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Getting started as a personal trainer

Updated: Apr 12, 2020

Personal trainer Julien Bertherat with Nicol Bedingfield.

I was recording the latest episode of the 2 Guys on Fitness podcast the other day (always a fun thing to do!) with my podcast buddy Allen Therisa and, purely by chance, we ended up talking about how I became a personal trainer.

As part of the episode we were recording, I interviewed Nicol Bedingfield (pictured with yours truly), who works at Jubilee Hall Gym Covent Garden and has ambitions of being a personal trainer herself. What was interesting, as the interview proceeded, was the difference I realised was between us, due to our age and experience. Nicol is in her twenties, has a background in dance and at the early stages of her career in fitness, while I am approaching my fortieth birthday and have been working professionally in the sector for a little over a decade now.

Which set me thinking to the lessons I have learned over the years and the principles I hold, which I believe are important in forging a successful career as a personal trainer. There are many routes to training clients in how to become stronger, fitter and healthier, though for me the key points are as follows:

Find a way into the business

There are various careers in fitness and a whole raft of employment opportunities in the sector (and particularly working in gyms). Starting in a gym, in whatever capacity that can put you in touch with the public is a great way to start in the industry. For myself, I began my fitness career at Jubilee Hall Covent Garden and this gave me my first foothold in the business. It was also a great way to meet people, get an understanding of the skills I would need as a personal trainer and it motivated me to choose it as a career.

Learn the skills you need and get the right training

Personal trainers are usually expected to have credible experience of fitness instruction and a recognised industry qualification, such as a Level 2 Certificate in Fitness gym Instructing; a Level 2 Diploma in Health, Fitness or Exercise Instruction; or a Level 2 Diploma in Instructing Exercise and Fitness. There are many professional organisations, colleges and agencies that offer such training and it is one of the key stepping stones to launching a career as a PT. So, go online, take reputable advice and research the best training providers to get started if personal training is what you want to do.

Develop a fitness ethos that is authentic to you

Before personal training, I played rugby (which was and remains the passion of my life). This grounding in the sport then filtered through to my PT career and shaped my approach to training and fitness. It gave me the expertise which I would later apply to train clients and an ethos to u