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Top 10 Highest Paid Personal Trainers In America

In researching who are the top ten highest-paid personal trainers in America, one thing became clear very quickly: Highly-paid trainers don’t publicize their annual incomes. So, we can only guess as to their incomes, but among famous and high-priced celebrity trainers, we can, with reasonable accuracy, name the top ten.

 
Reading up on the curriculum vitae of the top personal trainers in the U.S. began to reveal a recurring theme. Almost without exception, the most sought-after and well-known personal trainers don’t just earn their salaries solely as personal trainers (even though they can demand $300.00 per hour or more). Their chief incomes are as authors of self-help books, spokespersons and motivational speakers, as merchandisers of their own products related to health and fitness, and even as actors and models.
 
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How Do You Judge the Top Ten Trainers?

Since we can’t get an accurate picture of their personal training income, the criteria for judging the top ten highest-paid personal trainers in America needs to change. For the purposes of this blog article, we will judge them by entrepreneurship, reputation and results, and in doing so, certain trainers begin to set themselves apart from the rest. 

Gunnar Peterson

Personal trainer for celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Angelina Jolie, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, J Lo, and many others. Known for his witty humor and his charismatic way of winning people over, he has over 20 years of experience in the industry, and has clients ranging from professional athletes, to movie stars, to the guy next door.
 
This is one high-energy trainer that makes his workouts engaging and fun for the client. They’ll get crow’s feet from laughing! Peterson can be hired for personal appearances and for speaking engagements, and he has been featured in many different publications, such as Men’s Health, Self, Glamour, US, InStyle, Fitness, and on network television, as well, as a guest expert on several talk shows. To learn more about Gunnar check out his website: http://www.gunnarpeterson.com/
 

Harley Pasternack

Personal trainer for Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys, Jessica Simpson, Orlando Bloom, Halle Berry, Miley Cyrus, Katherine Heigl, Jimmy Fallon, just to name a few! Pasternack has a Master of Science degree in Exercise Physiology.
 
He has authored a book on a diet he created called “5-Factor,” and is a very enthusiastic spokesman for his own diet food product line called “5-Factor World Diet.” He packs a suitcase of his 5-Factor bars when he travels, never missing an opportunity to bring them out.
 
Pasternack is highly-intelligent, too. Right before his famous client Lady Gaga went onstage at the Grammy Awards, he planned a workout session with her. Why then? Because he knows that a strenuous workout boosts confidence and brings about mental clarity, and he wanted Lady Gaga to knock ‘em dead. That she did!
 
He also takes time to play spokesman for Coca-Cola’s Fuze drinks and for New Balance shoes. He’s one busy guy who runs his enterprise like a Fortune-500 business.
 

Lou Ferrigno

Personal trainer for many celebrities (including the late Michael Jackson), is also a bodybuilder, and won several titles including Mr. Universe, Mr. America, and Mr. Olympia.
 
He has also been a television actor for the hit series “The Incredible Hulk” from 1977-1982. He has appeared on various sitcoms, such as “Reno! 911,” and “The King of Queens.” Ferrigno was a big-screen actor in films such as the famous weightlifting classic movie “Pumping Iron,” “Sinbad of the Seven Seas,” “I Love You, Man,” “Cage,” Cage II.”

 
He has made many cameo appearances and done plenty of voice-overs in cartoons, and has quite a few commercials to his credit, as well. He has also appeared on countless magazine covers, and in dozens of feature articles.
 
He also has a wide-ranging merchandise line on his website, ranging from posters to DVD’s to T-shirts. Of the personal trainers on this list, he’s the only one with a fan club!
 
Ferrigno and his wife Carla, also a personal trainer, are noted philanthropists, giving of themselves generously for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). Lou Ferrigno is definitely one of the good guys in the industry. 
 

Bob Greene

Personal trainer for Oprah Winfrey, has authored several books, created an online weight loss membership program called “Best Life,” and offers personalized diet plans for people ready to make changes in their diets and lifestyles. He also has a quality weight loss butter-replacement product line, also called “Best Life,” and is helping many diabetics to lose weight and improve their medical condition, thus, saving their lives.
 
Greene has a loyal following of diet and fitness fans, plus the respect of the medical community for waging war on Type 2 Diabetes in America. 
 

David Buer

Personal trainer for L.L. Cool J, Leonardo DiCaprio, Joey Lawrence, Tyler Perry, Cedric Boswell, and a long list of athletes, celebrities, and everyday folks. Buer writes a weekly health and fitness blog in the acclaimed Huffington Post.
 
Buer, who, once upon a time, was a fat little boy who didn’t speak English well and was bullied in school, now has a long list of certifications and credentials, and has his seriously chiseled physique plastered on billboards around his base in Atlanta, GA.
 
After his own dream of competing on the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Team was destroyed in a serious auto accident, David developed techniques for helping people with post-injury and post-surgical physical rehabilitation. 
 

Mark Jenkins

Personal trainer for Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, Mary J. Blige, Beyonce, Busta Rhymes, Missy Elliot, and many others in the biz. He has a line of nutritional supplements sold at GNC stores, and a DVD called “90-Day Transformation.”
 
