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Is it Worth Getting a Personal Training Certification?

Personal training is a growing industry, and despite lockdown-related setbacks, the industry will continue to go from strength to strength. But is it worth getting a personal training certification? This article will examine the evidence.

Compared to many industries, the cost and time involved in getting certified as a personal trainer are minimal. Compare that to the average salary of a personal trainer, and the answer is a resounding yes. While it is possible to train people without qualifications, you are unable to get insured. Which is a risk that is not worth taking.

Now that we know the answer, let’s dive in and see why personal training certification is a worthwhile endeavour.

Is it Worth Getting a Personal Training Certification?

Many personal trainers often complain about the costs of personal training certifications, and they can sometimes seem expensive. But not if you put those costs in context. Many personal trainer certifications cost less than £2,500. This is almost half of what a plumber would pay for their qualification.

When assessing whether getting qualified is worthwhile, you need to look at several factors:

  • The overall cost of the qualification
  • Value of it in terms of lifetime earnings
  • Risk of not paying to get qualified
  • Value for money of that course
  • Actual education value of the course

The overall cost of most qualifications is around £2,500, but this can vary a lot. Finding the right course for you is important, and this may mean paying a lot more or a lot less. If you were to analyse the cost of a course immediately after paying for it, then it may seem like a lot of money.

But you only have to take that qualification once, and your personal training career could last decades. In terms of long-term value, £2,500 for 30 years in the job is amazing! But let’s take a look at the other factors that can influence your decision.

What are the Average Earnings of a Personal Trainer?

According to Insure4Sport, the average income for a UK personal trainer is between £20,000 and £35,000. However, the top personal trainers can earn as much as £60,000 per year. As you can see, the upfront cost of getting qualified is just a drop in the ocean, if you are planning on making a career out of personal training.

But remember, that once you have your personal training qualification, there are many other revenue streams available to you. Online coaching, workout program templates, eBooks, courses, small-group coaching, and bootcamps, are just a few examples of directions in which your career can go.

Do I Need a Personal Training Certification?

This is a bit of a grey area. Legally, there is nothing stopping you from training people without a qualification. However, it is impossible to get insured without one. Even the best personal trainers in the world run the risk of injuring a client or being accused of something, and without insurance, you are at serious risk of being sued.

Another issue is that most gyms will not hire a personal trainer without any qualifications. So your career options will be limited. Even local councils are getting more aware of personal training, and often require PTs to pay fees for training in their parks. Without insurance, you are unlikely to get permission.

But the biggest issue is that without learning how to become a personal trainer, you are unlikely to be very good. Personal trainers need a good knowledge of nutrition and physiology to succeed. They also need to learn about business management and marketing.

Most personal trainer courses are really good about teaching all of this. Without taking a qualification, you are basically an untrained amateur. The days of clueless trainers skating by on their good looks alone are rapidly vanishing. Considering the low price of most personal trainer certifications, and the huge increase in quality, there really is no excuse to avoid them.

Are Personal Training Certifications Worth the Money?

20 years ago, there were many personal training certifications that weren’t worth the paper they were printed on. But those days are long gone. Today, courses are much more regulated, and thanks to websites such as this, it has never been easier to find out which courses are the best for you.

So far we’ve looked at the benefits of having a personal trainer certification, but we haven’t talked about the benefits of the courses themselves. A really good personal trainer course will teach you a lot about what to expect once qualified.

You will get lots of practice working with a diverse range of clients. The courses will provide practical and theoretical knowledge. Then there is the nutrition and fitness knowledge that the courses offer. These courses are great for building confidence, in yourself and in your abilities.

You may feel that getting your certificate is basically just a box-ticking exercise, but this is rarely the case. Personal training can be a very challenging job, and good trainers will never stop learning. Ensuring that your foundation knowledge is as good as possible is absolutely necessary.

