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Top 7 Progression Opportunities for a Personal Trainer

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Progression Opportunities for A Personal Trainer

You might be surprised to find that there are a ton of career progression opportunities for personal trainers, so you’ll need to be properly prepared before you decide which one you take.

We here at OriGym are here to help, breaking down the various routes of career progression, what they involve, and how you can pursue them.

As a brief disclaimer, there are 2 things you should definitely possess before even considering progression:

Before we dive in,  take a look at OriGym's full course prospectus to learn about the additonal qualifications you can gain to diversify your PT skillset and progress in your career!

#1 Personal Trainer Career Progression - Become a Gym Manager

If you’re currently working as a PT in a gym, then pursuing a management position is a logical next step in progressing your career.

The main benefits of the job are that you’d be in charge of the gym you oversee, able to make executive decisions on the direction the business will take.

As well as this, you could definitely expect a higher pay package, which we’ll be breaking down later.

But what does the role involve and how can you pursue it?

There’s a lot that goes into managing a gym, just some of the responsibilities you’ll be expected to carry out in this role include:

Hiring & Managing Gym Staff

As a gym manager, you’ll be responsible for hiring and overseeing the staff, from personal trainers to receptionists. This comes with a range of tasks, such as:

  • Interviewing candidates 
  • Training staff
  • Setting targets for staff
  • Managing team performance 

Managing the Gym’s Budget

Being manager involves allocating portions of the gym’s budget to different amenities within the facility.

This means it’s down to you to decide which departments deserve investment so that the gym can thrive, like putting more money towards new equipment to ensure you have the latest, most advanced gear to boost membership rates.

Recording the Gym’s Financial Figures and Statistics

You’d be required to keep extensive records of both the financial performance of the gym as well as the statistics surrounding topics such as new member joining rates.

Add in records of staff performance on top of this and you’ve certainly got a full plate of record-keeping you need to be held accountable for. 

What Experience/ Qualifications Will You Need to Become a Gym Manager?

Ideally, it’s best that you have both relevant experience and qualifications to maximise your chance of securing this position.

That said, the requirements for a gym manager do differ depending on the employer. For example, some employers may look for experience working in a gym, whilst others may be more interested in managing experience or a University degree, for instance.

Qualifications for Personal Trainer Progression Required for a Gym Manager

First and foremost, most employers will require you to have a basic Level 3 PT qualification before they consider you for a manager's position, as you can see here in this advertisement from Nuffield Health.

Some employers even recommend extended qualifications, including a bachelor’s degree in:

  • Sports Science
  • Business Administration
  • Business Management

Having a degree in Sports Science, for example, demonstrates that you have extensive knowledge of fitness, and so can really help you to stand out as a candidate and progress in the fitness industry.

When it comes to the business degrees, these serve as a signal to employers that as well as having the experience of working as a PT, you’re also equipped with everything you’d ever need to know about the basics of managing a gym.

These degrees show that you’ve put in the work and earned the knowledge, allowing for personal trainer career progression in the way of becoming a manager.

Experience for Personal Trainer Progression Required for a Gym Manager

For most employers, it’s absolutely vital that you have experience working at a gym in some capacity.

This is so that you’ve been a part of the infrastructure, and have seen first hand the ladder of authority within the gym and been involved in important maintenance procedures like:

  • Handling equipment 
  • Assisting customers
  • Driving sales

Most gyms will require that you have worked in at least one of the following managerial roles before even considering you for the role of general manager:

  • Floor supervisor
  • Assistant manager
  • Sales manager

As shown below, in the typical organisational structure of a gym, there are multiple roles between a personal trainer and a gym manager:

So, if you’re currently working as a personal trainer, you should consider getting experience working as a supervisor or assistant manager level before pursuing a role as a general manager.

Working your way up the structure in this way means that when it comes to applying for a gym manager job, the employer can see that you’ve been responsible for more people and obligations than just yourself and your own tasks.

What Does it Pay?

Annual pay rates tend to vary from gym to gym, so we’ve assembled the average salary from a variety of gyms to help manage your expectations.

As you can see, higher end leisure centres such as David Lloyds and Nuffield Health Club offer more in terms of salary.

For this reason, being a gym manager for a higher end club like Nuffield Health is often seen as a point of progression beyond managing a commercial gym, for example The Gym Group.

If you want a full Gym Manager Salary Guide, click the link for a more in-depth look at the different levels of managerial promotion you can achieve and the salaries they offer.

How Can You Become a Gym Manager?

The most straightforward approach is to gain experience by working within a gym and applying for smaller managerial roles, snowballing your skills until you’re ready to undertake a bigger responsibility.

This is exactly how current Gym Manager Paul Darville pursed this route of personal trainer career progression:

Paul is a great example of how having a combination of relevant industry experience and advanced qualifications, in his case a degree in Sport, Health and Exercise Science, can help you to excel among other contending candidates for the role of general manager.

