Have you always dreamed of working in sports and would you like to become a fitness trainer?
Do you know which courses you should take or what are the degrees that give you the status of a personal trainer?
No need to wait any longer, Superprof will now answer all of your questions.
Define Your Priorities to be a Fitness Trainer
Being a fitness professional means being in charge of giving fitness classes but also aerobics, weight training and muscle building.
It also means being an expert in nutrition in order to provide food and diet advice and provide adequate solutions for your clients. The more know-how you have, the easier it becomes to find clients for your fitness classes.
Before becoming a personal trainer, you should know that there are 3 possible locations where you can lead classes, namely in a gym, health club or fitness centre, at your home or the clients' homes, and at a place of business.
When choosing to offer sports coaching course at home, you must make sure to have enough room to be able to make all the movements needed for the fitness training of your students.
If this is not an option, why not practice outdoors with your students instead? At a park, a municipal pool, near a lake, etc.
For corporate sports classes, there are many work organizations that offer activities to their employees, usually on their lunch break (between 12pm and 2pm).
As the people who provide this kind of service often have a high turnover rate, you have a good chance of finding an opening.
For gym or fitness classes, all you'll need to do is apply to the location of your choice, but places are often more limited.
You can also try to apply to sports associations who are always in need of professionals to boost their courses and expand their variety of activities offered.
You can figure out where you fit the best by knowing what type of personal trainer you see yourself becoming...
Define your mission
To succeed in getting hired as a personal trainer or to gain more clients with your own business, it is imperative that get clear on what you can offer as sports activities. In other words, to specify your specialties and define what is your mission in order to reassure your future students.
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Depending on the personal fitness training you have chosen and according to your personal inclinations, you may be inclined to offer fitness programs to high-level athletes, or perhaps the elderly, youth or children, or to specialize with people with reduced mobility.
Whatever happens, you must:
- Define your goals and the ways you will reach them with each client.
- Have digital support such as with a website or blog that highlights who you are as a coach and what are the services you offer. This will help future students find you when they are looking for a coach and as well as to help current clients share your links with others.
- Include time for relaxation and leisure in each of your courses, especially by offering relaxation and stretching exercises at the end of the session to ensure the well-being of everyone and to help avoid aches and pains the following day.
- Constantly check the progress of your clients, making sure they are progressing reasonably and en route to attaining their goals.
- Get personal trainer insurance.
- Post a specific price policy for your courses: it is important that your rate is set based on the number of people. For example, generally you can offer individual lessons for between 1 to 3 students at a higher rate than your group lessons (for more than 3 students) where each person pays a lower rate (but there are more students paying).
Do not forget to offer a 1st free trial class as a "test lesson" so that everyone can get a clear idea of your personality and what you have to offer (this will also act as excellent advertising).
Training and Diplomas to Become a Sports Coach
Get accreditation for what you know
Of course, before you can offer your services and train clients in your coaching courses, you'll need to educate yourself and get certified, by obtaining an officially recognized diploma and training in the sports and fitness field.
It bears noting that the profession of a personal trainer is not (yet) legislated, so there is no official diploma to become a coach but this does not mean that you should skip this important step.
Check here for personal trainer qualifications here.
Your future students need to trust your qualities as a coach, your skills and your knowledge, because it is their health and body you are working with at the end of the day. On your side, it's your credibility as a professional which will be at stake.
Obtaining solid training in the sports sector will be a guarantee of quality for your clients, even if a personal trainer career is undoubtedly one of the professions that requires the most versatility in knowledge and skills.
As being a personal fitness trainer is a profession in connection with fitness and sports training, you must follow training related to these areas.
In addition, during your career, you will surely need to follow up with other complementary training to keep you current with new coaching methods and information.
There are many university courses which offer you a degree that will allow you to work in the sports and fitness field and eventually become a coach and trainer. There are honors degrees:
- Sports Studies BA (Hons)
- Sport Coaching and Development BA (Hons) top-up degree
- Physical Education BA (Hons)
- Sport Business Management BSc (Hons)
- Sport and Fitness BSc (Hons) top-up degree
Diplomas of higher education:
- Sport and Fitness
- Sport and Fitness with Coaching
and Certificates of higher education such as the certificate of Sport, Fitness and Management.
There are as many options as you can imagine. It will take some serious research and especially first defining your goals in order to help you choose the right option for you.
