Becoming a personal trainer

There is little doubt that becoming a personal trainer is one of the most popular options for people working in the fitness field.

Many people whom work in gyms as instructors are actually taking the first steps towards becoming a personal trainer. Why? Because before you start working one on one with people it is absolutely essential that you get experience working in a gym or health club.

You need to learn how the business runs, get experience working with clients, and be familiar with all the equipment and exercise options available. This will allow you to begin acquiring the knowledge you need to design appropriate programs for a variety of clients.

The work of a personal trainer can be varied, but typically involves working one on one with clients to provide them with an individual program designed to meet their health and fitness goals.

Training to work in this field can be quite demanding, and indeed it is typically recommended that you not only get some good experience, but also qualify first as a fitness instructor - you need a combination of training and experience before you can move onwards. So find out how you can become a personal trainer with or compare personal training courses online with the

Anyone wanting to work as a personal trainer needs to look for qualifications that permit you to be registered with the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs). This is considered the gold standard for fitness professionals, and shows both employers and clients that you adhere to recognized standards for training, qualifications, and conduct.

You will need to get a Level 3 qualification such as:

  • NVQ Level 3 in Instructing Physical Activity and Exercise (awarded by City and Guilds, Active IQ, OCR, VTCT and CYQ)
  • Level 3 Certificate in Advanced Fitness Instructing (awarded by Active IQ, City & Guilds, CYQ, NCFE, VTCT and OCR)
  • Level 3 Certificate in Personal Training (awarded by Active IQ and CYQ)

The good news is that there are lots of providers and private colleges offering these courses - check the REPs website for details of qualifications and approved training providers.

Once you are qualified you will find that this is a competitive market, so how do you set yourself apart and carve out a slice of the pie? This is question that all personal trainers have to answer at one time or another, and in the current economic environment, it is important to find new and creative ways of finding and retaining clients.

One option that is becoming increasingly popular is offering group personal training. This is a good service to offer as it allows the personal trainer to work with two or three people at the same time, which is good value for money for your clients.

The other route is to look at specializing in a particular area - this will involve further training, but will set you apart from all the other "general" personal trainers, and help you to carve out a market niche. Popular options include special programs for the elderly, core training, and sports specific training.

Where Will You Find Work?

Although the ultimate objective for most people is to be self employed, beginners will typically find work through health clubs, resorts, spas, on cruise ships, or home based personal training specialists like Onelifestyle or possibly with large organizations that provide workplace fitness facilities for their employees.

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