As you can see below, Paul started his career as a qualified Level 3 personal trainer, working within a gym as a PT for some time before becoming a manager:

He progressed from being a PT to the position of Fitness and Personal Training Manager at Virgin Active, and eventually managed 4 different PureGym facilities around the country.

With both relevant experience and qualifications, Paul is the shining example of personal trainer career progression as he climbed through the ranks of the fitness industry.

Further Personal Trainer Progression Opportunities

This path doesn’t just end at general manager; there are far more expansive roles that you could possibly be promoted to once you have experience working as a Gym Manager, starting with:

  • Cluster Manager (£36,658 per year)

The role of the cluster manager is to monitor resources, financial and physical, across a cluster of sites controlled by general managers. They need to manage the efficiency of resources being dedicated to each gym under their supervision.

 

Progress your career by becoming a level 4 personal trainer!

Take the next step in your career by enquiring about our Level 4 advanced nutrition course now 

  • Regional Manager (£43,758 per year)

This role will have you overseeing daily operations across a plethora of gym sites in your region, as well as setting appropriate performance objectives for the gyms in your stead.

  • National Fitness Manager ( £65,000 per year)

Here, you’ll be tasked with introducing innovative products and services to be rolled out across nationwide sites of the gym franchise, all for the end goal of expanding and retaining membership numbers.

You’ll also have to audit all the sites in your charge to ensure that they’re all operating under the same branding procedures.

  • National Head of Member Services ( £71,694 per year)

As part of this job, you’re required to develop policies to streamline the member experience and grow the membership base. You’ll also need to provide any important information or updates to the existing member base of the gym franchise. 

  • National Head of Product Development (£80,478 per year)

In this role, you’ll have to develop products for your gym chain in accordance with branding and the preferences of the relevant target audience. 

#2 Personal Trainer Career Progression: Get Into Exercise Referral

Working in Exercise Referral would see you creating fitness programmes for patients dealing with chronic conditions or illnesses who have been referred to your services by a GP or medical professional.

The main benefit of this personal trainer progression is that it's one of the most rewarding fitness careers that you can pursue, since you’ll play an active role in significantly improving an individual's health and wellbeing.

With that said, what exactly would you need to do as an exercise referral specialist? Well, your obligations include:

  • Assessing patient's current activity levels
  • Constructing a fitness programme that caters to their needs and abilities 
  • Using information from the GP to create a unique programme that considers the patients physical & mental limitations

The exercise referral process usually involves a programme that lasts between 8-12 weeks, consisting of sessions anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour. 

Throughout these sessions, you’d need to guide them through their assigned exercises and help them every step of the way, taking into consideration any physical limitations they face.

Qualifications Required to Progress to an Exercise Referral Specialist

Since this is a specialist career, you will need a specific Exercise Referral qualification to pursue this personal trainer progression opportunity.

Fortunately, we here at Origym offer a Level 3 GP Exercise Referral course, which would equip you with all of the necessary skills and knowledge to pursue this career, providing you with the tools to:

  • Plan exercise referral programmes
  • Understand the specific medical conditions of the patients you’ll encounter
  • Deliver sessions and programmes to individuals with medical conditions  

Experience for Personal Trainer Progression Required to Become a Referral Expert

As well as having worked as a PT generally, experience training elderly or disabled clients in particular will help here massively.

As a referral expert, you’ll likely be working with a wide variety of patients with different health issues. Some people could just be a little stiff in their old age and need assistance with exercise mobility, whilst others could be suffering from serious health issues or disabilities that need special attention.

The more experience you have with catering workouts to clients with particular needs, the more you’ll develop key skills needed for this role, such as:

  • Patience 
  • Compassion
  • Communication skills
  • Adaptability 

What Does it Pay?

The annual wage of an Exercise Referral Specialist can vary from employer to employer, and depending on whether you work for somebody, or operate on a freelance basis.

That said, the typical hourly wage is anywhere between £15-£30. 

Here’s an example of an advert for an entry-level Exercise Referral job, offering upto £23,000 annually for a 30 hour week: 

This is a pretty decent wage in itself, but it doesn’t represent what you could be taking home at the higher end of this payscale, or if you were to progress beyond being an instructor.

Once you have experience working in this role, there’s nothing stopping you from going for a higher paid job, or starting a freelance business and charging £30 an hour.

When you consider that being paid or charging £30 an hour and working a 40 hour week could mean earning as much as £50,000 a year, it’s clear to see that this is a pretty lucrative option for career progression.

How Can You Become an Exercise Referral Specialist?

If you’re currently a qualified PT, the main step towards working in Exercise Referral is to complete a Level 3 GP Exercise Referral qualification. 

If you want to know more about completing this qualification and landing a job, read our step by step guide to becoming an exercise referral specialist here.

Beth Martin is a great example of a personal trainer who’s progressed to become an exercise referral specialist.

As you can see below, she’s been thriving in the business for over 10 years now, illustrating just how sustainable the progression route of exercise referral can be.

