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The Definitive Guide: How To Become A Fitness Instructor

Published on: 16 Jul 2018
fitness instructor hero

Are you a fitness fanatic? Crazy about cardio?

If you love working out, why not use your passion and drive for fitness to inspire others whilst earning a living.

What is a Fitness Instructor?

fitness instructors create exercise programs with the aim to improve clients’ health and fitness.

Some people need a little push to achieve their goals, and this is where you come in. You’ll need to see clients’ potential where they can’t see it in themselves, motivate and help them to reach their full potential. It is a rewarding job as you can see the results and difference you are making as you contribute towards the success of those you are helping.

Opposed to a, you will be working mostly with groups of people, and assisting with general fitness enquiries rather than creating 1:1 programs with clients.

As a Fitness Instructor, you will lead and instruct exercise activities to groups. You will be creating and conducting/supporting various programs for all types of abilities, ages and body types whilst helping clients to achieve their fitness goals.

You will most likely be working in a gym, a leisure centre or health club in a team of like-minded people.

Self-employed people could run classes in outdoor public spaces or community centres.

  • Job Description

    You will be required to provide fitness advice, inductions and training classes for groups of people who need assistance in their workouts.

    You will be educating your clients on how to work out effectively, planning a variation of group workouts for people of all ages, levels and goals whilst providing motivation to clients.

  • Hours of Work

    As a full time Fitness Instructor, you will be expected to work around 40 hours per week. Shifts include early mornings, evenings, weekends and in some cases public holidays, depending on venue opening times or client needs. You may be able to be a little bit flexible and set some of your own working hours, although if working in a gym, you might be scheduled to work certain timetabled classes. You will have to be available whenever the clients are – often before or after usual working hours.

  • Main Responsibilities

    These are the main duties that will be expected of you in this role:

    • Leading and supporting fitness classes
    • Setting fitness goals and helping people to achieve them
    • Teaching clients how to use equipment
    • Creating fitness programs
    • Assessing clients
    • Demonstrate exercises safely
    • Giving nutrition advice
    • Cleaning equipment
    • Encouraging and motivating clients
    • Educating and explaining how to complete exercise and stretches safely and properly

Key Fitness Instructor Qualifications

You will need more than a love for sports and exercise – this job role involves fully understanding how the human body works.

As a minimum, you will need the basic GCSE’s A*-C or equivalent. With these qualifications, you can either go onto complete an apprenticeship, or a diploma. Here is a list of the qualifications that could help you get the job:

Personal Trainer education

You could get into this field via an apprenticeship. This way, you can learn on the job whilst working towards gaining a qualification, and getting paid all at the same time! If you are interested in doing an apprenticeship, look into a Health and Science Apprenticeship – Sports Development.

Vital Fitness Instructor Skills

All in order to become a successful Fitness Instructor, you will need to have certain personal skills: Do you have what it takes?

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Organisational skills and planning
  • Motivation and the ability to motivate others
  • Customer service
  • Listening skills
  • Physical fitness

What is a Fitness Instructor Salary?

Now we’re getting down to the nitty gritty…

Your salary will depend on many different factors – qualifications, experience, location, number of clients and type of venue. A starting salary for a fitness instructor is usually £14,000; with the figure rising to £20,000 once you have more experience. Managers can earn up to £30,000. If you prefer to go down the self-employment route, you could earn between £10 and £40 per hour depending on the location and the client group. Remember that being self-employed involves much more work, including accounting, admin, sales and marketing.

fitness instructor salery

How to become a Fitness Instructor

If you don’t have the qualifications, it could be possible to get yourself a job at a gym or a health centre in another role, before being trained on the job as a fitness instructor. Some companies may fund your training. However, this entry route is not always guaranteed.

Once you have the knowledge in your noggin, and the qualifications on your CV you can look for jobs in your area. There are so many opportunities because health and fitness is an increasingly growing industry.

How to Develop a Fitness Instructor Career

Progression is key; how can you climb the ladder?

The next step for you after gaining experience as a Fitness Instructor is to become a Senior Instructor or Manager. You will have your own team of Fitness Instructors to direct.

If you are interested in becoming a personal trainer, you could take some further courses. A Personal Trainer works one a one to one basis with clients and usually has slightly more flexibility within the job role.

Feeling ambitious? Why not start your own fitness club with personalised classes and fitness programs? By this time, you will have learned the ropes on how to be a good Fitness Instructor and can employ your own team to help you.

Career Opportunities