How to go from gym instructor to personal trainer in 3 doable stages

How to go from gym instructor to personal trainer in 3 doable stages
How to go from gym instructor to personal trainer in 3 doable stages. Photo credit:

[dropcap]P[/dropcap]icture this: you are a successful gym instructor with a good basic knowledge of fitness training. You are always in demand but you feel like there’s something missing.

After gaining your Level 2 Gym Instructor Certificate and working in your local leisure centre for two years, you feel there’s only so much you can do to help your clients achieve the most they possibly can.

Your work is limited to the four walls of the gym and one or two weekly sessions. Not to mention that if your clients lose motivation in between, it can be difficult to deliver the results you both want.

You don’t have the time to provide nutritional support, comprehensively structured exercise programmes and in-depth training sessions – the 3-part recipe to maintaining fitness. You may not even have the expertise yet.

You desire to take it to that next level. Your passion to get your clients looking, feeling and performing at their best, means that you are already prepped as a character to become a remarkable personal trainer.

No-one transforms into a sought-after PT overnight. You have to work at it and so, here is a 3-step guide to get you started:


You can never become the personal trainer you want to be, without learning the basics first.

Personal trainers require different qualifications to gym instructors and most start by taking the Level 3 Personal Training Certificate. It’s a must-have qualification for kick-starting your career as a personal trainer.

You will develop all the anatomical, physiological and nutritional knowledge you need to train your clients safely and effectively. You will also learn how to design and adapt training programmes for different types of clients because a key part of personal training is tailoring your exercise regimes to your clients’ goals and abilities.

You will, of course, learn how to motivate and communicate with the client and provide the nutritional support they need outside of the gym.


Every gym instructor reaches a point in their career where it is time to leave the confines of the gym and branch out on their own. As a gym instructor, you are reliant on the gym you work for.

[quote_box_left]As a personal trainer, you answer to nobody but yourself and find your own clients.[/quote_box_left]

Now, when I say ”leave the gym” I’m talking about getting outside too (not just cutting the cord from your local club). Don’t limit your sessions to the four walls of a fitness studio…even if that fitness studio belongs to you.

Part of your role is to always go the extra mile to help your clients achieve their goals but not all of your clients will automatically be ultra-motivated by treadmills and crosstrainers.

Variety is the spice of life, so why not take your training outdoors? The advantages of outdoor training speak for themselves and the possibilities are endless. Your clients will benefit from:

  • A greater space to exercise
  • Less travelling to and from the gym
  • A more cost-effective way to train (no gym fees)

Almost any environment can be used for exercise and some clients will find training outside (or at home) much more motivating than the gym. In fact, they may feel even more inclined to keep up your sessions if you come to them – allowing them to exercise on their own turf or during their lunch break.

[quote_box_center] Note: Don’t abandon the gym as a client-pool straightaway – build up your own fitness business gradually until you have a big enough client base to go it alone. [/quote_box_center]


The most successful personal trainers offer ongoing support between training sessions – both emotional and nutritional (providing that they have the nutritional qualifications).

The start of a new routine can be difficult for clients, so get prepared to offer them your email address or phone number in case they have any questions.

You could even consider becoming a virtual fitness instructor too – offering pre-recorded sessions that clients can carry out at home in between regular sessions.

The bottom line is that you unlock a world of opportunity once you take that step from gym instructor to professional PT. You just need the appetite first (which you probably have if you’ve read this far).

[quote_box_center]Got your own thoughts on this? Use the comments below to speak your mind. Photo credit: [/quote_box_center]

1 thought on “How to go from gym instructor to personal trainer in 3 doable stages”

  1. Thanks for sharing this Mark. Becoming a personal trainer is always something I’ve wanted to do but I keep putting it off. I have the knowledge and experience down, just need to get off my backside and get qualified haha! Maybe 2014 is the year…

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