In this feature, Anita, our Course Director reveals the great ways we help our graduates make the leap into running their own personal training businesses.

Before We Get Started

To become a personal trainer you’ll need a level 2 certificate in fitness instructing and a level 3 certificate in personal training. Don’t be tempted to cut corners here as your course learning directly translates into the skills you have at the end and ultimately how successful you’ll be at attracting and retaining your clients. It also follows that the more skilled personal trainers can charge higher rates and offer wider services to their clients.

Here at the Academy of Fitness Professionals, we offer many routes to choose from such as our fast track options and advanced diploma courses together with special value bundle packages. So don’t worry there’s lots of ways you can qualify and we can help find the perfect course for you.

What’s Next?

With your level 3 certificate in personal training in hand you’re now able to set up your very own personal training business.

Start Up Phase

Now’s the time to come up with the following whilst keeping costs to a minimum until a steady stream of income is coming in.

  • Your business name
  • Location – this can include your own home, a local park, renting space in a gym or warehouse, or an office facility. At this stage check with the local council to make sure everything’s above board. Great choices at this stage are pay as you go options so you only incur costs when you have clients rather than a lump sum payment.
  • Your website – don’t spend a lot to begin with! Think about a few pages that communicate your personal training services, prices and what’s special about what you offer. Look at template websites that allow you to easily purchase your domain name and personalise web content, all for a low cost initial option.
  • Joining a credible industry association such as REPs.
  • Public liability insurance
  • Kit – so you look the part
  • Business cards – so you can spread the word!

Typical investment costs £300-500

It’s easy to get carried away and be tempted when starting out. Remember personal training is a service based business and the results you get with you initial clients will speak for themselves. Word should soon spread naturally without lots of costly investment.

Your First Twelve Months

Your first 12 months should be about 3 things

1 – Building your client base

2 – Taking a salary – don’t forget to keep some income aside to reinvest as your personal training business grows and of course to pay your tax return.

3 – Continuous learning

Making your Business a Success

With a solid year 1 under your belt now’s the time to expand and grow.

Reinvest retained earnings

Hiring another trainer, setting up your own micro gym or studio, developing your own PT app or online coaching service or running specialist classes. The options are endless! Look carefully at your client base so far and consult with your clients to make sure you’re growing your business in a direction that’s a good fit with where you are to date.

Increase your prices

Simple but easy to forget – get into the habit from the outset of an annual increase in your fees.

Know what Success Looks Like

One of the things we’re asked by our students is what does success look like for a personal trainer? Success means different things to different people and this applies in every walk of life and career choice – not just personal training.

When you complete your personal training course with us post-graduation you’ll be invited to join our half day business skills course. Here we’ll map out your business plan for the first three years by focusing on 3 pivotal questions which make up what we call the wheel of success.

1 – Where am I now?

2 – Where do I want to get to?

3 – How will I get there?

You’ll work with our tutors developing your very own wheel where you’ll consider how much you want to earn, your hours, numbers of clients, prices, additional services and much more. This will then shape your 3 year plan and journey to success.


The Academy of Fitness Professionals provide the gold standard in accredited personal training courses. With state of the art training fully endorsed by REPs, Skills Active and the NCFE and specialist knowledge that features in the UK health and fitness media including the Mirror, BBC2 and Women’s Running, this really is the ultimate learning destination for those serious about a long term career as a Personal Trainer.

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