Americans are willing to pay $25 to $50 an hour, two to four times a week, for a personal trainer's guidance. As a trainer, you instruct a client on proper exercise technique and a regimen based on his or her goals, and analyze progress in body weight, muscle development and weight training. You may train clients in their home gyms, work with health-club members who pay additional fees for your service, or operate a small gym with a full range of equipment (with a start-up cost of $7,000 to $10,000), developing a clientele over several years by working with or for an established trainer.
Most personal trainers have a college degree in physical therapy, physical education, exercise physiology, sports medicine, health or related specialties. Many trainers add muscle to their credentials with nonmandatory certification by the American College of Sports Medicine (see "Reader Resources" on pg. 78 for contact information).