Beth is a great example of how you could combine both personal training and exercise referral as a career, rather than fully moving away from PT as you progress in your career.

Further Personal Trainer Progression Opportunities

Adding to your list of qualifications is the way to go when it comes to personal trainer career progression. There are some niche specialist courses out there that can help you to advance as an exercise referral specialist massively, including:

With this qualification, you’d be the ideal referral expert for people suffering from weight issues and diabetes. People with these issues are commonly referred to specialists, so you wouldn’t have to worry about being out of work. 

This is a group that would require further qualifications than the basic Level 3 GP Referral course because they need specific dietary recommendations as well as help with general exercising, so consider this qualification to progress your career even further.

This is another great example of a qualification that’ll progress your career as an exercise referral specialist as it means you can tend to an entirely new pool of clients that suffer from lower back pain, a very common injury. 

You’ll learn how to sensitively handle patients as well as become more educated on how to develop exercise programmes for the physically impaired.

Having this qualification under your belt is sure to get you more referrals, meaning more recognition which always leads to progression.

#3 Start Your Own Gym/ Fitness Studio

There are huge benefits to starting your own gym or fitness studio, as the potential for success is enormous.

You can be your own boss and fully control the direction you want to take your facility in- this includes directing the branding and training equipment, tailoring your gym to your style. 

With this route of progression, however, comes a substantial list of responsibilities, starting with:

Maintaining your Equipment

pt career progression image

You’ll need to manage and maintain your equipment. This includes:

  • Repairing faulty equipment
  • Replacing outdated equipment 
  • Refurbishing older equipment

 This could be as simple as contracting a professional for help, or attempting a more DIY approach- you’ll need to hand each situation appropriately as they come.

Evaluating Costs

There’s a lot to consider when distributing your budget- you’ll need to cover the obvious expenditures such as:

  • Training equipment 
  • Specialised flooring
  • Mirrors and aesthetics

But what about other costs that may creep up unexpectedly? Putting aside factors like rent or utility bills, you need to account for small background costs that help to keep your facility up and running, such as:

  • Cleaning/ sanitary equipment
  • Phones and computers
  • Office furniture 

It’s your job to evaluate these numerous costs and delegate resources to them accordingly. 

 

Progress your career by becoming a level 4 personal trainer!

Take the next step in your career by enquiring about our Level 4 advanced nutrition course now 

Advertising and Marketing Your Studio/ Gym

pt career progression image

It’s down to you to spread the word about your facility and attract a loyal community of fitness fanatics. 

A good place to start a marketing campaign would be with your preexisting group of clients; instead of working with them via their gym or home, host your personal training sessions within your own studio. 

Once you’ve accrued a decent number of members, you can start marketing to wider audiences to enhance your money making potential. 

Seeing to Administrative Duties 

You’ll be tasked with handling a variety of administrative tasks to keep your studio afloat, mostly consisting of: 

  • Handling calls and enquiries
  • Producing paperwork
  • Schedule training sessions and meetings

These are essential roles that need to be fulfilled, so be sure not to overlook them or you could end up disorganised and backlogged.

Qualifications for Personal Trainer Progression Required for a Studio/ Gym Owner

Level 3 personal trainer progression

Since you’d be working for yourself, you technically don’t need any qualifications to get started. Despite this, you might want to consider a variety of qualifications for your own sake, such as taking a Personal Training Business CPD Course

This would be a good idea if you need to brush up on your knowledge of what it takes to run a business or if you flat out don’t know where to start- you can always learn!

Experience for Personal Trainer Progression Required for a Studio/ Gym Owner

Of course, experience managing a large number of clients would be appropriate here. 

This is purely down to the fact that managing a variety of people and their needs is something you’d be doing regularly, so it’s best to know how to handle this situation.

Any experience working within an established gym franchise is ideal here, as this would provide you with knowledge of the infrastructure of a gym system and how each role in the hierarchy plays a part. This should act as a blueprint for you to model your own responsibilities from, ensuring you leave no stone unturned as there won’t be anyone else to help pick up the pieces- it’s all down to you to create a healthy studio ecosystem.

What Does it Pay?

Level 3 personal trainer progression

The pay is entirely down to the success of your gym; this isn’t like any other job where you’re guaranteed to earn a certain amount for the year, your earnings depend on how popular your gym is. 

To that end, the UK national average yearly wage for a gym owner is £41,378 according to Glassdoor, with some owners even reporting salaries of upwards of £92,000.

There’s a huge potential for excessive earnings here, but you need to risk a lot and put in an incredible amount of work to reach the high pay ceiling that other, successful gym owners have.

How Can You Become a Gym/ Studio Owner?

There are a series of significant steps you need to take to turn this career progression opportunity into a reality, none of which should be taken lightly.

Let’s break them down. 

  • Choose a Suitable Facility

Finding the right place to host your business is vital for success. 

You need consider a few important factors that would appease your demographic, such as:

  • Size- is it big enough?
  • Facilities- are you able to provide your planned services?
  • Location- is it easy to get to/ close for your chosen demographic?

