If you are incredibly passionate about fitness, health, and well-being, and you are an avid gym-goer, you may consider switching careers to make the most of your interests.
But when it comes down to becoming a personal trainer, sports coach, or fitness instructor, it is important to understand what to expect from the journey ahead. After all, while personal trainers have never been so in-demand, it is important not to underestimate the competition and risks you’ll encounter on your path.
That’s why, you’ll need to be as prepared and well-equipped as possible to face the upcoming challenges – starting with obtaining accredited Level 3 personal trainer qualifications.
In this guide, we’ll look at the key steps to take to succeed in transforming your passion for fitness into a profitable career. Let’s get started!
Learn what to expect from your career journey
Before diving head-first into your new career project and leaving your day job behind, be sure to set your expectations correctly. Although personal trainers can build a successful and profitable career, establishing your personal brand, building a solid reputation, and expanding your customer base can take time.
If you are unsure what to expect, consider asking local personal trainers to share their experiences on the job and offer recommendations. Above all, make sure to choose a course or academy that is fully accredited and reputable to propel your career forward.
Study the market and local competitors
Next up, study the market and competition. This is essential to understand how to position yourself, what fitness centres you’ll be able to work with, and how to create a pricing strategy.
Although your local market may vary, you should keep in mind that, in the US, the job market for fitness trainers is expected to grow much faster than average through 2023, at a rate of 19%. And, the UK is following suit!
Other statistics worth keeping in mind include the fact that there are nearly 24,000 Personal Trainers businesses in the UK as of 2023, a figure that represents an increase of 1.8% from 2022. Although this may vary depending on your qualifications and experience, the average salary for personal trainers in England is £28,752.
Knowing what to expect from the fitness industry can help you make more informed career choices.
Obtain the relevant qualifications
If your goal is to transform your passion for fitness into a career, you’ll need to obtain relevant qualifications. Once you have completed entry-level education courses – your Level 2 gym instructor course and your Level 3 Personal Training Diploma – you can start working as a personal trainer in an employed position or you can decide to set up your own business as a personal trainer!
By choosing to continue to study beyond the Level 2 gym instructor qualification and invest in your Level 3 personal trainer qualifications, you’ll be able to access exclusive benefits, including:
- Increasing your salary expectations
- Improving your employability and competitiveness
- Obtain CIMSPA / REPS Level 3 Status
- Take the first step towards more specialist education, such as Level 3 Pre and Post Natal Qualification or Level 4 personal trainer qualifications
Our Level 3 personal trainer courses can be completed in as little as 2 weeks, which allows you to get started in the field in no time. What’s more, each of our education courses is accredited by both the CIMSPA (Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity) and the REPS (Register of Exercise Professionals).
Continue learning about nutrition, health, and fitness – and explore different specialties
Once you have obtained all the necessary qualifications to start working in the field, you may consider strategic career moves that will allow you to specialise in a profitable or more rewarding niche.
Some options include:
- Group exercise instructor, like a spinning instructor
- Youth personal trainer – support adolescents.
- Weight loss coach
- Bodybuilding specialist
- Nutrition for sport specialist
- Corrective exercise coach
- Pre and Post Natal Personal Trainer
- Strength and conditioning PT
- Lower back pain management specialist
- Diabetes, obesity, or weight management control specialist
If you come from a healthcare background, you may also consider becoming a health trainer.
Build up your experience and expertise
Theoretical or academic experience is essential to lay the foundations of a successful career. However, you’ll also need to improve your on-the-job experience and expertise. To do so, start by working in partnership with local gyms and fitness centres.
This can help you tap into an established client base and take advantage of the reputation of the gym you are working with to find clients.
Identify what sets you apart from the competition and consider offering online classes
Digital physical activity programs have become increasingly popular in the UK and worldwide over the past years. While the implications of this trend for the industry are still being researched, it has become apparent that, for many people, working out from the comfort of their homes is a much more accessible choice.
That’s why you should consider the benefits of offering your services online and create one-to-one or group online classes. This strategy may help you expand your customer base, fill in the gaps between clients, and improve your salary and reputation.
Strengthen your soft and interpersonal skills
Beyond technical expertise, there are some soft and interpersonal skills that you’ll need to cultivate to succeed in your career as a personal trainer. These include:
- Customer service and support
- The ability to be a self-starter and work on your own
- Understand the psychology of exercise, including the theory of motivation
- The ability to work in stressful situations and maintain a positive attitude
- The ability to adapt your communication approach to the different clients
Above all, you’ll want to cultivate your compassion. You’ll be working with people who are struggling with painful conditions, poor conditioning, or low self-esteem. Because of this, you’ll need to be able to understand them and find the best way to encourage them along their fitness and health journey.
Manage your personal brand and reputation
As a personal trainer, you’ll be responsible for building your personal brand and reputation. To do so, ask your clients to leave feedback, manage online reviews and comments, and answer questions and direct messages. You may also use marketing tools to advertise your services, including encouraging word-of-mouth, offering discounts, and making available discounts and referral programs.
If you are looking to stand out from the competition, you may also use social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok to create your own personal brand. On social media pages, you can share success stories and provide added value to your customers through free tutorials and tips. Start building your online community today!
Work with a mentor to advance your career and remain passionate about fitness!
Last but not least: stay up to date and invest in yourself! Consider taking advantage of specialist courses to improve your knowledge and provide even greater value to your customers.
A mentor, a successful personal trainer or an established mentor can really support you in your new business. There are several successful personal trainers turned mentors who are supporting coaches in the UK to improve and scale up their personal training business with marketing and business support guidance.
To summarise, if you have a passion for fitness and you have considered turning this into a profession then you can get started today! There are lots of study options available, such as online study which you can fit around your existing career, reducing any financial risk of leaving secure employment.
The first step before enrolling in any educational programme should be to research the career opportunities and study the market. If you find yourself becoming enthusiastic when conducting this research then the next step will be to enrol in a reputable, accredited qualification programme and gain your Level 3 Qualifications.
Your level 3 qualifications will provide you the knowledge and skills to start your new career however it doesn’t end here, continual investment in your new career is important to ensure your continued success. Use this article as a blueprint to start and good luck with the next steps!