Training to become a PT

With studios and gyms opening up all over the place, and fitness professionals seemingly one of every two people on Instagram, it’s pretty obvious that people are pretty interested in the fitness industry these days. However, coming someone who got into fitness later on in life, the routes to actually working in the industry can be somewhat unclear. Questions like ‘how much does it cost’? or ‘what does the qualification actually allow me to do?’ are fairly common.

Well, if indeed you are thinking about gaining some qualifications in the industry, whether that’s to change your career or just have a greater knowledge of training (that’s why I did it), then you’re in luck, because I had a chat with Matt Bowen from TRAINFITNESS to find out a bit more about the courses they offer.

What jobs are available from the courses that TRAINFITNESS provides?

The courses we offer cover a range of career opportunities in the fitness industry, including gym instructor, personal trainer, yoga teacher, Pilates teacher, kids fitness instructor and also leisure management.

What’s the difference between a fitness instructor and personal trainer?

Broadly speaking, a fitness instructor is someone who supervises the gym floor making sure members know how to use equipment and are performing exercises correctly. Gym instructors also, in some clubs, do inductions for new members i.e. show new members around the equipment so they know how to use it safely.

A personal trainer, on the other hand, also designs programmes specifically for clients based on their goals. While a gym instructor has general knowledge of how to use the equipment and how fitness affects the body, a key skill of the personal trainer is being able to put together a programme to help clients achieve their specific goals.

What qualifications do you need to be a personal trainer?

In the UK, you need a Level 3 Certificate in Personal Training. This is the minimum requirement for registration with the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs). This qualification is based on the National Occupational Standards as set by the Sector Skills Council.

What kind of salary can people expect from becoming a personal trainer?

A personal trainer’s income can vary greatly depending on location and the venue. Outside of London is often not as lucrative, but of course business expenses in London are also higher. Personal trainers generally charge upwards from £15/session. Celebrity personal trainers can charge hundreds of pounds per session.

What kind of employment do you see most graduates of your courses going into?

Most career opportunities for personal trainers now are self-employed. This has all of the pros and cons of self-employment in any other industry.

How long does it take to become qualified?

It depends on the study option you choose. You can do a personal training course full-time in 4 weeks. Keep in mind there is a lot of work to do in that short amount of time, both on course and outside course hours). We also offer part-time and distance study options over longer periods of time for those that can’t or don’t want to spend an entire four-week block studying.

Once finished do people with a personal training qualification know everything they need to know to be a PT?

Like most professions, while a graduate will have the knowledge required to gain the qualification, they will gain even more knowledge and skills once they’re in the field and training clients. It is certainly one of those professions where you never stop learning. The things we used to “preach” as fitness professionals when I first started in the industry are very different to what we tell our clients now. There is so much new research coming out about the human body and we are learning new things about diet, nutrition and exercise all the time. Keeping abreast of all this new information is what makes a personal trainer great.

How much does it cost to get qualified?

You should expect to pay a minimum of around £1000 for your basic certification. If you see a course for less, then investigate why. Make sure the training provider you go with is accredited with a reputable Awarding Organisation and that the certificate you will be issued with will allow you to become a member of REPs. You can ask REPS directly if they recognise certificates issued for a personal training course delivered by a specific training provider and/or certificated by a specific Awarding Organisation. There are more expensive courses out there and they will probably include additional courses and qualifications. If you’re positive that being a personal trainer is what you want to do, then spending a little more and gaining additional qualifications along with your personal training qualification can be the most cost-effective way forward. In this way you could learn more skills and come out being able to do more than just design a basic programme. In turn, this means you could have a greater chance of picking up more clients and; therefore, earn more money.

Do you have any advice or guidance for people possibly thinking about becoming a personal trainer?

Fitness is something you have to be passionate about. You have to “believe” in it, live it yourself in order to be a great personal trainer. Understand that you will always be learning and that you need to be open-minded about new things. As mentioned, there is so much we don’t know about the human body and new research comes out all the time, so it’s important to stay up to date, read a lot and train your self.

For more information on TRAINFITNESS and the courses they offer. Head over to the website here.

Picture Credits: TRAINFITNESS