This guide is part of our detailed series: How to Become a Personal Trainer in the UK.

The fitness industry is booming, and for good reason. More People are becoming interested in their own health and well-being than ever before, and people are looking for guidance and support in achieving their fitness goals. If you’re interested in becoming a personal trainer, you may be wondering how fit you need to be.

How fit do you have to be to be a personal trainer?

Does a PT need to be ripped?

The good news is that there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Personal trainers can come from all different fitness levels, and it’s really up to the individual trainer to decide what kind of fitness level they want to maintain. However, most personal trainers agree that it’s important to be in shape so that you can effectively instruct clients and help them reach their goals.

That being said, you don’t need to be an Olympic-level athlete to be a personal trainer. There are plenty of ways to stay fit and maintain a high level of fitness without becoming a competitive athlete. If you’re passionate about fitness and have a lot of knowledge and experience to share, then you have what it takes to be a successful personal trainer.

While there is no requirement that personal trainers be fit, studies show that those who are personal trainers are more likely to be fit than those who are not personal trainers. Qualified personal trainers have a good understanding of fitness and nutrition which they gain while studying on accredited courses. It’s easy for them to then apply this knowledge to their own lifestyle and training, making it easier for them to maintain a certain level of health and fitness.

Can I be a personal trainer if I’m overweight?

Fit and healthy PTs

That’s a complicated question, and the answer is, “It depends.”

First, ask yourself why you want to be a personal trainer. If your goal is to help people get healthy and fit, then you need to be a good role model yourself. Clients are looking to be inspired. For some, inspiration may come from looks, fitness level and/or body composition, but for many others, it will be your back story. You don’t have to be skinny, but if you have achieved some health & fitness related goal, then this will inspire your clients and show them you are a good role model. Here are some great stories about personal trainers who have achieved inspirational success.

Ultimately, whether or not you’re overweight doesn’t matter as much as your dedication to fitness and your knowledge. If you’re passionate about helping people reach their fitness goals, then you can overcome any physical obstacles you may face.

If you are overweight, being a personal trainer will give you a sense of empathy for those of your clients who are also overweight. You may no doubt already have an understanding of what it is like to be overweight and struggle with weight loss. This gives you an insight into your client’s mind-set and will help you be patient and understanding when working with clients trying to lose weight.

If you are not overweight, it’s very important to understand what it is like to be overweight. This will help you better relate to your clients and help them more effectively. A dissertation by Melinda B Abbot submitted at the University of Columbia concluded the most successful personal trainers have a higher level of Emotional Intelligence (AI), which includes empathy.

Becoming a personal trainer is a great way to help others reach their fitness goals. If you are overweight, don’t let this stop you from pursuing your dreams. You can be an excellent personal trainer, and you can help your clients lose weight and get fit.

Why are so many personal trainers out of shape?

There are a lot of personal trainers out there who appear not to be in good shape. The word “appear” is emphasised as looks can be deceiving. One should never judge anyone on appearance. You may be surprised at how “fit” someone who “appears” to be “unfit” can be.

There may be any number of reasons a personal trainer may not be in their best shape.

  1. Too busy to exercise: Although they work in gyms and exercise environments, they may not have the time to exercise themselves. Some Personal Trainers start as early as 5am and last clients can be as late as 9pm. This can make for a very full day.
  2. Too exhausted to exercise: Working with clients all day long can leave a personal trainer exhausted and the thought of being in the gym any longer to do their own workout, can be less than appealing.
  3. Poor nutrition: We all know we should eat healthy, and qualified personal trainers know this more than anyone. But sometimes, it’s just easier to select the fast-food option over the healthy option, even for personal trainers.
  4. Poor education: All accredited personal training courses include an element of nutrition. These courses cover the basics of healthy eating and give personal trainers enough knowledge to get them started with clients. Nutrition, however, is a complex subject where a nutrition plan may work for one client but may not work for another. It’s a subject area all good, successful personal trainers continually study and stay up to date with.
  5. They are not qualified: When it comes to staying healthy, knowledge is key. The body is a complex set of systems all working together to maintain our health & well-being. Optimising these systems requires knowledge as taught on recognised personal trainer courses. If a personal trainer is not in good shape, it may be that they don’t have this knowledge, because they’re not qualified.

Whatever the reason, it is important for all of us, not just personal trainers, to be in good shape. As we’ve mentioned, clients employ the services of a personal trainer as that PT is in some way, an inspiration to them. You don’t have to be super fit and healthy, or in your best shape to be an inspiration. You just have to have the desire and passion to improve.

Conclusion – does a PT need to be fit?

Fit and healthy PTs

A personal trainer should be fit in order to be able to motivate and lead their clients to a healthy and fit lifestyle. They should also have knowledge on how to properly train their clients to achieve their goals, whatever those goals are.