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best gyms to work for as a personal trainer

9 Best Gyms To Work For As A Personal Trainer

If you’re a PT, you may be wondering: what are the best gyms to work for as a personal trainer? With so many out there and with so many factors to consider, deciding where to apply for can seem overwhelming! That’s why we’ve compiled the ultimate guide to help you choose the best gyms to work for in the UK. 

This article will cover:

If you’re yet to qualify, taking a personal training course with OriGym is the perfect way to get started in the fitness industry! Or, if you’re already a PT, why not enhance your career prospects with our Level 4 personal training course

You can also browse OriGym’s full range of courses by downloading our free course prospectus here

What Is A Personal Trainer?

Before we get into the best gyms to work for as a personal trainer, let’s clarify what exactly a personal trainer is and what the role involves! 

A personal trainer is simply a certified fitness professional who works on a 1-to-1 basis with a client to help them achieve their fitness goals. 

One of the main roles and responsibilities of a personal trainer is to create and deliver a tailored fitness programme for a client. This is predominantly done through sessions in which the PT guides the client through a series of exercises. 

A personal trainer should essentially be a role model for a client and motivate them to reach their goals! They may also offer advice on nutrition and lifestyle, and can specialise in particular areas of fitness. 

To be a personal trainer, you need to have completed a Level 2 Gym Instructing Course and Level 3 personal training course. Once you have this qualification, a whole world of opportunities is opened to you in the fitness industry! 

Personal Trainer Career Paths

Many people think that as soon as you qualify as a personal trainer, you are ready to go and land your dream job the next day! But in fact, you should take some time to consider what kind of employment type you want to go into as a personal trainer. 

This is why choosing a course provider with extensive post-course support is so important. At OriGym, all of our students have access to our award-winning careers advice to help you take your first steps into the industry. 

As part of your course, you’ll learn all about the different types of personal trainer employment contracts, but here is a brief summary of the 3 main personal trainer career paths: 

  • Employed by a gym 

Being employed by a gym simply means that you work directly for a specific gym, such as Pure Gym or Total Fitness. This is therefore the employment type that we will mostly be discussing in this article when we address the best gyms to work for as a personal trainer. 

Working for a gym means that you will likely take on an existing client base and be on a fixed wage determined by the gym. These factors make it a popular choice with newly qualified personal trainers as you have a guaranteed income and set of clients. 

If you choose this career option, there are some additional responsibilities that you may have to take on, such as: carrying out gym inductions with new clients, cleaning equipment, monitoring changing rooms and working on reception. You may also be required to deliver group classes. 

When choosing which gym to work for as a personal trainer, you should therefore read the job description carefully to find out whether you will have to complete these extra tasks as part of your contract. However, most PTs say that these additional tasks are worth it in exchange for job security and the rewarding nature of the job!

  • Freelance 

Working as a freelance personal trainer for a gym means that you have a little more freedom over your hours and working life. You can run whatever sessions you like and choose the amount of clients you take on. This means that how much money you earn is essentially up to you! 

One of the main differences between working for a gym as an employee and being a freelancer is that you have to seek out your own clients. This can be challenging, which is why we’ve put together this guide on how to get personal training clients full of tips for marketing yourself as a freelance PT. 

Another factor to consider about going freelance is that most gyms will require you to pay a small rent fee to use their facilities for your sessions. Although it is only a small cost, this will still have an impact on your overall earnings. 

As a freelance personal trainer, you will also need to be finance-savvy. Unlike working for a gym where you simply receive a set salary each month, you will be responsible for keeping an accurate record of your expenses and earnings. But most freelance personal trainers testify that the extra work is worth the freedom of dictating your own working hours and the higher earning potential! 

  • Self-employed

The third personal trainer career path is to be a self-employed PT. This is a popular choice with more experienced personal trainers who have already built up their own client base and have made a name for themselves in the industry. 

This career option gives you the most freedom, but also the most responsibility! As a self-employed personal trainer, you are essentially running your own business. You should therefore be prepared to market yourself, have a social media presence and be confident in dealing with your own finances. 

