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Personal trainer

Personal trainers help their clients achieve their personal health and fitness goals.
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What does a personal trainer do?

Personal trainers talk to clients to find out about their fitness level and health history. They would then:

  • set realistic short-term and long-term goals and plan programmes for reaching them
  • educate, motivate and coach clients to help them follow their programmes safely and effectively
  • give clients advice on health, nutrition and lifestyle changes
  • help clients with their workouts
  • check and record clients' progress, using methods such as measuring heart rate and body-fat levels
In some cases you might work full-time as a gym instructor and do personal training outside your normal hours of work.

What do I need to do to become a personal trainer?

To become a personal trainer you would normally be an experienced fitness instructor with a recognised qualification, such as:

  • Level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instructing – Gym
  • Level 2 Diploma in Health, Fitness, and Exercise Instruction
  • Level 2 Diploma in Instructing Exercise and Fitness

You can take further qualifications specific to this career, which include:

  • Level 3 Diploma in Fitness Instructing and Personal Training
  • Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training

Fitness instructor and personal trainer courses are widely available through colleges and private training providers.

Membership of a professional organisation, such as the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs) or National Register of Personal Trainers (NRPT) is also a good way to demonstrate your competence and skills and can help to improve your career prospects.

If you are already a qualified fitness instructor, you could take the Level 3 Award in Conversion of Advanced Fitness Instructor to Personal Trainer Status. This allows you to change your membership status on the REPs to Personal Trainer.

To work as a personal trainer you must also have public liability insurance and a first aid award. This must include a cardio-pulmonary resuscitation certificate (CPR). Professional bodies can advise on this as well as tax, insurance and self-employment issues.

Related skills

  • Interpersonal skills
  • Organisation
  • Patience

Vocational route

  • Level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instructing – Gym
  • Level 2 Diploma in Health, Fitness, and Exercise Instruction
  • Level 2 Diploma in Instructing Exercise and Fitness
  • Level 3 Diploma in Fitness Instructing and Personal Training
  • Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training

Where to find out more


Where could I be working?

Many personal trainers are self-employed. If you want to be employed, you could look for a job with health clubs owned by large chains, at resorts and spas, on cruise ships and with large companies providing workplace fitness facilities.


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