How To Become A Gym Instructor

With the fitness industry rapidly expanding and new gyms opening all over the country, now is a good time to get a foothold in this exciting profession. Establishing a career as a gym instructor can take time, but it often leads to excellent professional development opportunities.

Don't be fooled into thinking that it's an easy choice however - becoming a gym instructor takes hard work and dedication.  Those who are determined will also need to invest in courses that will  give them the knowledge and experience that they need to be able to help others.

Obtaining qualifications

Formal qualifications are an essential part of becoming a gym instructor.  To be able to work as a gym instructor in the UK it is important to obtain the following:

  • Level 2 – Gym/Fitness Instructor Award
  • Level 3 – Personal Training Diploma

Other Essential Learning

Learning about exercise is not enough.  An essential part of the training will cover subjects such as nutrition.  A gym instructor will be expected to advise their clients on the right things to eat to aid their path to fitness.  Taking courses on nutrition is a good idea and should help better understand how eating the right diet can help individuals achieve their goals.

Health and safety

Health and safety within the gym environment is of paramount importance so learning about first aid and other aspects of H&S is essential and most gyms will want all of their staff to be first aid trained.

The working environment

A gym instructor has the option of working in a formal gym setting or working as a freelance personal trainer.  Working in a gym is ideal for those who are just starting out as there is so much to be learned from working with more experienced staff.  It also gives you time to figure out which systems you are most comfortable working with and should help you develop the confidence you need to work with clients on a one-to-one basis.  In time most gym instructors will work both in a gym and on a freelance basis in order to boost their earnings. 

Essential marketing

Once you have established yourself as a good gym instructor you will be able to determine for yourself whether or not you want to branch out into personal training as well.  If you do want to try freelance work then you need to understand how to market yourself.  An established reputation within the gym environment will help a great deal.  There are many people who will not want to go to the gym but will prefer to train elsewhere.  There are services available that can help you with creating your own website that also feature directory listings and promotion. 

Becoming a gym instructor

For many who want to find out how to become a gym instructor, the attraction is the freedom to plan at least some of their own working day.  The freelance gym instructor working as a personal trainer can pick and choose their own hours and the potential for high earnings is there, with some trainers earning up to £100 per hour.  The exact amount will depend upon a number of factors including location and the reputation of the trainer.  Some are earning around £20,000 per year - although there is the potential to earn much more.

The cost of becoming a gym instructor

It is important to look at all the different training providers as the costs for courses varies a great deal.  In the UK it can cost between £1000 and £5000.  While this is a considerable amount, it can also be a worthwhile investment in your own future.

Those who are dedicated to becoming a gym instructor will understand that good courses are worth paying for.  It can help that with most of the training providers, payment plans can be arranged so that you are not paying out a lump sum to begin with.

You should be aware that there is a registration fee to pay on most courses so even with an instalment plan there may still be some up-front fees to cover.  This will reserve your place on the course.  The amount you need to pay will vary from course to course.  In most cases there is a limited number of places available on the course so as soon as you have chosen one, register as soon as possible to be sure of your place.

Finding a training course provider

There are plenty of training course providers for those who want to become a gym instructor and sometimes it can be difficult to narrow down the choices.  Companies such as YMCAfit, Premier Training and the Training Room are just a few of these but they all provide the same basic qualification.  The differences are usually for extra CPD qualifications that are included but you also need to check out the locations of the courses, costs and duration of each one to help determine if it is right for you.  Of course, your own personal circumstances will also be a factor when making your decision.  Speaking to course advisors can also help you to make your decision.

More information on Personal Trainer Courses

Types of gym instructor courses

The way in which a course is delivered will be important, as, depending on personal circumstances, some methods of accessing learning will be more suitable than others.

  • A full time course will take place over a few weeks and those enrolled will need to attend every day.  This is often called a Fast Track course, but this is also one of the most expensive options as qualification is achieved much more quickly.
  • A part-time course can often be done at weekends or on weekday evenings and for many this is the ideal solution as there is time to work as well.  However, there will be more studying to do at home as there is less time in a classroom.  The cost of this type of course usually works out at quite a bit lower than the full-time options but will take longer to complete.
  • Online or distance learning courses are for those who may find it hard to get to a formal classroom setting.  Much of the work is carried out by yourself at home and you should only be required to attend a college in order to be assessed for practical modules or to take written exams.  Distance learning can also take some time to complete as it is usually fitted in around other commitments. 


By Ian Duncan

PT Courses