Are Personal Trainers Happy? The Reality Of Being A PT

So you’re looking to be a personal trainer, but before you decide to commit to buying into a training course, you might be wondering “are personal trainers are happy?

That’s a good question, because if they aren’t happy, why would you want to work as one?

The good news is, I was a personal trainer for nearly ten years in London, so that should give you an idea of where my answer to this question is going, but hang on because I’m going to give you a really good answer.

Sound good?

Let’s go…

Becoming a personal trainer puts you on one of the happiest career paths available with a very high satisfaction rating. This is down to the high pay potential, sociable and energetic atmosphere, as well as being able to have a genuinely positive impact on people’s physical and mental health.

Becoming a personal trainer is not something that you should decide to do on a whim just because you enjoy going to the gym a few times a week, and you’ve helped your friends out a few times before with their own training.

A career in personal training can be tough, there are long hours, it’s tiring and there’s rent to pay, however, the vast majority of PTs love their jobs and wouldn’t change it for the world.

Let’s take a look into why that is.

Are personal trainers happy

Top 10 reasons personal trainers are happy

  1. They can choose their own working hours
  2. They decide how busy they will be
  3. They decide what clients they work with
  4. They can decide on how much income they want
  5. They can take holidays whenever they want
  6. They help people make huge changes to their life
  7. They get to work in an environment they feel comfortable in
  8. They get to become experts in their fields
  9. They get to meet fantastic “likeminded” people
  10. Their careers play to their skills

1. They can choose their own working hours

personal trainers can choose what hours they work

Can you think of any other jobs where you can decide entirely on the hours you would like to work?

Even working as a self-employed plumber, you are still at the beck and call of people when they need your help, and this is the case with many other jobs where you are self-employed.

Personal training is different though, if you are genuinely not a morning person and don’t fancy the 5am wakeup time for your first client of the day at 6am, you can choose to work the afternoon to late hours. There are still plenty of clients walking around the gym at lunchtime and during the evenings that want training.

By choosing what times you would like to work, you can improve the quality of the sessions you deliver as you are not completely drained by working all the hours available in the day. Being slightly unavailable also gives members the impression you are busy and so need to get in quick to book sessions quickly.

Being able to choose your own hours indirectly makes you more appealing to clients and allows you to choose how much or how little you work. Two pretty good reasons to be happy if you ask me.

2. They decide how busy they will be

Do you dread walking into work on a Monday morning knowing that you are going to be bombarded with emails, phone calls, and people putting stacks of paper on your desk for the next eight hours?

That doesn’t happen when you are a PT!

You know exactly what you are walking into each and every day you go to the gym, and if you decide that you are getting too busy for your liking and you are delivering lower quality sessions because you are tired, you can give a few clients away and work less.

The opposite is true too, if you are bored and want to train more people to make your day more fun (and earn a little extra too) then you have the option to pick up a few more sessions and be a little busier.

The point is, it’s totally up to you how busy you will be in your days, it’s not down to how much work you need to do for someone else.

3. They decide what clients they work with

personal trainers get to choose who they work with

In a lot of jobs, you will come across people that you have to deal with that you really can’t stand.

These people get under your skin in a way that no one can, but as an employee what can you do?

Nothing, absolutely nothing, you need to do as they ask or at least argue in a grown-up manner if you need to. Knowing that you have a meeting with one of these people the following Thursday can ruin your entire week.

This doesn’t happen in personal training!

You certainly will come across people that you don’t get on with, but if you decide you would rather not train that person, you don’t have to, you are in charge of your own business, and everything is your choice. I was in the unfortunate position of taking on a few clients that after a few sessions made me realize that I really didn’t like their attitude and ways of thinking, so I sacked them.

Once you have built up an established client base where you are no longer desperate for clients to cover your fees, you are free to make the choice as to whether or not you want to train people, rather than praying that every complimentary session turns into a client.

4. They can decide on how much income they want

Increasing your personal training salary is one of the easiest things to do!

