Personal Trainer Tips for Beginners (15 Insider Tips – 2018!)

If you’re looking for personal trainer tips for beginners, you may already be well aware that in 2018, the fitness industry is more competitive than it has ever been.

More potential clients spending money on health and fitness means that there are now more qualified trainers than ever before.

With that in mind, how on earth are you meant to stand out above the crowd?

Everyone needs a helping hand at some point in their career, whether that’s personal trainer tips for beginners, or attending CPD workshops to broaden your skillset and attract more clients.

However, if you’re new to the industry and have few contacts, knowing where to go or how to approach can be a task in itself.

But don’t panic, we’ve got you covered!

In our industry guide to personal trainer tips for beginners, we’ll cover all your need-to-know questions:

So what are you waiting for, get reading!


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Chapter One: Setting up your business and introducing yourself


1. The Business Mind-set

You should have probably realised this by now, but in case you haven’t, becoming a personal trainer is about more than just training your clients.

Sure, having an in depth knowledge of anatomy and health and fitness is going to put you ahead of most average gym goers. But remember, every other qualified personal trainer should also have this skillset, providing they have passed their Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications.

With that in mind, one of the most important personal trainer tips for beginners is to approach your new career as an entrepreneur, rather than a fitness fanatic.

An entrepreneur identifies opportunity, and invests time in sales tactics. A fitness fanatic approaches their personal training in a dedicated, but unstructured manner. Make sure you come under the former group, not the latter!

There is no definitive key to succeeding in business, and in truth, success in itself is a bit of a grey area.

Why else would there be so many books professing to unlock the door to better business strategy?

What you can guarantee, however, is that personal training, like any other business, is all about identifying clear goals, and setting yourself parameters to best achieve those goals.

Following our personal training tips for beginners, for example, you should always be on the lookout to offer your clients more resources in the way of additional tips through online platforms, and should try to add more skills to your programmes and repertoire through the use of CPD courses and external courses.


2. Structure, structure, structure  

If you’re thinking like an entrepreneur, it goes without saying that you need to start implanting structure into your fitness workflow.

Sound boring?

Well, it isn’t! In terms of offering personal trainer tips for beginners, one of the most common mistakes new personal trainers make is to not focus on structure and planning in the early stages of their career.

The truth of the matter is, structure needn’t be boring. You heard me: I’d go as far as saying that 90% of having a good product is based on the ability to set out a clear structure, and having the vision to be creative in your planning.

And that’s the real key here: creativity. You need to be creative with how you set up your business and how you market it.

Payment Structures

Your payment structure shouldn’t be thought of simply in terms of profit, but in how you can attract clients to your business. Don’t just offer one: try and develop premium packages that attract different target audiences.


Use of software

In terms of personal trainer tips for beginners, choice of software is huge; however you intend to conduct your business, you will be using software on a day-to-day basis. The key is to not pay for a service because it is the most expensive, or the newest. Identify your workflow, research what you need, and buy a software package that offers exactly that.

Check out our guide to the best personal trainer software for more advice.


Terms of service and contracts

Here, you have to be more clear cut. However, that’s not to say that you can’t offer your clients more rights, and opportunities to cancel sessions or be flexible with their bookings. In terms of personal trainer tips for beginners, the key here is not to undermine your business.

If you can’t accommodate clients cancelling with less that 24 hours notice, then make sure you write that clause into their contracts. However, if your business plan allows for a certain degree of flexibility, be sure to highlight that when you’re selling your product on the gym floor!


3. Asking existing gym instructors and personal trainers about their career paths

This much should be obvious. If you’re a newly qualified PT looking for personal trainer tips for beginners, then the best place to start is with those who have gained years of experience in the industry.

This is especially true of personal trainers who are operating and marketing themselves in a local area.

Asking existing personal trainers does two things…

Firstly, it gives you perspective on clients in the local area: what kinds of things work for them; how do they like to train; what services are other trainers having success with and where are the gaps in the market.

Secondly, it gives you the opportunity to scope out your opposition. If you know what works for them, and also what opportunities they are missing, you can shape your whole business plan around their weaknesses, and around gaps in the market.

Asking fellow personal trainers is therefore crucial to securing success at a later stage, which makes the following question prompts some of the most important personal trainer tips for beginners!