These days there are even online study options available, some which you can take on nights or weekends in order to take your training while employed in another sector.
You may also want to know how much you can expect to earn as a personal trainer...
Diplomas in personal training
Even if a university offers comprehensive training, the Ministry of Sports also allows everyone to become a coach through shorter and more specific training courses. These can be taken at private training schools offering personal training certification.
- Certificate in Personal Training
If you've already worked as a Gym Instructor, you can qualify as a personal trainer by getting a Certificate in Personal Training.
This course will qualify you so you can offer clients fitness, lifestyle and nutritional advice and create custom-made plans.
- Diploma in Personal Training
To become a personal trainer you would normally be an experienced fitness instructor with either of the following qualifications:
- Level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instructing – Gym
- Level 2 Diploma in Health, Fitness, and Exercise Instruction
- Level 2 Diploma in Instructing Exercise and Fitness
You will learn how to work 1-2-1 with clients, but also how to run group classes.
- Advanced Diploma in Personal Training
If you want to take further qualifications to specify even further in this career, you can take the advanced training and receive either:
- Level 3 Diploma in Fitness Instructing and Personal Training or
- Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training
Some advanced courses include teaching you how to be an entrepreneur and run your own personal trainer business.
Other training can prove to be an excellent starting point for becoming a personal trainer.
Indeed, this profession does not only include the need for know-how in physical exercise and the body, but also in nutritional and dietary advice, relaxation, workouts, flexibility, health and wellness.
This is why it can also be beneficial to take the following courses or use them as quality additions:
- Training in dietetics and nutrition
- Well-being and relaxation training
- Training in marketing: it's true, a personal trainer must also be able to market themselves and find their own clients, especially if they become an in-home trainer or work at as a corporate trainer.
- Training in different sports specialties like yoga, pilates, zumba, kickboxing, boxing, etc.
Adding to your repertoire will allow you to increase your sports coaching rates!
Finally, the first diploma you earn as well as your initial training must be considered as your foundation, a base to start your business but not an end in itself.
Becoming a good sports coach means continually learning throughout your career, knowing how to adapt to new methods, opening up to other sports and coaching techniques to enrich your teaching, and evolving to match the needs of your clients and students.
Can I Become a Coach Without a Diploma?
You don't have a degree or diploma in the sports field and yet you dream of becoming a sports coach?
Is it really possible?
Will you have to face additional difficulties?
In absolute terms, the answer is yes, it is possible to become a coach without a diploma, especially if you want to practice as an independent entrepreneur. This is usually the only solution when you haven't graduated. In effect, the law does not strictly regulate this profession. No degree or diploma is currently required to become a personal trainer. So you can become a personal fitness trainer very easily, at least in theory.
What to expect as a personal trainer without formal training?
You have been passionate about sports since your childhood, you can't get enough physical activity and you'd like to do it as your job?
Nothing prevents you from doing it, but it is important to be aware of the setbacks that you may encounter.
You are indeed going to:
- Have more difficulty finding customers
- Have to lower your rates, compared to an experienced and qualified coach
- Be asked to justify your skills and help your customers to have confidence in you
If we look at the rates charged on Superprof by registered personal trainers, we can see that the average price for one hour of sports coaching is £35. However, this average is fairly moderate. By consulting in detail the list of personal trainers, we can see significant price differences, ranging from £10 to more than £60 per hour.
A price difference that is usually related to the geographical area in which the coach practices, or the type of courses offered, but not only this. The experience and diplomas of personal trainers have an important influence on the prices charged. If you want this career to become your primary business, you will need to consider this key element which can influence your future income.
- Finding customers can be more complicated.
When a potential client wants to get back in shape, lose weight, strengthen his muscles or simply be supported with his goals, he will look for a qualified professional. He will choose the coach who seems in the best position to help him, depending on their particular skills. His goal will be to save time and achieve his desired results more quickly.
- Justifying one's skills as a fitness instructor can be difficult.
If you do not have a diploma to back up your experience, you will have to justify your skills to your clients. Rest assured, this does not mean it won't be possible to gain legitimacy and a good reputation as a personal trainer eventually, but you will have to be patient and learn to sell your skills well.
Indeed, without having followed specific studies, your personal sports experience over your lifetime will have already given you serious skills to transmit and share. You can, for example, start giving private lessons in addition to your school training, even if you are not yet an official graduate.