If you’re considering becoming a self-employed personal trainer, you might want to consider taking an extra qualification such as CPD course in business to learn more about marketing and advertising yourself as a personal trainer. 

However, if you’re willing to put in the work, this has the potential to be one of the most rewarding and well-paid of the personal training career paths. 

For more detailed information about the pros and cons of the different personal training career options, this video covers all you need to know:

Types Of Gyms To Work For As A Personal Trainer

If you’ve decided that you want to work for a gym, there are then different types of gyms to consider! There are benefits to each type, but it is ultimately a matter of personal preference and which best suits your teaching style, personality and interests. 

Let’s dive into the 3 main types of gyms you can work for as a personal trainer and the pros and cons of each. 

Commercial gyms 

The most common type of gym that personal trainers work for are commercial gyms. These are simply gyms that are part of a chain or franchise, and are what we will be focusing on in our list of the best gyms to work for as a personal trainer later in this article. 

In general, commercial gyms are the best gyms to work for as a personal trainer to start off your career in the industry, due to benefits such as job security and fast employment rate. They are a great place to gain experience in the industry before moving on to a more specialised or higher-end role! 

Pros:

  • Generally the largest in terms of members and therefore potential client base.
  • Entry-level roles; little to no experience needed for most PT positions. 
  • Job security and employee perks. 
  • Lots of location options throughout the country, even in small towns. 
  • Often higher quality and bigger range of equipment to use in your sessions.

Cons:

  • Relatively low overall income compared to private or specialised gyms.  
  • Rigid corporate structure of some commercial gyms can limit chances for career progression and growth. 
  • Can be harder to stand out as a personal trainer due to the large scale of a commercial gym and the amount of other PTs employed there. 

Private studio/ boutique gym  

Private studios or boutique gyms can be anything from a small independently-run studio to a premium high-end fitness facility. They are often more specialised and offer a higher standard of training and facilities than commercial gyms, which means that they typically have a higher membership fee. 

Due to the premium nature of private studios, most personal trainers only work here once they have gained experience in a commercial gym.

Pros: 

  • Typically higher-end clientele means that you can charge a higher price for sessions. 
  • Premium facilities and equipment to use in your sessions.
  • Generally more flexibility of hours than a commercial gym due to a less corporate structure. 
  • A smaller/tighter knit community feel which allows you to stand out more. 

Cons: 

  • Can be difficult to get employed in the first place- often need to know someone in management.
  • Typically not as much job security as commercial gyms, particularly in independently-run gyms. 

 

Kickstart your career in the fitness industry today!

Enquire today to find out taking a personal training course with OriGym can help you turn your passion for fitness into a career! 

Speciality gyms 

Speciality gyms are gyms that specialise in specific demographics, such as children, women or the elderly. Women-only gyms are particularly popular, so if you’re a female personal trainer, this is a great potential career path. 

Most personal trainers don’t start their careers at a specialty gym, but instead come here after gaining more general experience in a commercial gym. 

Pros:

  • Allows you to gain experience in a specialised area of fitness and pursue a particular passion.
  • Working with specialist demographics, such as children, can be highly rewarding and enjoyable. 
  • It is arguably easier to market yourself as a personal trainer to a more niche market. 

Cons: 

Enjoying this article so far? Here’s 3 more that we think you’ll love:

Factors To Consider When Choosing A Gym To Work For As A Personal Trainer

As well as the type of gym, there are several other factors to consider when it comes to choosing the best gym to work for as a personal trainer. 

Pay

Arguably the most important factor to consider when choosing a gym to work for is how much you will be earning. 

You may be wondering what the average personal trainer salary is, but unfortunately, there is no definitive answer! It depends on a number of factors, such as location, your experience and the type of gym you work for. 

However, one of the main factors that affects your income is your qualifications. It is generally the case that the more qualifications you have, the better your employment potential! As well as your standard Level 3 qualification, many employers will look for any additional certifications. That’s why OriGym offers a range of specialist courses such as Level 4 Advanced Nutrition to help you boost your career prospects.

In terms of how much you will earn as a personal trainer, according to Indeed, the average salary for a PT in the UK is £26,379. However, any ‘average salary’ figures are not always accurate since they only account for the personal trainers who have declared their salary. 

