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Personal Training: Expectations | Costs | Benefits | Skills

What Is A Personal Trainer?

A personal trainer is a qualified fitness expert who has a varying degree of knowledge, skills and abilities aimed to help clients achieve their fitness goals.

What Qualifications Do A Personal Trainer Require?

Personal trainers will need to possess an industry standard qualification to work with clients. An entry-level qualification, the Level 2 Fitness Instructor or equivalent is the minimum qualification required to gain employment into the health and fitness sector.

Once experienced in the industry, fitness instructors can then qualify as a Personal Trainer by completing an accredited Level 3 Personal Trainer Qualification. The Qualification will allow them to work with their own clients.

A Personal Trainer who is part of a professional the organisation, such as the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPS) or Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA) is a significant indicator of their quality of training and competence to practice.

5 Skills & Qualities Required To Be A Personal Trainer

On top of qualification, there are lots of attributes a personal trainer will need to be successful. According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, “employment of fitness trainers and instructors is projected to grow by 10% from 2016 to 2026.” With the growth of the industry, you are spoilt for choice, so investing in a PT should be someone who will tailor to your priorities and personal goals. What should you look out for?

Creative – Innovation training is essential to gaining a competitive advantage. For a personal trainer, understanding how to be creative can result in changes to standard working practices making exercise more enjoyable for clients. A personal trainer must be able to adapt to individual needs and tailor specific programs to suit different requirements. The more imagination and creativity in a workout regime, the more likely the results will follow.

Knowledgeable – In order to lead by example, a professional personal trainer will need a thorough multi-disciplinary knowledge of the physics of the body based on human anatomy, exercise physiology, exercise programming, kinesiology, nutrition and biomechanics.

One of the goals of a personal trainer should be to implement their expertise to help an individual transform their strength, fitness and physique.

Personal trainers can use their knowledge to help educate, inform and advise clients on nutrition and exercise regimes. But for a client to change, so must the trainer. The trainer should stay on top of the latest fitness trends, expanding their knowledge to help provide new opportunities for the client.

Strong Communication Skills – Verbal communication is just as important as the knowledge of programming and exercise. If you cannot communicate with clients effectively, motivate them, encourage them, and gain their trust, then long-term success will not occur. A personal trainer who can communicate effectively will be able to explain how to do different exercises, give advice on how to improve and provide support concisely.

Open-Minded - With over 1000 variations of exercises, fitness is diverse, and evolving industry. Such diversity requires an element of open-mindedness. A successful personal trainer would try to see life through their client’s eyes, being respectful of diverse backgrounds and professions. Trainers will also need to be open to exploring new ideas to provide the right programme based on the physical and mental limitations of their clients. A trainer who listens, adapts, and provides feedback, will encourage not discourage.

Motivational – A personal trainer with a passion for fitness can make all the difference. One of the most common downfalls is the loss of enthusiasm. A huge part of the success of a personal trainer is their ability to increase such motivation. Having an energetic, enthusiastic personal trainer who can find innovative ways to keep you on your toes will help create a fun environment with limitless variations of the exercise. After all, they were likely once in our shoes. A genuine personal trainer will strive to make a difference.

What Does A Personal Trainer Do?

Personal trainers will coach and advise clients, oversee their overall health and fitness, and ultimately help them to achieve their fitness goals. In addition to helping clients get into shape, they have a wide range of responsibilities;

Create a workout plan – trainers will design a program according to the individual’s fitness levels and specific goals such as to lose weight or gain muscular strength.

Perform Fitness Assessments – During a fitness assessment, a personal trainer will measure basic strength, muscular endurance, aerobic capacity and flexibility to gauge their current fitness levels. The tests can also help identify postural problems, muscular imbalances to help adapt their training program to help avoid injury.

Provide Advice – Trainers may recommend literature or provide general dietary advice to help an individual meet their fitness goals.

Provide feedback – An effective personal trainer will provide positive and constructive feedback aimed to help clients improve exercise performance, so they can correct the error and make necessary adjustments

Interested in becoming a personal trainer? Check out our seven steps here

How To Find The Best Personal Trainer

Finding the right personal trainer means finding a professional that can help you achieve your personal goals. Your goals should match their specialisations, locations, prices and other important factors.

How Can A PT’s Specialization Tailor To My Training Needs?

