Personal trainers help people achieve their fitness goals and live a healthier lifestyle.
Usually working in a gym or leisure centre, they are responsible for providing personalised fitness programmes for clients, assisting with workouts and providing diet plans.
This guide explains everything you need to know about personal trainers, including a typical job description for the role as well as the skills, qualifications and experience required.
- Personal trainer job description
- How much do personal trainers earn?
- What does a personal trainer do?
- Requirements, skills and qualifications
- Who employs personal trainers?
- Which junior jobs progress to personal trainer roles?
Personal trainer job description
Personal trainer | Live Well
About Live Well
Founded in 2001, Live Well are one of the UK’s leading names in the health and fitness sector. Our leisure centres offer a wide range of facilities paired with excellent customer service and unrivalled fitness expertise.
About the role
We are looking for an enthusiastic and experienced personal trainer to work at our newly refurbished Nottingham leisure centre. The successful applicant will join our team of personal trainers and gym instructors and will be responsible for helping our clients reach their fitness goals.
- Creating tailored fitness and nutrition programmes for clients, based on their fitness goals
- Leading training sessions for existing clients, including monitoring and recording client progress and adapting fitness routines
- Performing gym inductions for new members, including instructing members on how to use gym equipment, providing facility tours and discussing fitness goals
- Offering PT packages to new and current gym members
- Leading weekly group classes for members of all abilities, with a particular focus on yoga and aerobics
- Booking clients in at reception, dealing with enquiries and cash handling
- Keeping up to date with industry trends and developments, maintaining a high level of personal fitness
Location & commitments
- Based at newly refurbished Live Well Nottingham
- Minimum 25 hours per week including weekends
- Flexible working available
- At least two years experience in a gym instruction or training position
- Excellent verbal communication and customer service skills
- Highly organised with the ability to manage multiple client schedules
- Enthusiastic, driven and outgoing personality
- Level 3 Personal Training certificate
- Current valid First Aid certificate with CPR
- Degree in Sports Science or a related subject
- Specialised in yoga and aerobics
Contact us to apply
If you think you’d be a great addition to our team, send your CV and cover letter to Ellie at EllieBrown@Livewell.co.uk.
How much do personal trainers earn?
The average salary for a personal trainer in the UK is £22,655. However, it’s worth noting that around 80% of personal trainers are self-employed, so receiving a fixed yearly salary is relatively uncommon, and self-employed earnings are often higher.
Personal trainer salaries in the UK
- Low: £13,000
- Average: £22,655
- High: £32,000
Personal trainer salaries will vary depending on several factors:
- Type of venue – Is the personal trainer working for a gym, leisure centre, hotel or elsewhere? Is this venue selective or open to everyone?
- Venue size – Larger organisations such as national gym chains will typically pay their personal trainers a higher salary
- Employment style – Self-employed personal trainers have the potential to earn more than those in traditional employment
- Type of clients – Personal trainers working with athletes, sports stars and celebrities will earn substantially more than those working with other clients
- General salary factors – These include location (with employers in London paying more) and candidate experience
For example, an experienced personal trainer working in a luxury leisure centre with high-end clients will typically earn more than a newly qualified personal trainer working at a local gym.
These figures are based on averages and don’t take into consideration other benefits that might be on offer. These can include bonuses, flexible working and holiday allowance, amongst other things.
What does a personal trainer do?
Let’s break down the job description by examining what responsibilities a personal trainer might have during a typical week:
- Creating fitness & diet programmes – Working with clients to develop tailored fitness and diet programmes that meet their personal goals, including recommending home exercises, gym workouts and nutritional advice
- Leading gym sessions – Guiding clients through workouts, based on pre-written fitness plans
- Performing gym inductions – Inducting new gym members, including demonstrating gym equipment, providing facility tours and discussing fitness goals
- Performing fitness assessments – Measuring height, weight and body fat percentage to determine client fitness levels
- Leading exercise classes – Organising and leading group exercise classes such as yoga, aerobics, weights classes and more
- Monitoring clients – Maintaining strong relationships with clients and checking in on their progress regularly, recording client progress and overseeing workouts to ensure equipment is used correctly
- Recruiting new clients – Speaking to current and prospective gym users and encouraging them to sign up for personal training sessions
- Maintaining personal fitness – Maintaining own health and fitness and keeping up with industry trends and information to act as a positive role model for clients
- General admin – Performing general admin duties such as booking clients in at reception, analysing client data and reporting on client progress
What do personal trainers need?
