Being a personal trainer pros and cons - Stress

Being a Personal Trainer: Pros and Cons of the Industry | OriGym

    Being a personal trainer, despite the conflicting pros and cons involved, can be a wonderful career.

    But you do have to do your research…

    The reason you’ve probably looked into something like being a personal trainer pros and cons is because you’re about to take your Level 2 and/or Level 3 Personal Trainer qualification, and you’re nervous about some of the finer details once you’re qualified.  

    If that is the case, you’re in the right place.

    In this article, we’re going to go through all the pros and cons of being a personal trainer – not just in general – but from the mouths of PTs who have been practising in the fitness industry for a number of years.


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    So, let’s get stuck in!

    Being a personal trainer: Pros

    When people research being a personal trainer pros and cons, they tend to look for the negative.

    And, if you think about it, that logic makes sense…

    If you’re already researching personal training, then you’re interested in taking up a career as a personal trainer. And if you’re interested in a career in personal training, then we can only assume that you know some of the benefits of a career in that industry.

    However, knowing the pros of being a personal trainer serves an even more important purpose.

    Did you know, for example, that while personal training measures up well against other professions, the percentage of personal trainers who report being stressed at work is near 50%.

    Knowing as we do that personal training can be a stressful profession, remembering why you got into the industry in the first place could be crucial to ensure your long-term success.

    While your reading the next chapter then, be sure to keep in mind which of the advantages when it comes to being a personal trainer pros and cons means most to you!

    Multiple Career Strands

    One of the best, and perhaps least obvious, pros of being a personal trainer is the flexibility when it comes to career paths.

    The reason that this is not as obvious as say, flexible working hours (and we’ll come to those soon…), is because you only really start to benefit from having flexibility and choice once your in the business.

    Think about it this way….

    You’ve decided you want to become a personal trainer, you’ve done all the research, and you’ve taken and passed your Level 2 and Level 3 Personal Trainer Examinations.

    Great. Now, the only thing to do is go and get some experience on the gym floor, and start building up your client list…

    Or is it?

    See, when it comes to personal training, as strange as this may sound, you have far more choices than just working on a gym floor as a to-hire personal trainer. In fact, while your will still be called a PT in practice, the differences in practical terms between the different career strands of personal training are huge.

    Check out our video here on all the personal training career option pros and cons for each route you could take:


    Working Environment

    It should come as no surprise for anyone who has worked in a dreary office, that a huge consideration in terms of personal trainer pros and cons is your future working environment.

    Now, there’s a couple of things to keep in mind here…

    The first is that, in any gym-based job, you won’t have to worry about sitting at a desk all day. Yes, you’ll have to do some administrative work, and yes, there may be times where this will make you want to throw your computer out of the window, but on the whole it’s going to be your job to keep clients fit and healthy.

    And guess what that involves? Being out and about on the gym floor!

    The second consideration is a little less obvious, but just as important.

    See, these days, with the commercialisation of health and fitness, gym spaces are designed to be attractive and relaxing for customers. The benefit of this is, from an employee’s perspective, is that you’ll  also benefit from such conditions.

    This may not sound important, but just look at how office environments have been found to aid productivity:

    This means one thing and one thing only…

    When it comes to choosing your new workplace, you’re spoilt for choice! Whether you live in the far north of Scotland, or in the heart of a city centre, you will have options available to you to begin your personal training career.

    In fact, once you’ve passed your Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications, the possibilities really are limitless…

    Don’t fancy working in a gym? No problem! Set yourself up as a mobile, or an independent trainer and start building your client lists from there!

    Being a personal trainer: Cons

    Of course, in the consideration of being a personal trainer pros and cons, there has to be both pros, and cons.

    It’s kind of in the name, after all…

    But the cons of personal training needn’t put a stop to your ambitions and dreams of becoming a personal trainer.

    In fact, if you approach them properly, you can view cons as regular events, obstacles, and challenges that trip other personal trainers up, but that need not get in your way.

    Over the next chapter then, keep an eye out for where you can use the cons of personal training to your advantage!

    Not all clients will see immediate positive results

    To you, this much is obvious.

    Clients train differently, cope with the stresses of everyday life in different ways, and will therefore be more, or less, susceptible to personal training.

    Bodies are also drastically different from one another…

    The same intensity training programme may cause one client to shed half a stone in two weeks, and another to see barely any change at all.

