First Steps to becoming a Personal Trainer
It’s a great time to become part of the fitness industry. Gym memberships are up, people are taking more of an interest in their health and wellbeing; low cost gyms, boutiques, personal training gyms, boxes and everything in between are opening and they all need coaches and PTs.
Outside of the gyms and studios, there is a rise in demand for on demand PTs and PTs who can travel to a client’s home or workspace to provide 1-1/small group training. There are so many exciting opportunities to enjoy it is well worth getting yourself qualified.
But, where and how do you start on your fitness journey? What are your options for qualification and beyond? What should you be looking out for? Are you really suited for a role as a PT? There are lots of things to consider before diving head first into a course. Click edit button to change this text.
Is Personal Training for me?
If you have a passion for fitness, a good work ethic and a love of helping people reach their goals, then you likely have what it takes to be a personal trainer. Ask yourself; do I love training, do I like talking to people, do I like planning sessions and tracking progress? Am I happiest in gym kit all day every day? If the answer is yes to the above, then you are likely ready to take those first steps towards becoming a PT.
Understanding the qualifications
Becoming a fitness instructor is the first stage of a career in fitness, and requires completing the Level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instructing. Level 2 gives you a foundation of knowledge about anatomy and physiology, fitness principles and health and safety. This means you can, for example, work on the gym floor and deliver inductions to new members.
To be a personal trainer requires progressing to Level 3. As well as giving a deeper knowledge of anatomy and nutrition, Level 3 gives the training, for those who qualify, to be able to plan and deliver successful workouts to their clients.
What to look out for from a provider:
A – History
Would you rather train with a provider that has been around for over 15 years or with one that has been around for only 2 or 3? History and longevity are important when selecting your provider, we recommend the provider with history and a track record.
B – REPs
A REPs recognised qualification is the gold standard and the training provider you choose needs to offer that.
C – Study Options
You want to look for a provider that offers a range of study options– Already in a full-time job and thinking of switching careers, sounds like you need part time study. This mode of study fits in around your existing commitments and allows you to benefit from home study as well as plenty of contact time with tutors. Ready to go now; just out of school, uni, college or with no other commitments? Sounds like full time intensive study for you. With a full-time course, you will be in a classroom environment five days a week, living and breathing the course. You will have a very hands-on experience, dividing your time between the gym floor and the classroom. Are you super busy and unable to get away for part time or full time, a good provider can cater for that too with distance study. Distance study will require commitment from you to complete each module in your own time and book into relevant assessment days to complete your study. Whatever your situation there should be an option to study at a pace and time that suits you.
What to look out for in a PT Course
In the UK today, to register as a personal trainer with the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs) you generally need to hold two qualifications: a Level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instructing and a Level 3 Certificate in Personal Training.
Be on the lookout for personal training courses that offer just a Level 3 personal trainer qualification. They don’t always include the necessary Level 2 qualification, the price for which you’ll have to add on. Not quite the bargain you thought you’d bagged. Always ask the training provider if the personal training course you’re looking at contains both the Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications.
What qualification does the personal training course lead to?
‘Certificate’ and ‘Diploma’ are not interchangeable terms – there’s a difference between them. A personal training course that leads to a REPs-recognised diploma qualification covers more information than one that leads to a certificate qualification. Unfortunately, some training providers advertise courses as diplomas when those courses actually lead to a certificate qualification.
Always ask the training provider for the official name of the qualification you’ll receive from the awarding organisation when you complete your personal training course- if diploma isn’t in the title of the qualification, it’s not a diploma qualification.
CPDs and further study
Once you have passed your Level 3 personal trainer course and achieved your qualification, don’t stop there. Consider further learning. This will help you to develop your niche, bring in a wider range of clients and help you to stay ahead of the competition.
CPD stands for Continuing Professional Development. CPD is a way for exercise professionals to demonstrate that they continue to learn and develop throughout their careers and keep their knowledge up to date.
CPDs can set you apart from the pack. In an ever-expanding marketplace being qualified in additional training methods is crucial. Perhaps you’re in an area full of expectant mothers, being trained in antenatal or postnatal fitness will give you the edge. Maybe there is a demand for suspension training, outdoor training, perhaps potential clients want to train with pads or kettlebells, if you carry on learning and upskill you can offer more to a wider client base.
There you have it, an overview of why, how, where and what to do to become a personal trainer. Good luck on your fitness adventure.