A qualified personal trainer may choose to further their career by specializing in a specific area of fitness. By completing a Level 4 Specialist Personal Trainer Course, trainers will have highly specialist skills which can tailor to your needs;

  • Exercise Physiologist

  • Sport Nutritionist

  • Corrective Exercise Specialist

  • Performance Enhancement Specialist

  • Behaviour Change Specialist

  • Youth, Women, Senior Fitness Specialisation

  • Strength and Conditioning Specialist

For example, do you want to run your first marathon? Maybe do you want to shed a few minutes off your mile? Your trainer can help design a fitness program specific to your needs, which will increase your performance and help prevent injury. If your answer to any of these questions was ‘yes’, you should consider hiring a Performance Enhancement Specialist. Their unique skill-set can help improve client’s athletic performance including their power, speed, and agility.

Below is a list of additional goals, and problems that personal trainers can help you with:

Post-surgical recovery, osteoarthritis, scoliosis

  • Cancer patients, pre-treatment and post-treatment
  • Distance running (marathons, ultramarathons)
  • Chronic conditions e.g. obesity, lower back pain, multiple sclerosis etc.
  • Our CPD courses provide the training solution for all the continuing professional development needs of every serious fitness professional.

    What Is The Average Cost Of Hiring A Personal Trainer?

    The cost of a personal training session can vary anywhere in the region of £20-£100+. You can expect an average session to last between 45 minutes to one hour.

    But why such a difference in the price range? As with any industry, those with a proven track record tend to charge more, with more experience, qualifications and client success stories. Some personal trainer’s offer a more cost-effective approach to paying per-session. Instead, you can purchase training packages based on the number of sessions. A few factors which may affect the cost of hiring a personal trainer include;

    • The Frequency of Your Sessions

    • Your Session Length

    • The Location

    • The Specialization of the Trainer

    • Experience and Qualifications

    • Type of Training

    How Can I Decide On Location?

    Choosing where you want your personal training session to take place comes down to personal preference. Do you need something convenient? Perhaps somewhere on the commute to work will help you stay motivated? And where do you enjoy training? Some people prefer the comfort of their own home, while others gain motivation from training in their local gym. The best personal trainer is worth travelling an extra five miles for, but you’ve got to be committed to yourself.

    When Are They Available?

    Availability is the number one priority to help maintain a consistent workout-regime. The frequency and duration of your workouts can significantly impact on your results. We advise inquiring about their schedule first. How far in advance can you book appointments? Do they have a cancellation policy and can you reschedule? How many clients do they have? Are they reliable? A personal trainer who is fully booked or consistently unreliable is a waste of time and energy. However, a personal trainer who is available weekly will. The deciding factor is to see if the trainer’s availability works for you.

    Is Personality Important?

    The trainer’s personality is the key to making positive change. Some of the best trainers will inspire their clients, giving them the confidence and determination that enables them to achieve results. The best way to help grasp a feel of their style is by talking to them. What motivates you? What are your goals? What do you enjoy? A naturally curious personal trainer will ask these questions to really understand their client.

    Why Are Qualifications And Experience Important?

    Personal’s trainers should have and be able to show you their relevant qualifications. A fully qualified Personal Trainer will need an accredited Level 3 Personal Trainer Qualification to train their own clients. Trainer’s may also specialise in areas of fitness, by completing a Level 4 Specialist Trainer Diploma.

    A personal trainer with experience is always beneficial and having the social proof of producing amazing results will give you more confidence. They should also stay up-to-date on the latest fitness trends and research to provide the most comprehensive fitness regime.

    Stuck between experienced and inexperienced? Check out our article here:

    What Support Do They Offer?

    Modern-day personal training is more than just helping clients get into shape. Personal trainers can adapt their training programmes to offer increased support. Our mental well-being is just as important as our physical health. Are you lacking confidence? Perhaps stress has prevented you from getting in shape? The best personal trainers will list and offer advice while incorporating exercises such as stretching to help with relaxation.

    What To Expect At Your First Personal Training Session?

    Paperwork – Before you begin anything, you’ll likely have to fill out some basic paperwork. This generally includes medical information and includes questions about your activity levels, usual diet, alcohol consumption, and whether you smoke. The questions are designed to help the trainer tailor a workout programme around your physical ability and to prevent any potential strain or injury.