    The thing is, you know this, but try explaining this to a disgruntled client who wants their money back…

    See, personal training isn’t just about achieving the qualifications, it’s about learning to deal with clients, and forge professional relationships than benefits both the client, and yourself.

    Here are some of the top tips as to how to deal with difficult clients in the early stages of your personal training:

    Unsteady income and benefits

    When considering being a personal trainer pros and cons, income is often held up as a major pro.

    And it’s true, personal trainers in the right areas, with the right services, and who have marketed themselves in the right way can earn a huge wage.

    But the flipside of that is personal trainers can also struggle in the early years to make ends meet, with things like ground rent, unreliable clients, and competitors swallowing up a large chunk of their earnings.

    If you want a full picture of how this might affect a new trainer, check out our ultimate guide to personal trainer salaries.

    So, what’s the solution to unsteady income and benefits?

    Well, the very fact that income is not stable is indicative of the industry as a whole. Or, to put clearly, the fact that you don’t earn a set wage means that you always have the potential to expand.

    We asked some of our most experienced trainers and tutors what they did in the early years to rise above the competition, and here’s what they had to say:

    Risk and insurance

    In a job where you have direct contact with the general public, and the regular use of heavy equipment, you perhaps shouldn’t be too surprised to hear that there is an element of risk involved…

    But, when considering being a personal trainer pros and cons, you’d be shocked as to how many people overlook this massively important, and potentially disastrous, aspect of the industry.

    The truth is, there’s really not much to get right here…

    At the end of the day, accidents happen, and all you can do is prepare as best you can for this eventuality. And the main way you can prepare, is to make sure you have the right insurance…

    Being a Personal Trainer Pros and Cons: The Grey Areas

     In your research so far, you will have likely considered the pros and cons pf being a personal trainer in relation to your own experience.

    And for things like better working environment (obvious pro) and unstable source of income (obvious con), this is relatively easy.

    However, there’ll be some pros and cons that are more difficult to put your finger on.

    We call these grey areas.

    Grey areas are aspects of personal training that could be construed as both positive and negative, depending on the trainer.

    Of course the best way to know what these are, is to keep reading!

    Working Hours

    Now, your eyes might have widened to the point where they come out your head at this one.

    Surely more working hours is a con, and less time in work is a pro.

    As we addressed when talking about working environments, personal training doesn’t exactly work like this…

    See, as a personal trainer your hours have to be flexible. For some, this might mean working every hour of the day (which would obviously be a bad thing for mental and physical health), and for others it can mean negotiating a timetable around their social lives, or at least one that suits them better than the traditional 9-5.

    So, I guess the big question is, how do you make working hours work for you?

    Our expert PTs are once again on hand to help!

    The nature of the job = constant social pressure

    It’s a simple fact that some people are social animals and some people aren’t.

    It’s also true that, if you want to become a personal trainer, you do have to at least pretend to have the persona as a social animal.  

    But don’t worry.

    If you’re sat there thinking you can’t imagine anything worse than a room full of strangers, but you also think that it’s your dream to become a personal trainer, the two things needn’t be mutually exclusive.

    In fact, sometimes the reserved persona can work in your favour.

    Again, this is a matter of using your personality to your advantage.

    Some personal trainers are boisterous extroverts, and some a more intense, quiet types.

    Here’s the thing, both can be successful, you just need to learn how to identify your target audience.

    And we’re done! But don’t leave just yet…

    When we talk about being a personal trainer pros and cons, it goes without saying that we’ll miss some important ones.

    Every personal trainer is different, and they’ll all have things that they love (and hate!) about the industry.

    Interested in taking your career to the next level? Go take a look at our Personal Training Diploma here, or download our FREE prospectus for more info! 


    Enquire to Become a Personal Trainer

    Start a new and exciting career as a Personal Trainer

    Written by Luke Hughes

    CEO and Co-Founder

    Join Luke on Facebook at the OriGym Facebook Group

    Luke is the CEO and Co-Founder of OriGym. Holding a first-class degree in Sport and Exercise and an MSc in Sport and Nutrition, he is also qualified as a Level 4 Personal Trainer with various specialist credentials covering the entire spectrum of health, fitness and business. Luke has contributed to a variety of major industry publications, including Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, Metro, Cosmopolitan, The Mirror, The Sun, The Standard and more.

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