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Do I Have To Be Fit To Be A Personal Trainer? Your Questions Answered

Do I Have To Be Fit To Be A Personal Trainer

If you’re thinking “how fit do you have to be to be a personal trainer?”, your subconscious might take you to an unrealistic image of a muscle bound bodybuilder.

This simply isn’t the case, and we’re here to put your mind at ease and rid yourself of the anxieties that may be holding your career back.

More precisely, we will cover: 

Before we get straight to it, you may be wondering exactly how to start your career in the fitness industry. 

If so, the best way to get work ready is to opt for a level 3 diploma in personal training, alternatively, find many different health and fitness courses in our downloadable course prospectus here. 

Do Personal Trainers Need To Be Fit?

How fit do you have to be to be a personal trainer

In short - no, personal trainers do not have to be incredibly muscular, toned, or focused heavily on weightlifting or bodybuilding. 

However, to be a good personal trainer, you do need to have knowledge to impart on clients - that is what makes you a good trainer. 

Ultimately, being ‘fit’ is a subjective term, as the imagery you may come up with when you think of your typical fit person may be somebody who is completely shredded and has a 6-pack all year round - this doesn’t mean that you have to meet this requirement to be healthy and fit.

fit to be a pt

Leading a healthy lifestyle, diet and exercising regularly is an extremely positive way to live, and this often doesn’t reflect on everyone’s aesthetic the same. We are all made up differently, so of course, even if we all did the same amount of exercise and ate the same food, we would still look different!

This is why it is important to remember that your shape doesn’t determine your knowledge or background in fitness. Plus, though a shredded model representing a personal training business may look like a good option, the same goes for them too. 

Another thing to remember is that your sex and height plays a huge role in your fitness and how hard it is or how easy it is to look a particular way. 

You should look at good examples of PT’s that don’t strive to look a particular way, but instead accept their body is healthy and fit even if they don’t fit the ‘PT norm’. 

Take a look at this successful personal trainer below for example. 

Do personal trainers have to be fit

She consistently reminds people that she fills her body with nutrients, doesn’t over-restrict, exercises often and, most importantly, is happy. 

As a long time personal trainer, she has learned to overcome the anxieties of looking a certain way as a female in a fitness role, and uses her platform to impart this wisdom on people who may be feeling the same.

Below, you can see another example of a post from her, she often shares her diet and is transparent with how she overcomes the ‘body-envy’ that you may have experienced before. 

The point of sharing this example is to remind you that when you ask, do personal trainers have to be fit, the image of a shredded body builder doesn’t equate to fit in every circumstance. 

This personal trainer is a prime example of a very normal female body type that is fit, happy and fills their body with the right stuff while also being a personal trainer that is knowledgeable!

How Fit Do You Have To Be To Become A Personal Trainer?

Do you have to be fit to be a personal trainer

As we mentioned, you should rid your subconscious of the image you may see on social media of ‘fit’  and, instead, think about it a little deeper. 

When it comes to personal training, there is a particular level of fitness that comes with the role, but this is only to an extent, in terms of being able to demonstrate the exercises effectively and safely.

For example, in order to train a client, you must show them the exercise yourself so they can see the likes of technique and you can display it clearly to avoid injury and maximise results. 

However, this is purely regarding technique. If you have a client that is stronger than you are, and would therefore benefit from a heavier lift, you can still demonstrate the exercise effectively yourself with a lower weight. 

Nonetheless, you need to know your limitations of weight when it comes to spotting a client. Spotting is important as a personal trainer, you will learn how to spot effectively during your course, and it is an extremely important part of keeping your client safe.

Do you need to be fit to be a personal trainer

If you know that you cannot spot a particular weight efficiently, you should manipulate the amount of reps so the client is not compromised on exhaustion, yet you can still confidently spot your client. 

So long as you’re confident enough that you can spot safely and demonstrate exercises clearly, your practice is not going to be compromised by your fitness level. 

Another thing that might cross your mind if you are wondering do you need to be fit to be a personal trainer” is instructing classes if you work in a gym. Teaching fitness classes is demanding, especially if it is high intensity like most are. 

A class is going to directly copy what you are teaching, and a big part of why clients take classes is the motivational aspect behind it. This means that you must be able to speak into a microphone with energy and motivation behind it. 

