If you’ve searched the term “How do I become a personal trainer with no experience” I would happily place a bet that says that you have been overwhelmed with the abundance of results that are asking you to sign up to training companies.
Well, look no further, because in this article I will be one of the very few results that will actually tell you how you can get a job as a personal trainer without trying to make you buy a course.
You do not need to have experience as a personal trainer in order to become one. Companies that employ trainers to work for them may prefer a trainer that has had some previous experience, however, if your aim is to become a self-employed personal trainer, little to no experience is required.
The great news is, you can absolutely get a personal training job with no experience at all!
I’m not going to get into the politics of training companies because I used them to get my own qualifications, but you will many job “adverts” stating they are looking for personal trainers with “no experience needed”.
The reality of course is that this is just an advert for a course that may lead to a job as a personal trainer.
That’s not what you’re after, so let’s get down to how you can actually do it!
Becoming a self-employed Personal Trainer with no experience
Here’s some great news, if you have been training yourself, giving exercise advice to your friends and family for years and have a ton of confidence when it comes to exercise, you are already halfway set for a career in the fitness industry.
You will need to become fully qualified in order to become either an employed or self-employed trainer in the UK or the USA, so that certainly needs to be a priority, but in terms of experience, if you have the confidence, you are good to go.
You can get your qualification, register yourself as self-employed and start applying to gyms that allow trainers to rent their facilities to train clients.
This comes with a few caveats of course, which are that just because you can start a personal training business without experience, I really wouldn’t recommend it.
You see, just because you love lifting weights and have told your friends and family how to get shredded for years, doesn’t mean that you will automatically become a successful trainer.
There are a lot of other elements to take into account, such as:
- Diary management
- Sales tactics
- Client retention
- Money management
This list is not exhaustive by any stretch of the imagination, it just demonstrates that there is more to being a good personal trainer than enjoying lifting weights.
Please don’t get me wrong, enthusiasm will get you a hell of a long way, people will feed off of it and it will no doubt make picking up clients a lot easier.
However, if you don’t know how to manage your money properly or how to convert a complimentary session into a paid client and then keep them for months or years………that enthusiasm just won’t be enough.
Instead, what I would recommend is that you go and get a little experience before you decide to jump headfirst into this career, you may find out it’s not for you, or it may make you love the concept even more, but I want you to be sure first.
I want you to go into the industry knowing exactly what to expect before you ever spend a pound or dollar on a training course.
Ways to get experience for a Personal Training role
- Offer to work for free in a personal training studio
- Workout and watch the personal trainers sessions
- Ask a personal trainer in your gym
- Talk to local counsel gyms and ask if they would take you on for experience
- Train your friends and family
1. Offer to work for free in a personal training studio
This is my first suggestion because it’s exactly how I got my experience before I went into full-time personal training.
As soon as I thought I might enjoy a career in fitness, I decided to email every personal training studio I could find in London and ask them if they would be willing to take me on for work experience.
I know a lot of people would turn their nose up at the idea of working in a gym or studio for free instead of going straight into the industry and making money, but I knew if I was going to be spending several thousand pounds on a course, I wanted to be damn sure that I enjoyed the role first.
I sent a few dozen emails out and got a response from a very prestigious studio in Primrose Hill in London.
It turned out to be a celebrity training studio, so that was a fantastic surprise that obviously made me very excited about working in the industry.
I can’t promise that you will find yourself working in that kind of environment, but I can assure you, it was pure luck on my behalf, so anyone can find themselves potentially in this situation.
I worked at the studio for several months, and the owner was kind enough to let me shadow his trainers and even train a few of the clients (whilst being closely monitored of course).
This helped me understand elements that are not usually taught in training courses, such as time management, client interaction and rapport building and a whole host of other skills that you can’t be taught in a classroom full f other students.
2. Workout and watch Personal Trainers with their clients
You’ve got to be a little sneaky whilst you try this option.
If you are interested in starting a career in personal training but aren’t sure what it would be like to actually have your own clients and spend a whole hour with them whilst instructing exercises, just take a look at the PT’s in your local gym next time you are training.
Try not to be too obvious about this, of course, keep a good distance the whole time you are watching, and try to spread your observations across a few trainers rather than following one all over the gym.
Take note of what the trainer does whilst their client is performing the exercises, how they correct and demonstrate. Are they checking a stopwatch when their client is resting? Are they constantly engaging in conversation, or are they quiet most of the time?
Every trainer is different, so watching and taking note of how several trainers conduct their sessions is a great way of seeing if this is something you would like to do.
3. Ask a trainer what it’s like to be a PT
Much easier than trying to spy on trainers with their clients, why not just go up to a trainer and ask them what it’s like being a trainer and how they got into it?
Make sure of course you catch a trainer in-between sessions or they will get pretty angry with you interrupting them.
You can ask them about the good points and bad points of the role, the most effective way they found to learn and where and how they got qualified.
Most trainers are fairly up for a conversation in between clients, a lot of the time they will probably just be on their phones waiting for the next session, so they shouldn’t mind a quick chat with you.
This would save you a lot of time, effort and money if you found out that the realities of a personal training career are not what you might think they would be. Again though, they could inspire you to get started as soon as possible.
4. Ask your local counsel gym to get work experience
A lot of commercial and private gyms would not be open to taking on people looking for work experience (but still try any way of course).
It may also be the case that you are not in an area where there are any private or large commercial gyms, so in this case, it may be far easier for you to go to your local council-run gym and ask them if they would be willing to accept people looking for work experience.
From my own experience, I have seen that these types of gyms are usually crying out for any help they can get, and whilst there may not be the presence of personal trainers or sessions taking place, you would get valuable experience in how a gym is run and the lifestyle you can expect.
Definitely ask the larger gym chains and studios first, but if you are really struggling and would really like to get some experience in a working gym environment before you commit to it, I would certainly give this a try.
5. Train your friends and family
Last but not least, try writing up exercise and nutrition programmes for your friends and family to get used to the process.
You can also take them into a gym (if the gym lets you buy guest passes) and take them through a workout programme that you have written up for them.
It’s probably best to let other trainers in the gym know that you are looking to get into the career and are practising on your family so they don’t think you are trying to poach clients in the gym.
You can also research personal training selling tactics, then practise these on your family members so you can practise your script and also handling objections etc.
This is something I really wish I had done before I started my career.
The sales process is one of the harder points of the personal training career, and so the more practise you can get before you start having to do it for real, the better.
In conclusion, you do not have to have any experience in order to become a personal trainer if you want to go down the self-employed route, whereas you may need experience if you want to become an employed personal trainer in some commercial gyms.
Having experience can really help your confidence, so I would seriously suggest that you do get at least some before you start to apply to gyms.
Hopefully, you now know how to go about getting a job as a PT without experience, but why it might be a good idea to get a little anyway.
Go get ’em!
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