Find out how to get qualified as a PT and start working in the fitness industry.
If working as a level 3 personal trainer is your dream job chances are you’re thinking about course options, what’s involved and prices. But it’s also important to look a little further ahead to make sure this is the right career for you. We’ve got it covered as we dive into responsibilities, qualifications, signs you’d be a great PT and how to progress.
Why a Level 3 Personal Trainer Course?
This indicates to employers and clients that you have met the required industry standards. The course you choose should be recognised by REPS and CIMSPA. This gives a clear signal of the credibility of your training and your expertise. From here you can gain insurance and start working with clients on their fitness goals.
It’s super important to make sure your course is legitimate. When everything is complete you should receive a level 3 certificate in personal training in your name, as a hard copy document. This needs to be endorsed with the examining body logo and the REPs and CIMSPA logos. You should also receive a credit summary document with details of all the modules you completed. This is useful to verify the content of your personal training course to future employers. It also demonstrates the learning you’ve already completed, should you wish to undertake further qualifications at a later date.
Sometimes the terms level 3 fitness qualification and level 3 fitness instructor course get confused with personal training. A word of caution here, you don’t need these qualifications nor will they be considered valid for work as a PT.
To make a start in the industry you need a level 3 personal trainer certificate. Here’s a run through of the options we offer and links to course details and prices.
Gaining your PT qualification involves both theory and practical study.
Course theory is broken down into modules covering anatomy and physiology, programming personal training, delivering personal training and nutrition.
The practical is focused on developing your client skills so that you are confident working with clients in the gym. You will also demonstrate your skills in your very own personal training sessions.
When everything is complete and you’ve passed you will be recognised as a level 3 personal trainer.
Now you’ve a clear understanding of what to study, let’s turn our attention to what personal trainers actually do and the different aspects of their day to day job.
Responsibilities of a Personal Trainer
Personal trainers provide exercise instruction, support and guidance to a wide range of clients typically on a one to one basis. The focus is on improving how they look, feel and function by working towards agreed fitness goals. Client needs can be varied and complex and this is where successful Personal Trainers come into their own, skillfully designing exercise programmes for results. A key factor here is being aware of the responsibilities that come with the role.
Health and safety first
Clients will inevitably be keen to push themselves by working harder and for longer. They may tell you they can lift heavier weights and do more repetitions, or that they can work at higher intervals or inclines. You are the expert and it’s your reputation at stake if something goes wrong. So keep things safe and follow your client care checks and procedures every time.
Expect the unexpected
Personal training is an active profession and things can happen quickly. Think on your feet and be ready to adapt at all times. If a client is running late and can only do a half hour session, HIIT offers a great workout option. For the client who’s had a tiring stressful day at work, flexibility training is a great choice.
Think on your feet
You will have already prepared the exercise programme for your client, but the ability to be one step ahead is key to delivering a great PT session. Develop your plan B with plenty of progression and regression options. It’s also really handy to have some exercise alternatives according to client preferences to help maximize motivation.
Responsible personal trainers know that meeting client expectations holds the key, or even better exceeding them! Make sure you agree goals and targets that are sensible and can be achieved. There’s nothing worse for client retention and your reputation than missed objectives. Similarly there’s nothing better than happy clients who’ve not only met their goals but smashed them. Remember you are the expert and it takes time, consistent effort and commitment for results to happen.
Walk the talk
Clients see you as a fitness role model. You’ll need to be willing to demonstrate exercises, get involved with the outdoor run, showcase great lifting techniques and so on.
Keeping up to date
Change happens fast in the fitness industry and it’s vital you and your exercise repertoire keep up to speed. This truly shows you are the expert and that you know the difference between exercise for results compared with short term fads.
An eye for the detail
Information gathering tools and questionnaires can be used during client consultations to delve into factors that may be acting as ‘stressors’ affecting client wellbeing. Armed with this information and knowledge the personal trainer can discuss their findings and agree priorities. Then, they can design and create an exercise programme that is targeted to improvements in overall holistic health and exercise and fitness objectives.
Here’s an example;
You’ve just met a highly stressed client who is seeking help with losing weight and improving their body shape. Having looked at the complete picture you know that they are experiencing an emotional stress overload. An ineffective route to programme design would be to create an intensive training routine such as one that adhered to HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) principles. Given their stress levels the physical demands could prove too much for your client’s body risking injury, exacerbated fatigue and low levels of enjoyment.
A better option would be to coach this client on a safe multi-joint orientated exercise programme including squats, walking and static lunges and stress reducing Swiss ball exercises. This approach will assist with speeding metabolism for successful weight loss whilst targeting positive energy flow to manage stress through the functional movement patterns you’ve selected.
Signs You’d Make a Great Personal Trainer
Lets fast track forward to the point where you’ve studied hard and are now a level 3 personal trainer in your own right. You’re fully recognised by the industry as a fitness professional and have gained some great knowledge in human anatomy and physiology, health and safety and of course how to design and develop fantastic fitness and exercise programmes. So you might think that clients seeking a personal trainer will rate all this expertise highly in deciding whether to hire you as their PT. Well you’d be wrong. These aspects of personal training are a given, they are the nuts and bolts of what a personal trainer does day in, day out.
Clients will choose to work with you based on why they need a personal trainer and how they connect with you. It’s really important to be able to put yourself in their shoes and think about their needs, goals and the type or training style and approach that will work best for them.
Attributes of a Personal Trainer
- Well planned and organised – you’re well prepared for sessions, have a tailored exercise programme ready to coach, and deliver on your promises aiming to exceed client expectations.
- Friendly and sociable – while there are many different styles of personal training you can adopt to suit clients, the training needs to be fun and enjoyable. If you’re naturally friendly and like interacting with different types of people you’re on the right track.