When looking for a job as a personal trainer, it is a good idea to ask some basic questions regarding salary, such as:

  • How often will I be paid? 
  • Will I be paid by the hour or is it a fixed yearly salary? 
  • Are there any additional charges to pay such as rent or insurance? 
  • Is there opportunity for pay progression? 

If you consider all of these things, you should hopefully avoid any nasty surprises on your first pay day! 

Hours

Another important factor to consider when choosing between the best gyms to work for as a personal trainer is the contract type. That is, whether it is part-time, full-time or freelance.

This is really a matter of personal preference and depends on your current schedule and other commitments. For example, if you are looking for a stable, full-time position with set hours, a freelance contract may not be for you! 

Similarly, there are benefits to working as a part-time personal trainer such as flexibility and the chance to pursue a side hustle. Yet on the other hand, the overall income is much lower than a full-time position! 

Location 

It may seem obvious, but location can play a huge role in determining which is the best gym to work for as a personal trainer. 

Not only should the gym be an easy commute from where you live, but location plays a huge role in determining your wage as a personal trainer. For example, the average personal trainer salary in central London is around £92/hour, compared to Liverpool where the average is £32.70/hour! 

If you don’t fancy travelling to see your clients at all, why not consider a role as an online personal trainer and take your sessions from the comfort of your own home? 

Employee reviews

Before applying to any job, it is always worth reading reviews from current or past employees- and the same goes for finding the best gym to work for as a personal trainer. 

Websites such as Indeed list employee reviews for most gyms in the UK, so you can read all about their experiences working for them. Enjoying your job is just as important as how much you earn, so it is important to know how a gym treats their employees! 

However, reviews should always be taken with a pinch of salt. Every personal trainer is different; what works for one person may not work for another. For example, a PT may complain about a gym having fixed working hours because they have other commitments they need to dedicate time to. But someone else may be looking for a reliable routine, so this would actually be a good thing for them!

The Best Gyms To Work For As A Personal Trainer

With all of the above factors in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the top 7 gyms in the UK to work as a personal trainer. 

However, you should note that the average salaries listed here are estimates, since factors such as location and hours can have an impact on wages. 

1. Anytime Fitness 

Anytime Fitness is a franchise of fitness clubs. They are based in the United States, but have more than 140 clubs in the UK. 

As the name suggests, they are open 24/7, 365 days a year! As a personal trainer, this gives you the opportunity to work a wide range of hours to suit your schedule and therefore the potential to gain more clients. For example, you may be able to take on a client who wants evening or early morning sessions, which you may not have been able to do in a gym with normal opening hours. 

They also boast high-spec equipment in all of their gyms, which will of course benefit you as a personal trainer as you can use them in your sessions! 

According to Indeed, the average yearly salary of a personal trainer at Anytime Fitness is £29,335, which ranks slightly above the national average of £26,379. They are therefore one of the best gyms to work for as a personal trainer in terms of salary. 

In terms of employee satisfaction, employees have given Anytime Fitness 3.8/5 stars on Indeed’s employee reviews. They rank highest in work-life balance and culture, so if these are important factors to you, Anytime Fitness could be one of the best gyms to work for!

2. Pure Gym

Pure Gym is perhaps one of the most well-known gym chains in the fitness industry, with 294 locations and over 1 million members. 

Unlike many of the others on this list, Pure Gym hire their PTs on a purely freelance basis, meaning that you are not directly employed by the gym itself. As we have discussed, there are many benefits to being a freelance personal trainer, such as flexibility and freedom! 

Pure Gym is arguably one of the best gyms to work for as a personal trainer as you receive 100% of your income from clients. This is a huge benefit, as many other gyms will take a cut of your earnings when you work as a freelancer. 

However, as part of your contract, you will have to spend 15 hours a week on the gym floor doing tasks such as running gym inductions. There is also a small monthly rental fee to pay in order to have access to the club’s facilities for your sessions. 

According to Indeed, the average salary of personal trainers at Pure Gym is £19,359, placing them on the lower end of the scale compared to other commercial gyms. 

