Turning a hobby or passion into a day job can be more than a distant dream. If you’re a health and fitness fanatic, then why not consider a career as a Personal Trainer?

As a Personal Trainer, you’ll get to spend more time immersing yourself in something you love whilst encouraging and motivating others on their health and fitness journey. Sound too good to be true? We promise it’s not – read on to find out how to turn thoughts into actions.

What do Personal Trainers do?

in the gym

Personal Trainers work either one-on-one or with small groups of people who want to improve their fitness and flexibility and/or gain muscle. Some clients hire a Personal Trainer for aesthetic reasons (e.g. they want help achieving a certain body shape or size) or because they want to boost their overall health and feel better physically and mentally.

A Personal Trainer will typically see each client for at least one session a week over an agreed period of time to put them through their paces with a suitable exercise plan.

When a Personal Trainer first meets a client, they’ll establish what the client’s goals are and when they would like to achieve the results by. They must decide how this can be achieved based on existing levels of fitness and put that plan into action.

Personal Training is an extremely rewarding profession that involves taking people on a journey of personal improvement to help them feel better about themselves. If you decide to embark on a career as a Personal Trainer, it will be up to you whether you decide to work for a gym or fitness centre, or whether you become self-employed and grow a client base yourself.

What skills do I need to become a Personal Trainer?

The ideal person will:

  • Have a real passion for health and fitness.

  • Be fit and active yourself, as you’ll need to demonstrate exercises and/or do them alongside the client.

  • Be flexible (pun intended!) as you’ll have to construct exercise plans for a range of body types and abilities. Working hours are also varied to fit in with people’s personal lives (e.g. many Personal Training sessions are in the evenings, after work) although, if you’re self-employed, while you need to fit around your clients, you may have a little more choice about how you organise your schedule.

  • Be any age – there are no age restrictions on this role. At Rest Less, we believe it’s never too late to change careers and do something you love.

  • Have an in-depth knowledge of the human body and how it’s impacted by lifestyle factors.

  • Be good at listening and communicating.

  • Be friendly and outgoing.

What will I love about being a Personal Trainer?

  • You’ll get to explore your passion for health and fitness every day.

  • It’s extremely rewarding watching people transform their lives for the better by improving their health and fitness.

  • You’ll be encouraged to keep fit and healthy yourself. You can reap the benefits of flexible hours and you have the option to become self-employed if you want complete control over your schedule.

What are the challenges of being a Personal Trainer?

It’s not always easy to keep people motivated, especially on a cold and rainy day when they’re doing intense exercise, but these are skills you’ll develop in the role.

How much will I earn as a Personal Trainer?

The estimated starting salary of a Personal Trainer is £16,000, potentially rising to £24,000 plus. But if you become self-employed, you can set your own rates and customers often give generous tips.

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Are there opportunities to progress?

There are opportunities to become more specialised in a particular area of fitness (Specialist Fitness Coach). You can also move on to managing gyms or leisure centres. Additionally, you have the option to work as a self-employed Personal Trainer and run your own business.

How do I get started?

You don’t need any formal academic qualifications to become a personal trainer, but you should have a recognised qualification for safety reasons and credibility.

HFE offer a Level 2 Certificate in Gym Instructing and a Level 3 Certificate in Personal Training (which can be bought as a package and completed in succession), and will teach you everything you need to know to achieve full Personal Trainer status.

Both courses are certified through Central YMCA Qualifications (CYQ) and Active IQ, and are also recognised by the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs) – giving you the best opportunity at joining the Register and securing employment upon successful completion of Level 3. 

The course covers the following areas:

  • Anatomy and Physiology

  • Nutrition and Weight Management
  • Planning and Programming Techniques 
  • Business Acumen for Personal Trainers
  • Advanced Training Techniques 
  • Core Training 

Training is held at various locations around the UK – including London, York and Bristol – and you could be qualified in just 12-14 weeks if you decide to take the courses back-to-back.

After completing the Level 2 Certificate in Gym Instructing, you will be a fully qualified Gym Instructor. You will then have the option to be able to work as a Gym Instructor whilst you complete the Level 3 Certificate in Personal Training. 

Once you’ve successfully both courses, you will be a qualified Personal Trainer – ready to start your new career and help others achieve their own fitness ambitions.

If you want to help others improve their fitness but you’re not sure one-to-one training is for you, then you could also consider becoming a class instructor via a different route. Teaching classes can be great fun, offer a sense of community, and still comes with the reward of knowing that you are making a positive difference to people’s lives.

If this sounds appealing, then you could train to become an instructor with fitness provider Move It Or Lose It. Their certified FABS training program will teach you everything you need to know to teach safe, effective, and empowering exercise classes for older adults.

You can find out more about how to join the Move It Or Lose It team below.