How to Find a Quality Personal Trainer in South America


So you have decided to take an extended vacation to South America or possibly even move there. Once you get there, you sign up for your local gymnasium so that you can stay in shape while away. You start going a few days a week but you realize that something is missing from your workouts. For one reason or another you just can’t get that solid workout you desire. Whether it’s lack of self-motivation or not having a good routine to follow, you definitely feel like something is missing. That’s when the idea pops into your head that you need to hire a personal trainer. Tons of questions will rush to your mind that will make the decision a little bit more complicated. Will I be able to communicate with my trainer in English? Are they certified through a reputable organization? Is it worth the money? I will be tackling all the questions that you could ever think of in regards to getting a personal trainer in a South American country.

The language barrier

One of the biggest problems you will have is finding a personal trainer that speaks adequate English. This rule does not apply obviously if your Spanish is up to par, but unfortunately most of us did not pay enough attention in high school Spanish class.

Unfortunately, just like everywhere else in South America, the percentage of English-speaking people is not very high. The best thing you can do is simply ask around to see if there are any trainers that speak English. From my experience there is usually one trainer in each gym that speaks English. Perhaps before signing up to a gym this should be the question you ask.

Is the trainer knowledgeable or certified through a recognizable organization?

Once you have found in English-speaking personal trainer, the next important question is what type of knowledge and experience do they have? Are they certified by a reputable certifying agency? What is considered a reputable certification agency in your given country? Where are they required to go to school in order to become a personal trainer? These are all great questions that can improve the knowledge of a personal trainer.

From all of my experience traveling through South America, I have discovered that the level of required knowledge for any given personal trainer varies greatly. There is not usually a country wide law that requires personal trainers to be certified. It is usually based on the discrepancy of each individual gym and their personal requirements. On top of that, each country has their own certifying agencies that are similar to the popular ones in the United States. I have also found out that some gyms accept foreign personal training certifications such as NASM and ACE.

So the first question you should ask is whether or not the personal trainers in a specific gym are required to be certified or have gone through schooling in the field of exercise science in order to work there. If this is not a requirement, move on to the next gym.  I have seen some gyms that require absolutely no schooling or certification and those should be avoided at all costs. You will typically find these gyms in the lower economic neighborhoods of cities in Latin America. In the more economically affluent neighborhoods you will find gyms that require a certain level of expertise from their trainers before getting hired. These are usually the commercial gyms similar to 24 hour fitness in the United States. Some examples here in Colombia are Smartfit and Bodytech. Both of these organizations require all of their personal trainers to be certified.

The best advice I can give you to find a certified personal trainer is to stick to the commercial gyms in your Latin American country of choice. Here you’ll find the highest educated trainers.

How much will it cost?

The pricing of the training sessions is where things get really exciting especially for those of you who are used to paying for personal training in the United States. As you should know by now, almost all services are far cheaper in Latin America. It is no wonder that the personal training sessions will be cheaper as well. As long as you have been able to get through the first two steps successfully with finding an English-speaking certified personal trainer, let’s talk about prices.

As of right now, here in Columbia the prices for one hour of personal training range between 25,000 pesos and 50,000 pesos. That is between $8 dollars and $16 for one hour of training based on the current exchange rate.  That is head and shoulders cheaper than the current going rate for one hour of personal training in California which is about $60 an hour. Obviously this will vary from country to country. For example, Brazil, Argentina and Chile will most likely be a bit more expensive than it is here in Colombia. But you can still expect to pay less than $60 for a one hour training session in those countries. For the typical price of one training session in the United States you can probably get around four or five. You can essentially have a personal trainer for every day of the week for the same price as one training session a week in the US. Get ready to get in the best shape of your life on this vacation!


Thanks for taking the time to read my article on how to find a personal trainer Latin America. Let’s sum up everything that you need in order to find a good trainer. Before you commit to any one gymnasium make sure you follow these guidelines.

  1. Try to stick to the higher income neighborhoods and commercial gyms to have the best luck with the following questions.
  • Is there any personal trainer that speaks English in your gymnasium? Hay una entrenador aqui que habla ingles?
  • Are the personal trainers at your gym required to carry a personal trainer certification or have specific schooling to become a trainer? Se requiere que los entrenadores personales en su gimnasio lleven una certificación de entrenador personal o tengan una educación específica para convertirse en un entrenador?

After you have gotten the green light on both of those questions, I would first just try out one personal training session to see how you like your trainer and to see if you would like to continue. If you find that you got a great workout in and that you really get along with your trainer, there should be no holding back! Go buck wild and purchase as many training session as your heart desires! You will get in the best shape of your life with barely denting your bank account.


About the Author

Screen Shot 2017-08-09 at 17.39.39.png Tyler is an NASM certified personal trainer with over 10 years of experience. In addition to training a wide variety of clients, Tyler is also the founder and senior editor of; a website designed to help people become industry leading personal trainers.

You can also check out his work on his YouTube Channel.