Try to find the perfect balance between these 3 variables to maximise your chance of success.

These are all things that we discuss in further detail in this video!

  • Finance Your Gym/ Studio

Firstly, you need to secure funds to get your facility up and running. Even if you’ve been saving up, you still may need additional funds to solidify your dream location.

What you don’t know is that you’re already close to getting what you need because of your PT qualification. 

Investors and loan officers are more likely to back your business because of your expertise and experience in the industry, so the longer you’ve been active in this line of work, the better.

To secure a loan, you’ll need to develop a business plan forecasting your intentions and potential profits. 

If you’re unfamiliar with how to create a gym business plan, you can get access to great templates from Sage that’ll fasttrack your business.

Whether you’re opting to rent or to buy a location, you’ll need a financial foundation to be able to allocate resources to other important things like equipment- be sure to have enough money when you start out to support your rent/ mortgage payments for at least 6 months. 

 

Progress your career by becoming a level 4 personal trainer!

Take the next step in your career by enquiring about our Level 4 advanced nutrition course now 

  • Source Your Equipment 

After you’ve settled on an appropriate location, you need to acquire relevant equipment; you need to balance quality against price, finding optimal gear without pushing your budget too far.  

If you want to avoid the high costs of brand new equipment, then you could browse a second hand site like Gumtree to see if you can get lucky and find something you’re looking for at a significantly reduced price. 

The items listed here generally tend to be smaller scale, more lightweight pieces of fitness apparatus- if you’re looking for some serious, heavyset equipment, then you can pick up refurbished gear at a reduced price from UK Gym Equipment LTD

After you’ve acquired everything you need, move it all into your facility and arrange it to create a safe space and work-hard atmosphere. 

Further Personal Trainer Progression Opportunities

Level 3 personal trainer progression

There are 2 further routes of progression you could take here.

The first option is that you expand upon the facility you’ve already got, creating more room for more clients and equipment. 

This could be something as simple as renovating a part of your studio that you don’t fully utilise to serve a new purpose, or you could even get the permission to build an extension to enhance the space you work in.

The other progression route is to develop your gym/ studio into a local franchise.

Once you’ve found success in your first location, you could look to expand your operation in another area that’d be popular with your demographic to create a chain of gyms.

You’d have to repeat the process you did to establish your original facility, but this time you’d need to consider hiring somebody to manage your new site if the workload would be too much for you to properly handle.

#4 Personal Trainer Career Progression: Become a Fitness Tutor

Another way to take your career is to pay your skills forward- get yourself qualified as a fitness tutor and teach aspiring trainers so they too can become PT’s.

One of the main benefits of this role is that you get to help people take the next step in their career, giving them the tools to improve their livelihoods. 

You can also find steady, reliable employment, with plenty of opportunities to take your career even further.

This role comes with a lot of responsibilities, consisting of:

Teaching Students

First and foremost, you’ll be responsible for teaching students all the information they need to successfully complete their assessments. That could include teaching the modules that make a range of health and fitness courses, such as:

Assessing Students

As well as teaching your students, you’ll also be the one assessing them. This would mean grading their final assesments, which requires a keen eye for detail and a rock solid understanding of the marking scheme.

This would also involve providing constructive feedback based on students’ results to get them on the right track. 

You’d also be expected to invigilate the exam process, ensuring a quiet and fair testing environment.

Qualifications for Personal Trainer Progression Required to Become a Fitness Tutor

To be able to progress to be a fitness tutor, you’ll need to get qualified. Luckily, you can do so right here with our Fitness Teaching and Assessing course!

Employers won’t consider you for the role at all without this, so it’s essential that you have this certification to begin your career.

You’ll only be able to teach up to the qualification that you already have. So, if you’re only a Level 3 qualified PT, you won’t be able to teach a Level 4 course. 

If you wanted to teach a level 4 PT course, say a Level 4 weight management course, you’d need to have completed that specific qualified yourself.

This is why it’s advantageous to have as many qualifications as possible so you can progress in this career path!

Experience for Personal Trainer Progression Required to Become a Fitness Tutor

As you might imagine, experience teaching in any capacity is extremely useful experience for this role, whether you’ve done it professionally or even just helped to tutor a peer at school.

As long as you’ve had experience that has allowed you to hone your skills in clear communication and instruction then you should be well equipped.

Extensive experience as a PT yourself is also vital. Teaching is made all the more simple when you understand the subject matter from both perspectives, both as teacher and student. At least subconsciously, your explanations will be better because of this.

 

Progress your career by becoming a level 4 personal trainer!

Take the next step in your career by enquiring about our Level 4 advanced nutrition course now 

The more confident you are as a trainer, the better you will be as a teacher, so make sure you’ve had ample experience in the field before you apply yourself to the classroom.

What Does it Pay?

The average fitness tutor salary is £27,000 in the UK, but the answer to this question is subject to change depending on a number of variables, such as:

  • Where Are You Teaching?

