Different Types Of Personal Trainers (& What They Do)

Fitness is just one component of having a healthy and happy life. After all, exercise helps not only our physical health but our mental health as well. So you've decided to work with a personal trainer to reach your fitness goals, but where do you start?  

This article will explore the different types of personal trainers and help you decide which type is best for you and your personal goals. From beginners to elite athletes, there is a personal trainer that can help you achieve the body of your dreams.  

Do I need a personal trainer to reach my goals? The answer is entirely subjective since everyone will have different goals and varying levels of motivation.  

In our opinion, there are so many benefits to working with a personal trainer, from the personalized workout recommendations to the extra accountability. Not only that, but now there are so many types of personal training available that you can most definitely find something to suit your lifestyle and budget.  

Even if you’re not interested in working with a trainer long term, we believe everyone can benefit from at least one session with a fitness instructor to help them understand their current fitness levels and what they need to do to progress.  

Personal Trainer Training Client On TRX

7 Different Types of Personal Trainers Explained  

1. Gym Instructors

Most commercial gyms have at least one on-site personal trainer, and your gym membership may even include a complimentary session or two. This is the most traditional personal trainer, and in general, you can expect these sessions to be cheaper than the alternatives because you’re already paying for a gym membership, and the trainer is also being paid by the gym.  

A personal trainer at a commercial gym will first sit down with you to discuss your goals and current fitness levels, and help you come up with a plan using the equipment available in the gym.  

Even if you're not planning on using a personal trainer in the long term, having a session with these on-site trainers can be a fantastic way to familiarize yourself with the gym and ensure you're employing the proper form/techniques throughout your exercise.  

2. Bootcamp/Crossfit Instructors

There has long been debate on whether Bootcamp and Crossfit instructors are indeed personal trainers or not. For the purposes of this article, we have to say that yes, anyone who is hired to help you physically train falls into this category.  

However, unlike gym personal trainers that help create a program specific to you and your goals/needs, Bootcamp and Crossfit instructors typically have a group workout planned with few modifications and almost zero personalization.  

These programs are great for people who like to train in groups and try a lot of variety in their workout routines, including using heavy weights and other props such as tires or battle ropes. The downside here is that instead of paying per session, you may be required to pay for a season's worth of classes upfront.  

3. Group Exercise Instructors

Group exercise instructors are personal trainers that work in group sessions like Bootcamp and Crossfit, but these classes are more basic and will almost always include fewer weights. These training sessions include things like yoga, Pilates, group cardio sessions, Zumba, and more.  

The benefit here is that group exercise classes are a great way to try a new exercise, and these classes can be quite social. In fact, most commercial gyms offer these classes for free (included with your paid membership) and market them as drop-in classes. The downside, of course, is that you won’t get the 1-on-1 attention of a personal trainer, but you might get some tips on your form.  

4. Mobile Personal Trainers

These types of personal trainers are usually the freelance contractors of personal training. Instead of being hired through a commercial gym, you will hire these trainers to meet you at your home, a local park, your workplace, or even virtually through video chats.  

Your training program will be extremely personalized, and often these trainers will make themselves available by text or phone between sessions as well, to keep you motivated and answer any questions you may have. The drawback is that you will be limited to using the gym equipment you have available to you.  

5. Physique Trainers

Physique trainers are specialized personal trainers that are keyed in on the physical appearance of your muscle toning. If you're looking for a complete body transformation, a physique trainer can get you there.

This type of personal trainer is popular among bodybuilders and those who participate in stage competitions such as pageants and bikini competitions. 

6. Performance Personal Trainers

As the name might suggest, this type of personal trainer aims to help you perform better. In many cases, the name "performance personal trainer" is synonymous with coach.

Competitive and endurance athletes seek out these trainers to help them become better runners, swimmers, cyclists, etc., for their upcoming races and events. 

7. Lifestyle Personal Trainers

Lifestyle personal trainers go beyond the workout, and help you make changes to your lifestyle to increase overall wellness. Generally, these trainers can only give diet advice if they are trained dieticians or nutritionists.

However, if you need the extra support to reach your goals, lifestyle personal trainers are definitely worth the cost.  

Person Working Out With Tire

Different Types of Training Options (With Personal Trainers) 

There are different types of personal trainers, and there are also different styles of personal training. Whether you’re trying to recover from an injury or fit into your little black dress, you can find the right type and style of training to get you there.   

  • Home Training 
    Training at home with your personal trainer is a great option because they can teach you how to get the most out of your workout with the equipment that you have and your own body weight. They might also be able to recommend which pieces you should add to your home gym to see the most benefits. Of course, never invite a trainer into your home unless you have vetted them and seen their credentials. 
  • Gym Training 
    As mentioned above, this is the most traditional type of personal training. If your current gym membership offers a free session with a trainer, I highly recommend you take it! These trainers will guide you through the use of all the gym equipment and make sure that you have the proper form, so you'll be able to get the best workout possible both during your sessions and on your own. 
  • Bootcamp/Group Training 
    Group fitness can be a huge motivator. If you'd rather not have the one-on-one attention of a personal trainer but would still like to reap the benefits of focused training, we recommend joining a Bootcamp or group fitness class. We can promise you that everyone in the class went through a "first time" and that you won't be the only average Joe. 
  • Virtual Fitness 
    When looking at our list of different types of personal trainers, it’s easy to see how almost every category now offers a virtual fitness option of some sort. 2020 taught us how to do almost anything remotely. So whether you’re having a video chat with a trainer so they can assess your form, taking a live studio yoga class in your living room, or trying OnDemand weight training with Peloton Digital, there is a virtual option for you. 

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Is a 30-minute personal training session enough? 

Yes. Most personal trainers can fit in a solid training program in 60 minutes, after your initial meeting of discussing goals and limitations. Many trainers are focusing on these shorter sessions now, to maximize both their time and your sweat.  

How long does it take to see results from personal training? 

This will obviously depend on your personal goals and how often you have committed to training. Most people who use a personal trainer will see results within 3 to 6 months.  

Do personal trainers help with diet? 

Personal trainers can help offer diet suggestions or choices, but in most states, only a registered dietitian or medical doctor is allowed by law to prescribe a diet. For this reason, many personal trainers won't even broach the topic of diet with their clients.  

Do personal trainers have a certificate? 

Most jurisdictions do not require personal trainers to have a certification. However, we would recommend only hiring a personal trainer who has the education and background to back up their work.

Having a certification from the National Federation of Personal Trainers shows you that they have put in the work to have knowledge and confidence in the field.  

What age can you become a personal trainer? 

The minimum requirements for becoming a personal trainer are to be 18+ years old and to have a high school diploma or equivalent GED.  


Conclusion

What types are personal trainers are there? It turns out there are a few different options. Depending on your end goal, there is a personal trainer that can help you get there. We recommend trying more than one option until you find which best suits you!