- A great communicator – to coach your clients and achieve the desired results you need to explain, demonstrate, motivate and praise. All of this comes from great communication skills.
- Goal orientated – you need to be able to focus on client goals setting short, medium and long term direction. Also keep an eye on your own career goals as a newly qualified PT.
- Punctual – clients book in for an agreed day and time slot and expect you to be there on time. Turning up late is sloppy and sets a poor first impression, so avoid it at all costs. Expect the same from your clients in return, after all they need to commit to attending the full training session to get maximum results. As a general rule, if a client is delayed do not add on the time to the session.
- Driven and self-motivated – the best personal trainers are ambitious and super keen to grow a lucrative client base, making a real impact in the industry.
Pros and Cons of Being a Personal Trainer
Personal training is a brilliant career and has so much to offer. You can’t beat the buzz of working one to one with a new client, finding out about their background and helping them take great strides with their fitness and personal goals. What’s more thanks to organisations such as ICREPs, the International Confederation of Registers for Exercise Professionals, your qualifications are portable around the world so you can work outside of the UK.
There’s no doubt life as a PT has a lot of ups but like any job it’s got a few downsides too. So take some time to consider both the pros and cons of being a personal trainer to be sure it’s the right career for you.
Setting your own hours
If you take the freelance or self-employed route you decide on the hours you work and can schedule clients for these times.
Choose to work full-time, part-time, weekends, evenings, set days a week, or mix and match. Working as a PT means you really can tailor your working patterns to what suits you best.
Making a real difference
Your qualifications, training and skills can make a massive difference to clients lifestyles. Whether it’s fat loss, toning, improved fitness, looking their best for a special occasion, fitness coaching for a charity event or something else, personal trainers can deliver life changing results.
Be your own boss
Personal training means you don’t have to tied to the traditional daily work grind. Be in charge of shaping your own destiny, earnings and career by building up a steady client base, gradually expanding your range of fitness services.
You’ll be working with different types of people, all with different needs and goals. This means lots of varied work rather than doing the same things day in day out.
Working for gym is a popular way of getting started as a level 3 personal trainer. This offers access to gym members who may choose to hire you as their PT but the down side is this may come with some costs. The gym may ask you to pay a rental, a commission or even work a set number of hours for free in return for being able to access their gym and facilities.
Working for yourself
Yes this also featured in the pros but setting up as a PT isn’t for everyone. As well as the client side you’ll be designing programmes, handling new client enquiries, marketing and promoting your business and sorting the finances. Whilst some love the freedom being your own boss has to offer, running a personal training business isn’t a one size fits all approach.
Working popular time slots
Early mornings, evenings and weekends are all popular time slots for clients. So before you get started think about how you can best cater for client demand in your area.
Personal trainers carry out duties behind the scenes of the client session. You’ll be planning for the session, scheduling appointments, conducting research, liaising with third party experts and of course promoting yourself as a personal trainer. Make sure the whole job appeals to you, not just the delivering the sessions bit.
How to progress your career
Once you’ve qualified your focus will shift away from coursework and study. You’ll need to find a gym to work from, attract your first few clients and develop your reputation as a personal trainer.
- Where your first clients will come from and your PT fees – per hour and for block bookings
- How you can grow your client base
- Client care and systems for booking in appointments and new consultations
- Making time for exercise programme design and delivery
For the time being advancing your personal training career is probably not at the forefront of your mind. But give it a little time and you’ll start thinking about how you can attract more clients, develop your knowledge of specialist groups and how to offer additional fitness related services. At this point a popular route is to widen your services to include new client groups. For example by offering kids fitness sessions, boot camps or group based exercise to music sessions. These can appeal to both existing and new clients thereby effectively growing your business and widening your customer appeal.
Are there different levels of fitness qualification?
Yes. There are many different levels and types of fitness qualification. Level 1 courses are generally introductory so you won’t be able to work in the industry with these. Level 2 and level 3 personal trainer courses are the standard for working in the industry. And,level 4 qualifications offer advanced training routes that follow gaining your level 2 and 3.
Should I complete my level 2 and 3 personal trainer course at the same time?
This is a popular choice with our students who are starting out, simply because it leads to all the qualifications you need to start work as a PT. You’ll also benefit from reduced course fees and saving time on completing your course. If you’re keen to find a job in fitness, start work and build up to your level 3, then completing your level 2 fitness instructor course to begin with may be the best option for you.
If you’re not sure which pathway is best for you, please contact us and we can advise you.
Does the level 3 pt course involve exams?
No. Our pt courses are specifically designed to develop your skills, knowledge and expertise without the pressure of exams. Instead we focus on workbook assignments, case studies and practical skills training and assessment.
When can I start working in personal training?
As soon as you have your level 3 certificate in personal training you’re work ready. You can apply for jobs or start working for yourself. Just remember to check you’re covered on your employers insurance policy. If you’re taking the freelance route it’s best to take out your own insurance and gain a first-aid certification before you start.
What you need to become a Personal Trainer.
You need to gain your level 3 Personal Trainer qualification to work with clients as a Personal Trainer. Before you can start you should hold a Level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instructing or equivalent, or alternatively you can opt for a combined level 2 and level 3 Personal Trainer course. Once you have your level 3 certification you are ready to get started on your new career.
Fitness Courses at Affordable Prices
We provide Level 3 Personal Trainer qualifications of exceptional price and quality
enabling you excel in your fitness career.
The Academy of Fitness Professionals provide the gold standard in accredited personal trainer courses, fitness instructor courses and nutrition courses with state of the art training fully endorsed by REPs, Skills Active and the NCFE. Their specialist knowledge features in the UK health and fitness media including the Mirror, BBC2 and Women’s Running. This is the ultimate learning destination for those serious about their fitness industry education and long term career as a Personal Trainer./p>
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