As personal trainers act as mentors to anyone wishing to lose weight, gain muscle, or otherwise improve their health, they should possess a certain level of expertise, as well as a personal interest, in these areas. A strong set of interpersonal skills can also hugely increase job prospects.
Requirements will vary depending on the location and company, but generally, here’s what employers are looking for:
Junior personal trainer jobs generally ask for candidates to have previous experience working in a gym, leisure centre or similar location, usually as a gym or fitness instructor.
Senior personal trainer jobs will normally request that candidates have several years of experience as a personal trainer. At senior level, personal trainers may also choose to specialise, for example in a specific exercise, like yoga or Pilates, or working with certain clients, such as those with long-term medical conditions or pre and post natal. A strong online presence with evidence of client results will impress top employers.
Personal trainer skills
A good set of soft skills, especially interpersonal skills, are essential for personal trainers. These include:
- Communication: Communicating verbally with a wide range of clients from different backgrounds and at different fitness levels, in addition to working with fellow staff and team members
- Rapport building: Building strong relationships and a high level of trust with clients over an extended period
- Organisation: Excellent time management skills when managing and adhering to client schedules and the ability to juggle multiple tasks at once
- Problem-solving: Dealing with any problems that arise such as helping clients with exercise equipment, fitness and nutrition queries and adapting personal exercise routines if circumstances change
- Patience and resilience: Remaining calm, focused and determined in stressful situations and busy environments and when clients are facing difficulties
- Enthusiasm: A positive, enthusiastic disposition and the natural ability to motivate and inspire others
- Customer service: Excellent customer service skills
- Understanding of safeguarding: A strong understanding of safeguarding practises to protect clients’ well-being
These more industry-specific skills are also a huge bonus:
- Fitness industry knowledge: Sound knowledge of and interest in the health and fitness industry
- Nutrition: A sound understanding of the nutrients within food and the ability to recommend healthy balanced meal plans to clients
- Exercise specialism: Expertise knowledge within a particular fitness area, such as muscle building, weight loss, or sports
Personal trainer qualifications
A university degree is not mandatory for personal trainers, but holding one in a sports or fitness related subject can significantly increase job prospects.
Other qualifications are essential though —all employers will expect candidates to have achieved a Level 2 Gym Instructor qualification and most will also expect a Level 3 Personal Training qualification, though this can sometimes be completed on the job.
The full list of useful qualifications for aspiring personal trainers is as follows:
Level 2 Gym Instructor qualification
The Level 2 Gym Instructor qualification is the industry standard for anyone working in health and fitness. It allows candidates to practise as a fitness instructor and provides the foundation for a career in personal training. The course can be completed online either through an apprenticeship or by applying directly. It covers:
- Delivering gym inductions
- Performing basic fitness testing
- Simple exercise programming
- Teaching group exercise classes
- Gym maintenance, such as cleaning and monitoring equipment
Entry requirements for this course are two or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D).
Level 3 Personal Trainer qualification
Building on the skills learnt in the Level 2 Gym Instructor qualification, the Level 3 Personal Trainer qualification allows candidates to practise as a personal trainer. This course can also be studied online at various institutions and must be accredited by the Register of Exercise Professionals (REP) or the Chartered Institute for Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA). Some gyms and leisure centres also allow personal trainers to complete this qualification alongside their first personal training role.
The Level 3 Personal Trainer qualification covers the following areas:
- Advanced exercise programming
- Nutritional advice
- Training in one-to-one support
- Charging your own rates
Entry requirements for this course are slightly more advanced than the Level 2 — four or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C).
Candidates with a degree in a sports-related subject will have a strong advantage when looking for job opportunities.