If you decide that you are not making enough money from the job, you have a few options to choose from.

You can charge more for each session and do no more work than you already are, charge the same amount but pick up new clients or you can pick up new clients and charge more.

I have never worked in another job where making more money was as simple as talking to more people each day and picking up new clients. If you want additional money, it’s sitting right in front of you each time you walk into the gym.

In every other job I have had, you have to work your a** off and hope that someone recognizes your hard work enough to accept your request for more money. And if they don’t agree, there’s nothing you can do about it.

You have so much choice over your income as a personal trainer, that if you are getting down because of money troubles, you can fix them (or at least start to fix them) that very day. This stops a lot of people from getting stressed about money.

5. They can take holidays whenever they want

personal trainers can take holidays whenever they want

The standard allowance for holidays in the Uk is 33.5 days including public holidays, and I can tell you, most jobs I have had given me a lot less than that.

This means you have to strategically plan your holidays to make sure that you are making the most of them, but that’s not all, you can’t just book the holiday and tell your boss, you need to ask for permission first, like a kid in school asking the teacher if they can go to the toilet.

I never thought of myself as an adult when I had to ask for permission like this, I totally understand it is to make sure your work is covered and your company is not left understaffed, it’s just good management, however, I didn’t like the power that someone else had over my life like that.

As a PT you decide when you can go on holiday. All you need to do is make sure all your clients are cool with it, then once you have booked in their additional sessions after you come back (after all you don’t want to lose money), you are free to go wherever you want.

There are limitations though, taking two weeks off at a time for example is tricky as a PT because people will start to get behind on their training and you will need to try to allocate their sessions. The fact remains though, the choice of when and how long your holiday is, is completely up to you, and that’s pretty empowering.

6. They help people make huge changes to their life

This is the main reason a lot of people get into the fitness industry, and it’s a pretty great reason.

Some people are naturally gifted when it comes to helping people change their lives for the better, doctors and counselors spring to mind, and personal trainers need to be a mixture of these two professions.

Seeing somebody you have helped lose weight feeling pleased with themselves after reaching their goal is one thing, but then again, it is what they were paying you for, they shouldn’t really expect anything less should they?

The really cool bit that makes personal trainers love their jobs, is seeing the person they are helping develop into a more confident and happier person as a result of their accomplishments in the gym.

Very few professions allow you to actually see the benefits of the work you do. Take insurance, for example, someone takes out a policy on their holiday and whilst away they lose their luggage. Because they have insurance they can claim the value of the bags and contents back so they can buy new clothes. Great, but what you don’t see is the emotions that go with this, the anger and sadness of losing the bags, then the happiness at the claim going through and them being given the money so they can carry on enjoying their holiday.

In insurance, once your initial work is complete, that’s it, you are out of the loop, but with personal training, you are with your client every step of the way, through the highs and lows. This makes you an important part of your client’s lives, so when they are happy with their results, you can be too.

7. They get to work in an environment they feel comfortable in

personal trainers get to work in an environment they feel comfortable in

A very strange fact about me is that before I went on my personal training course, I had never stepped foot in a gym.

That’s going to sound pretty ridiculous to some people, but there was something about teaching exercise for a living that I knew I would love. It felt instinctively “right” as soon as I walked onto my gym floor, I felt at home straight away.

That’s the great thing about being a PT, you get to work in an environment that you feel completely comfortable in for your whole day.

Most postmen, wouldn’t choose to head to an office complex to relax and unwind after work, but a lot of people will head straight to their local gym to start relaxing after a hard day.

You might think that if you are spending large chunks of your day stuck in a dimly lit gym that it would lose some of its appeal.

I am very happy to tell you that if you love fitness and the people involved in it, it doesn’t!

8. They get to become experts in their fields

It’s often said that to make it big as a personal trainer, you will need to establish your “niche” and specialize in one particular type of training so that you can stand out amongst the other trainers in your gym.

However, whether or not you need a “niche”, you will, almost by complete accident become an expert in exercise in a very short period of time.