If you’re positioned in a high-end course provider in a large city, then you’re more likely to earn more money than if you were at a small, independent teaching facility in a lesser populated area. 

  • What Are Your Qualifications?

If you’re qualified to teach more advanced classes, you could see an increase in earnings due to the fact that you’re able to teach more courses.

  • How Long Have You Been Teaching?

If you’re new to this career, you may be started on a much lower salary than your experienced contemporaries. New entries typically start on an annual salary of around £26,000, whereas experienced tutors could see as much as £40,000 annually- so stick with it!

How Can You Become a Fitness Tutor?

After earning the appropriate qualifications, you should take your job search online to a site like Indeed.com.

In this case, you could apply for either the tutor or assessor role, so from there it’s really up to you.

Level 3 Personal Trainer Progression to Fitness Tutor: Our Case Study

Personal trainer progression can easily be achieved in the tutoring business, just look at our own in-house tutor, Heather Stewart.

Being a PT herself for some time, she decided to take the next step in her career and get qualified in Fitness Teaching and Assessing.

Now she’s a thriving tutor as well as performing PT services on the side. As you can see from her Instagram bio, she’s also qualified to teach Level 4 Sports Massage courses to students, which means she has the skills to progress further within her role.

 

Progress your career by becoming a level 4 personal trainer!

Take the next step in your career by enquiring about our Level 4 advanced nutrition course now 

Further Personal Trainer Progression Opportunities

The key to further progression within this role is expanding your teaching potential by adding more qualifications to your belt.

Just as Heather is qualified to teach a Level 4 Sports Massage course, you too could teach a range of adept courses and specialise in a subject, making you a more valuable teacher to an employer.

This means you’ll likely be paid more for your expertise in a niche subject and also appear more marketable; employers are far more likely to choose you, a specialist, over somebody with the bare minimum qualifications.

Even if you start off with the base-level teaching certification, you can also take more courses and add to your teaching potential as you go, allowing you to progress your career.

If you’d like more details on how to become a fitness tutor in the UK, simply click the link and get all the answers you’re looking for!

#5 Personal Trainer Career Progression: Start a Boot Camp

pt career progression image

This personal trainer progression opportunity is something you can implement almost immediately with just a little bit of planning. 

A boot camp is a large-scale fitness class with a variety of equipment for participants to use, all under the instruction of the class leader.

The main benefit of this route of progression is it enables you to be your own boss; hosting classes around your schedule and reaping the rewards of practically unlimited earning potential. 

The responsibilities of the role include:

  • Organising dates and times for your bootcamp
  • Choosing a location
  • Planning and delivering classes

Qualifications for Personal Trainer Progression Required to Start a Boot Camp

The great thing about this personal trainer progression opportunity is that you don’t need any additional qualifications to get started!

All you need is your basic Level 3 PT qualification, and of course, an existing group of dedicated clients ready to enrol in your camp.

Whilst not strictly necessary, some additional CPD courses that could help you further develop the skills needed to plan and deliver bootcamp classes include: 

Experience for Personal Trainer Progression Required to Start a Boot Camp

Since you’d be working for yourself, there’s no necessary experience you need to get hired, but there’s still a lot of relevant experience you should accrue before you jump in the deep end.

As a PT, you’re well adjusted to coaching people on a 1-to-1 basis, so managing 10 or more people in a camp could be overwhelming.

We’d recommend that, if you haven’t already, offer small group training to 3 or 4 of your clients at a time to get used to juggling their activities and managing the session. Or, get some experience running group exercise classes in a gym.

This will give you an idea of what you’ll need to keep a large group session running smoothly, providing the best boot camp experience you possibly can.

What Does it Pay?

There isn’t really a fixed estimate for this question, as the earning potential of this personal trainer career progression choice is dependent on factors such as:

  • How many bootcamp classes you run
  • How much you charge
  • How many people attend your bootcamp classes

Whilst we can’t say exactly how much you will earn, we can explain how you can earn more with this route of progression than you would working as a basic trainer.

Let’s say you’re currently a PT charging £20-£40 an hour for 1-to-1 sessions. By starting a boot camp with 10 clients paying £10 each for an hour’s class, then your hourly profit raises massively to £100 per hour.

This means more money for you at a less expensive rate for your clients.

The key to maximising your earnings comes down to how you manage the payment infrastructure of your boot camp.

We strongly recommend creating a package structure, charging clients to pay a monthly fee for a set number of classes. For example, you could charge £50 a month for 2 classes a week, for a contracted period of 6 months.

Whilst selling classes in blocks or asking clients to ‘pay on the day’ seems like an easy way to manage payments, this an unreliable system to depend on for your income for a number of reasons:

  • Cold or wet weather could cause low attendance
  • Clients aren’t obliged to pay and so are more likely to miss a day
  • You have to re-sell to members once their ‘block’ is over

All of these things can create an unsustainable cash flow to your business. The only person losing out here is you, as your client doesn’t have to pay if they don’t turn up, it just means that you lose money.

