What to Expect From a Personal Training Session

So, you’ve taken the first step to improve your fitness but you don’t know what to expect from the personal training sessions that you’ve signed up for? Don’t worry, OriGym are here to help calm your nerves!

It’s not just about telling you what exercises to do: there’s a lot involved in both your first PT session as well as those that follow. Read on to find out all you need to know to get you prepared for personal training.

We’re going to cover a few things in this article:

Before we jump in, if you’ve started your own fitness journey, why not help others get started too? With our Personal Training Diploma, you can get qualified in as little as 4 weeks!

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What Does Personal Training Involve?

personal training session

Alongside gyms and workouts, personal trainers have become a widely recognised and respected part of the fitness industry. Many people will have heard of the term personal training and will probably know a little bit about PTs, but many won’t know exactly what services they provide. 

We’re going to briefly explain what they do before we go into what you should expect from personal training sessions. If you want to understand this job from the perspective of a PT then check out our article on A Day In The Life Of A Personal Trainer!

A personal trainer is a fitness professional that creates tailored programs in order to achieve specific goals set out by the client. To achieve this, they create workouts, calculate rest days, take into account any injuries or weaknesses, and offer generic nutritional advice all the while considering the client’s goals. Whether a client is looking to lose weight or to increase muscle mass, a personal trainer is able to adapt each programme to the customer’s needs.

This also means that personal training requires regular assessments of body composition and measurements to track the progress and effectiveness of the training programme. Personal trainers keep a lot of records on their clients because of this. 

Personal training also involves a lot of motivation and coaching to get clients to where they want to be. Not all those who become a personal trainer will have the same coaching style. Some might be strict and make you work hard, while others might take a more positive approach and cheer you on from the side. 

All personal trainers will have at least a level 3 personal training qualification as this is a necessary certification for employment as a PT. Having this qualification ensures that these trainers have the right knowledge, skills, and abilities to safely and effectively train others.

Benefits Of Personal Training Sessions

how much is a personal training session

So, now you have a brief overview of what personal training involves: but what are the benefits of personal training sessions?

A holistic view of personal training shows that these fitness professionals are hugely beneficial for a number of reasons, with a study in the scientific journal Orthopedic Reviews stating that:

“Supervised training sessions have been found to lead to greater increases in maximal strength gains compared to unsupervised training sessions. One-on-one personal training has also been found to be an effective way to increase the amount of physical activity of an individual by changing attitudes towards exercise.” (Waryasz et al., 2016)

Not only can a PT increase your overall gains, but there are also a number of additional advantages to having one of these professionals directly involved with your fitness journey. The following are just a small number of the benefits you can receive from having a personal trainer!

#1 – Reach Your Goals

typical personal training session

This may seem like an obvious advantage, but it is actually more significant than you might think. 

Imagine someone who has struggled with their health or body for a long time, and no matter how much they exercise or diet they can’t make progress. Personal training sessions will not only provide the right training to achieve those hard-to-reach goals, but also the encouragement and motivation to see the fitness journey to the end.


#2 – Provide Education

personal training first session

Not only will your PT tell you what exercises to do and how, but they’ll also teach you a lot about fitness and your body. Personal trainers have varied knowledge so you’ll learn about proper exercise forms and posture, exercise modifications and variations, how the body responds to exercise, important biological systems such as the respiratory and cardiovascular systems, and more!

As well as key information about the human body, PTs will also teach you how to do various exercises and which ones to do to fit your fitness journey. This is a huge benefit as this will ultimately help speed up your overall progression and you’ll also be better equipped to continue exercising efficiently in the future.

#3 – Hold You Accountable

how to prepare for a personal training session

At some point during our lives, we have all had no motivation to continue or have justified skipping just one workout for some reason or other. Having a PT will mean that when you can’t be bothered to get yourself up and out to the gym, you’ll not only have to justify it to yourself, you’ll also have some explaining to do to your trainer. 

Having to hold yourself accountable, and being held accountable by another person, is a powerful tool. You’ll be much more likely to motivate yourself and follow through with workouts when you have to explain your reasons to someone else!

Keeping a fitness journal is a good way to keep track of your training schedule and also keep a note of how you’re feeling each week.

#4 – Personalised Training Plan

1 hour personal training session

It’s all well and good having a training programme and working towards your goals, but if that plan isn’t comprised of exercises and rest days that will train you as effectively as possible then you could be putting a huge damper on your progress. 

A personal trainer will create a specified and personalised programme that suits your body, your fitness level, your goals, and your schedule, meaning you’ll be safe in the knowledge that you’re working as efficiently as possible to achieve your goal.

