How much do Personal Trainers charge for Meal Plans?
As a personal trainer you’ll find that your clients will have many different needs and the more value you can provide, the more the relationship will benefit and lead to long term success.
It goes without saying that nutrition is one of the most important aspects of overall health and fitness. The fuel you give your body allows you to perform, heal and live to your fullest as a healthy individual. Clients want to feel and look good as they live their lives.
The natural progression for a Personal Trainer is to be able to provide nutritional advice. You’ll speak with your clients about what they should be eating, the timing, the quantities and the overall dos and don'ts.
Unfortunately this only goes so far, especially if your client is very busy and time constrained, which most people are these days. More often than not - the reason your clients come to you is because they need structure, accountability and simplified solutions that make achieving their goals less complex.
This is where a meal plan comes into play. Being able to provide clear instructions and resources for their specific nutritional needs will leave little room for error and simplify the process for your client.
Depending on how you set up your meal plans and program you may be able to charge anywhere from $150 to $400 a month per client.
How to set up the pricing for your Meal Plans?
Most of the pricing will be determined by a couple of key factors that are easy to map out. Examples of these are.
1. How many days a week or month are you providing meal plans for?
2. Are you including a grocery guide and or recipes?
3. Will your meal plan include a nutritional assessment beforehand?
4. Will you be conducting check-ins or be available for questions via regular or occasional contact?
5. Will you be overseeing a nutrition log during the meal plan program?
6. Will you be providing a customized meal plan or a premade meal plan?
The hours you commit to the plan and the client should be factored into your pricing. We’ll speak more about different types of Meal Plans later but no matter how you are setting up your Meal Plans - your time is a part of the costs - no different than your Personal Training services.
Ways to increase your value and pricing?
Just like any service - there are ways to market yourself and your product to maximize the price you can charge. As a personal trainer you have spent much of your time building your value. This transfers to Meal Plans in these ways.
1. How many years of experience do you have in Nutrition, Meal Planning or Health and Fitness?
2. What certifications or other education (seminars, degrees etc) do you have relating to Nutrition?
3. Do you have any notable press or coverage of your accomplishments as a Personal Trainer?
4. How many clients have you serviced in the past?
5. Customer testimonials. (Videos from customers work amazingly well)
If you can communicate these values in your marketing - such as on your website or in your advertising you will be able to place a premium on your meal plans. This could be the difference between charging $200 and $400 a month.
Different types of Meal Plans
Meal Plans fall into two categories.
1. Pre Made Meal Plans
2. Custom Meal Plans
How extensive your Pre-Made Meal Plans are is up to you. Some Personal Trainers will build out Meal Plans that cover a number of different “diets” or nutritional choices.
For example: Paleo, Keto, Vegan, Vegetarian, Carnivore, Low Carb, Mediterranean and much more.
You can also set up your meal options with your own names and definitions which can appeal more to the goals of the client as opposed to the type of food.
For example: Lean Out, Energy Booster, Gut Cleanup, Healer, Mass Builder, Superhuman.
Most Pre Made Meal Plans will be built out according to a set of defined variables that will fit a large group of people and popular goals.
1. Number of meals a week.
2. Macros (How many grams of protein, carbs and fat,)
3. Type of food according to Diet Choice. (Vegan, Paleo etc)
Custom Meal Plans will require more setup work and time invested during the program. This of course means you will be able to charge much more but the level of difficulty for custom meal plans will also rise.
The point of a custom meal plan is to provide a meal plan that accomplishes a much more specific goal for your client while also catering to their exact preferences and needs.
A custom meal plan may require the following processes.
1. Pre assessment.
2. Body composition evaluations.
3. Regular modifications to the Meal Plan.
4. Specialized ingredients.
5. Regular communication.
Depending on the lifestyle of your clients you may need to work with your client’s staff to facilitate their custom Meal Plan.
Let’s say your client travels often for business, has a personal assistant who takes care of their groceries, a chef who preps their mails and or splits their time between multiple residences. While this may not be common - it can definitely happen depending on your clientele.
A custom meal plan means you need to be flexible in working with your client to execute the plan and achieve the goals and that can mean more hours and therefore will require a higher fee.
Ultimately you will have to decide where you set the bar with price plans and the option of custom meal plans. It may not be feasible for you to offer custom meal plans. Or you may reserve this for a much smaller percentage of your clientele.
Examples of Meal Plans
One example of a meal plan could be set up like the following.
Goal: Lean out / decrease body fat
2 Daily Meals - 5 Days/Week
Breakfast is skipped.
Lean meats, vegetables and healthy fats.