Is it Worth Getting a Personal Training Certification? Final Thoughts

Considering the low cost of most personal training certificates, and the high potential earnings as a personal trainer. It seems obvious that getting certified as a personal trainer is worth your time and money. Personal training without a certificate is a bad idea for a number of reasons. It can reduce your job options, leave you exposed to legal action if you make a mistake, and it will leave you without the foundational knowledge you need to succeed in this industry.

If you would like to learn more about what it is like to be a personal trainer, why not check out our article on how many hours personal trainers work each week? Or you can check out our article on how much personal trainers earn, to give you a more accurate idea of average income, and your earning potential.

What Hours do Personal Trainers Work?

Personal training is a career that is growing in popularity as many people decide that a 9 to 5 office job is not for them. But what hours do personal trainers work?

Personal trainers who are employed by a gym will either work an early morning shift (6am to 2pm) or a late shift (2pm to 10pm). Some employed personal trainers work split shifts where they come in for morning clients, have a rest during the middle of the day and come back again from 6pm to 2pm. Self-employed personal trainers will employ a similar model.

As you can see, personal training shift patterns can be all over the place. In this article, we are going to look at the different types of personal trainer, and how this can affect weekly hours.

What Hours do Personal Trainers Work?

There are three main types of personal trainer: Part-time employed, full-time employed, and full-time self-employed. Each type has very different work schedules, and varying degrees of autonomy on their work diary.

What Hours Does a Part-Time Employed Personal Trainer Work?

Part-time employed personal trainers can be further split into two categories:

  1. Those who work regular gym hours as an instructor but can then train clients outside of those hours without paying rent to the gym.
  2. Those who work as fitness instructors doing normal shifts but are allowed to train clients during their shifts (often splitting the money with the gym).

Group 1 will have to schedule sessions around their regular gym hours. If they work a morning shift (6am to 2pm) they would be free to train clients from 2pm until closing. As you can imagine, this can lead to some insane working hours.

It is not rare for personal trainers in this group to do a 6am to 2pm shift, and then have sessions from 5pm until 10pm. There are two reasons why PTs chose this option (if offered).

Firstly, it is a great way to meet new clients. You spend 8 hours on the gym floor where you are encouraged to talk and interact with members.

Secondly, it is very low risk. With no rent to pay, and an income from your fitness instructing you can slowly build up a profitable side-business, and if it goes well take the plunge and go full time.

Group 2 have a much better work/home life balance, at the expense of earning less money and having less flexible hours. The idea here is that you are employed as a fitness instructor, but you can also perform PT sessions during your shift provided that you split your income with the gym.

Whether you are able to do PT sessions outside of your working hours or not depends on which gym you are working for.

What Hours Does a Full-Time Employed Personal Trainer Work?

You would think that a full-time PT would work the same hours as a full-time fitness instructor. Either the early morning shift until after lunch, or the afternoon and evening shift. But actually, a split shift is much more common.

While this isn’t much fun for full-time employed PTs, it does make a lot of sense. Most people in the UK still work a 9-5 shift. Which means that they book their PT sessions either before work or afterwards.

There isn’t much point in hiring a personal trainer and having them hanging around the gym from 11am until 4pm when the gym is empty. Yes, you have people who work different shift patterns, and the retired, but City gyms in particular tend to be very quiet during this period.

PTs are therefore expected to work 6am until 10am, then they come back at 5pm until 9pm. This may not sound much fun, but this is pretty much how self-employed PTs end up working too!

What Hours Does a Self-Employed Personal Trainer Work?

If you are a fully self-employed personal trainer, you have the luxury of choosing your own hours. Theoretically you could start your week’s work at 2pm on a Friday, and finish at 3pm. You probably wouldn’t earn much though.

Most PTs end up doing a split shift, not because they want to, but because the times that their clients want to work together end up being before and after standard working hours.

Often a self-employed PT will start off around 6am or 7am in the morning. Train clients until 10am, then they will do their own workout, and go home for a few hours. There they can have a nap, get some food, and do some admin work or studying.