What to ask experienced personal trainers when you’re a beginner

4. Target audience audit and analysis

Once you’ve asked other qualified professionals for some personal trainer tips for beginners, where next?

Well, your future clients are probably a good place to start!

Many new personal trainers fail to try and understand their audience before they start trying to recruit clients, meaning they reach the gym floor and have no idea who they are targeting with their sales pitches.

As you can imagine, this is no recipe for success…

Instead, and one of the most important personal trainer tips for beginners on this list, is to conduct a full audit of the local audience before you even set foot in your interview.

Having this information in your back pocket gives you a number of advantages over the competition. What’s more, it also gives you something to talk about in a personal trainer interview.


5. Find a niche, and operate within it

If you’ve been reading this article carefully (and we hope you have!), then you may have noticed a trend so far.

That, the early stages of your personal trainer career should be dedicated to setting yourself up as a sustainable business, putting in the research at an early stage so that you can hit the ground running.

If that all sounds scary, don’t panic.

First of all, we’ll be going through all the best personal trainer tips for beginners in terms of tactics for the gym floor in our next section, so you don’t have to worry about the hows of recruiting clients just yet.

And second of all, everything we’ve said so far can be condensed down to one thing: finding a niche.

Of course, once you’ve identified your niche, having researched the local personal training competition and target audiences, and secured your first personal training job, you need to start putting into action your business plan and services.

Here’s where our personal trainer tips for beginners on the gym floor come into play…


Chapter Two: Standing out in a crowded space: beginner tips for the gym floor


6. The different career paths of a personal trainer, and how they affect your earning potential.

Even if you’re a newly qualified personal trainer, you’ve probably realised that there is more than one career path to choose from.

In fact, if we’re talking about fitness careers in general, there are countless different career paths, professions, and niches in which you could specialise. The difficulty is not in choosing one, but finding the right one for you.

But knowing that there are countless options and opportunities is not really all that helpful, is it?

Let’s narrow it down a bit then…

As far as personal training goes, when you’re looking for a job on the gym floor, there are three distinct career paths to choose from.

As far as personal trainer tips for beginners are concerned, choosing the best career path for you is crucial with regard to maximising your future earning potential.

Want to know more about personal trainer salaries and career paths? Check out our ultimate guide to personal trainer salaries 2018!


7. I’ll tell you that for free…

Once you’re in your chosen career path, and you’re trying to establish yourself as a personal trainer, there is one piece of advice that will be more effective than any of our other personal trainer tips for beginners…

Offer customers advice without any expectation.

That’s right. Sometimes, not charging money or hard selling is the golden ticket to securing a long-term client.

Here, your tactic is to incrementally introduce yourself to the client, so by the end of your relationship they consider you a friend, not a personal trainer.

Try progressing through the below stages before even mentioning that you’re a PT….

By proving your expertise, you lay the groundwork to recruit these customers, turning them into long-term paying clients.

Your personal trainer marketing should also help, as your presence should be visible around your workplace. This is, without fail, one of the best personal trainer marketing tips for beginners in terms of recruiting reliable clients who will stay with you in this early stage of your career.


8. Understanding your clients

More than anything else, you have to treat your clients like humans.

Think about it, if you have interests, a life, and hobbies outside of your work in the gym, so do they.

You also have to keep in mind that a lot of your clients are new to gym work and the health and fitness industry. The key to understanding your clients is keeping an open mind, and being flexible when you are planning their programmes.

You have to make sure that your client is seeing the benefits of your training, while also not tiring them out or intimidating them.

When you’re working with new clients, keep in mind the following to ensure that they have an enjoyable experience while training with you:

9. Secure early wins: doing the basics well

Out of the many personal trainer tips for beginners, a reoccurring piece of advice is to put maximum effort into your early clients, so that word of mouth news travels about your services and business.

And this is true, if you’re new on the scene then you should be doing everything you can to impress potential clients around you, and to assert yourself to competitors.

However, a more specific piece of advice is to ensure that your clients achieve early wins, so that they keep coming back for more.

You don’t want to tire your clients out, and to tire yourself out by working on ten or twenty different goals. The key to keeping your early clients happy is to focus on a specific goal, and to help them achieve that in as little time as possible.

