Love heading down to the gym to get a good workout in? Do you feel right at home when you hear the clanging and banging of the weights or the whirring of the treadmills? Why not think about making your happy place your new ‘office’?! You could turn your passion for fitness into a successful career!
Having a career in the fitness industry means you could earn a lucrative living whilst inspiring others to reach their health and fitness goals!
So, now you know where you want your career to go, you may be wondering how to start a career in fitness. You’ve probably already googled ‘what qualifications do you need to be a personal trainer?’ and have come across the many learning options available.
There’s lots to think about and, honestly, the decision is down to you. But if you don’t feel ready to commit fully to a course to become a personal trainer, you might prefer a gentler entry into the industry and choose to become a fitness instructor to start with.
What is a fitness instructor?
Some people need a little extra support to achieve their goals and as a fitness instructor, this is where you’ll come in.
A fitness instructor (also known as a gym instructor) helps to motivate and support clients in the gym to reach their goals.
As a fitness instructor, you’ll be supporting (and learning from) the personal trainers who already support clients in the gym – this is an excellent opportunity to draw on their years of experience, find out what works and what doesn’t and learn the ‘real life’ skills that can often be forgotten in traditional classroom education.
The main bulk of your role will include creating fitness programmes, maintaining the facilities and showing clients how to use them safely and effectively, taking body measurements and assisting with general fitness enquires from gym users.
A lot of people skip working as a level 2 fitness instructor and go straight into a course to become a Level 3 personal trainer before gaining employment in the fitness industry. While there is nothing wrong in doing this, you’re missing out on a golden opportunity to become a fully qualified personal trainer and work closely with clients going forward.
Choosing to become a gym instructor first means you’ll gain some fundamental experience in the fitness industry and essential self-confidence before becoming qualified as a personal trainer.
Once you’re level 2 qualified, you’ll have the foundational certificate to pursue level 3 training. Don’t forget, you can’t become a Personal Trainer (and start earning more money) without a Level 3 Certificate. If you want to jump straight in and train clients in the gym, or start working as a freelance PT, it’s worth pursuing a Diploma in Personal Training as this combines level 2 and level 3 training.
The lifestyle of a personal trainer (PT) can be very demanding - your clients will want to see you early in the morning and late at night to fit training around their commitments.
In your ‘client-free time’ during the day, you’ll need to write training programs and meal plans for your clients, update your social media and website pages to attract new clients (and somewhere in there you’ll need to train yourself too!).
Opting to become a fitness instructor first will give you the chance to watch the personal trainers in your gym and get yourself prepared for level 3 training.
Decided the life of a personal trainer is the one for you? Great! You’ll be able to lay some really strong foundations before growing your successful personal training business!
As a fitness instructor, you’ll have the opportunity to build and nurture some essential relationships (both with your peers and potential clients) before launching your business. This means you’ll be able to get started with some clients and local support from day 1 (a golden opportunity that many personal trainers miss!)
How much could you earn as a Personal Trainer? Find out here
What qualifications do fitness instructors need?
Once you’ve decided to become a fitness instructor, you’ll need to find a course to get you qualified. There are many ways to learn and you’ll need to find the way that suits your needs and learning style the best. You may decide to do a course local to where you live or study a course online. Online learning is becoming increasingly popular for many reasons, find out how a personal training eLearning course will work for you.
A level 2 certificate in fitness instructing will cover the fundamentals you’ll need to take the first steps in your career in the health and fitness industry. You’ll cover basic skills that include:
- Health and safety in a fitness environment
- Understanding human anatomy
- The principles of fitness, health and exercise
- How to plan and instruct gym-based exercise
- How to support clients
Once you’re ready to progress, you can take a course to become a qualified personal trainer, this will allow you to train clients on an individual or group basis.
Your earnings will increase drastically as you take on more responsibility in the gym and gain clients for personal training programmes. Taking on the clients you’ve met as a fitness instructor means you’ll be able to start earning a higher salary straight away and progress your career.
You can also increase your reputation and earning potential even further by training to become an elite level 4 personal trainer. Having this qualification means you’ll be able to train athletes, sports teams and become a truly stand-out personal trainer in your area!
[Learn more about our Personal Trainer courses here]
Ready to start your journey towards a career in health and fitness?