Personal Training Career Tips

Personal trainer careers are in high demand. Get the right advice and must know tips to kick start your journey.

Personal Training Career Advice

You don’t need to search for long on job boards to see that Personal Trainers are in high demand. Hence, a wide range of organisations are on the lookout for talented Personal Trainers to become part of their fitness teams.

Unsurprisingly top of the list is national gym chains, 24 hour gyms, leisure centres and health clubs. However, it may come as a surprise to discover that hotels, beauty spa’s, clinics, holiday parks and even cruise liners are also on the lookout for PT talent.

So, with so many companies keen to attract the best, here’s how to progress your career in personal training.

Is personal training the career for me?

If you’ve ever booked a taster session with a PT, you’ll know how they can accelerate your workout into top gear. Plus, with awesome tips, exercises that really hit the spot and heaps of encouragement, it’s likely you experienced a whole new level of workout.

Now imagine, if you could turn that kind of experience into your day job. Chiefly, your personal training advice will help clients improve their fitness, stay motivated and achieve the desired results.

So, if a career in personal training might suit you here’s some all-important key facts.

Hourly rate

Expect to earn a PT salary of around £50-75 inside London and £35-50 outside London.

What’s involved

You’ll be working with clients one to one and in small groups. Appointments typically last from 30 minutes to an hour. This will include a suitable warm up, cool down and flexibility work, together with the main session.

Outside of appointments you’ll be working on; client programmes, new enquiries, consultations, bookings, admin and growing your client base.


The level 3 personal trainer qualification is the minimum industry requirement to get into personal training.

What’s great

You can literally transform people’s lives making a huge impact to how they look, feel and function. Plus, you’ll have the freedom to set your own hours and work patterns according to the framework of your job description.

Any negatives

Be willing to train clients early morning, evenings and at weekends. But, schedule bookings close together to avoid lots of gaps. Most importantly, set your hours from the outset to maintain a sensible work life balance.

How do I start a career in personal training?

As a first step think about building up some relevant experience in the profession. Shadowing a personal trainer for a few days is ideal. It means you can see all aspects of the job and meet and interact with some clients.

Don’t know of a personal trainer? Be confident and make connections with a few PT’s in your gym. If shadowing isn’t an option, think about suggesting a catch up over coffee. Then, find out how they approached their personal trainer career, plus how they got to where they are today.

From here, the next step is to enrol onto a personal trainer course. If you’re new to fitness, a PT package is great option. This leads to your diploma in personal training, combining all the qualifications you need to start working in the industry.

Alternatively, you can also enter the industry through a personal trainer apprenticeship. Additionally, some universities also now offer accredited degree pathways.

Personal trainer tips

To succeed in your career in personal training requires you to develop long lasting client relationships. In fact a recent PT survey showed that the average client stays with them for six months to two years.

Therefore, repeat business is critical to your success. It enables you to build up a steady stream of regular clients. From here little by little you can grow your client base as you convert new enquiries and referrals into new clients.

On the contrary, churning through clients gets you nowhere as you’ll constantly need to fill your diary with new business. Before long you will struggle to get your career underway and frustration sets in.

So what’s the secret to avoid these pitfalls? You’ll need to have great people skills and be able to interact with a wide range of clients. Further, it’s important to be able to listen, respond and react, seamlessly catering for each client’s needs.

But what else does it take to make it as a Personal Trainer? How can you make a lasting impact with clients for the long run?

Here’s our top career tips so you can truly shine and land the job you really want.

Knowledge is key

To make a real impact it’s important to showcase your skills and knowledge. Hence, client care, planning and organisation, leadership and effective communication are all essential traits.

However, the fundamentals of personal training come from a solid understanding human anatomy and physiology. After all it is the application of this expertise combined with great exercise selection and programme design that delivers on client results.

Devote some time to refreshing your knowledge in preparation for that interview or your first client meetings. Use willing friends and family members as practice clients to help build your confidence. Think about being open with your first clients and telling them that you’re newly qualified, perhaps offering an introductory rate. Finally, seek out an experienced personal trainer who is willing to act as your mentor for those first few months.

Walk the talk

Would you choose a tennis coach who didn’t play tennis…probably not! The same applies to fitness and personal training. So don’t lose sight of your own fitness goals, training routine and healthy lifestyle. What’s more be passionate about this and lead by example with an openness to chatting about your own goals.

Understand the business

Carefully research the company you want to work for and share your findings at interview. A great way to do this is by mystery shopping the gym team. Find out about their personal training service. What went well and how could thing be improved even further?

Remember gym managers are busy people and chances are you won’t be the only candidate on the interview list! Take some time to explore the website, it’s leisure services, customer feedback and reviews. This is a fantastic way to stand out from the crowd and give yourself an edge.

Have a portfolio

Maintaining an up to date portfolio is another top tip for developing your personal training career. Even better is its multi-purpose allowing you to show both employers and clients you’re the real deal.

Your portfolio is ideal for keeping copies of your CV, PT certification, references and some client’s reviews. It’s also a great place for your insurance and first aid certificates, if applicable. As well as this, it shows you’re well prepared, eager to secure the work and backs up what you have to say.

A great start point is to seek a reference from your course provider. For example, at the Academy of Fitness Professionals we’re happy to provide references to our graduates confirming credentials such as, qualifications, skills and expertise.

Practical demonstration

Remember personal training is an active profession. You’ll be demonstrating exercise, assisting with safe exercise application and actively coaching for most of your day. So it strikes us as a little strange that you’re likely to be in a job interview answering questions, rather than on the gym floor.

If the selection process doesn’t involve a practical demonstration have the confidence to suggest one. After all, for most Personal Trainers it’s where they’re most comfortable and truly at their best.

Professional development

Our final top tip to keep your personal training career going forwards is to devote time to your professional development. It’s all too easy to become qualified, get stuck into the day job and lose sight of your wider career goals.

Additionally, extra skills and accreditations help you to offer a wider range of services to your clients. For example, you may wish to branch out into nutritional coaching or group exercise instructing.

This is also a great way of joining a professional body such as CIMSPA and accumulating CPD points to maintain your membership status.

PT career next steps

Keen to get your PT career underway? The first step is to gain the qualifications you need to start work. You will need a level 2 Gym Instructor and a level 3 Personal Trainer certification to work in the industry.

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