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