They will then come back around 5pm, and train solidly until 9pm or 10pm. Some trainers work even longer hours. Fitting in clients before and after lunch, so that they actually end up spending their whole day at the gym. This is a great way to earn more money, and you will also end up getting more clients through gym interactions this way.

Most PTs work Saturday mornings, and some will even work Saturday afternoons. While some will also work Sundays, this is pretty rare.

That’s the beauty of being self-employed though, you get out of the job exactly what you put in. Brand new PTs can really supercharge their businesses by working long hours six or seven days per week.

But as they get more experienced, they can look at ways to earn more money while working fewer hours. As a self-employed PT your job is not just the time you spend in the gym though. Many PTs also run websites, have social media channels, and will have systems in place to bring in new clients.

How Many Hours Do PTs Work?

There are no certainties when it comes to this answer, as there are way too many variables. But here is a rough guide to how many hours different types of PTs work per week:

  • Part-time employed PT (regular gym hours and clients outside) = 50 hours (40 hours regular/10 hours PT)
  • Part-time employed PT (regular gym hours) = 40 hours
  • Full-time employed PT = 40 hours
  • Self-employed PT (beginner) = 10 hours (clients) 20 hours (trial sessions, admin, online work)
  • Self-employed PT (intermediate) = 40 hours (clients) 10 hours (admin, online work)
  • Self-employed PT (advanced) = 30 hours (clients) 10 hours (admin, online work)*


*Advanced PTs often increase their prices per hour, experiment with group training, and find other ways to work less hours but earn more than intermediate PTs. They run much more efficient businesses.

What hours do personal trainers work?

As you can see, most PTs work between 40 hours and 50 hours per week. But you won’t necessarily get paid for all of those hours. There is a lot of unpaid admin etc … Luckily, the session pay per hour is very good, and it is certainly possible to earn a high income through personal training. Once you have a successful business.

If you enjoyed this article, then why not check out this article which looks at how much a personal trainer can earn.


Which is The Best Personal Training Qualification (UK)

Which is The Best Personal Training Qualification (UK)

This is a question that comes up a lot online.

In my opinion, the best PT qualification is the one that best fits your learning style, timeframe and ambition.

It also must be regulated, offer you the latest content in the UK and help you to succeed in the industry, all of which I’ll come to in a second, but when you ask this question on social media, you tend to get people say –

“I did my course with XYZ…”

“Check out Joe Bloggs Courses, they’re the best…”

But they were the “best course” for that person and by asking this question, you tend to come away with more questions than answers!

Which is The Best Personal Training Qualification (UK)

So, here are 5 things to help you find The Best Personal Training Qualification for YOU.

  1. Leading Awarding Bodies UK

Each Course Provider is linked to an awarding body, whose role it is to set the qualification standards and content. The top two in the UK, which you may have already heard of, are Active IQ and YMCA Awards. You may also want to ask if the courses are governed by UK Active and Ofqual. Ask a provider this and that will show you really know your stuff.

  1. CIMSPA and REPS accredited

CIMSPA, the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity, and REPS, the Register of Exercise Professionals are professional bodies that provide support within the industry. In 2020 they joined forces with CIMSPA acquiring REPS.

  1. Personal Training Course Content

People tend to state that PT course content is pretty standard across the board, that it just gives you the bare minimum needed to enter the industry, but I beg to differ. We use Active IQ as the awarding body for our course delivery, as they update their courses regularly, but it is also how that content is put across to the student.

Understanding the content to pass the course is one thing, knowing how to implement it in real life is another.

  1. Personal Training Course Delivery

There are a few different types of course delivery out there – classroom based, home study, on-line or blended, which is a mix of the three. Depending on your learning style, your time frame and even your location can depend on which courses will suit your needs.

