Shanghai Personal Trainer:
Get in Shape in Shanghai

Why Hire a Shanghai Personal Trainer?

For most expats in Shanghai, getting in shape is always in the back of our minds, or even at the top of our list, but many other things get in the way.

Many expats will buy a membership at a Shanghai local gym, but only go two or three times a month.

To end the procrastination, I suggest hiring a Shanghai personal trainer.

You might think that a personal trainer will be even more difficult to fit into your busy and unpredictable schedule, but it could be just the key to force you to make the commitment to a healthier life in Shanghai.

In this article we will look at the service provided by local trainers as well as meet some expat personal trainers in Shanghai. 

We have a list of local and expat personal trainers in Shanghai at the end of this article.

Shanghai Personal Trainer

Personal Trainers are Growing in Popularity

Shanghai's local fitness centers are aggressively promoting their personal trainer services. You will see trainers walking around the gym and offering advice on how to use the equipment.

Once you show an interest, they will ask to give you a more detailed consultation. Some people will find this annoying, but many Shanghai fitness centers would not be able to survive or maintain their equipment without this extra source of income.

Shanghai Personal trainers can do much more than show you how to use the equipment correctly. They can also give guidance in many areas critical to your health and well-being, areas often overlooked in the single-minded goals of building strength or burning calories.

These include:

  1. Improving flexibility
  2. Improving balance and coordination
  3. Exercising muscles that you fail to exercise in a standard work-out
  4. Improving your speed
  5. Improving your diet
  6. Developing an all-round healthier life-style
  7. Establishing goals and a step by step program to achieve them
  8. Building discipline to stick to a regular exercise routine

For those on a low budget, as long as you can turn this advice into long-term habits, the benefits can continue long after you have finished your program.

Hiring a personal trainer also gives you improved motivation. When you invest serious money for a service, you are more likely to make sure it gets results.

Shanghai Gym

My Shanghai personal trainer pushes me to come to the gym, sometimes more than I like, but I know I must finish my hours within a fixed period of time, so I make sure to go 2-3 times a week.

For those on tight schedules, some gyms in Shanghai also offer high intensive work-outs of just 30 minutes per session.

In most Shanghai local gyms you will share the equipment with other members, but you will have priority when using their personal trainer service.

Some local gyms, such as MOB, have sections with special equipment only available to those that pay for personal trainers.

Exercises you will do with this equipment work on the other aspects of fitness mentioned above, and also keep the work-out more interesting than basic weight lifting.

My trainer made me do many exercises that felt awkward at first, but became easier over time.

Choose the Shanghai Personal Trainer Suited to Your Needs

It is important to compare the different programs and Shanghai personal trainers, and choose one suited to your situation.

Fortunately in Shanghai, you can find trainers to suit all needs, including:

  • For out of shape expats who need a patient trainer to get you back in shape
  • For fitness fanatics who want guidance from like-minded experts to push you to the extreme
  • For those interested in new types of exercise including Asian martial arts, Cross Fit etc.
  • For pre- and post-natal exercise in Shanghai, such as at Anatomy of Arts Studio @ the clinic.

Hiring a Foreign Personal Trainer in Shanghai

Some local trainers speak basic English, which can be enough to guide you for a good work-out. However, if you speak Chinese or are lucky enough to find a local trainer with a high level of English you can make much better use of the service.

If not, don't fret. Fortunately there are more and more foreign-managed gyms here, so it is easy to find an English speaking Shanghai personal trainer.

Tom Fazio was one of the earliest foreign personal trainers in Shanghai, starting to offer his services in 2008.

Tom offers intense transformation programs; Short-term programs that get big results. Clients include CEOs and executives, stay-at-home Moms and Dads, and fitness and martial arts enthusiasts.

Shanghai Trainer

According to Tom, the key benefits of hiring a personal trainer include "Intelligent Program Design that ensures consistent physique improvement, without over-training. And moral support for a journey that is sure to be challenging."

Tom's advice for those worried they cannot fit a personal trainer into their schedule is to view this process within a short, fixed timeline, whether it be six weeks or three months.