    Weight and Measurements – Generally, you can expect the trainer to measure; your body fat percentage, blood pressure, chest, waist and hip, neck, biceps, forearms, thighs, calves and buttocks. The measurements will allow the trainer to keep track your progress.

    Fitness Goals – The trainer will almost certainly ask you the big ‘why’ if they haven’t already. Why did you sign up in the first place? What is your driving force? Answer the questions carefully and honestly as it will help the trainer to decide on which program will best suit your goals.

    Workout – Your first session will likely include some light aerobic activity to get your heart pumping. This may be followed by a workout, for instance, free weights, cardio exercise or a body weight training exercise. Your session will also then include a cool-down along with a stretch. Try not to set your expectations too high for the first session.

    Outside Activity - To help keep you on track, many personal trainers will give you a workout routine for between sessions. This can be anything from advising about your diet to a full workout, run, swim or a high-intensity activity. Sticking to the guidance and putting in the additional work will help you to achieve results faster.

    Costs Of Hiring A Personal Trainer

    When it comes to price, choosing the right trainer for you can depend on multiple different factors;

  • Frequency and duration of the session
  • The Location of the Personal Trainer
  • The Level of Qualifications and Experience
  • The specialization/goals of the client
  • Personal branding – e.g. celebrity personal trainers, other public figures
  • Group or one-to-one training

  • Frequency And Duration

    Training sessions generally range between 30 and 90 minutes, with most being 45-60 mins long. Purchasing multiple training sessions can provide a more cost-effective approach to pay-per session.

    The Location Of The Personal Trainer

    Costs may be higher if the personal trainer must travel to a client’s home for private sessions, as opposed to their own studio. Typically, a personal trainer working in London will charge a higher rate due to a higher cost of living. You can expect to pay between £40-£80 in London, while areas across the UK can range between £20-£40.

    The Level Of Qualifications And Experience

    Certified trainers will command a higher hourly rate. Make sure your trainer is accredited by REPS or CIMSPA. The most elite personal trainers will charge in excess of £100/ hour. However, it takes several years for a personal trainer to build up a successful client base and the experience to justify charging more.

    The Specialisation / Goals Of The Client

    The speciality plays a role in raising your hourly rates, with Kettlebells, sports nutrition, lower back pain exercises, suspension equipment, exercise referrals, pre and post-natal exercises and weight loss being the most required. The hourly rate can also be influenced by the type of workout offered, with strength training, senior-specific training and high-intensity interval (HIIT) becoming higher in-demand.

    Personal Branding

    In the age of social media, it’s important to keep in mind that followers don’t justify a worthy investment. Celebrity trainers are only worth paying more if the results justify paying extra. Some personal trainers have developed and built a brand of fitness, health, business and marketing which has accumulated a large social following. These personal trainers end up being celebrities and start to acquire top clients including athlete’s, earning in excess of 100K/year. According to the Telegraph, top personal trainer Fabrice Le Physique earns in excess of £1000 per hour.

    Group Or One-to-one

    A one-to-one training session will cost more than an individual personal training session. Group training sessions are not specifically aimed at an individual’s weaknesses, strengths, or injuries. Whereas, individual training sessions offer more attention to the client’s needs. A group training session could cost in the region of £4-10 per session, while a personal training session will be a minimum of £20.

    What Is The Difference Between A Group Or Individual Session?

    An individual personal training session is aimed to help motivate clients to achieve their goals, providing feedback and assessment-based learning. Sessions will typically last between 30-60 minutes and over the course of a few months. In contrast to a group session, individual sessions will give clients one hundred per cent of the trainer’s attention. Therefore, it will provide a safer, more controlled environment for learning.

    A group personal training session is the ideal alternative to a 1-2-1 session, combining the personalised attention of 1-1 with the support and energy of peers. Group sessions numbers are divided between small and large. With a larger group you can expect as many as 30 in one given time. If you’re looking for a more personalised approach to exercise, with a smaller session you can expect a maximum of 6 people. Individuals will generally be paired based on their ability and personal goals. Training with others is a great opportunity to feed off other members, seek advice, and motivation. Group personal training is a great option to consider at a fraction of the cost of 1-1 personal training. However, if you are looking for more specific improvement, then it may be worth investing in a 1-1 trainer.