Daily Macros: 100g Protein, 50g Carbs, 30g Fat
7oz Chicken Breast (50g Protein)
½ Cup Mashed Sweet Potatoes (25g Carbs)
½ Avocado (15g Fat)
Adding Value to the Delivery and Execution
How you package and deliver your meal plans will not only reinforce a premium pricing but it will also encourage better results and positive testimonials. The more your clients love your service the more referrals you will see and the more content you will have to market yourself.
Options here can vary from excel spreadsheets, to PDF’s, to custom pamphlets and even more tech savvy email flows and app integrations.
Are you going to provide recipes with your meal plan? If so - will you photograph the process and the final result to make it easier for your clients to follow?
Will there be an intro video from you going over the program guidelines? Oftentimes it’s nice to have more than a book of instructions to follow when starting a new program.
Is there a place your clients can get their questions answered or an FAQ that has answers to the most common questions?
Will you work with an email marketer to set up a flow of emails that guides them through every step of the way and incorporates content like videos and articles to help?
All of these are possibilities that come from the time you want to invest and ultimately the value you want to provide.
It’s OK if you want to start simple at first. There are some great hacks to incorporate into your Meal Plan Program.
Evolution Nutrition offers a meal planning software that makes it easy, quick, and convenient to plan, create, and execute meal plans for your clients. It’s setup for desktop and mobile and conveniently cuts out much of the time needed to produce detailed and personalized meal plans. We make eating right simple for your clients. Get started on growing your fitness business with Evolution Nutrition today.
Personal Training Meal Planning Frequently Asked Questions
How much should I charge for Meal Plans?
Your pricing needs to reflect the amount of hours invested into creating the program and the value you are providing through the content surrounding the meal plan.
A meal plan that is sent via an excel spreadsheet with an intro email with little to no contact with the client could run $150/month. However a plan that incorporates videos, regular communication, recipes, photography, access to groups, Q & A’s, app integrations and other value adds could sell for as much as $500/month.
The surest way to get an understanding of whether your pricing is a fit for your clients is to ask them.
“Hey, if I offered a meal plan with daily meals, a grocery list, a nutritional guide and a beginning and ending assessment - would you pay $250/month for that?”
“Would you like the Meal Plan better if it was run through an app like Evolution Nutrition?”
The feedback you get will tell you if you’re warm or cold. Of course you’ll need to make the decision yourself and if your clientele trusts you - they’ll accept your decision.
Just know that average Meal Plans are between $60-$80/week. But who wants to be average? That's not why you’re a Personal Trainer. If you go above and beyond, expect to be paid more.
What are the most important elements of a Meal Plan?
Consistency in Macronutrient breakdowns. - If your meal plan is not accurate, neither will the results be.
Macronutrients that align with the goal of the client or Meal Plan. If your client wants to lean out and lose body fat - you’ll want to make sure the carb and fat intake lines up with that goal and takes into consideration their activity level and recovery habits like sleep.
Easy to absorb information. - If the client has to read a book to understand your meal plan it is going to create more work for your client. The purpose of your client hiring you to produce a meal plan is so that they don’t have to think about it or spend the energy tracking it. That’s what you’re for. So make sure there is clear and simple content that gets across the massage quickly and accurately.
Convenience - Integrating an app is smart because clients who purchase meal plans are often busy and on the go. In today’s world everyone works and operates on their phone more than any other device. So work with your client where they are and provide them with the service that is the most convenient. They’ll also be able to message you in the app and you can build pricing around that availability. That's added value for both sides.
How much variety should be in the Meals?
As a personal trainer you might have the commitment and discipline to eat the same thing every day for weeks at a time, especially when training for a goal.
However when it comes to your clients, you will need to build in variety or they will become bored with their food and the value of your meal plan will take the hit.
A general rule of thumb is that if you’re providing 3 meals a day for a full week - you should provide at least 3 different options per meal type. So 3 breakfast options, 3 lunch options and 3 dinner options.
As you spend more time developing your meal plan and incorporate recipes and other bonuses you should be able to add more variety to your Meal Plans.
Something that will help with this is learning the macronutrients of different foods. For example - how many grams of protein are in an ounce of chicken, pound of ground turkey, in 1 egg or in a slice of bacon? Once you learn these parts of meal planning it will be easier for you to add variety into the meals you plan for your clients.
The taste of your meal plans will have an impact on the client’s response as well. Make sure the instructions are detailed and simple enough to execute well.
When in doubt - Olive Oil, Sea Salt and Pepper makes just about everything taste better. And well, if you’re lucky enough to have a client who’s OK with Dairy - good fat makes everything taste better. But….don’t forget about those macros!