How to become a personal trainer

How to become a personal trainer


Is fitness more than just a passion for you? Are you an energetic people-person that can also keep things organised? Then you may be interested in becoming a personal trainer. It’s a dynamic career that can keep you engaged, but also gives you the freedom to build your own business. In this article we take a look at everything you need to know to become a personal trainer.

What will you do as a personal trainer?

You’re going to be the person that helps people achieve (and maintain) their health and fitness goals. You will do this by developing exercise programs that cater to individuals and groups. If you’re running personal, one-on-one sessions, you may be building out long-term exercise plans that run for months. Alternatively, you may be running group classes that need to balance differing levels of fitness.

Depending on your area of specialisation, you may also be involved in nutrition and meal planning. Personal trainers also often find themselves in roles as life coaches due to the importance they hold in many client’s lives.

It’s an incredibly rewarding profession as you can play a role in improving people’s lives and help them attain real results.

Why consider becoming a personal trainer

The fitness and personal training industry is massive – worth $12.9 billion in the USA as of 2021 – and it’s still growing. Research from the Global Wellness Institute shows that the global wellness industry was valued at $4.4 trillion. All of this is to say that there are great opportunities if you want to work in the health and wellness space.

Some other advantages to a career as a personal trainer include:

  • FlexibilityYou determine your hours and work schedule. However, it’s important to know that this can also mean that you end up working at odd hours as you need to accommodate when your clients have time.
  • RewardingYou can make a real difference in people’s lives. You can assist them in improving their physical and mental wellbeing. A great personal trainer takes into account many aspects of their clients lives to build the right program for them.
  • Growth

Starting from a solid base, a career as a personal trainer can be the springboard to a wide variety of different careers in health. You could even end up owning and running your own gym or studio one day.

  • Relationships

If you’re not someone who enjoys and cares about getting to know people, this may not be the right career for you. You can build long-standing and real relationships with clients over time.

While there are a lot of perks, there are some cons. As mentioned, hours can be uncertain and you may need to be available during non-traditional hours. Your salary and pay can also be unpredictable, especially as you get established in the industry and work to build your client base. You’re also going to need to be proactive to get out there and find and convert those clients.

It’s important to be realistic as well, you should know you are going to deal with difficult clients. Ones who nod and listen but don’t seem to stick to anything you tell them to. This is why being a people-person is so important. You will need to find the right motivation for a wide range of personalities. One may need some tough love, while another needs to be gently cajoled and encouraged.

Skills needed to become a personal trainer

We’ve already highlighted quite a few, but to summarise,, to become an effective personal trainer, you’re going to need a good selection of business and interpersonal skills:

  • Understanding and managing finances
  • Administration and attention to detail
  • Passion about health and wellness
  • Physical fitness and endurance (of course)
  • Ability to teach and instruct effectively
  • Can be a motivator or cheerleader
  • Care deeply about good customer service
  • Able to keep calm in tense or stressful situations
  • A people person who loves communication

You will need to keep up with industry trends and new research that may provide insight into better ways to keep healthy and train. Great personal trainers keep growing and learning throughout their career to ensure they are always providing the best possible service to their clients.

Starting your career as a personal trainer

You’ve decided it’s the right career for you, what’s next? No matter how passionate or knowledgeable you are about health and fitness, it’s always strongly recommended to study and get the correct accreditations.

There are many different country-specific and international fitness qualifications, which is why it’s so important to do your research and find the one that is right for you.

When looking for a course, ensure they are accredited with the right bodies, offer comprehensive course materials and have good support. If possible, find reviews from people who have taken it before to get insight into if it’s good value.

Courses can run from several weeks to several months and can cover a wide variety of specialisations. You will also find a split between online and in-person training. The main thing is to choose an institute or certification that will help you achieve your personal training career goals.

Once you’re working as a trainer, you’re also going to need to effectively manage all the aspects of your business including:

  • Finances
  • Admin
  • Client management
  • Continuing education

This is where dedicated personal trainer software and apps can be essential. Finding one that can help you juggle the various aspects of being a personal trainer can be the difference between success and failure, especially when you’re starting out. To find out more, click here.

Finding a job as a personal trainer

It can seem daunting to start out in the fitness industry, especially when you’re trying to land those first few clients. This is when it may be helpful to start working for an existing gym or other health centre. It can also be worthwhile to chat to established personal trainers and ask for their advice or mentorship.

The fact is, there are a huge range of businesses and opportunities for personal trainers to find work. Some of most common paths or places are:

  • Gyms – Many gyms like to keep a stable of fully employed or contracted personal trainers for their members
  • Corporates – Some companies have benefits and programs that offer wellness packages for their employees
  • Hospitals – Some hospitals may have a need for personal trainers to assist in the rehabilitation of their patients. You would likely need further specialisation or qualifications to work there
  • Spas and resorts – Many holiday resorts like to be able offer classes or personal training to their guests
  • Dedicated fitness studios – There are a wide range of dedicated fitness studios covering disciplines like pilates or yoga that need personal trainers. Again, you may need further qualifications to be accepted as an instructor there

As you can see, personal training can be an exciting and rewarding career. Wherever you choose to focus, we hope we’ve helped you on the path to building your future as a personal trainer.