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Starting out in personal training

Posted on: March 12th, 2013 by thekensingtonstudio

To many, personal training can seem like the dream career. The freedom of flexible hours and a non-office environment, as well as the opportunity to change people’s lives can make it seem like an easy career choice. But with the plethora of information available out there, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out where to get certified and where to find a suitable place of employment. The following post will provide some information for people looking to get started in the UK personal training industry.

Firstly, it is important to choose a reputable company in which to become certified. To work as a personal trainer, you will need to obtain a Level 3 Personal Trainer certification; however, you must first also become certified as a Level 2 Fitness Instructor.

The Level 2 coursework will provide a basic understanding of physiology and anatomy and will allow you to teach group fitness classes. The Level Three certification is more specific to individual training sessions and how to structure training programmes, among other things.

The most respected personal training companies in the UK are The Training Room, Premier Training, YMCAfit, and Discovery Learning.

Personal training certifications can be obtained in as little as four weeks via an intensive in-person course, which can be completed on a full-time or part-time basis depending on your existing work schedule. Many companies also offer online distance-learning options, which can take anywhere from two months to a year to complete, depending on the pace of study.

Once you have acquired a certification, it is usually important to become insured through an organisation such as FitPro or the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs). All personal trainers must also register with REPs to prove their status as professional body-registered.

From there, you must find a place to work! There are generally three options available to trainers in the UK:

  1. Work out of a commercial gym, earning an hourly wage: This applies to gyms such as Virgin Active and Equinox, where the gym supplies you with clients and you earn a fixed amount per session. This amount can vary between 20 and 60 per cent of the cost of the actual session. Splitting the profit allows you to use the gym rent-free, so you do not have to worry about any upfront fees.
  2. Work out of a commercial gym, retaining all income but paying a monthly rent: This is the more common approach used by gyms such as LA Fitness and Fitness First. You pay a fixed amount to the gym each month which allows you to train as many clients as you wish in the space, taking home all profits. The more sessions you complete, the more money you end up with. The amount charged for rent varies widely depending on the gym ‘s location and how many other  trainers work out of it, but generally starts at around £600 and increases to £1300 and beyond per month.
  3. Work as a freelance personal trainer out of a park or private studio: Many trainers consider this the ideal option, as it provides the best opportunity for maximal profit. Working as a freelance trainer, you decide what your hourly rate will be. You can train people outdoors or in their own homes or offices (you will need a licence to do this) with minimal equipment. Alternatively, you could find a private personal training studio such as The Kensington Studio to work from. The Kensington Studio charges an hourly rate for those trainers which wish to use the studio on a part-time basis, and a monthly rental fee for those who have a larger existing client base.
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