You should be ready for days when the microphone may have broken and your projection needs to be even more powerful! Music is usually loud in classes, you need to make yourself heard and consistently motivate your class throughout. 

how fit do you have to be to become a pt

The best way to ensure you can do this is practice and by working on your stamina and cardiovascular endurance. Instructing a class is just as challenging as taking part in it - you are expected to give it 110% or how will your clients feel motivated to do the same?

However, you shouldn’t worry about this as it’s not technically a limitation. If you’re a self-employed PT, you have no obligation to take classes - you’re your own boss and you can choose what you want to do!

Finally, cleaning up and keeping the gym floor looking tidy is of course an important part of a good gym operation, if you’re employed by a gym of course. You should feel confident enough in moving weights back to their home and leaving the gym in a good condition.

should a pt be muscular

However, there is nothing wrong with asking a fellow personal trainer on shift to help you with some larger weights! 

So ultimately, what you should remember is that though you may feel like the expectation is to ‘look’ a particular type of way, the way you look has nothing to do with how well you can instruct somebody.

What is important is remembering that so long as you’re fit enough to keep your client safe and demonstrate exercises effectively - your PT career is not going to be compromised.

For more useful articles and information on how to become a confident and knowledgeable personal trainer, take a look at our other articles below:

What Employers Require from a Personal Trainer

how fit does a personal trainer need to be

Now that we have established that you don’t need to be competing in a physique competition to become a personal trainer, you might be wondering what it is exactly that employers are actually looking out for when considering you as a candidate. 

This is for those who are looking to become employed, and will likely be different should you decide to become a freelance personal trainer. Nonetheless, this is a good way to distinguish what is expected of you in the fitness industry regardless. 

Below are plucked from top qualities that really do matter in a professional sense when it comes to being a valuable PT.

#1 - Accredited Qualifications

do you need to be fit in order to be a personal trainer

This may seem obvious, the fact that you need qualifications but being accredited is becoming more of a bonus, some places have made it a requirement. 

For example, take a look at the About section on this job advertisement below from Virgin Active.

do you need to be fit in order to be a personal trainer

You can see where we have highlighted that by applying for this role for a Master PT, you’re agreeing to the fact that you have accreditation behind you.

Not to worry though, as you will be able to become level 3 qualified with a diploma in personal training, a course that is also endorsed by CIMSPA if you opt for OriGym. 

Knowledge is what employers are looking for - we can assure you that they are not having their first interview question as “how fit do you have to be to be a personal trainer?”

In fact, you can read the whole job description above, and you’ll see that nothing refers to fitness levels. It is predominantly focused on the motivation and passion behind a career in fitness. 

You want to do this job because you want to help others, you care about their progress and want a career that can make positive changes in a clients life.

#2 - You Are A “People Person”

how fit do you need to be to be a personal trainer

Being able to interact with people is a huge part of being a successful personal trainer or fitness professional by any means. 

Of course, employers aren’t going to be able to tell this from your CV, so you’ll have to present this side of you in an interview and this is what they will be concentrating on - not the way you look or how much you tell them that you can bench press. 

Take a look at this job advertisement below from PureGym for a Personal Trainer / Fitness Instructor Role.

how fit do you need to be to be a personal trainer

You can see again, there is no mention of fitness level. They ask for you to:

  • Encourage safe behaviour
  • Teach group fitness classes that are engaging 
  • Have a passion for fitness and love helping people reach their goals

These are things that the employer will be assessing. They will be asking you questions to see if you can present these qualities to clients so they have a positive experience in their gym.

#3 - You Have Experience Behind You

should i be super fit to be a personal trainer

Among plenty of other qualities that make up a good personal trainer, another thing that an employer will be looking at is your level of experience. 

There are various structures that the big commercial gyms have. For example, Virgin Active actually have levels of PT that allow you to climb the ladder, whereas PureGym has their personal trainers all on the same level.

The point here is that your experience matters more or less in various places so it is nothing to worry about. 

If you are going into a gym at entry level, you will receive assistance in setting up your business if you’re freelancing and you will be trained if you’re on a set salary. 

Your experience is what matters more than your fitness level, employers are going to favour your knowledge and experience over somebody who may look aesthetically fit but simply hasn’t got the knowledge and experience that you have. 

For example, as we mentioned Virgin Active runs a tier system - you can see the description of this below.

should i be super fit to be a personal trainer

Experience is another thing that will be taken into account, so before you start thinking “do I need to be fit to be a personal trainer?”, think about the knowledgeable aspects of the hiring process and try to find some paths to experience after getting qualified!

