woman stretching before workout

—Melissa W., California State University, Stanislaus

The fitness industry is evolving. There are now tons of fitness applications and tracking technologies available to help us get active. Is using apps better than paying for a personal trainer? That depends on your needs, goals, and resources.

Check out these three honest pros and cons about each. How you weigh these factors is up to you. If spontaneous workouts are your thing, or the cost of a personal trainer is prohibitive, you may favour an app. If you want customized guidance relating to an injury or goal, or the accountability of an appointment, consider working with a personal trainer.

Apps and trackers

man using running app


  • Affordable: Many apps are free. Trackers are a one-time purchase (ideally).
  • Instant 24/7 access: You can work out when you want and where you want.
  • Detailed feedback: Software can compute and inventory your workout in seconds.


  • Generic workouts: App exercise programs usually aren’t for everyone.
  • Self-evaluation: It’s difficult to accomplish proper technique when relying on an image or video clip as your guide.
  • Ineffective accountability: Some people aren’t motivated by workout reminders and notifications, especially once the novelty has worn off.

Personal trainers

Group of people in forearm plank


  • Custom workouts: Trainers consider many variables when building an exercise program for you.
  • Knowledge and expertise: Many trainers have the educational background to address specific questions and needs.
  • Personal: Software simply can’t understand you like another human can.


  • Cost: This service typically ranges from $20 to $100 per hour.
  • Limited availability: Expect to meet only during scheduled sessions.
  • Varying credibility: Not all trainers have the same level of competency in health and fitness services.

Whether you decide to use an app or invest in a personal trainer, it’s ultimately up to you to accomplish your fitness goals. Which will you choose to get you motivated?