AW promotion: Learn how how OriGym student Nicola Brown transformed her love for trail-running into a successful business working as a running coach and personal trainer

If you’re a running or fitness fanatic looking to start a career that you are truly passionate about, then you’ll definitely want to read about how to become a personal trainer in the UK.

Below we’ve explained how you can become a successful PT, explaining how OriGym student Nicola Brown transformed her love for trail-running into a successful business working as a running coach and personal trainer.

We’ve covered how to get qualified, what to expect from personal trainer courses, and our advice on progressing your career!

Do you think that you have what it takes to become a personal trainer? Enquire about OriGym’s personal training courses to kick-start your exciting new career.

Let’s get stuck in!

How to become a qualified personal trainer (UK)

If you’re wondering whether it is possible to become a personal trainer without any previous experience then the answer is yes, it is entirely possible!

When Nicola first decided that she wanted to turn her passion for trail running into a career, she had no previous fitness qualifications, no experience working in a similar role, and no connections in the industry.

But, by pursuing her passion and working hard to get the necessary qualifications, she was soon able to turn her hobby into a successful business.

Shortly after completing a personal training diploma with OriGym, Nicola landed a salaried role in a major gym. As her reputation in the industry grew, she was able to start taking on clients of her own, and eventually, she started training her own running clients as a full-time job.

Want to know how you can do the same? Here’s what you need to do!

Choosing the right personal trainer course

If you’ve ever looked into how to become a personal trainer before, you’ll know that there are tons of different personal training courses and qualifications out there. But before you sign up for the first free PT course that comes up online, allow us to explain exactly what qualifications you will need.

First things first, whether you want to start your own coaching business or work as a PT in a gym, there are two qualifications that you will need:

  • Level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instructing
  • Level 3 Personal Training Qualification

Level 2 Fitness Instructor course breakdown

A Level 2 Fitness Instructor Certificate is an entry-level qualification that acts as the first step towards becoming a certified personal trainer.

This qualification covers a variety of topics, including the principles of exercises, the fundamentals of anatomy & physiology, and a module on health & safety.

In terms of assessment, you will be required to pass two multiple choice online exams and one practical assessment in which you will be required to deliver a gym induction.

But passing shouldn’t be a problem as the Level 2 course content is about as difficult as a GCSE, and any reputable course provider will offer you the opportunity to re-sit any exams free of charge.

Once you have completed your Level 2, you have the option to work as a gym instructor or move on to a Level 3 Personal Trainer course to become a fully qualified personal trainer.

If you want to follow in Nicola’s footsteps and turn your passion for running into a career as a personal trainer, completing your Level 3 should definitely be your next step.

Level 3 Personal Trainer Course: What to expect

As part of your Level 3 personal training course, you will learn the necessary knowledge of fitness, anatomy, and nutrition to help clients to reach their individual exercise goals.

For example, the OriGym PT course that Nicola completed included the following modules:

  • Advanced Anatomy & Physiology
  • Principles of Nutrition
  • Personal Training Delivery
  • Programming Training Sessions
  • Demonstrating Leadership
  • Learning the Business

As you can see, the course doesn’t just cover the knowledge that you need to pass the qualification, but it also includes information on how you can run your business post-qualification.

Nicola explained that the ‘Learning the Business’ module was one of the main reasons that she chose this course provider specifically, to quote her:

“On the final day of the course we spent the day discussing our next steps and learning about the business, covering everything from marketing strategies to business plans, and how to prepare for interviews. This was really beneficial both when seeking my first permanent role and when it came to becoming an independent trainer.”

She also praised the post-course support offered by OriGym, which included:

  • Access to a job board that is exclusive to OriGym students and alumni
  • CV analysis and distribution
  • Free business & marketing resources
  • Guaranteed job interviews
Choosing your personal trainer career path

So you know how to become certified as a personal trainer, and you know that any decent course provider will offer the post-course support to help you get on to the career ladder, but what are your options now?

Once you’ve passed your personal trainer qualifications, you’ll have to start to think about the next steps for your career. Personal trainers typically have 3 options:

  1. Work as an employee at a gym
  2. Work as a freelancer at a gym
  3. Start your own business!

As we mentioned earlier, our case study Nicola decided that the best option for her was to work as an employee at a gym. This option meant that she had a pre-existing client base and a fixed income to ensure financial stability.

As much as she enjoyed this role, Nicola was keen to take up a client base completely made up of runners, and so she began to work as an independent trail running trainer in her free time.

Once her trail running business started to take off, Nicola had two options: to work as a freelancer at a gym, paying rent to a gym so that she could train their existing members, or to start her own business! Nicola chose the latter, opting to take complete control of her career by becoming an independent trainer.

Becoming a personal trainer: Everything you need to know

Now that you know how to qualify as a personal trainer, we can only imagine how excited you are about the possibility of turning your passion for fitness into a lucrative career.

But before you go ahead and quit your day job, there are a couple of questions that we thought you might want some answers to.

Fortunately for you, we’ve researched the most common questions asked about the personal trainer courses and careers, and included our answers to each of them just below!