#5 – Provide A Variety Of Workouts

how long is a personal training session

Having a variety of exercises in your training programme is hugely important to the body’s overall fitness for a number of reasons. Firstly, changing up your normal workout routine will keep things fresh and reduce the likelihood of you becoming bored and unmotivated. It is also important on a biological level as a variation can actually increase your progress over time whilst also reducing your risk of injuries.

From bicep exercises for mass and strength to press up rows, your PT will keep pushing you and adapting your workouts to reach those all-important fitness goals.

#6 – Track Your Progress

what to expect from a personal trainer

One of the main jobs of a PT is to continuously track and record your progress throughout the training programme. This is a key part of your fitness journey as it can take some time to see physical results in your body – not seeing immediate results is often what deters people from continuing with their routines. 

Having your PT record and update you will show you how your training is making a difference; it’s often more noticeable in body measurements rather than weight loss. You’ll be much more likely to continue working towards your fitness goals when you have someone pointing out the progress that you’re making!

#7 – Great For Beginners

how many personal training sessions a week

If taking the first steps of a fitness journey weren’t daunting enough, trying to get to grips with various weights and workout machines, as well as trying to learn exercises by yourself, all while getting used to the gym can be a terrifying experience. 

This is where hiring a personal trainer can be really beneficial; not only will they be able to show you how to use equipment properly and safely, they can take you through the gym induction, and teach you which exercises to do and how. Ultimately, a PT can make your entry into fitness a much smoother and easier experience!

Read on to get some great tips for your first personal training session.

#8 – Exercise Safely

benefits of personal training session

We mentioned this briefly above, but having personal training sessions with a qualified professional means that you’ll be much less likely to injure yourself, whether that’s using gym equipment or just performing exercises improperly.

Additionally, having a personal trainer customise training sessions for you means that they will also take into account any injuries or conditions that you have and could be further affected by working out.

#9 – Get Accustomed To The Gym

how much does a session with a personal trainer cost

Many people will have a set routine or exercise list that they do each week when they go to the gym and this can result in some areas, of both the gym and fitness, being overlooked. By going to regular PT sessions you can quickly become more accustomed to, and more comfortable with, all areas of the gym. This can open up new avenues of fitness; for example, you might have avoided using battle ropes or leg press machines because you weren’t sure how to use them, yet your PT will show how to use them safely and effectively.

Being comfortable in the gym is important to your fitness journey as you’ll be much more likely to continue with your progress.

These are just a few of the benefits of personal training sessions that you can expect to experience if you hire a personal trainer. If you find that you’re struggling to build your fitness or lose enough weight, or if you find it difficult to stay motivated and stick to a fitness plan, then a personal trainer could be just what you need to stay on track.

What To Wear To A Personal Training Session

tips for your first personal training session

What you wear to a PT session is just the same as you’d wear to a normal gym session, as you’ll more than likely be training in a gym setting. 

This means that you’ll want to wear comfortable gym clothes, whether that’s shorts or yoga leggings, a t-shirt or a sports bra, high-performance trainers or a simple pair of running trainers. 

Your activewear should preferably be articles that have sweat-wicking properties to help with hygiene. They should also be well-fitting, not too loose so they get in your way or fall down, but not too tight either so that they restrict movement and blood flow. 

You’ll also need appropriate footwear – no flip flops! Make sure that these are comfortable and worn in so there’s less chance of blisters on your feet. They also need to be the right size: shoes that are too large will cause you to trip, whilst shoes that are too small will pinch and hurt your feet.

Additionally, if you are specialising in a particular area of fitness then you might want to purchase some shoes that are specifically designed for that sport. For example, long-distance and running shoes or weightlifting shoes.

It’s also recommended that you wear clean gym wear to each session and regularly wash sweaty or used workout clothes. Not only is this for the benefit of other gym-goers (body odour is natural and to be expected but wearing the same clothes over and over means the sweat and odour will build up!), but also for the benefit of your own skin and hygiene. 

By leaving sweat or dirty clothes against the skin your hair follicles and pores will become clogged and potentially infected due to residual bacteria. This can result in spots on the body!

So, it’s best to wear clean and well-fitting clothes to your personal training sessions.


What To Bring To Personal Training Sessions

personal training session description

Similar to the points made above, any items that you need to bring are pretty much the same items that you would bring to a normal workout in the gym. These items usually include:

  • Water bottle
  • Padlock (or a pound) for a locker
  • Snack
  • Towel 
  • Toiletries such as shampoo, deodorant, shower gel/body wash
  • Change of clothes

Whilst items like a water bottle and towel are essentials, it is ultimately up to you whether you want to shower in the gym facilities or elsewhere, which in this case would mean that the toiletries are an optional extra. 

These are all typical things you’d bring to a normal gym workout and it’s pretty much the same as what you’d need to bring to a personal training session. Feel free to check with your PT though as they may recommend other things or want you to bring specific items along to the session. 