Relevant degrees include:
- Fitness and personal training
- Health and fitness management
- Sports science
Further qualifications such as a Masters degree are not essential, though the knowledge gained from these degrees may increase employability.
Public liability insurance
Public liability insurance is essential for self-employed personal trainers who want to protect themselves. It provides cover from legal claims by clients, for example if an accident occurs in the workplace.
Personal trainers should register with the Register of Exercise Professionals (REP).
First Aid Certificate
While not compulsory, being qualified in First Aid is highly desirable. First Aid qualifications should include a Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) certificate.
Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
Continuing Professional Development is the process by which personal trainers continue to educate themselves throughout their careers. It ensures that they are up to date with industry developments and can perform their jobs safely and efficiently.
A wide range of online courses and activities are available for personal trainers to log as part of their CPD. Subjects available to study include specific health conditions, types of exercises and their benefits and more detailed nutritional advice. Some personal trainers choose to take CPD classes in exercises that are trending online, to make themselves more marketable to clients while also fulfilling their development goals.
What is expected of personal trainers?
Personal trainers are normally expected to commit to the following:
- Full-time hours – Exact hours vary, but will almost always include weekends, evenings and early mornings
- Long hours – Personal trainers may need to work long days up to 12 hours when building up their clientele
- Location – Most commonly a gym or leisure centre, but can also include hotels, holiday resorts, cruise ships or outdoors
- Occasional travel – For self-employed personal trainers, it’s not uncommon to travel directly to clients’ homes
Personal trainer benefits
Working as a personal trainer can be highly rewarding in multiple ways. Benefits will depend on whether a personal trainer is employed by an organisation or is self-employed, but can include:
- Gym membership
- Holiday allowance
- Pension scheme
- Annual bonuses
- Flexible working
- Training and development
Who employs personal trainers?
Health & fitness is a continually growing industry, and many people benefit from the assistance of one-on-one guidance in the gym, so personal training is becoming more and more lucrative as a career choice.
Most gyms across the UK will employ multiple personal trainers, and opportunities are also available in other locations.
Often personal trainers will work on a self-employed basis, where they will pay a gym a fee to trade and work within their premises, but they are responsible for securing their own clients, who will usually pay them an hourly rate.
Typical personal trainer employees include:
- Leisure centres
- Hotels and spas
- Holiday resorts
- Health clubs
- Cruise ships
- Outdoor centres
- Corporate offices
- Personal training studios
- Armed forces locations
Which junior jobs progress to personal trainer roles?
While vocational qualifications are more important for those looking to become a personal trainer, experience can also be incredibly beneficial. There is one major role that feeds into a personal training career exceptionally well:
Fitness instructors help gym members with exercises and workouts. Their tasks include performing gym inductions, leading exercise classes and cleaning gym equipment. This role prepares candidates well for personal training as it enhances customer service and communication skills, as well as allowing them to experience working in a fitness setting. Fitness instructors will also regularly work and network with personal trainers, so can learn skills directly from them.
Which senior jobs do personal trainers progress to?
There are no specific senior roles that personal training leads directly into. Most personal trainers will remain in this role for the rest of their careers but will earn a higher salary and access better job opportunities as their expertise increases. Personal trainers with a reputation for achieving great results, and those with a popular online presence, will be able to land the best roles. Companies will often ask to employ them, and clients will demand their services — rather than the other way around. There is also huge scope for self-employment and starting your own business, which can lead to bigger salaries and benefits.
Personal trainer job description – conclusion
Working as a personal trainer can be challenging and requires great resilience and drive, but it can also be a hugely rewarding career. This job offers the unique experience of being able to help clients achieve life-changing goals, and seeing the physical results can be incredibly satisfying and inspiring.
With the continuing growth of the health and fitness industry, personal training jobs are abundant across the UK and are likely to keep increasing. Roles are also expanding beyond gyms and into all areas of life — from luxury holiday resorts to corporate wellness initiatives — providing new and exciting opportunities.
The significant number of self-employed personal trainers also makes this an excellent career choice for anyone desiring more job flexibility, and free or discounted gym memberships, pension schemes and other benefits remain on offer for those in traditional employment.