Classroom delivery can be anything from 4 to 10 weeks, generally on a two or three day a week schedule and some that are full-time. Here everyone tends to work at a similar pace and have set deadlines to complete the course, mainly because as you finish there is another course starting the following week.

With home study you’re sent everything needed to complete the course and left to your own devices to get work submitted by a set date. On-line can be very hit and miss, if it is fully on-line, expect to pay extra for physical workbooks, submission of work and practical assessment days with a Tutor/Assessor. Not always but there tend to be hidden costs, so please make sure you check this before you enrol.

Blended learning is, how we deliver our courses, a good fit for an all-round student. You have the flexibility of home study, the on-line support from your Tutor and the face-to-face sessions as and when needed. Plus, no strict time frame in which to complete that can be completed around current employment.

  1. On-going Support

A lot of providers over the years have marketed their courses with such lines as “Become your own boss,” “Earn upwards of £60k a year,” “Work your own hours” and so on. But they don’t give you the support to do this. To be a Personal Trainer you need a lot more in your locker than just a sound knowledge of the body.

Most PT’s leave the industry within 2 years, the main reason being, because they can’t attract enough clients to make it a worthwhile living. The course providers don’t generally teach you any sales, marketing or business aspects – which is crucial to your growth as a trainer.

You need to go with a provider that is there for you long term, giving you on-going support as and when needed and not just one that has an outdated unit in the manual about business.


So, to recap –

  1. Make sure that the provider is linked to one of the top awarding bodies which is both UK Active and Ofqual governed.
  2. Ask if the course is CIMPSA (and REPS) accredited.
  3. Question how the provider helps you put the content you study into real life practice.
  4. Decide which course delivery model will be best for your needs, timescale and learning style then search for a course that meets your needs.
  5. On-going support is the most important thing for your long-term success. You can be an amazing training with all the knowledge in your head, but if you can sell yourself in a gym full of clients your business will struggle.


If you’ve found this article helpful, or would like to get more hints and tips about courses and how to make it in the fitness industry head over to our Instagram page – www.instagram.com/theptmentoruk

Sales Funnels for Personal Trainers

Sales Funnels for Personal Trainers

What are Sales Funnels and why should you have them in your fitness business?

With a sales funnel you can attract more leads into your business then guide them, from start to finish; to the outcome of turning them into a paying client.

Generally, there are 4 steps to a funnel – Awareness, Interest, Decision and Action.

By knowing these, you can use certain tactics to improve the number of prospects going from one step to the next.

Which can have a HUGE impact on your business.

Why are sales funnels important?

They highlight the path that you want your prospect to follow.

Helping them go from a prospect, to a lead, to a client.

By understanding your funnel, you can find and block the holes that prospects and leads may be falling through.

Which can stop them converting into clients – which is your main outcome.

You can go a lot more in-depth with various steps of your funnel and optimize it with the use of automations to get people back in or send them down a different funnel altogether.

But we’ll just focus on the basics.

How does it work? 

As mentioned above there are generally 4 steps, or stages, to a funnel – Awareness, Interest, Decision and Action. Known as the acronym AIDA.

Here is a breakdown of someone going through your funnel at each stage…

Awareness –

This is the moment where you first capture a prospects attention.

It could have been an Instagram post, a Facebook post their friend has shared, a quick search on Google or a good old-fashioned word of mouth referral.

The prospect has now become aware of you and your business.

Sometimes, if the offer is right, prospects may buy from you immediately. Especially from a referral.

But most of the time, the awareness stage is you trying to grab attention and get people to see your business.

Interest –

Here is where a prospect starts to do their research. They’re looking at your content, comparing prices and thinking about of some options.

This is where your content is needed to capture that interest, so they don’t need to look elsewhere. If your content is sell, sell, sell they can be put off as there’s no value in what you’re saying.

Show your expertise in your area to help them make the decision to take the next step. Reach out and ask if there’s anything you can help them with too.

Decision –

They’ve seen you; they’ve followed you; they’ve even interacted with you – now they are read to buy.