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OriGym have some other useful guides on personal training if you want more information:

How To Prepare For The First Personal Training Session

how to prepare for first personal training session

Going to your first ever personal training session can be a little daunting, especially if you don’t know what to expect. If you’re feeling a little nervous, don’t sweat it! We’re going to explain what a typical first session will look like and what it will entail so you can plan and prepare accordingly.

Before we go into that though, it is important to remember that your PT is also a human being: whilst they are well-trained professionals that know what they’re doing, you shouldn’t feel intimidated by them! 

After all, they understand your journey and are there to help and support you. If you have any questions, concerns, or anything you are unsure of, just talk to your trainer and they will be able to put your mind at ease. In fact, for your first PT session, we’d recommend asking a lot of questions as this will mean you’ll be fully prepared for your future sessions. It’s also a great way to get the conversation with your trainer flowing, dissuading any awkwardness. 

So, you’re wondering about what to expect from a personal trainer session. Well, the first thing to know is that for the first session, there will be a few tasks that differ from the sessions that follow, and there probably won’t be a full workout in this session as there are a lot of other activities that will need completing first. 

To begin with, your PT will need to get a variety of body assessments. This will include taking your weight and height, assessing body fat and taking body composition measurements.

Then they will conduct tests to assess various areas of your fitness. These include:

  • Muscular strength
  • Muscular endurance
  • Flexibility
  • Posture
  • Range of motion
  • Overall fitness level

This is an essential part of your personal training first session as this information will guide your PT when constructing your training programme. They’ll have a better understanding of what your body can do, how much your body needs training, and if there are any areas that need particular attention or more consideration during exercise. 

During this time your personal trainer will probably ask you about your medical history and it is essential that you be completely upfront and honest at this point. Let them know if you have any medical conditions, especially ones that can be affected by exercise, like diabetes, and if you’ve had any recent surgeries or injuries as well. 

This is a necessary part of your first session with a personal trainer to ensure your safety at all times, and to avoid any exercises or movements being included in your program that might cause further damage to an existing injury.

This first appointment with your trainer is also when you’ll discuss your fitness goals, what you hope to achieve by working together, and your motivation behind hiring a PT in the first place.

Being motivational is one of the key traits of a PT. Find out what else makes a good personal trainer here

first personal training session

One of OriGym’s best tips for your first personal training session is to know your reasons and goals beforehand so that you can start your training plan with a complete vision of where you want to be in the future. This will help both you and your personal trainer in tailoring your training programme to fit your goals more efficiently.

Your personal training first session is an important meeting that needs honesty and transparency between you and your trainer. Relaying any worries or ambitions at this stage will help in the long term. Getting to know your PT will also help reduce anxieties or awkwardness, so the earlier you do this the better!

So these are a few of the main things that a PT will go through with a client during the first PT session. Once you’ve done these then you’ll have reassessments (usually weekly or twice a week depending on your trainer) to assess your progress and to make sure you’re on track to reach your goals.

How To Prepare For A Personal Training Session

first pt session

Now you know what to expect from your personal trainer during the first session specifically, we’ll now go into more about a typical personal training session and what you’ll be doing with your PT.

Before you even get stuck into your training, it’s best to try and arrive 10 minutes early to your PT session so you’re fully ready and mentally prepared. Don’t arrive late; this isn’t just your own time and money that’s on the line but also that of your personal trainer. 

So, what do you do in a personal training session, as well as exercise?   

To start with you’ll do a warm-up for around 10 to 15 minutes, before moving on to the training programme that your PT has designed specifically for you. 

The training programme that your personal trainer asks you to carry out will be personalised around your fitness goals and your body, and there should be different workouts as well as increasing difficulty to further progress. 

During your PT session, you’ll do a mixture of cardio and aerobic exercise, work on strength and endurance, and possibly flexibility or range of motion exercises too. Again, how your workouts are structured will depend on you, your goals, and your current fitness levels.

During your workouts your personal trainer will be watching and guiding you through each exercise, correcting any issues with form or posture. You’ll learn a lot about exercise forms, progressions, variations, modifications, as well as key information about the human body and various biological systems. A good personal trainer is one that will teach you along the way!

They should be monitoring your heart rate regularly too, for health and safety reasons as well as checking cardiovascular health.

personal training sessions

As you move forward from session to session your workouts will become progressively harder.

Towards the end of a typical personal training session, you’ll stretch and cool down to safely transition your body and muscles from intense exercise to a resting state. This is a crucial part of exercising as an effective cooldown will reduce the buildup of lactic acid in the muscle.

