How Many Clients Can Personal Trainers Have? | Learn: Your Fitness Business Resource

How Many Clients Can Personal Trainers Have?

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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  • There is an increasing demand for qualified personal trainers.
  • As your own boss, you have the flexibility to work when you want.
  • Most full-time trainers work between 30 and 40 hours each week.

The opportunity to build a successful personal training business has never been stronger. With obesity rates growing to epidemic proportions, seeking the help of a trainer has gone from being a luxury to a necessity for many people.

Consequently, the number of people looking to become trainers has skyrocketed as well.

However, even with the increasing demand for qualified personal trainers, the average lifespan of a personal training career is one to two years.

Not only is this statistically alarming, but it’s also frustrating since so many people need guidance to live a healthier lifestyle. But building a strong client base isn’t always as easy as it looks.

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Starting From Scratch

The key to being successful relies heavily on how you present yourself to both current clients and new prospects. Regardless of where you work, you need to develop a marketing strategy.

To consistently grow your business, you must lay the foundation by:

  • Delivering great results
  • Focusing on each client as if they are your only one
  • Creating partnerships
  • Creating a referral system

Is Less Really More?

For an experienced personal trainer, having fewer clients usually means they have succeeded in building a name for themselves. They no longer need to fill every waking moment of their day with training sessions. But this type of success doesn’t happen overnight. Typically, a personal trainer will start off working in their local gym after completing their certification courses.

Working the floor may not seem glamorous, but it’s the perfect time to get your feet wet and to start selling your services. Depending on your availability and the amount of time you’re willing to invest, you can easily take on one to two new clients within your first month on the job. And although that doesn’t sound like a lot, it’s still an accomplishment.

Marketing yourself isn’t easy, particularly when there are so many other trainers with more experience than you. But having experience doesn’t always equate to more clients. Another component of signing on new clients is your personality. Since clients will come and go, so you need to stand out above your competition.

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Part-Time vs. Full-Time Personal Trainers

If you choose to work through your gym, there may come a time when you want to branch out on your own. Since most gyms take a percentage of your income, it makes sense to become your own boss. But what’s better? Should you keep your current job and train clients on the weekends, or should you make being a personal trainer your full-time job?


If you’re still working another job, you need to seriously consider if working in the fitness industry full-time is for you. While having a passion for fitness is a must, you need more than that to make it as a successful full-time personal trainer.

On average, full-time trainers work 30 to 40 hours a week, training 15 to 25 clients. And even if you eat, sleep, and breathe fitness, it’s a huge undertaking.

Since most clients only sign up for a set number of sessions, you always need to be looking for new prospects. You need the time to market yourself online through a website and on social media. Most importantly, you need word-of-mouth referrals.


As a part-time personal trainer, the number of clients you have is entirely up to you. On average, you should shoot for at least four to five clients per week. Obviously, this depends on the amount of time you have to devote to being a trainer. If you are only looking for a few extra bucks, then working part-time is a great decision. You have the flexibility to work in the evenings and on the weekends.

Prepare in Advance

Whether you choose to work full-time or part-time, you need to be prepared. Before you leave your current job, you need to start saving as much money as possible.

Establish a solid cancellation policy, so you won’t lose money if clients cancel at the last minute. If possible, try to retain a source of steady income while growing your client base. Even one or two days a week will make a difference when you just start out. Furthermore, find other ways to supplement your income, such as teaching group classes or speaking at fitness seminars.

Becoming a personal trainer is not for everyone. Take the time to weigh the pros and cons before making any rash decisions. Most importantly, be realistic with your expectations and always have a backup plan in case things don’t work out as you imagined.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How do I become a personal trainer?

You become a personal trainer by becoming studying for, taking, and passing a personal training certification exam.

Is it hard to become a personal trainer?

The level of difficulty to become a personal trainer depends on which certification you choose to obtain — some certifying agencies are harder to become certified with than others and some may require extra pre-requisites like a college degree.

Can I become a personal trainer without studying for the exam?

It is unlikely that you will pass your personal training exam for any agency if you do not study thoroughly for the exam beforehand.

Will a gym hire me without a personal training certification?

It is unlikely that a gym will hire someone without a certification to train members. However, a gym may still hire you to perform other duties, like administrative tasks.

Can I rent space in a gym if I am not a certified personal trainer?

Gyms will likely not rent out space to someone that is not certified due to liability concerns.

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