#1 How long does it take to become a personal trainer (UK)?

Probably the most common question about getting qualified as a PT is ‘how long does it take to become a personal trainer?’. We’re not surprised that so many people ask about this, after all, once you get your sights set on a goal, you want to achieve it as efficiently as possible, right?

Fortunately, the process of getting qualified as a PT is pretty flexible thanks to the fact that most course providers will offer you three study options. Those are:

  • Full-time
  • Part-time
  • Online

So, when it comes to ‘how long to become a personal trainer’, the answer completely depends on the study mode that you choose.

Full-time personal trainer courses are typically the fastest way to get qualified. Often referred to as ‘fast track courses’, this study option involves 4 weeks of full-time study in a face-to-face environment. Provided that you pass your assessments, you will be a fully qualified personal trainer after just 4 weeks.

Part-time personal trainer courses involve a combination of both face-to-face learning and online study, allowing for a flexible approach to getting qualified. With this method, you are free to take as long as you like with the course, but the average student completes their Level 2 & Level 3 in 12 weeks.

The final method of study is to complete an online personal trainer course. As you can probably guess, this course is completely online-based with the exception of one practical assessment. In terms of how long it will take you to get qualified, the average student takes about 16 weeks to complete the Level 2 & Level 3 courses.

However, if you have other responsibilities which mean that you don’t have much time to study, online courses are really flexible and allow you to take as much time as you want. At the same time, if you have a lot of free time, then there is nothing stopping you from speeding through the course and getting qualified quicker!

#2 How much does a personal trainer earn?

It’s all well and good knowing how to become a personal trainer but regardless of how passionate you are about this possible career path, it’s important to know how much you can expect to earn as a PT before you make any drastic career changes.

According to totaljobs, personal trainers in the UK earn an average of £27,000 a year. However, the truth is that PTs can earn anything from £16,000 to upwards of £50k.

Your personal trainer salary will completely depend on your chosen career path. For example, if you want to land yourself a role as a freelancer in a gym, you might have a lower salary to begin with but you can easily boost your earnings by growing a healthy-sized client base.

If you choose to start up your own business, say as a personal trainer for running clients like Nicola, you will have a completely uncapped earning potential.

Very soon we’ve included a short section on career progression, explaining how you can maximise your income by building a big client base and developing a niche for your business, so stick around for that!

#3 How much does it cost to become a personal trainer (UK)?

Finally, if you’re serious about starting a new career as a PT, then your next question will probably be ‘how much are personal trainer courses?’.

A lot of people ask how to become a personal trainer for free, but truthfully, free courses won’t qualify you to actually work as a personal trainer.

Whilst you might learn something from a free course, employers will only hire you if you hold an Ofqual regulated Level 3 personal trainer course.

Even if you want to start your own business, you will still need an Ofqual regulated qualification as this is one of the criteria for PT insurance.

Career progression: How to become a successful personal trainer

By now you should know how to become a certified personal trainer, and you should have a rough idea of the 3 main career paths that you can choose from. But what are your options for career progression in this area?

If you want to know how you can maximise your income and develop a niche for your business, then here are a couple of ways that you can go about this.

#1 Group exercise classes

As a personal trainer, one factor that can put a cap on your earnings is the fact that you will predominantly carry out 1-1 sessions training clients, but who says this has to be the case?

If you’re looking for a way that you can boost your earnings without hiking up your hourly rates, then group classes or group PT sessions are a great way to increase your income.

For example, if you’re looking to pursue running as a career and you want to exclusively train running clients, you could create a running club or start holding regular classes based on specific goals for runners, for example, core strengthening classes.

Not only will these group classes benefit your existing clients by adding to the benefits of their training without them paying for an additional 1-1 session, but it’s also likely that your class members will recognise your value and enquire about a 1-1 training plan with yourself.

#2 Become a sports massage therapist

Another way to maximise your income as a personal trainer is to double up on the services that you offer your clients by training in a similar area of health and fitness, for example, sports massage therapy.

By qualifying as a sports massage therapist, you open yourself up to the opportunity to grow your client base and to capitalise on your existing client base, too.

Going back to our personal trainer for runners example, sports massage has tons of benefits for runners in that it can help with injury prevention, aid mobility, and preventing DOMS, just to name a few!

Therefore, any running personal training clients could benefit from coming to your business for sports massage therapy, too. At the same time, any sports massage clients that you get can be referred to your personal training services to help them to achieve their exercise goals.

#3 Qualify as a nutrition coach 

Probably the most popular progression route for personal trainers is to expand their knowledge of nutrition by completing a Level 4 Nutrition for Sport qualification.

Nutrition and exercise go hand in hand, so it makes perfect sense that a nutrition qualification is the logical next step for anybody looking to either justify increasing their prices or to expand the services they offer.

Completing this level of qualification will allow you to create full nutrition plans that are specifically tailored to individual clients and their goals. Plus, it allows you to market yourself as an expert personal trainer, putting way ahead of any competitors!

» AW promotion published on behalf of OriGym