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Personal Trainer

Personal Trainer


13 Sep, 2022

In the realm of fitness, the mainstream has embraced a significant transformation. Approximately one in every seven individuals in the UK holds a gym membership, signalling a surge in fitness involvement across the nation. This surge, propelled by various media channels like social media, TV, blogs, apps, and games, has led to an amplified demand for skilled and certified fitness professionals. The need for these professionals has never been more pronounced, given the substantial volume of individuals engaging in fitness pursuits.

The health and fitness industry in the UK is experiencing a remarkable surge, now valued at over £4 billion and poised for continued growth. This industry expansion comes with an influx of innovative fitness facilities, coupled with the emergence of new trends and technological advancements that drive its continual evolution.

Central to this flourishing industry, personal trainers have become pivotal figures reshaping the fitness landscape. Their role extends beyond exclusive clientele, impacting individuals of all backgrounds, ages, and abilities, making fitness more accessible and inclusive than ever before.

In recent years, a noticeable increase in sedentary lifestyles has emerged, marked by prolonged screen time and decreased physical activity. This behavioral shift correlates with rising concerns likening sedentary habits to the risks associated with smoking. The resulting surge in chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes, and hypertension highlights the urgency for proactive fitness intervention.

The demand for adaptable and versatile personal trainers has escalated. Each client presents unique needs, making a personalized approach essential in addressing health concerns effectively. Furthermore, the evolving nature of fitness careers expands far beyond the confines of a traditional gym floor. Opportunities have diversified, encompassing outdoor training, home-based sessions, and a burgeoning trend in online fitness programs. Moreover, unconventional career avenues such as corporate training or unique opportunities like fitness roles on cruise ships showcase the expanding horizons for aspiring personal trainers, illustrating diverse and innovative career trajectories within the industry.

Visit this website to find out how your ELC funding can help you on your way to becoming a personal trainer:
ELCAS funding for personal trainer courses

Have I got what it takes to be a personal trainer?

Before delving into the educational aspects of becoming a personal trainer, it’s crucial to explore the essential qualities needed to thrive in the fitness industry. Beyond simply maintaining a healthy lifestyle and enjoying exercise as a hobby, success as a personal trainer demands an unwavering passion for health and fitness. While personal trainers do have their moments of leisure, they predominantly dedicate their time to proper nutrition, staying fit, continual self-education, and maintaining motivation even during challenging and demanding days. It’s a demanding commitment that requires an exceptional level of dedication and resilience, making it a career path that suits certain individuals more than others.

To truly excel in this role, effective communication skills and the ability to connect with diverse clients are indispensable. Personal trainers work closely with individuals from various backgrounds, each with unique goals and personalities. The capacity to tailor workouts, offer encouragement, and adjust training techniques to meet individual needs is paramount. Moreover, qualities like patience, empathy, and the ability to inspire and support clients throughout their fitness journeys are equally essential. The role encompasses various dimensions, transitioning between coach, motivator, mentor, and confidant as needed.

Transferable skills

Service in the armed forces often equips individuals with a diverse skill set that seamlessly translates into the realm of personal training:

  1. Leadership: Military personnel often possess strong leadership skills, honed through commanding teams and leading under pressure. These skills are transferable when guiding and motivating clients through fitness routines and lifestyle changes.
  2. Discipline and Commitment: Armed forces training instils discipline, fostering a commitment to routines and schedules. This discipline translates into maintaining clients’ training schedules and fostering dedication to achieving fitness goals.
  3. Resilience and Adaptability: Military service involves adapting to ever-changing environments and challenges, building resilience. Personal trainers face diverse client needs and situations, requiring adaptability and resilience to modify plans as needed.
  4. Teamwork and Communication: Military experience emphasizes effective communication and teamwork. These skills are crucial when establishing rapport with clients, understanding their needs, and effectively communicating fitness plans and strategies.
  5. Problem-Solving: Armed forces personnel are trained to assess situations and find solutions swiftly. This skill proves valuable in personal training when addressing individual fitness challenges and devising tailored workout plans.
  6. Mental Toughness: Military training builds mental fortitude, enabling individuals to stay focused and push through difficulties. Personal trainers draw on this resilience to motivate clients during challenging workouts or when facing obstacles in their fitness journey.
  7. Attention to Detail and Planning: Military roles often require meticulous planning and attention to detail. Translating into personal training, this skill helps in designing well-structured and effective fitness programs tailored to clients’ needs.
  8. Emotional Intelligence and Empathy: Armed forces personnel develop empathy and emotional intelligence when interacting with diverse groups. This skill is invaluable in personal training, fostering meaningful connections and understanding clients’ emotional and mental needs along their fitness journey.

Finding a job

Post-qualification, personal trainers often face a crucial decision when entering the fitness industry: do they opt for self-employment, taking charge of their own schedule, or explore full- or part-time roles within established fitness facilities? While both paths have their advantages, statistics show that a significant majority—76%, according to a recent Working in Fitness survey—prefer the autonomy of self-employment.

The scope for employment in the field of personal training spans a diverse array of locations and environments. Thanks to the international recognition of qualifications like the level 3 Certificate in Personal Training, ambitious trainers have the opportunity to expand their horizons globally. Here are some avenues where trainers frequently secure employment:

  • Personal training agencies
  • Cruise ships
  • Holiday resorts
  • CrossFit boxes
  • Gyms and health clubs
  • Schools, colleges, and universities

What qualifications do I need?

Becoming a personal trainer typically involves two primary steps. Firstly, individuals new to the fitness industry start by completing the Level 2 Gym Instructor course. This foundational course covers the basics of working within a gym environment and establishes the fundamentals of client interaction. Progressing from the Level 2 Gym Instructor course, the logical next step is undertaking the Level 3 Certificate in Personal Training. Successfully completing this course grants individuals full qualification as a personal trainer.

Beyond these foundational qualifications, personal trainers often seek opportunities to enhance their skill set to cater to a broader clientele. Advanced courses such as the Level 3 Diploma in Sports Massage or the Level 3 Exercise Referral (also known as GP Referral) offer avenues for expanding expertise. Additionally, certifications in specialized areas like Exercise for Older Adults and Exercise for Pre and Postnatal Clients provide valuable skills for working with specific demographics. For those eligible, utilizing the Enhanced Learning Credits (ELC) scheme may assist in funding courses at Level 3 and above, facilitating ongoing professional development.

It’s important to note that continuous learning and skill enhancement remain integral to a successful career as a personal trainer. Staying updated with the latest advancements in fitness science, attending workshops, and pursuing additional certifications align with the evolving landscape of the fitness industry, ensuring personal trainers are equipped to meet the diverse needs of their clients.

Use your ELC

Under the ELC scheme, a wide range of learning can be taken, provided it is offered by an approved provider listed on the ELCAS website and is at level 3 or above. For full details of how to make the most of your ELC, refer to the in-depth features elsewhere on the Quest website

A government-backed apprenticeship – Personal trainer (level 3) – could see you coaching clients on a one-to-one and small-group basis towards their health and fitness goals. Click here for full info. Alternatively, use your favourite search engine to find out more – many opportunities are listed on sites such as, while the YMCA, for example, offers its own apprenticeships.

Whether you’re still in uniform or have already started to prepare for life ‘outside’, QUEST – is your go-to guide to support you along your Forces journey. From your education options while serving, right up to resettlement and into civvy street, it’s the only guide you’ll need to find Funding Options, Training Courses, Enhanced Learning Credits Courses, University Courses, Careers and Transition Advice.

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