What Clients Actually Want From A Personal Trainer

do i need to be fit to be a personal trainer

If you want to become a personal trainer, you’re probably somebody who cares about helping others achieve. 

So, if you’re still questioning “do you have to be fit to be a personal trainer”, you can finally put those worries to rest because these are the most important things that a client will want from you as a PT.

#1 - Seeing Results

am i fit enough to be a personal trainer

Your main focus should be on what your clients want, each and every one of them should be on the forefront of everything you do in your work life. 

So, they aren’t going to be a whole lot interested in your results but more so interested in how you have impacted your clients. 

For example, if you're a 6ft male who has conquered a huge weight loss and changed your life, that isn’t going to mean much to your 5ft 2 female client. Knowledge is what is going to provide results, so it doesn't matter how fit you may appear to be. 

You want to have results that are relatable to other potential clients. You should show off your clients, after all other people who are interested in your services are likely to relate to them instead of yourself. 

For example, take a look below of this personal trainer who spotlights her clients’ successions, showing off relatable and real bodys that have come a long way.

am i fit enough to be a personal trainer

Every client is different, you cannot recycle a plan for each person, so if all you have to show for yourself is your personal fitness level that only a small percentage of people may be able to relate to - you’re not going to get too far.

This is why you shouldn't dwell on how fit do you have to be to be a personal trainer - this isn’t going to help you or your client.

#2 - Care, Compassion & Understanding

how fit do i need to get to be a PT

Like we mentioned before about what employers want, being able to handle people who are being vulnerable in your care is hugely important and is a big part of the role. 

These are the qualities that clients actually want. They are paying you for a service, for your knowledge, experience and people skills and the last thing on their mind is how fit you are, because how is that going to affect them reaching their goals?

It isn't! What they will be looking for however, is how comfortable they feel around you. You’re going to see the successions and failures of this client’s journey so they need to have trust in you and your professionalism. 

Gym giant PureGym conducted some research on gym anxiety, and they found that 50% of people they asked thought the idea of a gym visit was scary and 1 in 5 found it very scary.

how fit do i need to get to become a PT

This is a huge percentage of people, it isn’t an uncommon thing to find the gym intimidating and this is why it is so important for you to show your client that you’re there to help them overcome all of their hurdles!

#3 - Being A Natural Motivator

how fit do i need to get to be a Personal trainer

So, do personal trainers have to be fit, or do they have to be knowledgeable, experienced among all the other qualities that are much more important than the way you perceive yourself? We think by now, you probably know the answer!

Motivation is one of the things that we as humans struggle with day in and day out - gym or not. 

This is a popular reason for hiring a personal trainer, as self motivation can be so difficult to keep consistent. This is when you come in, as a motivational body that is going to help you clients reach their goals. 

After the pandemic it seems like the working from home lifestyle is here to stay but with this has come along the plummet of motivation. In fact, a survey from WildGoose found some really interesting information about the WFH population:

how can i be fit as a PT

They state that 74% of UK workers have suffered negative effects of fatigue, stress, or burnout since working from home so now more than ever, they need a motivational body in their life.

You can be this figure for them and help them to get back into the swing of a healthy lifestyle, mentally and physically.

You should take note how none of our examples or research concluded that the way you look can jeopardise your career as a personal trainer. So before you let any of these anxieties take over, remember what employers and clients are really looking for in a personal trainer.

Before You Go…

We hope that with our help you are on your way to overcoming any hesitation to become a personal trainer.

All you need is motivation to work hard and pass your qualifications and you can be on your way to a successful career in the fitness industry. 

Don’t forget if you want to get qualified and work ready, an accredited diploma in personal training will be your best start. 

If you want to find plenty of other health and fitness courses including yoga - browse through our course prospectus here.

 

Become a Personal Trainer with OriGym

Enquire now about our level 3 diploma in personal training to get industry ready in as little as 4 weeks!

Written by Kimberley Mitchell

Editor

Having gained a B.A Hons degree in Media, Culture and Communications, Kimberley has gained experience in areas of web journalism, website production and marketing.

Alongside this, Kim expanded her knowledge and passion for fitness, by becoming a fully qualified fitness instructuor and personal trainer. Kim has also gained specialist qualifications in yoga, nutriton, spin and many more.

After working in the industry as a PT, Kimberley went on to study an MA in Digital Marketing and continues to expand her knowledge in the industry. Her main focus is to keep up with current trends and communications with a focus around health & fitness, writing and being creative.

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