How to become a personal trainer

Do you train yourself and shape your body with weights? If so, then you have a basic knowledge of weight training and what it does for your body

So, you're thinking of being a personal trainer.

Personal training is one of those occupations that barely existed just 20 years ago. The current fitness boom, which started in the 1980s and is still showing no signs of abating, has seen an extraordinary surge in the demand for one-on-one fitness training services. The rise of personal training as a profession has been the market response to this demand.

So if you're interested in health and fitness and are attracted to the idea of self-employment, then a career as a personal trainer may be just right for you. But where to start?

A good first step can be to ask yourself some questions about your motivations and expectations. Here are some you may find useful.

Why do I want to be a personal trainer?

It may be because you're passionate about health and fitness yourself and want to pass on that knowledge to others. Or because you like the idea of self-employment.

What would make me stand out as a personal trainer?

For example, past experience in sports, coaching or teaching. Or working for a small business where you're in charge of marketing, sales or social media.

Some of your past experiences or jobs might already be helping you more than you realize. For example you might have a strong background in sport, dance, coaching and teaching, which gives you a solid understanding of how a series of structured training sessions can lead towards a long term goal.

Do you train yourself and shape your body with weights? If so, then you have a basic knowledge of weight training and what it does for your body. This then places you in a good position to approach one of the personal trainers who operate out of your gym and ask if they'd be open to offering you some advice or insights into the industry. If you strike a particularly good rapport, they may even let you "shadow" with them. This way you'll pick up on the way they structure their sessions and how they correct and cue their clients. You also may have a business background.

Can you commit to the lifestyle of a personal trainer?

This includes early mornings, split shifts, marketing yourself, and giving energy to each and every one of your clients.

Would you work for a gym franchise? Or do you want the flexibility of running your own small business of personal training or group classes? If so, you'll need to understand that it's about more than just the personal training. You'll also be in sales and marketing, a huge aspect of running your own business, especially if you're interested in the longevity of that business.

There are currently over 40,000 registered personal trainers with 16,000 new trainers every year. These figures indicate that many personal trainers drop off after a year or two in the industry. So having the passion and finding the right course is what's going to give you a promising career in the fitness industry.

Regardless of your experience levels, becoming a professionally qualified personal trainer does require some certification. TAFE NSW offers comprehensive hands-on training with professionals who already work in the industry. This can give you the right amount of training, knowledge and business systems to enter the industry with confidence.