Can anyone become a personal trainer? | Learn: Your Fitness Business Resource

Can anyone become a personal trainer?

Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist. He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life. He has been featured in Shape, Healthline, HuffPost, Women's...

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UPDATED: Aug 25, 2020

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  • Fitness enthusiasts interested in a personal training career have few or no impediments in their way.
  • A personal training certificate is an important element for success in the field.
  • Personal trainers must be self-motivated, possess expanded knowledge, and consistently engage in self-study.

Fitness fans who wish to turn their combined hobby and lifestyle into a career — a potentially lucrative one — rejoice over opportunities for personal training work. After all, the personal training world has room for new talent. Those entering this world may be fielding numerous job offers or reasonable self-employment deals.

People new to the fitness industry or those simply thinking about a career may wonder, “Can anyone become a personal trainer?” The question is a bit too broad to give a yes or no answer.

A better question would be: “Are there any restrictions that may prevent someone from becoming a personal trainer?”

No, anyone hoping to pursue work in the industry can do so. However, commitment is required to achieve success. “Anyone” does not include those unwilling to put in the time and effort to do well.

Once you’ve taken the plunge and have become a certified personal trainer, request a demo of our All-In-One Fitness Business Management Software to learn how you can take your fitness business to the next level.

The Personal Training Certificate

A certificate plays a significant role in landing a personal training position with a gym or attracting clients. Numerous programs exist. They range from entry-level to specialized programs designed for those already working. New entrants should look toward enrolling in established, credible certificate programs.

Acquiring this certificate means studying the required material and passing a written test. Not everyone may be a great test-taker, so re-testing until passing could be unavoidable. Those who don’t quit after falling short the first time always maintain the pursuit of a rewarding career. Quitting, however, ends any chances at anything.

Self-Study and Extensive Knowledge Required

Working out every day and passing a personal training examination won’t be enough to make anyone an expert, or even passably knowledgeable, about training others. A lot of self-study into different training programs is necessary to train a variety of clients.

A high school athlete interested in a strength training program to boost wins during the wrestling season needs a different program than a 45-year-old sedentary professional wishing to tone muscle and lose 15 pounds.

Someone interested in packing on 20 pounds of solid muscle won’t follow the same training program as a person who wants to improve cardiovascular conditioning and endurance. A skilled personal trainer understands how to craft the right program for each client.

Personal trainers also know how to guide clients away from terrible fad diets and bad training programs. To do so, a personal trainer must draw from a strong personal knowledge base. Constant reading and self-study support a strong knowledge base.

Again, time and commitment are required to develop such knowledge. Anyone willing to do so increases the chances of career success. Certain personal training programs require recertification and continuing education credits, which work for the benefit of a trainer.

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No Need to Be a Bodybuilder or Fitness Model

Sometimes, the question, “Can anyone become a personal trainer?” hints at body type. A huge myth exists that only those with an incredibly lean, muscular, and ripped physique attract clients. This misconception is not the case, as evidenced by the untold number of personal trainers who do not possess such Spartan physiques. Yes, a trainer should be in shape, but no one needs a contest-ready or movie-star physique to do well.

Clients want to see results. A trainer who guides clients to their goals delivers what clients need. A trainer doesn’t need to be at eight-percent body fat to do so.

Take Part in Effective Marketing Strategies

Self-employed personal trainers must be willing to invest money and effort into marketing.

Online advertising, business cards, and word-of-mouth marketing become vital to catch the attention of would-be clients. Those adverse to performing this necessary legwork may not be cut out for the entrepreneurial path of a personal trainer.

Building a Résumé

Not every personal trainer is self-employed. A number work for small and “big box” gyms. To land a job at one of these gyms, some experience is needed. Employers want to hire a competent person. Experience supports claims of competency.

Building a résumé may require volunteer work and training people for free. Doing so helps amass necessary references.

Not everyone may be willing to do this, but those who are may find that their labor pays off in the form of job offers.

Who Is It up To?

Achievements in the personal training field can only be gained thanks to the effort performed by the individual interested in the career.

So, can anyone become a personal trainer? Anyone willing to do what is necessary to be successful probably has the greatest chance.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What certification do most personal trainers have?

Most personal trainers are certified through ACE or NASM.

Can a personal trainer have a certification and be a bad trainer?

Yes; just as a doctor can have a medical degree and still be a “bad” doctor, having a personal training certification does not mean that the trainer is an effective one.

How long does becoming a certified personal trainer take?

It depends on the certification. Some only require a few days or weeks of studying; others require months of study and other pre-requisites like a college degree.

To manage your personal training business effectively, request a demo of our All-In-One Fitness Business Management Software today.

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