So you want to be a… personal trainer
The UK’s fitness industry is officially enjoying such unprecedented growth that even pre-Brexit jitters can’t derail it. Memberships rose by 5.1% in the past year, according to the 2017 State of the UK Fitness Industry Report, which means, one in every seven people in the UK is now a member of a gym or boutique studio.
So, with more clubs, classes and members – and a greater market value – than ever before, thanks to the public’s unwavering thirst for all-things wellness related, there really couldn’t be a better time to turn your passion for fitness into a successful career.
If spending your days in activewear, motivating people to change their habits and be their best-selves, appeals, then training to be a PT could be the right career move for you. Whether you want to work one-on-one with clients or see yourself heading up a high-energy group workout, the starting point is the same – a certified qualification from a provider like YMCA Fit or Premier Global.
This will create a solid foundation to enable you to build a personal and accredited industry profile.
Once qualified, you’ll need to be prepared to work long hours, develop your people skills and invest in further education in order to produce effective results.
Hone your USP and area of speciality. Look for courses that cover your interests. Becoming an expert in yoga, TRX or pre-natal exercise can help differentiate your brand. Linchpin by Seth Godin (£12.99, Piatkus) is a great book to help you know how to get noticed as well as nurture indispensable relationships with your clients.
Visit Well To Do Global to discover business and career opportunities in wellness.
POINT OF VIEW
Ciara Madden, 27, Mill Hill
‘Following a five-year stint in PR, I decided to become a PT. At first I still worked full time, so I trained my clients during evenings and weekends. Then I decided to pack in my office job. Now I have more free time and my salary has tripled.’
Chris Pinner, 27, East London
‘So much of what makes a good PT is learned “on the job”. Academies can start you off on the path to success but when it comes down to it, if you love what you do and deliver a great service other people will love it too.’
Tara Gadre, 29, Bank
‘When it comes to personal training, my advice would be to learn your craft inside out. Don’t be scared to ask experienced PTs what they think, and always go above and beyond for your clients. Education beyond the PT qualification is definitely key.’
Serious about becoming a PT? It’s crucial your training provider is recognised by the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs). Without accreditation your qualification may not count in the real world. Check exerciseregister.org for a list of recognised courses.
Ranging from £500 to £3,500 depending on the level of certification, the average PT course will set you back around £1,500 – but most institutions offer payment schemes.
Full-time personal training diplomas can be completed in just six weeks, but there are options for part-time and distance learning, too, so it’s possible to fit this
around existing work.
To excel as a PT, continued education is imperative. Stay up-to-date, explore new strategies or connect with like-minded professionals via acefitness.org.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
ACTION PLAN by Lauren Armes. Lauren is the founder of WellToDo which helps people build incredible businesses and careers in the wellness industry.
Q. I’d love to relocate to another country one day. Are UK qualifications recognised internationally?
A. In a word – yes. At present, REPs qualifications are recognised in most of Europe and Australia. The US is yet to introduce an overall standard.
Q. I’ve noticed lots of PTs are using social media to attract clients, but I’m not very media savvy. Is it essential?
A. While a healthy digital following certainly won’t hurt when it comes to creating awareness, ‘likes’ and ‘follows’ aren’t the only route to (or, indeed, measure of) success. Focus on building authentic face-to-face connections.
Q. After qualifying I’d like to be self-employed. But where should I begin?
A. While undeniably attractive, self-employment is not free from its own challenges. Connect with like-minded people via industry events. And find
yourself a good accountant!