But you may not be the only option on the table.

So, this is the time to make your best offer. It could be FREE access to your private Facebook group, a recipe book, a branded hoodie or something else that may sway their decision in your favour.

Whatever the case, make it irresistible so they take action.

Action –

We’re at the stage where he/she is about to act. They’re about to buy and become a customer.

Although, just because they’re at the bottom of your funnel doesn’t mean you’re 100% done, you still have some work to do.

You want to make sure that this one purchase turns into another, again and again.

This is the customer retention phase. Make sure you thank them for buying from you, send them a welcome pack and make sure they now you’re there to answer any questions prior to their first session.

Sales Funnel Example –

Run a competition on social media to share a post, such as a giveaway for reaching X amount of page likes/followers.

Ask existing followers to share your post and tag in people that AREN’T already following you, bringing new interest to your page/profile.

Prepare some content prior to inform your new audience on how you help, what it is that you offer and how. Continue to educate you audience.

Offer something out such as the FREE options mentioned above to peak their interest into potentially making a decision. Offering a free discovery call to anyone that wants to enquire heading them towards taking action.

Those that take action, again thank them and so on…this time add a refer-a-friend voucher into your welcome pack where they get something if a friend of theirs signs up to have some sessions.

Which would then create a new funnel.

You can have various different funnels into your business, all running at the same time. Through a website, social media, word of mouth and more.

Choose one that helps you in your business at the moment and go with it – no need to pay for a website if you’re just starting out. You can build your social media up, create engaging posts that showcase what you do then start your funnel as above.

Going forwards you can add in a website, email marketing software and more to do some funky automations to keep prospects going along their respective funnels steadily.

If you’d like to discuss this article further, don’t hesitate to get in contact – info@theptmentor.uk 

Evolution of the Fitness Industry?

With Covid-19 hitting the UK hard in March we saw health, fitness and leisure facilities shut their doors.

Ideas of how-to carry on delivering 1-2-1 and group sessions, to clients and members, whilst following government guidelines came up in many a conversation and social media post.

Then, to be quashed by stricter rules the day or so after.

Overnight people, which seemed like the entire fitness industry, went on-line to deliver exercise sessions.

So, what have we learnt from this first month?

Firstly, that we should have all brought shares in Zoom – but also that we can adapt.

Adapting to a new way of working, the use of new technologies and for some – stepping out of their comfort zone.

In a roundabout way, this has forced many people to look at their business differently.

With a new on-line offering, and the fact that everyone is stuck at home, this has led to an influx of potential clients. People are all looking on-line for workouts, motivation and accountability.

A lot more have seemed to take up exercise at this time too, maybe to make their day go quicker, because they can’t get out and about or maybe to keep both their physical and mental health in check.

Which again has led to potential opportunity.

From Personal Trainers and Group Exercise Instructors to Yoga and Pilates instructors, everyone has started to deliver on-line sessions.

Facilities even transitioned on-line with “studio” classes now being taught to members live, at the time they would have been on site, in the conform of their own home.

What does this mean going forwards?
Some on-line sessions have become so popular the trainers/instructors are probably thinking what’s the point in going back to a gym, saving them having to pay the gym a monthly rent to use their facilities.

This could then open the door for those looking to step into the industry as there will be jobs available.

I can see gym’s offering out a virtual membership to include home Personal Training sessions and home class participation.

They’d be silly not too, right?

With everyone working out from home they may see their membership as something they don’t need, forcing gyms to adapt.

At this moment in time we need to think of new ways of working and new offerings. Showing both potential and existing clients that use your services will still benefit from them.

It’s great to see so many out there still delivering great session’s virtually, starting up accountability groups and offering out new on-line packages for clients to follow on their own.

Are you struggling in your fitness business with the effects of Covid-19? If you’d like to discuss this article further, don’t hesitate to get in contact – info@theptmentor.uk

How do I become a Personal Trainer?