Bulk payment schemes totally negate this issue, as you’ll get the money up front for an allocated amount of time, say a month for example.

This means clients are likely to turn up to take advantage of the boot camp as they’ve already paid for it, so you can rest easy with a steady, predictable cash flow.

Look at this example from Bootcamp UK.

By only selling access to their bootcamp in monthly instalments, they’re totally removing the possibility of inconsistent payments, so they’re assured to make money.

Take the time to craft a bulk payment scheme that both works for you and is affordable for clients to maximise your earning potential.

How to Start Your Own Fitness Boot Camp

To start a boot camp, all you need is a group of individuals and a date and time that works for everyone. This group can be made up of your existing clients, or you can follow our personal trainer marketing tips to attract more people to your new venture.

Then, you need to find a suitable location. Some great suggestions are:

  • A local park
  • The beach
  • A rented sports hall

Each of these locations are either free or really cheap to rent, which is just one of the reasons why starting a bootcamp is a great route of progression if you want to start your own PT business on a budget

When deciding on your location, you need to consider a number of key variables, starting with:

  • Space: You’ll need a large, open area that can fit at least 10 clients with plenty of room to create different exercise zones
  • Weather: Consider that some venues won’t be suitable all year round! During winter, clients won’t be jumping for joy at the prospect of working out on the beach in the cold
  • Business: Whilst parks and beaches are a great choice, they may be jam packed during summer months. Finding a comfortable but quiet spot is key
  • Accessibility: Your location should be somewhere that is relatively local to your clients and easy to get to with either parking or public transport links

Once you have a suitable location, the final step in getting set up is to buy or rent some basic gym equipment. 

Something to keep in mind when looking for equipment is that you will have to pay for and transport this equipment to your location. For that reason, we recommend looking for versatile pieces of equipment that you can use for multiple exercise, such as:

  • Resistance bands
  • Medicine balls
  • Dumbbells
  • Kettlebells 
  • Barbell 
  • Slam balls
  • Step up platform 
  • Weighted bags

So long as you have a decent amount of equipment to keep your clients busy and a dependable location, personal trainer progression via starting a boot camp is immediately achievable.

If you want a full breakdown of how to start a fitness boot camp, then click the link and learn how exactly you’d get started. 

Level 3 Personal Trainer Progression to Boot Camp Instructor: Our Case Study

Making the leap from a basic PT position to a boot camp instructor is certainly a possibility, just take Matt Colligan as an example of personal trainer career progression.

After earning his Level 3 PT qualification and making money training individuals, he went on to handle boot camps by using the skills he learned as a trainer.

Further Personal Trainer Progression Opportunities

As a self employed boot camp instructor, there’s no official infrastructure for you to climb; it’s up to you to create your own career progression. 

Once you have a schedule full of bootcamps made up of paying clients, the next step is upscaling. Afterall, more people + more classes = more money.

Upscaling could mean:

  • Hiring another instructor to run bootcamp classes for you
  • Using PT software to automate admin tasks (freeing up your time!)
  • Diversifying your services (E.g. offering 1-1 sessions or other types of class)

If you keep growing at this rate, the seed of your one-person boot camp business could grow into an entire franchise of boot camps across the country.

 

Progress your career by becoming a level 4 personal trainer!

Take the next step in your career by enquiring about our Level 4 advanced nutrition course now 

#6 Personal Trainer Career Progression: Take Your Services Online

By taking your personal training online, there’s essentially no end to the level of progression you could achieve. This is another opportunity for you to be your own boss and as a result, have an unlimited earning capacity.

Working as an online PT would see you carrying out similar roles to that of a regular personal trainer, but instead of training clients face-to-face, you’d offer your services online, usually via video or instant messaging. 

Your main role would be to manage clients and their results, which would involve tasks such as:

  • Have regular check-ins via video call or message
  • Conduct fitness assessments 
  • Track and monitor more feasible metrics, such as weight loss

Read here to learn more about the roles and responsibilities of an online personal trainer.

Qualifications for Personal Trainer Progression Required to Become an Online PT

Aside from your Level 3 PT course, you don’t need any extra qualifications; but this doesn’t mean they won’t help.

The personal training business is full of competition, and additional qualifications (while not strictly necessary for online training) can ultimately be the difference between a potential client choosing you or somebody else. 

For example, having a Level 4 certificate in sports nutrition would allow you to market yourself as a nutrition specialist, offering meal plans to your online clients. 

You could take a look at our full course prospectus to get an idea of additional qualifications you can achieve to expand and diversify your online training services, ultimately helping you to stand out from the crowd.

Experience for Personal Trainer Progression Required to Become an Online PT

Since progressing to being an online PT would mean being your own boss, you don’t need any specific experience. That said, we strongly recommend that you gain experience working as a PT in a gym, running 1-to-1 sessions in person, before taking your services online.

This will give you a good foundation of knowledge and experience of both training clients and running a PT business. Hopefully, you’ll be able to generate some loyal clients throughout this experience, too.