He became the spokesperson for the United Way in 2010, has created a fitness program for children called “Fun, Fly, and Fit.” He has been featured on MTV, BET, E! Entertainment, and in Essence, Ebony, Muscle and Fitness. He is the co-author of “The Jump Off: 60 Days to a Hip Hop Hard Body.”
 
Jenkins is also the founder and co-owner of International Fitness, a company which specializes in physical training for performing artists. 
 

Joe DiAngelo

Personal trainer and monthly magazine column writer for Inside Fitness Magazine and bodybuilding.com. He is an internationally-known motivational speaker, fitness specialist, and nutritionist, as well as a former medaled swimming champion. DiAngelo was named the best personal fitness trainer by New York Magazine, Oxygen Fitness Magazine, and Newsweek.

 
He has a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology, and is a sports psychology expert, teaching mental strategies to his clients to keep them in peak form, both physically and mentally. Learn more about Joe at his website: http://www.musclebomb.com/  
 

Michael George

Personal trainer for many L.A. celebrities, including Reese Witherspoon, Julianne Moore, Meg Ryan, Christian Slater, Sela Ward, and Dennis Quaid. He’s the whole package: Mind, body, and spirit transformation, through blending Eastern and Western philosophies, Yoga, martial arts, strength training, and core training, among other tools.
 
Earning dual degrees in both marketing management and communications, George is the consummate entrepreneur, and has driven himself and his business into the spotlight with his highly successful total body fitness program. He calls his program “Integrated Motivational Fitness,” and the results are phenomenal.
 
George reaches customers in more media platforms than his competitors:
  • He has created an iPhone app called “Inteli Trainer” for physical fitness training for busy people,
  • Introduced an Xbox 360 game called “Your Shape Evolved.”
  • He authored a book in 2005 called “Body Express Makeover: Trim and Sculpt Your Body in Less Than Six Weeks.” 
 

Tracy Anderson

 
Personal trainer for Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow, and creator of the “Tracy Anderson Method” of physical training, which is a Pilates-style program that is being introduced at new fitness studios. Anderson’s first workout studio opened in New York’s Tribeca in 2009, and more studios in Asia and Australia soon after.

 
She invented a new type of exercise machine called the “hybrid body reformer,” and has introduced many new exercise moves and stretches, and emphasizes low weights and lots and lots of reps, like up to 60 for most clients, but 100 for Madonna, two hours a day, six days a week.
 
The workouts really do show on Madonna, who has never looked better, and is now in her 50’s! Anderson believes firmly in age-defying exercise, and says that there is no excuse for anyone to not have a great body, even in old age. 
 

Bernardo Coppola

Probably the newest personal trainer on this list, has recently launched himself into fame by being the diet and fitness instructor for Mariah Carey, and is responsible for her amazing 70-pound weight loss after giving birth to twins. He also has the title of personal trainer to celebrities like Matthew Morrison, Jane Lynch, and Ryan Murphy, as well as the personal trainer for the cast of Glee.
 
In addition to physical training, he also created and owns a catering company and West Hollywood restaurant that specializes in health food, called “Fitrition Café,” launched in 2010.
 
Born in Argentina, Coppola moved to the U.S. to attend college and earn a degree at CSU in Long Beach. He challenges Americans to eat less sugar, fat, and processed foods, and avoid caffeine, alcohol, sodium, and artificial additives, and that’s basically what you’ll find in Fitrition Café, too. Coppola practices what he preaches, and that’s also how Mariah Carey has gotten herself back into shape and ready to entertain her fans again. Find out more about Bernardo at his website: http://bodybybernardo.com/
 

What’s the Secret to Their Success?

Without a doubt, these top trainers know what they’re talking about. Most of them have a degree in some sort of field pertaining to physical fitness or physiology. They receive certifications in everything from personal training, to nutrition, to being a first responder for ill or injured clients.
 
A personal trainer has to be knowledgeable about diet and nutrition, fitness equipment, and innovative and skillful in motivating their clients to achieve their fitness goals. So, it makes perfect sense that top personal trainers would write books, promote worthy product lines, and align themselves with celebrities. However they managed to get an in, (surprise, surprise!) getting in tight with the stars was their lucky break. Their names are now well known brands, just like the stars they sculpt.

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2 Comments
  • marcoguizar
    marcoguizar 9 months ago #

    Big list, All are really famous in fitness industry. I am also a US based fitness trainer, you can find more about me here :

    http://www.crunchbase.com/person/marco-guizar
    http://www.fitsomstudios.com/trainers/marco-guizar/

    • thurstonperso
      thurstonperso 5 months ago #

      These are all really great and professional trainers who have shaped and changed the industry. I am also a great personal trainer entrepreneur with one small studio in Phoenix.

      With over 10 years experience in the fitness industry, I have transformed lives and empowered people to maximize their ability to engage in the sport of life. Worked with models and former Miss Arizona winner, Rachel Kasang, to enhance their beauty and physical appearance through his proven body sculpting techniques. I have also competed as a NPC Men's Physique Athlete and placed #2nd.

      If you are looking for great personal trainers in phoenix I have a studio where I train clients myself as well as house other experienced fitness professionals. Please visit my website.
      http://www.TrainerArizona.com

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