What Does a Personal Trainer Wear? | Exercise.com Learn: Your Fitness Business Resource

What Does a Personal Trainer Wear?

Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for Exercise.com. 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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  • A personal trainer should wear clothing that makes it easy to demonstrate exercises.
  • Clothing should always look professional and clean.
  • Clothing shouldn’t turn off or intimidate clients.
  • Stay on top of deals in the fitness fashion world.

Personal trainers working at a big box gym franchise don’t spend a lot of time choosing what to wear. Trainers and other employees usually wear t-shirts with the company’s name/logo on it. The word “trainer” may be emblazoned on the back.

The dress code exists for excellent reasons. One, the trainer is immediately identified and set apart from the gym’s members. The trainer becomes noticeable, which helps the gym. If you watched a trainer do a good job with clients, wouldn’t that lead you to think about signing up for sessions? Two, wearing the right outfit presents professionalism. Without a professional look, personal trainers don’t exactly inspire confidence.

Are you planning on being a self-employed personal trainer? In addition to knowing the ins and outs of fitness, you must rely on your own good judgment for fitness fashion. Don’t buy just anything off the rack! Choosing workout clothes requires a bit of thought. You don’t want any choice in clothes to detract from your professionalism in any way.

No matter the outfit, you’ll need a business management software platform to manage and grow your business. Request a demo today for our All-In-One Fitness Business Management Software.

Dress for Functionality

Style helps, but functionality ranks higher on the importance scale. The clothes you choose must make it easy to demonstrate exercises. Wearing jeans, for example, could prove disastrous when demonstrating heavy squats. The fabric won’t allow for the full range of motion.

The same would be true when trying to perform shoulder presses while wearing flannel. Construction boots don’t exactly make performing plyometric exercises easy, either. Besides, they look ridiculous in a gym.

Now, certain gyms may allow members to wear ill-advised clothing, but trainers cannot sport clothing that makes exercising difficult. Trainers should stick with flexible clothing designed with athletic performance in mind. Board shorts or nicely cut jogging pants and a well-fitting t-shirt come off as much more appropriate for training sessions.

You don’t want anything making your training sessions harder to teach. The wrong clothes can do just that.

Dress for Professionalism

Personal trainers must dress in a way that creates a positive professional impression. Jeans and flannel not only hamper performance, but they also look totally unprofessional. Why would you wear something better suited for shoveling snow than training a client?

Purchase decent clothing made by a designer of athletic sportswear. You’ll make a better impression this way. Sports apparel also shows a dedication to a certain lifestyle. Clients like trainers who show dedication in all walks of life.

Someone wearing Adidas or Nike clothing probably spends a lot of time thinking and learning about fitness. The clothes help make the trainer. Trainers wishing to be successful should look the part. Otherwise, you’ll find it tough convincing clients to choose you as their personal trainer.

Trainers do need to beware of going too cheap or too expensive with their clothing choices.

Budget for Your Clothing

An investment in the proper clothing isn’t just about looking good. The right sportswear is durable and won’t rip or tear like third-rate apparel. Spending a lot of money to get nice looking and durable clothing isn’t always necessary, though. Reasonably affordable clothing delivers the goods just fine.

Wearing clothes that are a bit too cheap, however, doesn’t make a great impression.

And clothing that is too expensive can be a turnoff to potential clients. Clients might think their training fees are hiked up to pay for designer clothes.

Play it safe by donning nice clothes that are neither too costly nor too cheap. And keep them clean.

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Clean Clothes Count

Skipping out on washing and drying your clothes would be a terrible idea. Sweaty, wrinkled clothing does not exactly speak highly about a personal trainer. Disregarding basic cleanliness reflects a personal trainer who lacks self-respect and shows disrespect towards clients. Always wear clean workout clothes when training clients.

The one downside to performance-wear is that it tends to smell, despite regular washes. Check out this article to learn more about how to get the odor out of fitness apparel. In addition to using this knowledge for yourself, passing along this info to your clients is wise as well!

Stay Away from Controversial Clothing

Trying to be funny or making a political statement with a t-shirt could really backfire. A controversial slogan on a shirt has the potential to turn off potential or current clients. Certain illustrated t-shirts might even be so inappropriate that you will be asked to leave the gym you are renting space from.

An example of what to avoid is wearing apparel that celebrates trending television shows. Maybe you have seen people wearing zombie apocalypse fashion. Living dead TV shows draw big audiences these days. So, specialty companies put out oddball zombie apocalypse t-shirts to cash in. The shirts might look fine at a horror movie convention, but they create a real-world nightmare when worn by a personal trainer.

Don’t make the mistake of wearing anything that causes harm to your business. A basic t-shirt with a solid color displaying the name of the designer is enough. A basic t-shirt causes no trouble. So buy a number of them. Keep them clean, too.

Don’t Wear Intimidating Clothing

You are your own best form of advertising. Aesthetics count in the fitness industry. Showing off muscles can be effective, but you may have to dial back your flaunting.

Pumping heavy weights in a hardcore bodybuilding gym is not the same thing as training a client. Hitting weights hard with an aggressive attitude is fine. Being too aggressive or intimidating with a client isn’t so fine. Attitude alone won’t intimidate.

Clothing choices can cause gym intimidation as well.

String tank-top shirts showing off massive muscles can put off potential clients. They won’t approach an intimidating trainer, much less sign up for lessons. Avoid clothing that intimidates. It won’t impress anyone or help the cause.

Stay Up to Speed on Cool Exercise Clothing Trends

Smaller companies are always releasing new apparel. Keep current on the release of new clothing and any special deals available. The internet makes this possible so, when the time comes to buy new clothes, check out current online sales.

Fitness celebrities frequently put out their own clothing lines. Most of these celebrities have worked as personal trainers or competitors. They understand how to get positive reactions through the right look. Hence, their clothing lines could be the perfect choices for personal training attire.

The Bottom Line

As a personal trainer, it is important to present yourself in a professional-yet-relatable way. Wear clothes that accentuate your features without drawing too much attention to them and keep the graphics/catchy slogans to a minimum. Remember to practice proper hygiene, wash your clothes, and bring an extra outfit with you for those long training days so that you can stay looking (and smelling) fresh and professional. If you rent space at a local gym, be sure to check with the gym’s owner regarding what the gym’s dress code is so that you are able to maintain a positive relationship with said owner.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Which personal training certification is the best one?

All of the various personal training certifications have different requirements, costs, study materials, exam details, recertification requirements, and continuing education credits (CECs) or units (CEUs). It’s important to do your homework and review all of the details before deciding on which one is best for you. The certifications that have been NCCA-accredited are more reputable than others that are not accredited because they have met a certain level of standards for the certification.

How long should I study for a personal training certification exam?

It varies among individuals. If you recently finished a degree with courses covering most of the content in the exam, you might be able to take it more quickly than someone who does not have that background. With NESTA, once you register for the exam, you have 90 days to complete the exam. Other organizations will vary on their timelines.

How much money do personal trainers make?

This varies depending on location, experience, and how many clients you are training.

Where can I train my personal training clients?

There are a number of places where you could train your clients like a gym, a park, your home, their home, or your own studio.

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