The Definitive Guide: How To Become A Personal Trainer

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Thanks to photo sharing sites like Instagram and Pinterest, the nation is now more fitness-mad than ever! You only need to open one of the popular social apps and your feed will be flooded with your friends’ take on poached egg and avocado on toast, or a dozen or so targeted gym workouts that will achieve the body that you want.

So it’s no wonder really that more and more people are turning to the lucrative world of health and wellbeing when it comes to their career. How great would it feel to turn your passion into a career and to inspire others every day to achieve their goals? As well as have the opportunity to earn well and keep fit at the same time.

And if you’ve ever considered becoming a personal trainer – some of the best in the business can earn thousands per week, owing to their huge social media following and complementing sponsorship deals – you’ve come to the right place.

This isn’t your everyday 9-5 role - you’ll work to your own schedule. You’ll be spending the majority of your time in the gym. This job is extremely flexible, you work around your own personal schedule and if this is your passion, then you’ll be happy to sacrifice some free time for your job.

Our guide to becoming a personal trainer tells you everything you need to know about the profession. From expected salaries to the training route you’ll need to take, we’ve done the hard work so you don’t have to. Think of us as a handy careers advisor, giving you a leg-up to a rewarding career and guiding you to future job happiness. Read on…

What is a Personal Trainer?

  • Job Description

    What does a personal trainer really do?

    A personal trainer works with clients on a one to one basis, enabling the client to exercise and achieve their fitness goals safely. Aside from that, they are responsible for tracking the clients’ progress; creating meal plans and ensuring their personal goals are continuously being met.

    Passion isn’t all you’ll need though; you’ll need to have the knowledge on exercise practice, nutrition, first aid and how the human body works. In short, you’re helping your client achieve their goals by fine-tuning a plan which works for them and their unique lifestyle. It takes motivational skills, energy and drive to be a great personal trainer.

    You could be working in a range of environments - at the gym, at the local park or even on the beach.

  • Hours of Work

    As a personal trainer, your hours will fit around your clients’ needs and lifestyles. This is not an average 9-5 job, even when you aren’t in the gym working with a client, you’ll be marketing yourself and working on finding new clients, as well as updating your social media with fitness and healthy eating tips and content.

    Becoming a self-employed personal trainer gives you the ability to be selective regarding your hours, though, while working for a gym or fitness centre might not allow for such flexibility.

  • Main Responsibilities

    So, what will your main responsibilities be as a Personal Trainer?

    Patience is absolutely key if you’re to become a personal trainer, as well as having the ability to motivate people. Here are just a few of the responsibilities you can expect to carry out as a personal trainer:

    • Setting short term and long term goals for clients
    • Motivating clients whilst they exercise
    • Educating clients
    • Planning tailored fitness programs for each client
    • Continuously maintaining clients’ progress
    • Creating personal meal plans
    • Marketing and updating social media

Key Personal Trainer qualifications

Now that you know what a personal trainer does, you’re probably wondering how to get there.

You’d normally need to be an experienced fitness instructor already, with recognised qualifications including one of the following:

  • Level 2 diploma in Instructing Exercise and Fitness
  • Level 3 diploma in Fitness Instructing and Personal Training
  • Level 3 diploma in Personal Training
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Don’t worry – you don’t need to have all of these qualifications, but level 2 is a reasonable place to start. As with any career, the higher level qualification you have, the more successful you are likely to be.

Vital Personal Trainer Skills

Want to know if you’ve got what it takes? These are the skills you’ll need for the role

  • Leadership
  • Creativity
  • Ability to motivate others
  • Ability to inspire others
  • Empathy
  • Passion
  • Energy and commitment
  • Enthusiasm
  • Communication skills
  • Patience
  • Time management
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What is a Personal Trainer’s salary?

How much can you earn to change people’s lives?

Your salary could range anywhere from £13,000 - £32,000. This will depend on a number of factors such as how many clients you have per year, how many hours you work, the location and the client range.

personal trainer salarery

How to become a Personal Trainer

Now that you know what a Personal Trainer does, how do you become one?

You could look for a part time job in a gym whilst studying for your personal training qualification. This way, you can get one foot in the door and get used to the environment. You could also get a feel for what you will be doing by observing some of the personal trainers.

Once you have your qualifications you can apply for jobs. It is up to you whether you choose to work in a gym or as a self-employed personal trainer. You could potentially earn more working alone, however you will get benefits such as holiday pay and job security if you decide to work for a company.

How to develop your Personal Trainer career

If you want to take your career to the next step, why not think about setting up your own business and running a fitness club of your own. This could include fitness classes as well as one to one sessions. It will take a lot of hard work but it will be worth it when your hard work pays off. Qualified personal trainers can go on to work in a number of professions following a career helping people achieve their fitness goals.

A good next step could include training as a nutritionist, a sports masseuse or even going down the route of becoming a personal trainer to the stars- here are a few options that you could look into:

  • Physiotherapist – You can retrain as a physiotherapist by gaining a degree. You will already have the basic anatomy knowledge but you will need the right qualifications to get a job. This will take you an extra 3 years.

  • Health Trainer – You can use your knowledge of health and fitness to become a health trainer. This job involves providing information to improve clients’ general health and well being – including giving people advice on exercise (you will be an expert at this aspect). You may want to have further training on a subject such as health or nutrition.

  • Fitness Instructor – If you’d rather work with clients in a group dynamic rather than one to one, then you can become a fitness instructor. This job is very similar to a personal trainer, with more group classes and less one to one’s.

So there you have it; everything you need to set out on the road to a new personal trainer career!

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