In terms of getting familiar with the online process, it’s a good idea to ask friends or family to partake in an hour-long online class and ask them to rate their session afterwards, giving you the pointers and confidence you’ll need to be ready for online coaching.

What Does it Pay?

The average UK personal trainer earns £27,000 a year. However, this average is usually based on PTs who work for a gym, rather than those who have their own business or work online. 

Now of course, it’s down to you how much you earn if you launched an online training platform, so this is just a benchmark for you to reference. 

If you were to charge £1250 per session (a relatively standard fee for an online trainer) and had 15 regular clients, you could potentially earn as much as £45,000 a year!

 

Progress your career by becoming a level 4 personal trainer!

Take the next step in your career by enquiring about our Level 4 advanced nutrition course now 

The benefit of progressing your career down this path is that you have the potential for unlimited growth, as the internet isn’t a physical facility.

Hypothetically, you could grow an enterprise from your living room and reap the rewards you’d see from online personal training.

How to Offer Online PT Services

Offering online PT services is an accessible route of progression for any level 3 qualified PT.

You’ll need a few things to get started:

  • A laptop 
  • A webcam (if your laptop doesn’t have one)
  • A decent amount of space

There are a lot of services out there capable of providing you with video calling, one of the most prominent being Zoom.

You can take advantage of useful features like:

  • Calling from any smart device
  • Host private calls 
  • Host group conferences

The best part about Zoom is that it’s totally free! You can progress your career as a personal trainer online immediately, running 1-1 sessions over zoom without paying a penny.

Group calls are free for 40 minutes, so if you host a group class for this amount of time, they’re free too!

Level 3 Personal Trainer Progression to Online PT

Looking for real life inspiration? Look no further than Gabriel Meneses’ thriving online business, Gabriel Fitness Cornwall.

As you can see under the ‘virtual training sessions’ section, he offers a cheaply priced 1-to-1 session that’ll outline how to properly perform exercises. 

He currently charges £20 per hour when usually it’s £30, enticing potential clients with a deal. Gabriel is a great example of how you can progress as an online PT and further boost your income, by:

  • Offering a package that includes a diet plan and personalised exercises
  • Offering check-ins to track client progression
  • Offering additional assistance from a nutritionist 

He perfectly fits the bill of what’s expected from an online personal trainer who has progressed from a basic Level 3 qualification to now being his own boss with a popular online service. 

#7 Personal Trainer Career Progression: Add Meal Plans to the Services You Offer

There are two ways by which adding meal plans to the services you offer allows you to progress in your career as a PT. Firstly, it allows you to capitalise on the clients you already have, offering an additional service to them and in exchange, making more money per client.

Secondly, it opens your business up to a pool of potential new clients who hadn’t heard of you previously, or weren’t interested in personal training alone.

There are a ton of ways to implement this service, so the role can have a lot of responsibilities depending on how far you’re willing to take it.

A massive advantage to providing this service is that once a plan is made, it’s made. 

By this we mean that you only have to put the time and effort into crafting a plan one time, then it’s yours to sell to as many clients as will have it for as long as you’re a trainer. As you can imagine, it’s a pretty worthwhile investment.

Here are the main obligations of the role:

  • You need to be able to create a clear, easy-to-read schedule detailing what to eat and when for your client.
  • A simple online table would suffice, with additional detail provided per meal including recipes and cooking tips.
  • Then it’s just a simple process of distribution; send your plans to their respective clients and keep tabs on their progress weekly. 

Qualifications for Personal Trainer Progression Required to Provide Meal Plans

Strictly speaking, you don’t need any additional qualifications besides your standard Level 3 PT to provide a meal plan, but it certainly helps that you have proof of your ability to give the best advice possible.

To that end, you should definitely consider a Level 4 Advanced Sports Nutrition course so you can confidently provide your clients with expert-level meal plans to help you stand out from other PT’s.

This course will allow you to offer your meal plans to a broader range of potential clients, making personal trainer career progression in this direction more feasible and financially rewarding. 

You’ll learn the skills needed to cater directly to niche client groups such as:

  • People with vegan diets
  • Children with obesity issues 
  • Pregnant women 

More knowledge on specialist subjects means more clients, which of course, means more money.

Experience for Personal Trainer Progression Required to Provide Meal Plans

If you haven’t already, make a meal plan for yourself- and stick to it.

This is a great bit of experience to help you understand not only how to construct a meal plan, but also to gauge how difficult it is to stick to.

Take notes and then branch out to your friends and family, find a willing participant and design a bespoke plan for them. This will help you enormously with both your ability to develop a successful meal plan and also with your confidence as you begin to market this service to the public.

What Does it Pay?

This purely depends on what you’re willing to charge people for your meal plans, but before you settle on a pricing structure, there are quite a few variables to consider.

  • How Many Days per Week Are You Providing a Plan For?

