Looking to get employed by a gym chain as a personal trainer or freelancer in a gym? If so, you’re going to need to have an interview just like any other job.
Being a personal trainer is a very physically demanding job and there is a possibility that there will be at least some practical elements to it, so wearing those fancy clothes that look good in an office might not work so well when you’re trying to demo your squat teaching abilities.
So, the question remains, what can you wear that’s the right mix of presentable and comfortable so that you can demo exercise teaching techniques if needed?
Well, good news friend, I’ve worked in several gyms in my ten years as a trainer, so I’ve had a fair few interviews and can tell you exactly what you need to know.
In a nutshell
For a personal training interview, smart or business casual attire, along with separate workout gear is recommended. Fitness interviews often have a practical element to them, so you will need to look presentable, and have workout gear with you so you can change for the practical assessment.
Here’s a sneak peek of what we’ll be covering in this article
- Do gyms tell you what to wear to an interview
- Should you ask if you’re unsure?
- Should you dress smartly, smart casual, or in workout gear?
- Should you take workout gear with me just in case?
- Should you “dress to impress”?
These are just a few of the questions we’ll be answering today, so read on to find out everything you need to know about what to wear to a personal training interview.
Do gyms tell you what to wear to an interview?
Speaking from experience, most responses I’ve had for personal training interviews have at least given me a rough guideline as to what will be included on the day. They usually told me that there would be a general discussion beforehand, and then some sort of practical element after.
In terms of actually “telling” me what to wear, the answer is no. It’s not really a gym’s place to tell a person exactly what you should be wearing, they usually leave that up to you.
Should you ask if you’re unsure?
I can’t see there being any issue with you calling up the hiring manager of the gym to confirm what you’ll need to be wearing on the day. Gyms know that this is a common question and one that can lead to a lot of confusion and even stress for interviewees, so they should be happy to help.
Again, they probably won’t tell you exactly what to wear, but if they have not confirmed via email or phone call what the interview will entail, they will be happy to answer your questions. It even shows initiative on your behalf that you’re asking in the first place, so if you’re unsure, just ask, it certainly won’t hurt your chances in any way.
Should you dress smartly, smart casual, or in workout gear?
If you are sure that there will be some sort of physical element to your personal training interview, it makes sense to turn up in your workout gear, right? I mean, that’s what you are going to be wearing most of the time when you work there, isn’t it?
This is absolutely not the correct way to think.
Turning up in a pair of shorts and a tank top is not going to scream “I’m taking this interview seriously” to your interviewer.
And what about the other end of the spectrum, should you arrive wearing a three-piece suit? Probably not, as this would be seen as complete overkill. Remember the scene in Step Brothers when they turn up for janitor interviews wearing tuxedos? You don’t want to be doing that.
So what do I recommend? A nice smart-casual approach.
A nice pair of shoes, presentable trousers, and a well-fitting top or shirt will allow you to feel comfortable during your interview, whilst still showing that you’re taking the time to look presentable and have respect for the role you’re applying for.
Should you take workout gear with you just in case?
If you have not been asked to bring workout gear with you, and there was no mention of a practical element to the interview, I would always advise you to take it with you just in case.
It may be an oversight from the gym to not tell you this before you arrive on the day, however, they may have assumed that because you are applying for a role in fitness you would know that exercise may be involved in the process somewhere.
The last thing you want is to turn up and have to start demoing exercises in smart shoes with no grip, and that custom-fit shirt you love.
I’ve actually seen this happen before, and I can assure you, it just looks plain weird, so take your workout gear, and if you don’t need it, then no worries, but if they ask you to go onto the gym floor to demonstrate your teaching abilities, you’ll be able to get changed and do your thing.
Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Should you “dress to impress”?
This question takes me right back to a memory I have of a guy who turned up to his interview for a PT position wearing black leather shoes, black trousers, a black jacket, a white shirt, and a red tie. This is something known as “power dressing” in business, and he couldn’t have looked more out of place.
It literally looked like he had got lost on his way to a board meeting, which did not fit his situation at all. We spoke to the PT manager afterward about how it went, and they mentioned that his attire had been a red flag that he didn’t understand the position he was going for, so be careful!
Remain on the smart casual side of things, and please don’t “overdo” it. Maybe wear a little aftershave or perfume if you’d like, but not too much, and wear clothes that are presentable and you feel comfortable in. Don’t wear an excessive amount of jewelry and please don’t wear clothes with holes in them (intentional from a fashion standpoint or not).
What’s best for ladies?
I’m no fashion guru by any stretch of the imagination, so I’ll have to leave it to your own judgment as to what looks good, but here are a few examples of what women can wear to a personal training interview.
Formal chat section of the interview
Putting things simply, I would suggest a smart skirt or comfortable trousers with a blouse or smart casual shirt. For shoes, I’d stay away from heels and go with flat, smart shoes that you would feel happy going to work in each day.
If you want to accessorize a little, you can, but don’t overdo it, a nice watch and subtle earnings would be ok, but certainly, nothing dangling down to your shoulders, and wear your hair exactly as you would if you were going for an interview in an office. Once you’re working with clients on the gym floor all day, you can do what you want with it, but during the interview, you’ll want to make yourself look as presentable as possible.
Practical section of the interview
For ladies, you’ll want to wear gym clothes that are practical, but still presentable. You’ll want to wear a good pair of smart and comfortable trainers, leggings, shorts, or smart tracksuit bottoms, and a crop top or sports bra would usually be acceptable. It’s almost certainly what you are already wearing to a gym each session anyway, but try to make sure it’s the most presentable kit you have.
What’s best for men?
Many of the same rules apply to men as to women when dressing for a gym-based interview. Here are a few examples of what I am confident an interviewer would want to see from male candidates.
Formal chat section of the interview
I would recommend a good pair of smart shoes (not trainers), well-fitting jeans that don’t have holes in them, or chino style trousers, with a smart shirt, polo shirt, or shirt/jumper combo.
You’ll want to be well-groomed, so making sure your hair is in good order is a must, and having a beard is completely fine as long as it is kept in good condition and is well maintained.
Practical section of the interview
Shoes for men are the same as for women, a decent pair of trainers, preferably without stains and with as few holes as possible. Shorts or smart tracksuit bottoms, and a well-fitting t-shirt would be fine (please try to make sure it isn’t three sizes too small, it won’t impress your interviewer).
What should you not wear to a personal training interview?
Here’s the fun bit, all the things you should absolutely not wear to a gym interview. I’ll list out the top offenders when it comes to giving off a bad impression to an interviewer here, so please make sure you read this list and don’t make the same mistakes I’ve seen plenty of people make.
What men should NOT wear
- Scruffy old trainers you found at the back of your wardrobe
- Tank tops that overly expose your chest
- Creased or stained clothing
- Flip-flops or crocs
What women should NOT wear
- Low cut tops
- Booty shorts
- Stained or dirty clothing
- Clothes with holes in
- Overly tight or loose attire
I hope today’s article has helped clear up what can be a really tough question.
You now know what you should and shouldn’t be wearing to your next interview at a gym, and you also know that if you aren’t 100% certain what it’ll entail, you can simply ask without any fear.
I’ve given general tips today, of course, but ultimately, it comes down to your own discretion as to what you feel is appropriate. However, the tips I’ve outlined will certainly narrow down your choices, making the process a lot easier.
I wish you the best of luck in your interview and with fingers crossed, your next step into a career in fitness.
Have a great day!
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