you are someone who struggles with losing weight or building muscle and is over the age of thirty, you might not want to take your fitness advice from someone who is naturally in shape because they are young and have all the hormones on their side. I think you can find a good one here and there, but I have found many of them are 100% focused on selling supplements, meal plans, apparel, Onlyfans subscriptions, and workout subscriptions, and generally not helping people.

Who it’s for: people who want to learn some new exercises and be entertained. People who have no injuries or health concerns.

Who it’s not for: honestly, anyone who has serious goals, anyone over the age of thirty, and anyone who has injuries or health concerns.

Low, Medium, and Elite-Level Experienced Fitness Professionals: These are the coaches you should be looking for, in my opinion, if you have serious goals. These are the people who are required to conduct continuing education units annually and are practicing their workouts with clients and themselves daily in the gym or even remotely (FaceTime or Zoom). Points to consider: How long has the coach been training? What education does the trainer have? Do they have reviews and before-and-after photos of clients who have achieved results?

Low-experience trainers will generally come at a bargain of $30–40 per session, but they will have minimal experience and will generally be very young. These people need clients to train so they can become great trainers, so I find them to be really good for younger clients, free from issues.

Medium-experience trainers will generally be more moderate in price, $50–80 per session, have some experience (3 years or more), and have spent a lot of time working with clients. These trainers would be great for someone who just needs some accountability but has an idea of how to exercise and is generally injury- or health-free.

Elite-level trainers will be the most expensive at $90-$500 per session, have the most experience (10 years or more), have worked with any type of person you can imagine, and will provide elite-level results. These trainers are great for people who are high-achieving, have some financial means, and want elite-level results and performance. They are also great for people with injuries and health concerns because they have way more education and experience.

Considerations to Check When Hiring a Coach of Any Capacity 

At the end of the day, the trainer you pick will be one of the biggest decisions you make if you are taking your health seriously and want to improve. If cost is a concern, I suggest saving up $3–4k before signing up if you are prepared to cover six months to a year of coaching. If you aren’t going to commit to a minimum of half a year, it will be difficult for your coach to get you the results you want. 

Everything highlighted here is based on experience and some opinion, and it is not meant to put anyone in the fitness industry down. We all start somewhere, and the only way you get experience is by people taking a chance on you and your services. We at Formal Fitness Training take training and the future of the fitness industry very seriously, and we want the population to be as educated as possible. 

I am committed to your perpetual improvement.




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