I’m not talking about what you get taught in your course to get the qualifications you need to be allowed to be a PT. What I mean is “on-the-job learning”.

Being surrounded by nothing but people exercising, other trainers talking about fitness, discussing ideas with other trainers, and being asked questions by your clients for you to research, will make you a fountain of knowledge in no time.

They say the best way to learn a new language is to immerse yourself in it, as a PT you are immersing yourself in the fitness world and you will become an expert very quickly.

9. They get to meet fantastic “likeminded” people

personal trainers work with likeminded people

A common cause for anger and frustration in places of work is people clashing over interests, ways of thinking, and vastly differing opinions.

The benefit you get as a personal trainer is that you at least know that you all have something in common, you all love to exercise. In an office full of mortgage advisors, it’s fairly unlikely that everyone got into the business because they are passionate about lending people money to buy houses. Maybe they do, I can’t account for everyone, but I think it’s unlikely.

In a team of PT’s you will 100% get differing opinions of the best ways to train, who is the best teacher and what qualifications are the most important etc, but you are at least surrounded by like-minded people that you will be able to discuss these things with.

You shouldn’t ever feel out of your depth in these conversations as there is always something that each individual can bring to the table. You can also learn a lot from talking to people with the same interests as you, and you may even want to help each other out every now and then.

10. Their careers play to their skills

In the world of fitness, you will need to wear many hats which will require you to use many personal skills. Coaching people for a living isn’t all about showing people how to lift weights up and down, you will need to be compassionate, understanding, and patient. Not everyone has the confidence you have and not everyone likes to exercise as much as you do.

That’s why if you feature the skills set shown above you will excel as a trainer, you get to use these skills each and every day with your clients (and trust me, you will).

In many other careers, your skills for compassion for example could be wasted as you have to stick to set in stone rules that allow for no bending, this would be a terrible waste of your valuable skill.

Being a personal trainer lets you play to your skills and use them in real-life situations where they can really make a difference in people’s lives.

why is being a personal trainer a good job

Just in case the above points weren’t enough to convince you why personal is an awesome career, I thought I’d tell you my own personal reasons why I think being a personal trainer is a good job.

My first reason should really come with a cliché warning because the main reason I think it’s a good job, is because you genuinely get to see how life-changing exercise can be to a person.

I’ve had clients who were overweight to the point that they were throwing up during the warmups that went on to run marathons for charities, I’ve had clients that were shy and depressed go on to become happy and confident people, and I’ve had clients thank me for helping them to not feel ashamed or embarrassed about the way they look or feel anymore.

Being a trainer or coach isn’t just about showing someone some exercises and getting a paycheque, it’s about helping some really nice people that really do appreciate everything you do for them.

My second reason is that it really helped me to overcome my own shyness and become the confident person that I am today. For years I had been shy and struggled to make conversation with people, but becoming a personal trainer forced me to learn how to interact with people for hours every day I worked.

This was a big deal for me because I really hated how shy and awkward I felt in conversations, even around family and friends. Becoming a PT meant that I had to be making small talk with complete strangers sometimes. So when I did go and talk to people I knew, it was much easier than before.

Becoming a personal trainer, let me help people, but it also helped me a lot too!


Don’t get me wrong, working as a personal trainer can be seriously tough at times, but that doesn’t mean that even when times were tough I wasn’t happy.

The choice and sense of freedom you get to have as a trainer is a very rare thing. You are also surrounded by awesome team members that you get to work with and fantastic clients to train. There’s tons of variety in your work and no day is ever going to be the same.

I’ve met a lot of trainers through multiple gyms during my career, and if there’s one thing that seems to unite them all, it’s that they are all pretty happy people.

I hope if you are considering becoming a trainer this article has inspired you to do so, it’s an awesome career!

Go get ’em!

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Chris Walker

Chris Walker worked in the City of London as a fully qualified REP's level three personal trainer for just under ten years. He built and maintained a client base of 40 individuals and worked with several high profile clients, including actors, actresses, comedians and politicians.

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