But in terms of job satisfaction, Pure Gym get 3.5/5 on Indeed and 3.7/5 on Glassdoor, ranking highly for management, job security and career advancement. So if these factors are important to you, they may outweigh the slightly more modest salary. 

Why not check out this OriGym guide on how to become a Pure Gym personal trainer.

3. The Gym Group 

The Gym Group was founded in 2008 and prides itself on being affordable, accessible and open 24/7. 

With 160 locations and over 668,000 members, it is becoming one of the most popular gyms in the UK. As a personal trainer, this therefore means that you have a large potential client base to work with. 

Like Pure Gym, The Gym Group hires their personal trainers on a purely freelance basis. You will also get 100% of your income from clients and there is no monthly rental fee. However, you will need to spend 12 hours a week on the gym floor running inductions and helping members.

The average salary for a personal trainer at The Gym Group is £23,891, placing it above its competitors Pure Gym. So this is one of the best gyms to work for as a personal trainer if you are looking for a popular, no-frills gym with a decent salary. 

They also rank well in terms of employee satisfaction. With a 3.8/5 rating on Indeed, they have been praised for their work-life balance and job security, which are both important factors to consider when choosing your employer. 

4. Virgin Active 

As part of the Virgin Group, Virgin Active is a chain of health clubs with 237 locations all around the world, including 43 in the UK. 

The international aspect of this gym therefore gives you the potential to work abroad! If this is something you’re interested in, OriGym’s personal training qualifications are internationally recognised, so you can take your career overseas! 

It is one of the best gyms to work for as a personal trainer if you want to be paid by the hour, rather than having a fixed yearly salary. They pay their PTs an average of £22.90/hour, and there is no monthly rental fee to pay. 

As for employee satisfaction, they have 3.7 stars on Indeed, ranking highest for work-life balance and culture. Many reviews also praise the flexible hours and fun working environment. So if you’re looking for a fun social scene as well as just a job, this could be the gym for you!

5. JD Gyms

As part of the JD Group, JD Gyms started in 2016 and is an ever-growing chain of fitness facilities with 70 locations across the UK. 

JD Gyms rank one of the highest on Indeed’s employee reviews, with an impressive 4 out of 5 stars, receiving most praise for their work-life balance and culture.

They offer two options in terms of personal trainer employment. You can either work for them directly, or on a self-employed basis. The latter option means that you will have to pay a small monthly rent fee which they determine based on the number of clients you have. For example, once you hit 10 clients, you will have to pay £200/month in rent to use the gym’s facilities. 

According to Indeed, the average salary of a personal trainer at JD Gyms is £20,000, putting it considerably below the average of £26,379. However, as we have said, salary averages are estimates and not always completely accurate! 

6. Fitness First

Fitness First is an international chain of fitness centres with 360 locations around the world. Founded in 1993, it is one of the longest-running commercial gyms out there. 

They do not employ personal trainers directly, instead hiring purely freelance or self-employed PTs. The average yearly salary of a personal trainer at Fitness First is £25,625, placing it just under the national average. 

With 3.5/5 stars on Indeed employee reviews, they rank well for work-life balance and job security. Many reviews also mention a bonus scheme, which has the potential to increase your overall earnings. 

As a personal trainer, working for such a long-standing and reputable name in the fitness industry can really enhance your personal trainer CV. Furthermore, the international nature of the company means that there is the potential to take your career abroad! 

7. Nuffield Health 

Nuffield Health is the UK’s largest healthcare charity established in 1957. With 113 fitness and wellbeing centres across the country, they are a reputable name in the fitness sector. 

They hire their personal trainers directly, so you would be a direct employee of Nuffield Health. This means that you won’t have to pay a rental fee to use their facilities for your sessions, and you will receive employee benefits such as paid holidays.

The average yearly salary of a personal trainer at Nuffield Health is £28,856, ranking it higher than the national average. You get 100% of your income from clients in exchange for spending 15 hours of your 40 hour week carrying out tasks on the gym floor such as delivering gym inductions. 

