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Salaries in the Fitness Industry

If you are thinking of working in the fitness industry as a personal trainer it is important to understand the factors that contribute to a personal trainer’s salary. The main criteria for earnings are your qualification base including any specialist expertise and experience gained and how hard you are prepared to work.  Annual salary will also be dependent upon which health clubs you are attached to (if any) and the location of your personal trainer business.  Ensuring that you have access to an affluent local population is a key consideration to maximise your earnings.

Newly qualified PT's should definitely stick around the club scene for a while until you learn the ropes.  You will be working alongside some very experienced PTs that have a wealth of experience in sales, client management and customer services.  Observe them and learn from them.  You may find that clubland works very well for you and that you earn a good living and enjoy the environment and the camaraderie.  This is the case for perhaps the majority of PTs.  However, a more lucrative market lies away from the clubs, or at the very least working partly as a total freelancer, either training from your own venue, or using outdoors and people's homes.  In this case, all of your income is your own and you do not have to pay a rental or share your income.

Personal Trainer Salary

If you are a newly qualified Personal Trainer then your earning potential is significantly higher than that of a fitness instructor, but you will have to establish yourself before you can hope to earn some of the high end figures that the experienced personal trainers do. As a rule of thumb, if you are employed by a gym then you should be looking to earn between £16k - £22k in your first year but this does vary wildly and each facility will have its own arrangements for remuneration.

To maximise your earning potential as a personal trainer, it is important to branch out into different areas of expertise such as weight management , nutrition, strength and conditioning and sports nutrition. Additional to these specialist areas, another way to increase your earning potential is to have group exercise skills. This will ensure you can expose yourself to many potential personal trainer clients. By taking classes you can earn additional £20-£30 an hour. It is suggested that you become qualified in spinning (indoor cycling), kettlebells, suspension training and circuit training.  This will give you a broad group-based skill base that will work well in clubs as well as outdoors running boot camps and circuit sessions in your own time and hugely boosting your income.

As freelance professionals, it is very difficult to put a figure on how much any one individual is likely to earn.  There are many variables, but perhaps the most important one following qualifications, is effort.  There are many PT's in the UK that earn in excess of £75k per year.  They will have other PT's working for them and they will provide products such as dietary and training supplements to their clients.  They are also likely to have corporate clients and perform corporate wellness services for local companies and they may well be somewhat of a local celebrity regularly writing articles in the press and featuring in editorials and local press releases. They will have a good working web site and they will have learned the art of marketing.  Above all else, becoming a successful PT is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.

Choosing your personal trainer course

Choosing the best personal trainer qualifications can be confusing. It is important that you establish which specialist areas you want to branch into allowing you to research which personal trainer course suits you. Personal Trainer courses range from £1000 to £3000 depending on whether you study full time or part time (home study courses). The key to getting the right personal trainer qualification is making sure it is from a top Awarding Body that everyone will recognise such as Central YMCA Qualifications (CYQ).  This is very important as it will be your foundation qualification for life.  A well respected Awarding Body is essential and not all certificates available will be recognised, so whilst you may pay a little more, you can be sure that the quality and recognition is there - and so can your clients and employers!  You must also check that the personal trainer course is Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs) accredited, as you will not get any work in a club unless you are on the register. It is also important to understand and ask who your tutors will be and ensure the training provider employs established and successful PT's rather than those that have just qualified themselves - in this case you won't learn much.

Will the personal trainer course be part time or full time? This will depend on your current employment position and how quickly you want to get into the industry. Part Time personal training courses tend to be slightly cheaper than the full time personal trainer courses. This is because you have less contact time with the tutor, however, they do take longer to complete.

The full time personal trainer courses are an excellent way to get into the industry quickly. Most full time personal trainer courses range from 4 weeks to 8 weeks. This range will depend on whether they include the Level 2 Gym Instructor Course and additional specialist modules which can increase your earning potential. It is important to look at the modules that the personal trainer course offers. The below modules are some of the units that will be covered in most personal training courses:

Every personal trainer course must include these. The differences between the companies will be the additional modules that you complete in your personal trainer course and the route by which you get these personal trainer modules.

Funding your personal trainer course

The next question is how are you going to pay for your personal trainer course. There are a number of options available and these are outlined below:

  • pay in full - this is often the best way to pay for your personal trainer course, as you can often get discounts and will have the best value for money;
  • payment plans- these can vary, but normally the longer the payment plan the higher the interest. Look for ones that are between 7-13% interest;
  • career development loan - some companies have been approved to obtain government backed career development loans from approved banks. For more information on this you can call 020 8543 1017.
Freelance Personal Trainer - Financial Advice

If you are an existing personal trainer and you are considering becoming a freelance personal trainer, be sure to develop a robust business plan for your personal trainer business. You need to consider all of the costs and income aspects and you ought to have at least 10 weekly personal trainer clients already that you know are regular and reliable. You may wish to align yourself to a gym and pay rent as mentioned before, or you may prefer to be completely freelance and work from the client's home or use the great outdoors. Whilst this is more demanding in terms of delivering a total fitness solution it is more lucrative as you don't have to pay monthly rent, and this can be as high as £900 per month in some clubs.


Holding fitness classes and lessons

An important way to increase earning power for a personal trainer is to take studio classes. This will mean that additional training courses will need to be taken such as Exercise to Music (ETM) Studio cycling (sometimes known as spinning). Payment for classes again does vary quite a lot from one gym to the next, and it will also relate to your popularity as an instructor, and your ability to bring in high numbers. Generally expect to earn between £20 - £30 per hour for classes.

Developing specialist areas of expertise

A good idea as a personal trainer is to specialize in certain areas, and this may include:

This will not only make you more employable but will offer you an advantage over the other Personal Trainers in the gym as you can market yourself in general and specialist terms. Of course you will need to undergo further training yourself to be able to deliver these specialisms but your personal trainer business plan will have made provision for this, and you should always plan to cover the cost of any training within one year.



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