The Best Place to be a Personal Trainer is Boston, MA

Our team at PushPress sorted through the data so you don't have to and found that Boston (MA) is the best city in the United States to be a personal trainer.

Sam Karoll
July 7, 2022
The Best Place to be a Personal Trainer is Boston, MA
Our team at PushPress sorted through the data so you don't have to and found that Boston (MA) is the best city in the United States to be a personal trainer.

Boston has been known for its history, the Tea Party, its accent, and the good ol’ Red Sox, but there is a new title that Beantown can claim: the best place to work and live as a personal trainer.

With more parks, playgrounds and higher than average school physical education requirements, it’s no wonder that Boston reaches the top of this list, beating out fitness rival Washington, D.C. (which was ranked #10).

In our recent personal training career outlook study, we examined eight key factors that impact athletic and fitness trainers’ lives in the US’ top cities. We collected data on income, job opportunities, city amenities and full access to healthcare in this study. Below are the best and worst cities to be a personal trainer.

Personal trainers are responsible for the health and wellness of their clients by creating engaging fitness routines, supporting forms, and sharing athletic knowledge. Their essentiality is underlined by their representation across all 50 states, with major personal training hubs cropping up in all unexpected places. Because of this, PushPress pursued this study. We wanted to give personal trainers the ability to assess their relative quality of life and negotiate higher salaries.

Boston finished in the first place, leading the pack in the number of fitness enthusiasts and access to healthcare. That, as well as above-average pay, take-home salary, and a cityscape, make Boston, MA, an ideal home base for personal trainers.

Boston is #1 in access to women’s healthcare.

Personal trainers require access to comprehensive healthcare, as 54.4% of trainers and 69% of clients are women. In this module, we look at healthcare access across 50 states. What we found is a wide variance in cost, access, and quality.

Massachusetts offers above-average access to healthcare across all categories, contributing to the state’s overall top score.

Boston #1 in number of fitness visitors per year

We examined the ratio of health club visitors to the population across US states to gauge the percentage of the population that participates in training. The larger the pool of clients, the easier it is to fill up a trainer’s roster.

Boston had a vast lead, with Massachusetts having an average of 1,668,886 health visitors per year in a population of 6,547,629, making Bostonians go to the gym 13% more often than trailing New York. Boston's fitness culture has been booming for quite some time. Heck, even their historic sites require you to walk! More and more industry is opening in the city, and gyms are opening at a faster rate compared to the rest of the nation. Higher education in this Massachusetts metropolis brings in a diverse and healthy community, especially being known for baseball and sports around the globe.

The Top 5 Best Cities to Be a Personal Trainer

Personal trainers’ salaries are somewhat unpredictable, with freelancers subject to the whims of their clients and gyms having one of the highest job turnover rates of any profession. We examined overall compensation in order to gauge which cities would provide their fitness trainers with the most savings.

Boston and all other top 5 cities were in the top quartile for personal trainer compensation; however, San Jose, CA beat them for the title as top highest paid personal trainers. San Jose paid trainers $5k-$10k more annually than Boston.

Major gyms include Equinox, Exhale Battery Wharf, Republic Fitness, Everybody Fights, and more. These gyms are known to take care of customers, of course, but also their personal trainers, who are in turn known for their expertise and client success.

Scores for the Top 5 Worst Cities to Be a Personal Trainer

At the bottom of the list, we saw a combination of fewer opportunities, lower salaries, and higher costs of living. For those reasons, Wichita came in last place as the hardest city to be a personal trainer.

The lower quartile of this study notably struggled in the number of residents visiting health clubs and the number of health clubs themselves. We are interested in pursuing more research as to why that is, and if there’s any way to incentivize more fitness interest in these cities.


The fitness industry is growing. The number of professional personal trainers, the number of gyms, and the number of people taking physical fitness seriously are growing on a logarithmic scale.

Across the 50 states, there are benefits to living and working in every city. No city or region is dominated in all categories. There is no requirement to become a personal trainer; most have high school diplomas, and many are certified. Personal training certifications are through independent organizations, and they are not required. However, they do offer many benefits beyond continuing education, including networking and mentorship. The International Sports Sciences Association is the most prestigious and farthest-reaching network.

The top 5 cities were all major US cities, and all but Houston, TX, slipped into the bottom quartile for the cost of living and percentage take-home income. Personal trainers luckily have a huge opportunity for entrepreneurship, creating their own opportunities with clients, gyms, and associations. We will be releasing more data on other fitness professionals, including health club owners, but initial research shows that there’s a lot of upside in this profession as well.

Personal trainers are integral to health, fitness, and nutrition goals. As we dove into this study, we learned that the training career is really focused on training clients, creating fitness mentors, and training groups in order to create quality experiences. While this career has many challenges, we now know that there are certain cities that support personal training.

Download the full dataset here!

Sam Karoll

Sam is our Community Manager for PushPress. He also owns and operates Xplore Nutrition, a personalized nutrition coaching service designed "for your lifestyle and goals by a Coach who's always available."

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