That said, Nuffield Health ranks one of the lowest on our list in terms of Indeed’s employee satisfaction reviews, with just 3 out of 5 stars. Reviews have commented that although it is a great place to start your career, there is not much room for growth and progression. But this is just all part of weighing up the pros and cons of being a personal trainer

 

Kickstart your career in the fitness industry today!

Enquire today to find out taking a personal training course with OriGym can help you turn your passion for fitness into a career! 

8. Total Fitness  

Total Fitness is a chain of fitness facilities in the north of England. With just 16 locations, they are one of the smaller-scale gyms on this list. 

Despite their limited scale, according to Indeed, they boast one of the highest average salaries on this list, at £30,580. This makes them clearly one of the best gyms to work for as a personal trainer in terms of salary!

That said, they rank one of the lowest in terms of employee reviews. With a 3 star rating on Indeed’s employee reviews, past employees have commented on poor management and career advancement. This is therefore something to consider, but as always, reviews should not be taken as fact!

9. David Lloyd Leisure 

David Lloyd Leisure is an international health and fitness brand with 122 gyms across the UK and Europe. They are arguably one of the best gyms to work for as a personal trainer because with over 600,000 members, there is a huge potential client base! 

They are one of the more higher-end gyms out there. As well as premium gym equipment, they also offer heated indoor and outdoor pools, tennis courts, exercise studios and luxury spas. This of course benefits you as a personal trainer, as all of this equipment will be at your disposal to use with your clients!

Personal trainers at David Lloyd make an average of £11.30/hour, and you will receive 100% of your income from clients. There is also no rental fee to pay. 

You will however have to spend 8-10 hours of your week taking gym inductions as well as carrying out some group classes. Taking a CPD course in group exercise training with OriGym is a great way to prepare yourself for this part of the role! 

In terms of employee satisfaction, they have a 3 star rating on Indeed, placing them slightly below some of the other gyms on this list. Most reviews rank well for culture and work-life balance, but many comment that there is not much room for progression. 

FAQs

Where can I find personal trainer job listings?

If you’re looking to start your search for the best gyms to work for as a personal trainer, online is arguably the best place to start. General job listing websites such as Indeed and Reed will list personal training jobs, as well as more specialist fitness job sites such as Leisure Jobs and Leisure Opportunities

After qualifying as a personal trainer with OriGym, our award-winning post-course support gives you access to our extensive network of partner gyms across the country. We’ll be on hand to help you find your dream job, and even guarantee you an interview after you qualify! 

As well as online, you can often find personal trainer job adverts in your local gym or leisure centre. You may also hear about opportunities through word of mouth if you are already involved in your local fitness scene. 

How can I progress in my career as a personal trainer?

As a qualified personal trainer, a whole host of employment opportunities will open up to you! Once you have your initial Level 3 personal training qualification, you can enhance your employability by taking further qualifications to further your knowledge and become more specialised. 

OriGym offers a range of Level 4 courses in specialist areas such as obesity and weight management and sports nutrition, so you can build your skill set and increase your employability. Showing that you are qualified in a specific area of fitness is what employers want to see! 

CPD courses are another great way to expand your career options. Here at OriGym, we know the value of extra qualifications when it comes to your career as a PT. For example, taking our CPD course in strength and conditioning will expand your potential client base to more fitness professionals or athletes.

Before you go!

So, we hope that you now know the best gyms to work for as a personal trainer, as well as the factors to consider when searching for an employer in the fitness industry. 

But before you start looking for a job, you need to get qualified first! Enquire today to kickstart your fitness career with OriGym’s industry-leading personal training courses. You can also download our free prospectus to browse our full range of fitness courses. 

Written by Alice Williams

Content Writer & Fitness Enthusiast

Alice is a freelance content writer at OriGym. With a first-class degree in French and Linguistics, she loves all things language, fitness and culture. As part of her degree, she spent a year living in France where she worked for a lifestyle blog, gaining professional experience in both translation and content writing. 

When she’s not writing, you can usually find Alice practicing yoga and she hopes to one day become a yoga instructor herself. She also loves running, tennis and cooking up a vegan storm in the kitchen! It was this passion for health and fitness, combined with her love for writing, that brought Alice to OriGym.

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