Average Salary: $31,720
Expected Lifetime Earnings: $1,324,000
Oh, if only we were all paid based on a sliding scale of bicep circumference.
Even his shadow looks intimidated by him.
The fact is that this job does not pay very well. It can, but really only if you become a celebrity trainer, or snag your own television program or nightly infomercial. For the vast majority of trainers, you're working harder to pump funds into your checking account than you are pumping iron.
Most trainers charge between $50-$100 an hour, which sounds like some sweet bank. However, it is a constant battle to maintain a steady list of clientele, as many gym members will often either give up or decide that they are now equipped to go it alone. Twelve sessions a week can amount to around $600-$800, or in the neighborhood of $35k annually. You may be a macho man, but $35k is not macho money. By charging a higher hourly rate and somehow managing to schedule 20-plus client appointments a week, you can definitely make $50k or more, but it isn't easy, and you won’t be in the majority.
If you do happen to get lucky and stumble into an especially juicy gig, such as helping Rihanna tighten her buns for her next music video, or hocking Shake Weights on late-night television (the footage is too risqué for primetime), you can make considerably more—maybe even over $100k. But don't count on it.