Now valued at over £4 billion, the health and fitness industry is booming. With more people than ever suffering from the effects of poor lifestyle choices and struggling to reach their fitness goals, never has there been a greater need for professionals who can provide the solutions to their problems.
It’s no surprise then that personal training is growing as a profession. A career as a personal trainer is both rewarding and challenging, but how do you make sure you become successful?
The School of Personal Training is based on 3 key stages which will lead to success: qualify, develop, excel.
Let’s look at each of these in turn.
First and foremost, it’s essential to get certified through an accredited training provider. The industry standard is a Level 3 Personal Training qualification, which shows that you meet the requirements set at national level.
A Level 3 qualification will ensure you have the minimum knowledge and skills in exercise and nutrition necessary to work with clients. However, in such a competitive industry, you must ensure you learn about advanced techniques and the latest methods to set yourself apart from the competition. Industry experts and employers recommend trainers gain more in-depth understanding of specialist areas such as behaviour change coaching, functional training and specific client goals like fat loss to enable them to offer high-quality services to clients, so make sure you choose a course that covers a comprehensive range of topics.
In addition, you should make sure your training provider offers training and guidance on business skills such as marketing and sales so you can turn your newfound knowledge into a career. This is a commonly overlooked but vital consideration.
Qualification is a bit like passing your driving test – you’ve got the necessary skills but now’s the time to gain experience and improve.
Many trainers begin their career by seeking employment as a gym instructor. It’s a great way to gain experience of working in a gym and get to know the challenges you’ll face when supporting clients to achieve their health and fitness goals. Alternatively you may want to think about volunteering at your local health club, shadowing the trainers there, or perhaps you know someone who runs a bootcamp business who could do with a hand. Both good options for putting your skills into practice.
Of course you could decide to go straight into work as a personal trainer. You’ll more than likely be self-employed, but even employed positions will require you to build your own client base, hence the need for training in business, marketing and sales skills. The most common self-employed options are franchise-type arrangements whereby you pay a fee to be associated with an established brand, either a well-known health club chain or specialist personal training company. Alternatively you may choose to go independent - as a mobile trainer or setting up your own gym.
The first few months will be the hardest so you’ll need to draw on the support and expertise of those that have been there and done it before – working for yourself doesn’t mean having to do everything alone! Having a mentor (or even more than one) is often cited as one of the best ways to become an expert yourself as you can’t help but learn when you spend time with people who know more than you.
You’ll need to consider your target market, or niche. Discerning clients will seek out specialists so you must focus your efforts to appeal to those people. You can do this through continued education and intelligent marketing.
The fast-moving nature of the fitness industry means it’s essential to keep on top of your professional development. Trainers that think they know it all and stop learning will soon get left behind so you need to make sure you read lots and attend regular courses to update and add to your knowledge, as well as stay aware of the latest news and trends. With advances in knowledge and thinking happening all the time, it’s vital you keep connected to what’s going on if you want to be seen as an expert.
If you’re passionate about a career in health and fitness, this last stage will never end. You’ll never know everything but that shouldn’t stop you trying!
Want to get started? Back to that first step – Qualify.
The School of Personal Training offers two diplomas which provide you with the very best foundation for a career as a personal trainer. To see what’s included, click here