Competing for clients without a diploma
A fitness professional career includes a wide variety of options for coaching:
- Weight loss
A personal trainer plays a supportive role for his students. He sets up a training program adapted to them in order to help them achieve a specific goal.
To find customers more easily without having graduated or without being able to justify solid experience in the field, it will be important to position yourself well in relation to the competition, in particular, with the prices you set, but also with the following:
Evaluate your skills precisely in order to determine which areas you are most likely to be able to support amateur athletes with. Just how much do you know and in what areas? A coach does not only deal with physical exercises with his clients. You'll also be asking to give professional advice in many other areas of health and fitness.
You will need to:
- Give nutritional advice if your student wants to get in shape, lose weight or gain muscle.
- Have already participated in a marathon and know the difficulties to overcome if your client wants to prepare for this kind of event.
- Know how to take into account possible health risks for your clients who are wanting to resume physical exercise after several years of inactivity...
It is, therefore, better to limit yourself to specific areas that you know well and avoid targeting too wide of an audience. Do you have many years of gym, fitness, bodybuilding, running or athletics classes behind you? If you have good knowledge and experience in a specific area, you will be able to give insightful advice to your customers.
On the other hand, becoming a personal trainer might be easier than first thought...
8 Essential Qualities to Become a Good Fitness Coach
Beyond sports skills and diplomas, to become a fitness trainer, it is important to have certain qualities. Knowing a lot about sports will not be enough. You will need to know how to transmit your knowledge, teach, motivate, and organize effective sessions for your clients.
- Be empathetic
A sports coach must be a good listener. It is not enough to hear, but also to understand the needs of your customers, their state of mind, their emotions and their difficulties. It is in this way that you will be able to provide the necessary support to meet all their needs and expectations. Simply put, put yourself in your students' shoes.
- Be friendly
Playing sports can be enjoyable for many of us, but it can also be very difficult. When someone calls a personal trainer, it is often because they are needing to be supported and encouraged to move forward and achieve their goals. A friendly coach who smiles and encourages will spend a good time with his clients despite the difficulties and pain of training. If you are happy to be doing this job, then it's good to show it!
- Be tolerant
You will be required to assist people whose physical condition is not as good, and sometimes much worse, than yours. A sports coach does not judge the lifestyle of his clients. He does not criticize. He helps others with caring and kindness. If your customer is using your services, it is because he wants to make a change! Encourage and support him with his goals.
- Be positive
There is always something of value to find in your clients. A positive attitude tends to pull us up while a negative comment will demotivate us and limit progress. Learn to find the right words. You wouldn't say: "You didn't reach your goal", but instead: "You were almost there, the next time you'll get it!"
- Be reliable
A personal trainer is a professional. So it's up to you to organize your sessions and to be efficient. Even if the sessions are held in a relaxed atmosphere and with a relationship of trust, it's important not to fall into a lack of professionalism. Always stay punctual, serious, attentive and be extremely vigilant in protecting against injuries in particular.
- Be involved
Your involvement in the success of your customers will make all the difference. You will have to provide them with steadfast support during the sessions but also set up regular monitoring tools to visualize progress and propose appropriate solutions based on the results observed. Show your customers that your success depends on their success: "Yes, we can and will do it together!"
- Be patient
Fitness training also requires a good deal of patience. It is important to know how to adapt to the potential of each client and to follow the best pace for growth. Progress may not be as fast as you imagined, but it's part of the reality of training. Know how to be patient, and do not get angry under any circumstances.
- Be a good teacher
Pedagogy is also part of your role. It's not always easy to become a teacher and try to convey important messages. You will need to make your students aware of some essential aspects of sports practice. How to internalize a new way of life and healthy practices, learn to exercise in the proper way to not hurt yourself, change your schedule... Important points that you will need to explain. When the message isn't understood or accepted, it will be important to be able to explain it differently, or to propose a different approach.
The coaching profession is a demanding job, which requires a lot of self-investment and passion for what you do, commitment and determination, a positive personality and a desire for helping people.
It takes :
- a good physical condition
- to have endurance and good cardio
- to be versatile (from running to bodybuilding)
For that you must have:
- good coaching training
- be able to do group training as well as tailored individual sessions
- be a good teacher and motivator and know your specialty well
Being a sports coach means being an accomplished athlete, open-minded, a hard-worked, good teacher, and likes working with others.
Now discover how you can find clients for your personal training sessions...