How to become a fitness instructor

Becoming a member of the fitness industry has never been more popular. But how do you establish yourself as a fitness instructor or personal trainer?

School Of Personal Training Posted Nov 13, 2017 Future Fit Training

As a result, there are more jobs opening up in gyms across the country as demand for personal training and better qualified fitness instructors increase. Just ten years ago it was possible for fitness instructors and personal trainers to be completely unqualified, whereas now most personal trainers have degrees in Sports Science to their name.

This article is going to attempt to create a blueprint of exactly what you need to do to succeed in both roles. This will be just one way to go about things, and there are many other ways to be successful.

How to succeed as a fitness instructor

A lot of people decide to skip being a fitness instructor and go straight into personal training, if you are older and have the money to jump straight into a studio or create your own home gym then this can be a really good idea. But if you are planning on personal training within a commercial gym, are quite young, or low on funds, then becoming a fitness instructor first makes a LOT of sense.

The reasons for this are that you will gain a lot of experience and confidence of being on the gym floor and talking to potential clients. You can build up a relationship with potential future clients, you will learn how to train a much larger variety of people, you will learn how to use all the machines, and how to fix them if they become slightly damaged.

Becoming a fitness instructor will also help ground you, a lot of personal trainers who have never worked as a fitness instructor can underestimate how difficult a job it can be. This will help you get on better with the fitness staff when you make that jump, and this can massively help you when it comes to making sales.

The first thing that you want to do when considering a fitness instructor career is to pick a course that is going to deliver you the best education. You also want to think about trying to get an apprenticeship. This can really help you, particularly when you are completing your course. Most gyms will be more than happy to accommodate you, but try to ensure that the work experience you are being given is relevant. If you spend most of your time cleaning the treadmills then you won’t be learning anything!

Following fitness experts will really help build up your knowledge. Try to perform as many inductions as you possibly can, they may feel like a lot of hard work, but this is the best practice you can get for personal training.

How to succeed as a personal trainer

You might think that personal training and fitness instructing are basically the same except for some minor differences. But once you’ve done both roles you’ll understand just how different they can be. A fitness instructor is an employee of the gym, they have scheduled hours, are paid monthly at a fixed rate, and are relied upon to keep the gym in good condition, to teach new members how to use the equipment, and to help with the administration side of things.

Personal trainers on the other hand are commonly self-employed and expected to pay rent to the gym. They make their own hours, concentrate exclusively on building their own business, and are not expected to help run the gym. Of course there are exceptions, with quite a few gyms offering a hybrid of personal training and fitness instructing whereby the personal trainers help out in the gym for reduced rent, or contribute half their personal training money in exchange for employment.

But let’s assume that you are attempting to become a self-employed personal trainer (the most common option). If you have never worked in a gym before, then you should first consider getting your level 2 qualification and becoming a fitness instructor first (see preceding section). This will help you become a better trainer in quick time.

Then you’ll want to find a course that covers all bases, in other words it teaches you how to give clients an incredible session, and how to find the clients in the first place (check out our personal trainer course).

The business side of personal training is often overlooked, and this has led to many personal trainers being completely out of their depth when they enter the gym. You need to know many strategies for finding clients, strategies for client retention, how to market both online and offline, building a brand, and managing your time.

The fitness and nutrition side is equally important, to attract new clients, your current clients should be happy and successful. Knowing how to advise them on their diet (including knowing what you can and can’t say), and creating programs that people can get great results from, is crucial. Most people become personal trainers because they want to help people, and these are the ones who are most successful.

Immerse yourself in the fitness world, continue to learn, book yourself into courses even after you are fully qualified, and if you can find yourself a mentor.

Follow all of this advice and you will become a very successful personal trainer.