    ‘Real’ Or Virtual Personal Trainer – Pro’s And Con’s

    The rise of tech-based training has revolutionised the fitness business. For personal trainers, they can capitalise on the ability to train multiple clients from the comfort of their own home. With online personal training, individuals receive the similar convenience, ideally suited for those who are unable to attend a gym or frequently travel making a face-to-face session complicated.

    In many ways, it’s exactly like being trained at your local gym: a fully qualified personal trainer will tailor a workout on what you want to achieve, whether it be muscle endurance or weight loss. They will take into consideration your access to equipment, and design a program tailored around your needs. The crucial difference is that the trainer is ‘virtual’ and instead will provide information and encouragement by email, message or phone calls.

    If you're thinking about hiring an online personal trainer, there are some things you might want to consider first.

    Advantages of Online Personal Trainers

    It’s Cheaper

    Hiring a personal trainer could set you back anywhere between £30-£65 an hour. In addition to this cost, you may have to pay out for a gym membership. The location, qualification and experience of the personal trainer may significantly increase the price. Online personal training is a cost-effective solution which eliminates the cost of travel expenses, and the frequency of workouts. Instead, clients may pay a monthly fee and interact by email, text, or phone calls as well as private online platforms and social media groups.


    Having an online personal trainer will deliver a program that is convenient and suited to your availability. Did you forget to reschedule your appointment because you finished work late? With online personal training you can reschedule your workouts around your schedule. Your workout can be easily personalised to meet your equipment requirements.

    Receive the same results

    An online personal trainer can provide the same interaction face-to-face through a video call as they could in person. They can demonstrate how to perform exercises correctly whether they are in or outside of the UK. Ultimately, the results come down to the individual. If they put in the effort and choose the right personal trainer, there is no reason results won’t follow.

    Disadvantages of OPT

    Risk of Injuries

    While an online personal trainer can advise, they aren’t able to check your form or spot for correct technique. This can result in performing exercises incorrectly, and even injuring yourself. Over time injuries caused by improper technique can either lead to a more serious condition or result in acute injuries. An individual can help minimise this risk by taking extra time to research the correct way to perform an exercise.

    The Inability of Accurate Feedback

    A major drawback of an online trainer is the lack of attention to detail that clients would receive face-to-face. For one, the inability to ask real-time questions is made impossible. In addition, an online trainer might track your results using stats instead of technique. Whilst stats might prove results, the success of the client is often based on their own ability to track their success. It can be easy for an individual to alter figures, or inaccurately record their results.

    Lack of Personal Interaction

    If you are lacking motivation, accountability from someone who can connect on a personal level and help provide the guidance needed to follow through with a plan can be very important. While there may be the option to interact with a personal trainer using live video (e.g. Skype, FaceTime), you may have to pay a premium fee for their time.

    What to look for when hiring an online personal trainer?

    If you’re a motivated, self-learner with a busy lifestyle, online personal training might be for you. While your trainer might not exist in physical form, they’re still a real person with the expertise needed to help achieve your fitness goals. With anything fitness journey, whether it be to lose weight, or to run a marathon, it also requires a high level of commitment to achieve it. Before you make any decisions, here’s what to look out for;

    1.)What qualifications do they have?

    When choosing a personal trainer, you should ensure they have the relevant accredited qualifications, for example, Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training. Membership of a professional organisation, such as the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs), CIMSPA or National Register of Personal Trainers (NRPT) is also a good indicator of their competence and skill. Generally, a personal trainer with more experience is likely to know the industry better and provide a more advanced skill-set.

    2.)Have current or previous clients been successful?

    A testimonial or review might be the deciding factor for selecting a personal trainer. A previous member can help answer questions on whether a PT is trustworthy, knowledgeable or genuine. Since these are individuals who have tried and tested it for themselves, use their knowledge to help guide your decision. You could also use social media to find reviews.

    3.)Does the price match their expertise or is it ‘too good to be true’?

    Before you hire an online personal trainer, you may want to consider the price you are willing to pay. While an online trainer will undercut your local gym trainer fee, prices will vary depending on their experience, qualifications, and the services offered. We recommend you speak to the trainer over the phone before making any prior payments. It will give you the opportunity to ask any questions you may have. Some personal trainers will offer package deals, for instance a bronze or gold membership which entitles you to a variety of options.

