When I trained to become a Personal Trainer (all of 12 years ago now) there weren’t many options open to me. I was actually lucky enough to get my course funded as I was already working as Fitness Instructor for a small gym chain and it was within their interest to put me through my qualification, in order to provide a wider range of services to the members of the gym.
I did mine through an internal training team for the company that I worked for, something that as of today no longer exists, most probably due to the nature of provision of qualifications within the Industry.
If you want to qualify as a Personal Trainer today, the game has completely change. You’ll be spoilt for choice with what, where, when and how much you can study, also what you pay!
So, what should you look out for when looking to become a Personal Trainer?
Check the awarding body:
Well, first and foremost, check that the provider is going to actually be able to give you a recognised qualification that will be recognised nationwide (and in most cases transferrable across the world).
We’ve all seen them on our timelines, “train as a Personal Trainer for just £20”.
Hopefully, this is enough to make anyone judge. These courses are not recognised by anyone, although they maybe informative, they certainly won’t give you the skillset to practice with the general public and gain creditable insurance to cover your practice.
Look out for awarding bodies such as: Active IQ, YMCA Awards & VTCT as these are the common awarding bodies that fitness education providers have to use in order for their courses to be recognised against the national occupational framework.
Like with any purchase you make, you have to consider your budget. This doesn’t tell the entire story when it comes to fitness qualifications, however.
The cheapest, isn’t always the worst and the most expensive isn’t always the best.
There is a lot more to look for when it comes to choosing your course (as we will explore within this blog) however, cost is often the first barrier.
My advice here would be to consider what you get for your money. If its an online course, with minimal contact throughout the course of the programme (1-2 sessions of face0face nature) then I wouldn’t pay anything more than £1000.
If a course was as high as £3500 plus, I would be wanting to know exactly why it was this…mainly around, how is the course different to others that are offered? Will this give me a better set of skills to enable me to; get a job or be successful in getting clients into my training services?
Remember - just because a course gives you more qualifications, it doesn’t necessarily give you a better chance of success in the industry.
Going back to when I studied, this was over a period of 3 months, where I would have to attend three days of face-face training, separated by 3-4 weeks in which I had to complete tasks and assignments for the next day. This was then all assessed on an Assessment day.
Today you can complete a course, without even seeing an instructor. If this is what you need, then that’s OK. Ultimately its what you do after the qualification that matters, however, with more and more providers coming into the field, and the industry “dropout” rate not getting any smaller, there has to be a call for some form of mentorship/internship provision alongside any course which provides a necessary education…
However, if you’re lucky enough to get onto a course which has a mixture of face-face and online study, then you will more often than not spend the majority of time focusing on things like; how to teach a person to use a machine or complete an exercise, how to design a programme or training phase and how to take someone through a consultation process.
Although we admit, these are some of the skills that a Personal Trainer must fulfil, they are grossly over estimated behind other skills such as; how to market yourself as a Personal Trainer, how to build relationships with people and how to communicate better with clients. These things take time in order to build a sufficient skill set which a trainer can deliver with confidence, however because they are not covered in a great amount of detail on the majority of courses, it already positions a training to play “catch up” from day one.
Leading me onto my next point…
This can start even before you have signed up to the course that you want. This is a massive decision for you, ultimately one that you want to transition your career into the Fitness Industry, so how on earth are you expected to make this decision without speaking to anyone before-hand?
There is A LOT of choice with regards to who to study with, but when it comes to supporting you through your career, the fields are somewhat bare, ultimately its down to you to control the direction in which your careers heads in, but you can sure be given a helping hand (especially in the early stages of your career).
You may like to take the time to phone round a few organisations, to have a chat with someone about the course, who you want to speak to is someone who has “been in your shoes”, has some experience within the field and can advice accordingly. Not just someone who is going to sell you the dream in exchange for commission.
Once you’ve qualified, you’ll want to get out there and start getting some clients on board, to do this, simple things like, how to deliver your consultations, how to structure your programmes & how do you onboard your clients?
These things are the common threads we see within Lift the Bar that are the difference between trainers who are happy with what they do and trainers who struggle to make ends meet.
Make sure you do your research into who you will qualify with (remember, there are only really four providers in the UK to date). Be aware of the cost of your course, if its too cheap, there is probably a reason for this, but if its too expensive, the chances are, the extra things you’re paying for are “nice” and not “needed”.
Decide when you want to start, if time is not precious (which, mostly it won’t be) then look at a course around 6-12 months, this will allow you adequate study time to really grasp the concept of Training alongside fitting it around your own lifestyle.
And finally, ALWAYS ask, what can you do for me once I qualify?? As you’ll find when you start training the general public, its very easy to train someone, it’s a lot harder to get results from someone.
Thinking about becoming a Personal trainer?
If you’re thinking about becoming a personal trainer who doesn’t become part of the statistic of not lasting longer than 18 months in the industry and you want to give yourself the best learning platform for becoming a trainer, our course is for you.
The Lift The Bar Training qualification is the industries first personal training course that merges both online and offline learning while also having an extended Applied phase that supports you in the early stages of your new career. Rather than just receiving your qualification and throwing you out into the world, we guide you so that you get a fantastic platform to build from in one the most challenging stages of your career.
Having worked with 1000’s of personal trainers, the education team at LTB Training have created a 12-month long industry leading personal training course that includes a foundation level 2 and entry level 3 qualification, which allows you to become a fully certified personal trainer. This has been created with practical application at the core and with cutting edge research in mind so that you’re left with no stone unturned for starting off your career as a personal trainer. You’ll then complete our qualification by going through a 6-month applied phase, which teaches you the essentials of how to work with personal training clients and arm you with the knowledge on how to build a business that lasts and helps as many people as possible.
Our next course launches on the 5th of August 2019. You can find out more about what it includes by clicking on the "certification" tab at the top of this page.
The fitness industry is full of myths, misconceptions and bad information. When starting out in your career it’s hard to know what is right, what is wrong and how to tell the difference.
LTB Training educates and mentors thousands of personal trainers around the UK. Our goal is simple. Provide the best education, in order to produce the best personal trainers. In doing so, we hope to be the solution to a failing fitness industry and an increasingly unhealthy population.