This will essentially determine how large your plan is; if you create a plan for all 7 days of the week, then you should charge more as it’d mean more work on your part. If your plan is only designed to be used for 3 days of the week, then you need to cut your price in accordance. 

  • Will You Be Holding Regular Check-Ups?

If you intend to host regular check-up meetings with a client on say, a weekly schedule, then this means more time out of your working day- so you should charge a little extra. This would also elevate your service as you take an active involvement in your client’s progress, meaning you could justify charging slightly more for the better service.

  • How Much Will the Ingredients of Your Designated Meal Plan Cost?

If your meal plan consists of a lot of ingredients for your client to buy, then they'll already be spending a lot of money just shopping alone- if the price of your plan is too high on top of this, it may harm your client retention rate or worse still, prevent clients from signing on.

  • Potential Earnings

If you were to charge just a small fee of £20 for preset packages, then depending on your monthly sales, you could be making an excessive amount of money especially since you only need to make each plan one time.

If you end up selling just 10 preset packages a month, you could be looking at an extra £200, and that’s with a reserved estimation!

Should you charge more and sell to more clients, your earning potential via this personal trainer progression route could be high.

How to Offer Meal Plans

Create Shopping Lists and Recipe Guides

It’s down to you to put in the research and find multiple sources and stores that your clients can gather their essential ingredients from.

You should suggest a number of stores to cater to different peoples’ conveniences.

You also need to to go into detail regarding the recipes you’ve given- give step by step instructions on how to prepare exactly what you had in mind.

Research and Create Preset Meal Plans for Different End Goals

Your main priority in this role should be taking the time to craft a few sets of meal plans each with their own unique goals.

For example, you should consider plans for:

  • Weight loss
  • Muscle gain
  • Cutting out sugars/ fats
  • Vegan/ veggie diets

These should each be generalised yet decently detailed guides on how to prepare a variety of meals for their respective objectives. 

You should generalise them because then they’ll be easier to follow for a large majority of people, meaning you’re appealing your services to a broader audience.

Each of the guides needs to specify a time frame- for example, a weight loss guide that’s supposed to take 2 weeks will surely have a different roadmap than a 2 month guide, so ensure that your plans are achievable and realistic for the time you allocate for each plan.

If you need a hand getting started, then consider using online software such as Strongr Fastr for a quick and easy automated meal plan template.

Just enter your client’s details and goals to receive a free recommended template; even if you decide to create your own guide, you still get access to a useful framework to help your plans develop.

Create Customised Meal Plans for Individual Clients for a Higher Price

Taking this personal trainer progression route further would be to evolve your generalised meal plans into tailored, specific ones for individual clients.

This responsibility would involve consulting with your clients to determine an ideal path forward. 

During consultation, you’ll have to outline small factors that will determine the shape of your client’s personalised plan, including:

  • Their budget for ingredients
  • The time they have to commit to the plan
  • Any allergies they may have

The benefit of adding a bespoke meal plan option to your services is that you can charge more as it’s specialised, meaning you can progress to earn more money as a nutritionist.

Level 3 Personal Trainer Progression to Offering Meal Plans: Our Case Study

For proof of this progression route, we can refer back to our previous example of Gabriel Fitness Cornwall.

Gabriel offers custom meal plans for 30 days for a fixed-price subscription of £65. Using this pricing model as an example, if you were to enrol 10 clients on your meal plan service then you’d be taking home an extra £650 per month.

Progressing your career in this direction can prove immediately fruitful, as well as creating new opportunities for your career entirely.

Further Personal Trainer Progression Opportunities

After successfully developing and distributing meal plans, you will have become something of an expert in the field of nutrition- especially if you’ve taken a  Level 4 Advanced Sports Nutrition course, so the next step is to look for further progression options.

Expansion is key to progressing in this role. Firstly, you should expand the types of meal plans you offer.

Get specific, target niche audiences with unique goals by mixing up the variables- ‘2 Week Vegan Fat Burner’ for example. Keep thinking of a variety of plans with differing time windows and dietary preferences to cast the widest net possible.

You should also expand your business by hiring other PT’s.

Outsourcing the responsibility of watching over clients as they complete a meal plan to trainers you hire inevitably means that you can take on more clients. 

More clients, of course, means more money, even if this income is split between you and the trainer you’ve hired.

Before You Go!

There are a lot of potential routes for personal trainer progression, and we hope that we’ve highlighted a future career that you can see yourself thriving in!

As we’ve touched upon throughout this article, a surefire way to progress in any career is to have more qualifications. To that end, why not check out our range of level 4 personal training courses or take a look at our full course prospectus

You could find something that separates you from the ever-growing crowd of PT’s and set yourself up to progress in your career.

Written by Harry Griffiths

Freelance Fitness Writer & Enthusiast

Harry is a freelance article writer for Origym. With a degree in creative writing at his back, he writes about all things fitness for our company blog, covering everything from exercise techniques to product reviews. A passionate weight lifter, Harry’s commitments to fitness
and wellbeing extend from behind the keyboard all the way to the gym floor.

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