    How Can I Find A Personal Trainer Online?

    The National Register of Personal Trainers (NRPT) is a personal trainer directory with a detailed list of qualified and insured personal trainers nationwide. The NRPT has over 800 members, with a variety of experience and qualifications.

    Before making any decisions, decide on why you want a trainer, the budget, and the area you are looking for. Once you have decided, navigate to the link: You will then be able to search the NRPT directory for trainers in your area. Type in either your postcode, town or village. If there are trainers in your area, there will be a list of each individual trainer and a brief summary. You can also use the filter to choose between gender, price range, expertise or training venue.

    When deciding on the personal trainer right for you, call or email them and discuss your needs. We recommend that you contact at least 3 personal trainers.

    Still struggling to decide. Try to find the PT who has the relevant qualifications, operates in an area close to you, combined with experience and an affordable budget. It may also be worth reading testimonials of other clients.

    Can I Find A Personal Trainer On A Cruise?

    After a few weeks of fresh air, travelling, all day buffets and endless cocktails, it’s no wonder holiday-goers might pile on a few pounds. But for some passengers, a cruise can be the perfect excuse to get fit. Cruise liners offer onboard state-of-the-art gyms, fitness classes and personal trainers who can tailor fitness programs to help reach your goals.

    Here’s a list of personal trainer pricing based on different cruise liner’s;

    • P&O - £47 per 60-minute session
    • Silversea Cruises - £87 per 60-minute session
    • Seabourn - £62 per 60-minute session
    • Disney Line – £62 per 60-minute session
    • Costa Cruises – £76 per 60-minute session
    • Azamara Club Cruises – £65 per 60-minute session

    How To Find A Personal Trainer Near You?

    Personal trainers are available in a variety of gyms across the UK including 24/7 Fitness, Pure Gym, Fitness First, and David Lloyd. To find a personal trainer near you, navigate to the website, find your local gym and the trainer’s available at that gym. You can then book a session by phone or email.

    What Can You Expect From A PT Qualified With Future Fit Training? What Makes Them Different?

    Future Fit Training is the first training provider to have been awarded ukactive’s “Training Provider of the Year” award for two consecutive years in 2016 and 2017. With over 20 years’ experience, our vast knowledge and expertise has created over 30,000 elite fitness professionals.

    Our PT courses give Future Fit graduates an industry advantage, with support and resources that help them to stand out. We provide our PT’s with the advanced skills and tools, proving to be more than just a qualification. They will learn social, business and behaviour change skills to help guide excel themselves and to help achieve their client’s goals.

    Nearly 1 in 6 gym managers surveyed recently stated that “education provision has become too quick and compact”. Future Fit personal trainers won’t learn the fast-track way. Instead, they will have to pass extensive assessments through practical, and online workshops which will test their knowledge and ability to teach. The vocational route can take up to 12 months for them to compete.

    Our qualified PT’s come from all walks of life, each with a different success story – you can find our personal trainer stories here. We are pleased to collaborate with Double Olympic Champion, Dame Kelly Holmes, who is currently studying her Level 3 Personal Trainer Diploma with Future Fit Training.

    How To Become A Personal Trainer With Future Fit Training?

    Want to kickstart your career in the fitness industry by becoming a personal trainer? Our Personal Training Courses allow you to turn your passion for fitness into a successful career. Future Fit Training have a range of accredited personal training courses to help you achieve the relevant qualifications to succeed. All of our personal trainer courses are delivered with over 25 years of health and fitness expertise.

    When looking for a Personal Training qualification, things to consider are:

    • Will I come out of the qualification ready to train people?
    • Will I have a qualification that employers and insurers recognise?
    • What key skills will the course give me?
    • Does the course include good nutrition training?

    In order to become a qualified Personal Trainer, you will need to take the following courses:

    • Level 2 Gym Instructor
    • Level 2 Anatomy & Physiology
    • Level 3 Anatomy & Physiology
    • Level 3 Exercise Programming & Coaching
    • Nutrition & Weight Management

    Want To Know More About Our Fitness Qualifications?

    Download your price list to receive a free career consultation with one of our expert Career Advisors. Our specialist career advisors will help find the personal qualification suited to you.