"We can all manage to find a way to make it work. And when this is done, hiring a trainer, not for 'long-term', but for clearly defined results, can often save you much time and money in the long run."

When Tom recruits Shanghai personal trainers for his gym, he looks for those who can "demonstrate a clear knowledge of program design, the biomechanics of bodyweight exercises. They should be empathetic and well rounded individuals, preferably with diverse life experience (in order to understand the deeper needs and psychological challenges that different types of clients encounter). They also should have an understanding of nutrition for health, strength, and lean body mass."

Another expat personal trainer in Shanghai is Luke Jones, founder of Feel Good Fitness in Shanghai. Luke was brought up in an athletic family and played professional Rugby back in Wales.

Luke believes people often fail to find a focus and clear path when they join a gym with lots of equipment, but little guidance. Luke's programs are tailored to each client, with a focus on endurance training, or High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).

Programs Luke offers start from a General Fitness package "which offers clients a kick-start, and some knowledge into getting in to shape", to a ten-session program for some body changes, to a 20-session package which promises to bring a real change in one's physique and athletic capabilities.

All of these can be finished within just a few weeks, so do not require a long-term commitment.

Luke is happy to sit down and give a free consultation to clients first, to make sure he is clear on your goals and you are clear on how he intends to help you reach them.

Prices for Shanghai Personal Trainers

The prices for personal trainers vary widely. MOB's standard rate is about RMB 500/hour, but through some hard bargaining you can get around 40 percent off, depending on the length of the program.

Always remember, however, that you get what you pay for, so if you only focus on finding the cheapest Shanghai personal trainer, you will probably also get the lowest quality service in return.

Tom charges between RMB 450 to 800 per session. The cost for other foreign personal trainers in Shanghai is similar and can often be found on their websites as listed below.

You can also enjoy the guidance of a personal trainer, while paying a lower price if you join into small group classes led by expat personal trainers in Shanghai. 

Boutique fitness gyms including Olive Branch, Feel Good Fitness, Pro Series @ the clinic, and Prime Fitness offer both group fitness classes, ranging from RMB 100 to 200 per session, as well as private classes. You can purchase packages of lessons or pay as you go and do not need to buy a membership.

Get Certified as a Personal Trainer in Shanghai

If you have a great passion for fitness, and think you have what it takes, you could also consider becoming a personal trainer in Shanghai.

There are now international certification programs available in Shanghai, taught in English. 3HFit offers programs and certification from the American Council on Exercise (ACE), as well as from the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), delivered in either English or Chinese.

Currently there are about 100 Shanghai expats enrolled in various programs. Some of their courses are Monday to Fridays, while others are weekend only classes.

According to 3HFit, their students find a wide variety of jobs in Shanghai after completing their programs; "There are many jobs in Shanghai from personal trainers to working positions in gyms and fitness studios. With the certification, an individual can enter the wide field of fitness."

Shanghai Personal Trainer Certification Program

Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Classes for Ladies in Shanghai

One expat who took the 3HFit certification program, Olga Nemchikova, chose it because she is already a health coach in Shanghai.

Olga focuses on helping clients lead a healthier life through diet and lifestyle. "I know that Fitness/Sport is part of Healthy Lifestyle. So in order to provide my Clients with a full range of services I decided to get professional education in personal training."

Olga's clients are out-of-shape expats who want to get back in shape, as well as those with chronic pain due to being too sedentary. Olga delivers her programs in client's home or gym, or at the 3HFit gym.

Olga's ACE certification program at 3HFit included 90 hours of training taken Monday to Fridays for just over one month. The program costs about RMB 11,000; including the tuition and certification exam.

Foreign Personal Trainers in Shanghai

Shanghai personal trainers:

Personal Trainer certification courses in Shanghai:

Local Shanghai Personal Trainers:

  • MOB (Mind Over Body)
    (Jingan, Putuo, Zhongshan park)
  • Will's Fitness
    (Jingan, Putuo, Zhabei, Jianing, Huangpu, Zhongshan Park, Xuhui, Hongkou, Jiading, Minhang, Baoshan, Songjiang)

You might like these

Go from Shanghai Personal Trainer to the Shanghai Fitness menu

More ideas and resources for the Shanghai ExPat community