Everything You Need to Know About Becoming a Personal Trainer


Summer is on it’s way, and you know what this means – trips to beach and getting out in the sun. In the months gearing up to summer, many will start boosting their gym game and seek the advice of a personal trainer. If you are considering a career change – or looking for some extra income to pay off those Christmas debts – why not consider a qualification as a personal trainer? Here, we bring you the ins and outs of life as a professional, and some pointers for getting started in your personal training career.


First and foremost, you will need to be qualified and hold certain certifications in order to work as a personal trainer in the UK. You will need:

  • Level 2 Gym Instructor Qualification
  • Level 3 Gym Instructor Qualification
  • First Aid Certificate
  • Personal Trainer Insurance

The Level 2 Gym Instructor Qualification is generally the entry level certification that many people start with in order to get into the fitness career. On its own, this qualification means that you can work as a gym instructor for a gym, health club or other fitness establishment. It’s a relatively easy certification to attain, with many first-timers (around 93% of participants) passing on their first attempt.

The Level 3 Gym Instructor Qualification means you can work for yourself as a personal trainer in the UK and Internationally. This qualification is at the same level as an A-level or Diploma, and is a little more challenging to achieve than the Level 2 version of the course. This course can be studied in conjunction with the Level 2 course or after successful completion of the Level 2 version.

The First Aid certification not only ensures the safety of your clients, but also your business. You need to be able to help those who may get into trouble, and you need to know what you’re doing when it comes to health and safety. As well as this, having appropriate insurance will be able to cover you and your business in the event of any mishaps during any training sessions with clients.

What’s involved in the job?

People seek the help of a personal trainer for many different reasons. One of the main reasons is to help lose weight, get fit or work on a particular muscle group. Some people also seek the help of a trainer to help with rehabilitation after injury or illness. Some of the key aspects of being a personal trainer include:

  • Setting realistic short-term and long term goals with clients and establish what they hope to achieve
  • Educate and coach clients on how to work out appropriately based on the goals they have in mind
  • Give advice on nutrition and any lifestyle changes that may help them achieve their goals sooner
  • Keep an eye on progress by recording statistics based on their goals. For a person wanting to lose weight, tracking their weight will be one such method.

What are the hours?

When you start working as a personal trainer in your own business, the hours really are up to you. This is especially helpful for those with young children or other family responsibilities. Working for yourself in any field means that you can adjust your hours to meet your needs. As a personal trainer, you’ll be able to book single appointments (or group appointments) at times when you are available. This is a great option for those looking to improve their work-life balance, and can be handy for new parents.

What makes a good personal trainer?

Although not compulsory, there are some traits that contribute to the success of a personal trainer. These include:

Determination and enthusiasm

Being able to be enthusiastic about your work will definitely help your clients to stay motivated to be their best and to reach their goals.

Organisation  and efficiency

When running any kind of business, being organised is a must. Efficiency and organisation is key in any business, as well as in dealing with clients – it’s important you’re always punctual, and ensuring you’re not wasting anyone’s time.

People skills, friendly nature

If you love meeting new people, chatting to others, can communicate well and come across as friendly and have a warm personality, your clients are more likely to be open about their needs and goals and feel supported by you.


Personal training definitely calls for patience – think about if someone is having a hard time sticking with their goals or have confessed to eating pizza all week. Your clients are only human and will slip up. They may come to a session with you one day and just don’t feel like doing anything. This is where being patient will encourage your clients to stay honest and – from this – you can work to motivate them, even when they’re not feeling it themselves.


Part of being professional personal trainer is building trust and keeping it. It’s important to be discreet about your clients and keep information about their goals, workouts and habits confidential. If you break this code, word is likely to spread and you’ll be left with limited business. If, on the other hand, you do keep your client’s secrets and support them, no matter what their situation, you’re likely to keep them for the long-term and slowly build a strong foundation of trusting clients for your business.

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Gladys Mae

Gladys is the Associate Director of Admissions & Student Services with over 10 years of experience at the International Career Institute.