In the UK courses are recognised in levels. Such as Level 2 for Gym Instructing, Level 3 for Personal Training and Level 4 for Advanced Personal Training and specialist courses such as Lower Back Pain.

Courses are regulated by industry standards in regard to qualification structure and content. The bodies to look out for when researching courses would be OFQUAL, REPS and CIMSPA.

We are an approved training centre with Active IQ, who are the leading awarding organisation in the country. Their role is to design, regulate and certificate courses keeping to the latest industry standards.

Course training providers, like us at The PT Mentor UK, are the ones that teach you the qualification, in-line with the above, to help you through the programme and (speaking for ourselves here) give you on-going support to help you become a success in the industry.

To become a Personal Trainer, you would need to have completed a Level 2 qualification before moving onto a Level 3 qualification.

With the most common route being – Lv2 Gym Instructor – Lv3 Personal Trainer – Lv4 Advanced Personal Trainer, but this is not the only path to take.

For example, Lv2 Group Exercise Instructor (formally Exercise to Music) to Lv3 Personal Trainer is another route.

When someone contacts us to discuss courses, we always ask which path they want to go or who they would ideally like to work with, as this can then help us have that discussion and map out the best route.

Above all you need to choose a provider that is going to work for you in terms of cost, timeframe and support. Do your research, ask questions and see if they’re a good fit for your needs.

If you’d like to discuss this article further, don’t hesitate to get in contact – info@theptmentor.uk

How Much Does a Personal Trainer Earn?

The average hourly rate for a Personal Trainer is £40 with some trainers earning up to the £100 mark in private training studios and top city centre clubs.

So, can you make good money as a Personal Trainer? Of course, you can, but just like with anything it takes dedication to learn your trade, understand your target client and market yourself well.

Some course providers advertise that you can earn upward of £50k a year, but they don’t tell you how to actually earn that once you’ve completed the course.

To earn this figure, you’d be looking at around 24 hours a week at £40 an hour, which isn’t too bad earnings wise for the number of hours. But you then have a few other things to consider…

Many gyms now employ Personal Trainers on a freelance basis which means you pay them rent to use their facilities. Rent costs jump around from facility to facility and city to city, but let’s say it’s £500 a month.

This has just taken £6,000 off your £50,000 income, but not a massive amount to make back. Around 3 sessions a week will cover your monthly rent based on these figures.

Tax, National Insurance and expenses need to be considered too. If you live on the outskirts of London for example and are drawn in by the higher hourly rate, you need to consider the gym rent will be higher and the possibility of travel costs on top.

Being freelance you will be able to claim all expenses, such as travel back on your tax return, but it will be something to consider as it’s still an outgoing expense each month.

Anything work related such as uniform, insurance, additional courses, equipment can all be claimed back against your tax return too.

There are some gyms/health clubs that take on employed Personal Trainers, meaning that they pay you a monthly wage, take care of your tax and national insurance, provide your uniform and a facility to work from.

However, most still tend to take a “rent” from your wage by taking a percentage of the hourly Personal Training fee you receive, plus all Personal Training is likely to be off shift.

This means that you may be contracted for 40 hours in the gym at a set wage, earning around £10-£12 an hour, then you do your Personal Training sessions around those set hours. If you had 20 clients a week, you’re now working 60 hours a week.

For the 20 hours that you’re doing the gym will take a cut, which could be more than 50%.

Meaning your 60 hours a week, before tax, National Insurance and travel, is earning you around £42,000 a year.

If you’re looking to get into the industry freelance Personal Training is the more profitable route as you can see from above. Please note these are only a rough number to show you the possibilities.

We always recommend to our students to start off in a commercial gym, even if part-time or one shift on a weekend, to get a foot in the door, get used to working with all different types of members and clients to then transition to a freelance trainer down the line.

If you’d like to discuss this article further, don’t hesitate to get in contact – info@theptmentor.uk