You’ll also use the time at the end of your PT session to arrange your next session, review anything of importance from your recent workout, and discuss other exercises that will be appropriate for workouts in between your sessions.

So this is what a typical personal training session description would include, with some variation depending on your PT. Some may also offer additional services. For example, if your personal trainer has a nutrition qualification then they might give your more dietary and nutritional advice, while a PT with a Level 3 Sports Massage Therapy qualification might offer rehabilitation or massage treatments. 

One important thing to note is that if you find that you’re doing the same workout in every session, or that your PT isn’t regularly reassessing your weight and fitness, or if they seem unprepared and unable to offer sound advice, then it is probably time to find a new personal trainer! 

How Much Is A Personal Training Session?

first session with personal trainer

Now you know what to expect from a personal trainer session, you’ll probably be wondering how much does a session with a personal trainer cost? 

There are few factors involved when researching prices that directly influence how much you can expect to spend. These include whether the PT is freelance or whether they specialise in other areas of fitness (such as nutrition or exercise referral). 

Your location and the level of training that the PT has been through will also affect the price.

As a very general guideline, you can expect to pay between £25 to £45 for a 1-hour personal training session. These prices tend to go up in London, so you can expect to pay from £35 up to around £65. Some personal trainers will also offer half-hour personal training sessions so their price will change accordingly. 

If your personal trainer is freelance then they can charge pretty much whatever price they want for their services. Don’t let this put you off though, as they will still need to attract clients and keep their business running just as other PTs would, so they aren’t going to charge impossible amounts! 

Those that have achieved further qualifications and CPDs will also be more likely to come with a higher price tag as they have undergone additional training to further their careers. These extra certifications cost the personal trainers money from their own pockets, so it stands to reason that they would want to reimburse themselves to some degree. Plus, these additional services that they can offer will be more expensive in other professional environments, so the price is usually worth it!

Ultimately, the easiest way to find out the price of a PT session is to ask a personal trainer. Once you’ve found one that you like and can give you the right services then be upfront with them and ask how much they charge.

It is important to note, however, that the price of your personal training sessions will be separate from the cost of your gym membership.

How Many Personal Training Sessions A Week?

personal training sessions to lose weight

Determining the right amount of personal training sessions each week can be difficult if you’re trying to figure it out by yourself. However, if you’re trying to calculate this then you’ve probably already hired yourself a PT (or are seriously considering it), which means that you don’t need to try and work out how many sessions you’ll need by yourself! 

During your first personal training session, your PT will ask you about your short and long term goals, as well as your schedule and how often you want to meet. Together you’ll work out a training regime that fits around you and your work as well as your fitness and your goals. 

Whether you’re taking personal training sessions to lose weight or just for some much-needed accountability, your PT will help work out the right training programme, including how often you should train!

However, we understand that you’ve come to this section for a more specific answer. As a guideline, the average individual will have 1 to 2 personal training sessions a week. Many people will also do independent workouts in between those sessions to keep up their progress.

How Long Is A Personal Training Session?

what to expect from a personal trainer session

This is another question that can only be answered in broad terms, as there are a few factors that can affect how long the sessions will last.

The majority of personal training sessions will last from 45 minutes to an hour. 

This can change though as your own personal preferences might mean that you want longer time slots or perhaps half-hour personal training sessions instead. It can also depend on your PT as they often state how long they will train for. 

If you have specific health conditions or injuries then your doctor will also advise you on the best amount of time to exercise for.

To find out the amount of time you should spend with a personal trainer, check out our article ‘How Long Should You Have a Personal Trainer?

Before You Go!

Now you know what to expect from a personal trainer session, you can be fully prepared and ready for your next (or first) session. It’s not just about giving you a set of exercises to do, it’s about teaching and guiding you throughout your sessions while ensuring you’re on the right track to achieve your fitness goals.

If you’re looking to start a career in the fitness industry or want to help others reach their goals, enquire about our Personal Trainer Diploma today.

Don’t forget to download our FREE course prospectus for all of the information about our courses.


  1. Waryasz, G.R., Daniels, A.H., Gil, J.A., Suric, V. and Eberson, C.P. (2016). Personal Trainer demographics, Current Practice Trends and Common Trainee Injuries. Orthopedic Reviews, 8(3).

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About the Author: Dee Hammond-Blackburn

Dee OriGym Author
Dee holds a BA (Hons) in English Literature, and is currently finishing her MA in Marketing Communications and Branding from Edge Hill University. Her passion for fitness and content writing brought her to OriGym, and she has since become a qualified Personal Trainer and a Sports Nutrition Specialist. Combining her skills in fitness and writing, Dee has a professional interest in fitness blogging, content creation, and social media. Outside of her writing role Dee enjoys reading, healthy cooking, and playing football with her dalmation.

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