This doesn’t mean compromising on quality. Instead, ensure you do the basics well, and that your clients know every time a milestone is reached, however small.

Remember, people are their own harshest critics, and it’s your job to motivate a client, as well as train them in a physical capacity.

Securing early wins for your clients

10. The power of data: Record everything

If you aren’t recording data and optimising your workouts accordingly in 2018, then you shouldn’t be personal training.

There is no more powerful tool, and few more effective personal trainer tips for beginners, than taking regular measurements, surveys, and fitness checks with your clients, and using that data to improve workout programmes.

Data will also convince your client that they are getting value for money from your services.

If you can show the progression they have made, or what needs to be done in order to meet their target, then you are more likely to retain their services in the long-term as they will view you as a trusted authority on their fitness.

Chapter Three: Personal Trainer Marketing Tips: The Beginners’ Guide


11. How much time to spend on marketing

Regardless of experience, all personal trainers will have to deal with a tricky predicament: you need to spend time on marketing, but how much time?

In terms of tips for personal trainer tips for beginners, dedicating a good chunk of time to marketing is essential. Without marketing, you won’t be able to develop your personal training business, and your future clients won’t know where your expertise lie.

In general then, we suggest following the 75-25 rule of time distribution.

If that sounds a little extreme, remember, marketing isn’t just about sitting at your computer, posting on social media and sending newsletters; you can market yourself while training clients and helping customers on the gym floor.


12. Developing a brand and USP

If you’re looking for personal trainer tips for beginners, then it’s likely that you’re also wondering how to get people enthusiastic about your services and programmes.

Funnily enough, this isn’t as difficult as it sounds…

Developing a USP is all about looking at what makes you stand out, and applying that to your research. Remember when we told you to audit customers in your local gyms and leisure centres?

Once you’ve found out where the gaps in the market are, you need to tailor your programmes and services to capture what customers want to see.

There’s a number of ways you can do this…

13. It’s all about visibility

Sure, defining your brand and USP, and dedicating a set amount of time in your timetable is going to take you far.

But when it comes to personal trainer tips for beginners that actually make a difference to your weekly earnings, you are going to have to make sure that you are visible around your workplace.

Or let’s re-phrase that…

You need to be more visible than your competitors.

There are a couple of guaranteed ways to achieve this and, despite what you might read elsewhere, you should not undervalue the power of posters and printed materials with regard to ensuring future success.

Remember, it’s not all about being visible. You also have to offer something to entice clients.

Seasonal discounts, and bring-a-friend offers are fantastic for increasing the range of your marketing, and for building up healthy client lists in the early stage of your career.


14. Community work and gym work as marketing

As mentioned previously, not all marketing is about sitting at your computer, or postering around your local community.

You can just as easily market yourself while working on the gym floor.

In fact, there is no better method of improving your brand and increasing the size of your client lists than being on the gym floor as much as possible, interacting with potential new clients.

Next time you’re on the gym floor, think about…

15. Using re-marketing to target referrals

And here we are, the last of our personal trainer tips for beginners!

And it’s a good one…

You may think marketing is all about targeting new clients, and increasing the size of your client lists in order to maximise your revenue.

However, targeting your current clients with offers and marketing messages can be just as effective!

How to target your current clients

In addition to earning you more clients through referrals, incentivising also keeps your existing clients interested. The more referrals they bring you, the more discounts and free sessions they receive.

Remember, it’s important to offer trusted clients something in return for their commitment to your services, and referrals are an easy way of capitalising on this.


Before you go!

And that’s it!

We hope you have everything you need in terms of personal trainer tips for beginners to get your business off to a winning start.

Why not let us know, what was the single most important piece of advice you received as a new personal trainer?

Get in touch by letting us know in the comments, or by joining the discussion on Facebook or Twitter.

Want to kick-start your fitness career? Download our free personal training prospectus, or get in touch with our enrolment team by calling 0800 002 9599, or emailing your question to


Become a Level 4 Nutrionist

Expand Your PT Business & Become a Level 4 Nutrition Specialist

Written by George Aird

Fitness Professional & Marketer

Join George on Facebook at the OriGym Facebook Group

George Aird is a content writer and marketer with specialist knowledge of health and fitness, online marketing, and start-up businesses. In his spare time, he is a keen climber, and a (reluctant) runner. 

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