Personal Trainers work to help individuals achieve their health and fitness goals.
The role of a Personal Trainer
Personal Trainers work with clients to identify their weaknesses, set goals, work around injuries, illness and other concerns and help people to become fitter, stronger and ultimately happier.
As a personal trainer, you will set realistic short, medium- and long-term goals. You will be working with clients to help them understand what it is they really want to achieve and will then set targets for those clients to hit.
Once the goals have been identified and the targets set, a personal trainer will work to educate the client, helping them to make their own choices that will contribute to a healthier lifestyle. A personal trainer can’t be with a client 24/7 so the education provided has a huge impact when clients are working towards their goals on their own.
Personal trainers also provide motivation and direct coaching. Everyone can push themselves a bit further when they have support from others. A personal trainer provides that support and extra encouragement. Coaching makes up the bulk of a personal trainer’s role. Clients will need to perform exercises safely and effectively and that’s where a PT really comes to the fore.
A personal trainer will also provide advice on nutrition, general health and lifestyle change. While the nutrition advice will normally be “best practice nutrition” it will be crucial advice for a client trying to achieve their goals.
Personal trainers will also track clients progress over time, ensuring they are hitting milestones, making progress and taking steps towards their goals. There’s no point in clients training with a personal trainer if they aren’t making progress. A PT will find out why targets aren’t being hit, monitor progress and make changes to programmes as necessary.
Dependent on the working environment, a personal trainer may also find themselves taking group exercise classes, cleaning and tidying the gym space and other ad-hoc duties.
What do I need to Become a Qualified Personal Trainer?
Personal training is a great career to get into at any age and with any level of experience. It doesn’t matter if you are fresh out of school, university or considering a career change. If you have a passion for fitness, coaching and helping others, you can get into personal training and a career in fitness.
To take a level 3 personal training course, you would normally have some fitness experience and hold a recognised qualification, a Level 2 Gym Instructor Certificate (or sometimes referred to as Fitness Instructing). From there you would take the next level qualification, a Level 3 Diploma in Fitness Instructing and Personal Training.
If you don’t have any previous experience you can take a qualification that offers Level 2 and Level 3 personal trainer.
There are lots of training providers out there offering trainer courses, we recommend you do your research and look for Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs) accreditation. Don’t be fooled by cheap prices either, if it’s too good to be true it often is.
Do your research, take advantage of any free materials, Career Guide, open days etc and make an informed decision.
When you enter the fitness industry as a fully qualified personal trainer you want to be confident that you can hit the ground running with have the right qualifications and that you won’t have to get further qualifications because your provider didn’t give you all the information when you first signed with them.
We have a Virtual Open Day (VOD) that runs monthly. It’s a great chance to find out more about our courses, your career options and have your questions answered.
Bear in mind, to work as a personal trainer you must also hold public liability insurance and a certificate in first aid.
Skills that will Help Personal Trainers.
As the title implies, personal training is a personal experience for clients. You will need to be easy to approach, capable of building rapport and comfortable communicating with clients.
Many clients will see you multiple times during the week and in that time they may talk to you about their lives and experiences. Unless you set some clear boundaries early, you may become part counsellor part personal trainer. Empathy can be a very important trait for all personal trainers.
Patience is another virtue that will go a long way. As are good organisation skills. Personal training is more than just helping someone lift weights. It’s a multi-faceted career. The more you put in the more you get out of it.
You’ll make some great friendships and build some fantastic relationships along the way, but you will constantly have to work on yourself and display some understanding, patience and organisation to succeed.
Where can a Personal Trainer Work?
A personal trainer has a few options, some personal trainers are self-employed while others are happy with a salaried position to begin with.
If you want to be employed, you could take a job at health clubs and the bigger gym chains. There’s also the option to work as a personal trainer in spas, on cruise ships and possibly with larger companies that offer wellness and gym facilities in the workplace.
As a freelance personal trainer, you can hire space anywhere that rents it out. Find your space and start training clients.
For more information on your career options have a look at our career guide here.
Personal training is a great career move. Through the right training, some hard work and sticking to a well thought out plan, you could have a growing client list and could be earning very good money.
Find a personal trainer course that suits you, comes recommended and has the right accreditation. Work hard at it and get ready for your career in fitness.