How to Get Personal Trainer Experience | Learn: Your Fitness Business Resource

How to Get Personal Trainer Experience

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: Jun 30, 2021

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  • Personal trainers can gain experience in a number of different ways.
  • Offering free classes is an easy way to gain clients and experience!
  • Using social media to promote the gained experience can also be beneficial.

Making a name for yourself in the personal training industry can be a bit tricky at first. When you initially become certified as a personal trainer, it is then that you have to get out into the world, get clients, and practice what you have acquired knowledge-wise. What are some of the better ways, though, to get personal trainer experience?

The more experienced that you are, the easier it is going to be to gain clients, especially those who rely on and trust you long-term.

The great thing about being a personal trainer is that you have minimal limitations in work location. You do not need to be hired by a gym to be a personal trainer. You can make the most of your surroundings, get creative, and practice new ideas to garner more experience. As you gain experience, it then comes down to making sure the world knows about it so word of mouth can travel and you can win attention.

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Personal trainer certifications are another way you can gain a lot of experience. You can get certified through groups like the American College of Sports Medicine and ACE. Most gyms will want you to be certified before you are hired. Even freelancers can benefit to get clients through certifications. You can get these certifications online, meaning it is something you can quickly do in your free time! Outside of certification, no licensing regulations exist for personal trainers.

Become an Apprentice

One of the better ways to get experience as a personal trainer is to become an apprentice. There are plenty of establishments focused on fitness that are willing to take you on as an apprentice. Within this type of set-up, you will work with a much more experienced personal trainer — learning what they know, getting hands-on with the workouts, learning how to conduct a training session, etc.

When you can apprentice with a personal trainer who wants to teach you, you will gain highly valuable experience. It can also lead to a long-term position at the facility you are doing the apprenticeship with, as long as you make a good impression!

Offer Free Personal Training

You are in the business of training to make money, but sometimes you just need to get experience and get your name out there. Try to offer up a free private training class or two to some clients — a short-term loss in favor of a much longer-term gain.

You get the experience of doing real personal training, as well as clients who can then speak to others on your behalf. If they have had great experiences with you, they will share that with their friends, who will also turn into long-term paying clients you can rely on.

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Use the Outdoors

Ever see people working out in the park, using mother nature and the human body to get a great exercise set in? You can do a lot without any weights, treadmills, etc. Use the outdoors to get new clients to try out your training skills. If a gym will not hire you or let you use their facility, try to expand your horizons and go outside!

Try to advertise a class here and there in the park, and see how many people show up! Working out in the fresh air and enjoying nature can be appealing to those seeking improved wellness.

Turn Houses into Fitness Centers

Another option is to use your own home. You likely have a home gym of sorts set up. If the house is big enough, try to bring in a client for a personal training session. If you cannot, at least see if you have friends or a family member who would let you try out your training skills on them.

You could also use the house of a resident or family member if they allow it. If you do not have the funds to get fancy equipment, get creative with the workouts! You do not even need equipment to get a great full-body workout fleshed out for your clients. It is all about practice, knowing how to adapt based on a client’s personality and physical skill set, and getting the most out of every exercise.

Take Advantage of Social Media

Make sure to put your training experience out there on social media. When you are doing the home lessons or personal training in the park, take pictures and share them on your social media account. If you plan to offer free personal training, advertise online so that you can attract people outside of just your immediate bubble of friends and potential clients.

Social media can also be an area where others talk about the experiences that they have had with you. Making the most of this avenue to build a client base is powerful.

Start Gaining Experience Today

Being a trainer is a pretty impressive career choice as long as you want to put in the time. Make the most of everything you have around you; do not take any opportunities for granted. When you have the chance to gain experience, go for it.

The more knowledge, skills, and practice you get, the better the trainer you will become.

Create workouts, a quality meal plan (if certified in nutrition), and everything clients can follow to succeed. Experience and knowledge go hand in hand, and the most successful personal trainers know how to properly combine the two.

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.

Use the examples and advice provided above to push your personal training career forward and request a demo for our All-In-One Fitness Business Management Software today!

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