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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.

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0


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