8 mins read

Our Tips on Becoming a Personal Trainer


Written by

Personal Training /

Posted on
10 Jan, 2020

Starting a personal training course isn’t as hard as you might think, but there are some things to consider before starting.

Like any industry, the fitness industry has many providers offering their products at impossible low rates. It’s difficult to differentiate the legitimate from the dodgy. The general rule of “if it’s too good to be true, it probably is” stands true.

While you’ll want to grab a bargain (of course), you won’t want to end up paying for something that isn’t recognised and leaves you needing to pay out again for a course that is.

Our goal is to see you qualified as a personal trainer, with the confidence to go into the fitness industry, ready to start your career in fitness and ready to work with clients. Which is why our fitness courses don’t have hidden fees and why we don’t overcharge you.

If you have a passion for fitness and helping others, follow our tips and get yourself qualified and on the path to a career in fitness.

Understand the Requirements and Find the Right Course

To call yourself a Personal Trainer in the UK you need a REPs recognised Level 3 Personal Trainer Qualification.

These courses are designed to help you understand various aspects of training, working with clients, health and safety and much more, some of the topics covered are:

  • Designing workout routines
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Maintaining a safe environment for clients in the gym
  • Planning, preparing and executing programmes for clients
  • Nutrition

To be eligible for a Level 3 Personal Training course, you will either already hold a Level 2 Certificate in Gym Instruction (also known as fitness instructor) or will have to select a level 3 course that includes level 2 gym instructor.

When looking at courses, make sure you read the small print. Some courses are marketed as personal training but only cover level 2. Others market themselves as personal training courses but charge an additional fee if you haven’t already got your Level 2 Gym Instruction Certificate.

You might want to also consider courses that are internationally recognised. If you plan to travel or work abroad, you will want a fitness qualification that you can take with you. Saving you the hassle of doing another fitness course when you arrive at your destination.

Create a Plan

Course lengths can vary depending on how you want to study. Full-time courses can take up to 3 weeks but come with quite a bit of home learning and reading.

Part time courses can take up to 15 weeks. Distance study courses are usually offered with 9-12 months to complete courses.

How you study is up to you, but it helps to have a plan once you’ve made the decision on how you will study your personal training course.

How much time, per-week, can you dedicate to the online learning material. Do you have any holidays, work trips or events on the horizon that might hold up your study? Can you commit to three weeks on a full-time course without interruption?

You need to make an honest assessment of your time, what you want to achieve and how you want to achieve it. We always recommend maximum contact time with tutors and other students, as it gives the most rounded learning experience. But we appreciate that might not be feasible for everyone.

Our distance course allows you to learn online and then come in for assessment days throughout the year within your course term. This is a good way to learn for those who just can’t free up the time to come in on an intensive course.

Part time study is a good option for those who have weekends or evenings free. You get the benefit of home learning, but some great contact time with tutors.

Work out the time you can dedicate to learning, decide which course route suits you best, make a plan, stick it in your diary and get learning!


Expect (and plan for) some Setbacks

It doesn’t matter how well you plan, taking on a personal trainer course will inevitably include some bumps in the road.

If you are prepared for a few setbacks it’s easier to overcome them when they happen. We aren’t saying that there will definitely be a bump in the road. We are saying that there might be.

If you’re working through the course alongside a full-time job, there may be a few instances where you can’t commit to your online learning as much as you like.

You may fail an exam or be late to class on a few occasions. Perhaps your job situation changes, or you move home.

While there are so many variables that could set you back, it’s important that you don’t let them get you down. Every module completed or exam passed is a solid step forwards.

If you feel like things have got out of hand, our tutors and support team are always there to offer additional assistance.

If you factor in that there might be a few setbacks when beginning personal training courses, you are more likely to be able to overcome them.

Get Insured

Once qualified at Level 3, you’ll need insurance before working with clients. Without insurance you will be liable for any injuries sustained during sessions. Find a reputable company, like our partners Balens and make sure you keep it renewed for each new year.

Protect yourself and get insured.

Choose How You Want to Work

Once you’ve got through the bulk of your course, you’re going to have to start thinking about the future. How you want to work and how you want to use your newly gained fitness qualification.

There are two personal training pathways; self employed and employed.

If you choose the employed route, you’ll find yourself working for a gym or health club. You could be on a salary as a personal trainer, although it is more likely you’ll be paid as a gym instructor (level 2 gym instructor) and will be able to pick up your personal training clients from the gyms membership .

If you opt for the self-employed option, you will be paying rent to a gym to use their space or you may have your own space to train clients from. Perhaps you can operate as a mobile coach, working from people’s homes or public spaces with your own equipment. The pressure will be on your to find your personal training clients and retain them.

All ways of working have pros and cons. As an employed PT you will have a guaranteed wage, but you’ll have less flexibility, less say over who you coach and will likely have to lead the gyms regular group exercise classes as well as carry out cleaning duties and other gym related tasks.

In the self-employed role, you’ll have more freedom and flexibility, but you’ll have to do all the hard work to bring in clients.


Continue Your Education

Never stop learning. Your level 3 personal trainer qualification is the gateway to much wider learning, not the end of your learning experience.

The industry is ever changing and constantly evolving. Clients needs and wants change along with every new fitness trend. You need to keep up with the industry and one of the best ways to do that is through CPD courses (continuing professional development).

These are shorter courses that help you to learn new and specific skills that you can utilise with new and current clients alike.

Courses such as; Olympic Lifting, Kettlebells and Suspension training will help keep you up to date and able to offer more to clients. These types of fitness qualifications are also essential for maintaining your REPs membership.

More specific courses such as Wellness Coaching, S&C and Obesity & Diabetes Management allow you to separate yourself from the competition and help you carve a more specialised niche in the industry.

This is just the start of your journey. Once you’ve found the course that works for you, the mode of study that fits with your lifestyle, planned for setbacks, chosen how you want to work, got yourself insured, and planned your future (as best you can) you are well on the way to becoming a PT.

Read our top tips for marketing your personal training business

Find out more about developing your business once you have completed your Level 3 diploma

Ready to find out more about becoming a personal trainer?

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