Fitness Instructor Confidence: 10 Tips To Skyrocket It

Confidence doesn’t come naturally to everyone, and you may be worried about a lack of it holding you back in a career as a fitness instructor.

Don’t worry, I wasn’t confident at all when I first started instructing exercise, but you can learn, and in this article, I am going to show you everything you need to do to skyrocket your confidence as a fitness instructor.

Sound good?

Let’s go…

Confident fitness instructor
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Some people are born confident, and you can see it straight away in the way they hold themselves, the way they speak, and how they walk.

The good news is that even if you aren’t going into the fitness industry as what some people would call a “confident person”, you can totally learn on the job, and it’s actually pretty good fun!

Let’s go through some of the tips and tricks that really worked for me when I was new to the industry.

1. Remember that you know way more than the gym members

Feeling like you don’t know enough to be able to teach people is a big cause of concern for some people. The really easy way to combat this is to remember that you know way more than 80% of the members that walk into your gym.

The very fact that you have passed your exams and been allowed to work as an instructor proves that you know your stuff, and most people that you see training themselves have no idea what they are doing.

As long as you can demonstrate enough knowledge to help people exercise safely and effectively, you are certainly in the right role and there is no need to doubt yourself.

If you need a bit of proof of how little most people know, just walk around the gym floor on a busy lunchtime and look at some of the ridiculous things you will see people doing.

These people need help, and you can help them!

2. Take every opportunity to practice

I’ve seen new instructors beg their managers to not teach classes anymore because they don’t like doing them. This is the perfect way to ensure that you will never gain confidence in this area.

If you are looking to become a personal trainer or manager, talking to people, building rapport, and sometimes teaching classes are essential to your success. I actually listed it as one of my top ways to pick up personal training clients on the gym floor. You can read about how powerful it is by reading the article below.

Selling Personal Training in a gym: What you need to know

As a fitness instructor, you have a fantastic opportunity to get some great practice in these areas.

The members have no reason to be “standoffish” with a fitness instructor, so you have literally nothing to fear. Use your advantage to strike up as many conversations with members as possible so that when you need to do it as a personal trainer, it will be second nature to you.

As a fitness instructor, you will have no choice but to teach gym floor classes, so this is the perfect opportunity to teach as many of them as you possibly can so it again comes as second nature to you when you are working as a PT.

3. You don’t need to be an expert

I’m a perfectionist, and in some circumstances, it’s a great thing because it makes me push myself to the limit and strive to be the best I can, however, it also makes me heavily criticize myself.

If this is something you can relate to, I’d like to remind you of something.

You do not need to be an expert in every aspect of fitness to be a good instructor.

As long as you know more than the majority of the members in the gym (which is easy), you know enough to be able to train nearly all of them very comfortably.

4. Learn on the job

Leading on from the point above, if you do have gaps in your knowledge, there is nothing wrong with learning on the job.

You won’t be expected to learn absolutely everything there is to know about exercise before getting your level 2 qualification, and you will find that once you are working as an instructor, you will pick up tons of knowledge from others around you.

The best advice I can give you here is to just go out and get qualified, then when you start working in a gym, talk to everyone you can.

Talk to the other trainers, the PTs the group exercise instructors, and anyone you can. Use their years of training and knowledge to learn as much as you can and build your confidence.

You will also learn about different medical conditions that restrict what exercises you can prescribe to gym members, so when you come across these, learn as much as you can about them to expand your knowledge.

5. Build it up slowly

Continuing with the theme of building knowledge, don’t try to rush how quickly you learn.

Being a perfectionist as I stated makes me want to learn everything, but it also makes me want to know it all as quickly as possible.

The more pressure you put yourself under to learn, the less you will. Give yourself plenty of time to absorb the information you are learning and take things slowly.

Unless you are taking exams, there will be very little pressure on you to expand how much you know about exercise prescription, injury prevention, and other aspects of fitness instruction.

As there is no rush, do not pressure yourself to pick up and understand everything you hear within weeks of starting. Take your time and enjoy the process, I promise you it will sink in and you will be amazed how much you are learning without even realizing it.

6. Practise with friends and family

Finishing your exams and gaining your qualifications is one thing, but actually, training can be quite daunting.

If you are struggling with your confidence in terms of training people, why not start practicing with your friends and family?

There is no fear of ridicule (or at least there shouldn’t be) when you are training with your family or friends. So if you are worried that people won’t think your training is any good (which is also extremely unlikely), practice on them until you start to believe in yourself.

Ask them for constructive criticism so that you can enhance your skills and prepare for real-life training. Going into training with a little experience under your belt can only be a good thing.

7. Celebrate every win

Learning takes time, and you can’t expect to make progress in leaps and bound each and every time.

Instead, learn to celebrate every small win.

Each and every time you make some sort of progress that will enhance your training ability or make any aspect of being a fitness instructor easier, you should celebrate.

It doesn’t have to be a big reward, just something small, but when you can pat yourself on the back, you might as well.

8. Ignore the negative voice in your head

Man, negative internal monologues are seriously annoying!

I hear them all the time and they become part of your day fairly easily. That’s the problem, you get so used to hearing the voice telling you that you can’t do something that you start to believe it.

If you don’t do anything about this, you will quickly find that it starts to eat away at your confidence each time you make even the smallest of mistakes.

This needs to be stopped asap, so, you need to learn to take control and conquer any negativity you hear internally.

The trick here is not to fight against it, getting cross at negative internal thoughts will not make them go away, if anything, it will bring them more to the forefront of your mind making them stronger.

Instead, recognize when you hear yourself say something negative and disassociate yourself from it. This voice is not “you”, so recognize that you hear it, tell yourself that you don’t believe what is being said, and let the thought drift away.

9. Take your time

There’s no rush to move from fitness instruction to personal training.

If you are still nervous about talking to people on the gym floor, training on a 1-2-1 basis, or writing exercise programs, I would heavily suggest you continue with fitness instruction until you feel more comfortable.

I know the allure of making good money as a PT is pretty hard to resist, but you will make a much better job of it if you go in with confidence rather than rushing in without being prepared.

Being a PT can be pretty stressful, as you can read in my article “Is Personal Training stressful? The honest answer!”, so why not give yourself an even higher chance of success by not rushing into things?

10. Give yourself a break

Never put yourself down if you make a mistake or don’t know something. It achieves nothing other than to whittle away your confidence, and that’s the exact opposite of what you are trying to achieve.

There’s a fantastic phrase I learned recently, “Succeed or learn“.

There is no such thing as failure anymore, so each time you make a mistake you should celebrate, as you have just learned how not to do something.

You will find that by doing this, you will learn things a lot faster and not be quite so apprehensive about going into situations that make you feel uncomfortable.

I did this with driving as I was a nervous driver when I first started, so I taught myself to enjoy failing as it meant I was always making progress and getting better and better.

Try it, I can assure you, it really does work.


It is completely normal to be a little nervous about going into a career in fitness. It’s certainly not a quiet 9-5 job where you can sit at your desk all day and hide.

You will be representing the company as you teach classes, you’ll be shouting encouragement and acting as a teacher to people older than you.

However, with a little (or sometimes a lot) of practice, you will become steadily more and more comfortable in your role.

I was not a confident person when I first started training, but after a few months, I was up there with the best of them. Once you start to feel the positive effects of building up your confidence, why not test them out by using my article below? It’ll show you how to put that confidence to good use by being the best fitness instructor you can be.

8 Easy Ways To Go The Extra Mile As A Fitness Instructor

I know you can do this, so give it a shot.

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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