How to Become a Personal Trainer


In this post we explore the current landscape of the personal training industry along with the processes involved to become a fully qualified personal trainer.


Where is the Industry Headed?

The UK personal training market has shown consistent annual growth in recent years with it now reported that 1 in 7 people in the UK have a gym membership – the highest figure to date. Furthermore, a recent UK fitness industry report highlights how the industry is continuing to thrive; we are seeing more fitness clubs, more gym memberships and ultimately a greater market value than ever before.

An interesting area of growth of late has been the investment in outdoor gym equipment in parks for public use. While some may assume this takes away work from the gym-based personal trainer – it also increases the opportunity for some to take their work outside and teach individuals or groups in these public spaces.

Ultimately, it can be argued that there has never been a better time to become a qualified personal trainer.


Impact of Social Media

The rise of social media over the last decade has proved very beneficial for some industries and, in terms of fitness and personal training, this certainly falls into that category.

Social media accounts focusing on fitness and healthy eating coupled with the rise of fitness bloggers on Instagram and vloggers on YouTube has seen a trend develop in regards to promoting a healthy lifestyle and way of living.

This also provides ample opportunities for personal trainers to undertake self-promotion with their own accounts allowing them to build up a targeted and relevant audience.


Qualifications Required

Sadly, it’s not as simple as one day deciding to become a personal trainer and expecting clients to turn up at your door. Instead there are qualifications that you need to complete in order to become a professional PT. Here’s what you need to become a fully qualified personal trainer:


Level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instructing

This allows you to work as a gym instructor in a gym, health club or any other type of fitness focused establishment. This qualification is mandatory to allow you to complete Level 3 (there is no Level 1) and you’ll learn a range of skills from the anatomy of the human body to understanding how to motivate a small group or individual.

A simple Google search will give you a range of opportunities to find the courses right for you.


Level 3 Personal Trainer Course

After completing Level Two you’ll be eligible to undertake Level 3. As the title of the qualification states; this module is focused on more in-depth topics relating to personal training including advanced anatomy studies, the application of nutrition during physical activity and how to effectively deliver PT sessions utilising your group leadership skills.

…and that’s what it takes to become a qualified personal trainer. You’ll often find many different organisations offering Level 4 qualifications which will provide more depth and knowledge as well as helping your CV stand out from the crowd.



An often overlooked area by personal trainers and fitness instructors alike is personal trainer insurance. This is where we at Professional Fitness are happy to help out.

Why is it important?

A large number of professionals within the industry are unaware of the risks involved when teaching an individual or group. There may be instances whereby a client files a claim against you and this sort of claim, whether justified or not, can threaten both your reputation and career. Furthermore, you’ll often find that the gym or location at which you are undertaking your work will often not cover for you in the event of you finding yourself having to defend a claim.

By taking out insurance with ourselves you’ll find yourself with peace of mind when it comes to carrying out your work. Our insurance policies cover you for up to £5m public liability insurance and up to £1m professional indemnity insurance. What’s more, we can also cover any equipment you may wish to ensure.


Interested in finding out more? Click here to get a free quote in seconds.

If you’re interested in finding out more about our insurance policies you can visit our main homepage here or you can get in touch with one of our friendly team on 0345 450 8530.


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Why try Fartlek Training?

Being a part of a large sports team, every preseason brings about the arduous task of getting back into top condition. This is a situation that everyone can relate to whether you are training for a race or the first match of the year. A suggestion that is always made is Fartlek training, something that is always mentioned by my coach but I usually shun. However bored with my usual dull routine I thought this year I’d mix it up.

What is it?

It is a form of interval or speed training that is generated from the Swedish term meaning ‘speed play’.  It involves changing your pace at seemingly random intervals (emphasising the ‘random’ as this is a pivotal part). Unlike interval it is unstructured so while you are jogging you pick a tree or lamppost and use this as your start or end point of your sprint.

The premise is that you start out on a normal jog and then after 2 or 3 minutes you hit a landmark and start sprinting. The sprint ends at your next landmark and it should not be longer than 200m or 45s seconds. This is then repeated for a period of ideally 30minutes probably no longer than 50.


While my first thoughts as I trundled down the hill to my local park, waiting for my first ‘tree’ to arrive, were that of scepticism at this unstructured version of interval training, I was soon pleasantly surprised (That is if you can call working up a sweat pleasant). I found it challenging and sporadic making it simulate a game scenario. In a match we will not jog for 1 minute and then sprint for 30s, no, it is far more intense than that and fartlek allows you to have this flexibility. It has an increased intensity from a normal run as well which tests strength and endurance as well as improving speed running. It increases cardio capacity and recovery time too, which is ideal for competitive sportsmen.

If I’m honest I only lasted a fairly unimpressive 17 minutes and 50 seconds on my  first outing but actually I found this quite pleasing, It changed the monotony of just running that I normally find insatiably dull and even shortened it, which I saw as a win win. Additionally it was harder work than your standard run and highlighted how much I still have to go before I will be ready to start the season (the latter being a slightly less amicable realisation)

Therefore if you are looking for a game like simulation that will more quickly get you up to fitness this is perfect. It may not be pleasant but what training regime is?


Written by: Oliver Davies – Hockey Instructor

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Could standing up be the key?

It’s no secret that exercise helps keep off weight and lengthens your life, but researchers at SICH (The Surrey Institute of Clinical Hypnotherapy) say that this doesn’t necessarily mean breaking a sweat. Simply standing up and walking about more, rather than spending long hours sitting down to read or watch TV, can have a profound effect on overall wellness.

Doing nothing may feel good, but sitting or laying for hours at a time – besides sleeping of course – cuts down life expectancy and won’t help against the battle of the bulge. But even if you can’t imagine being heavily into fitness, the report shows that weight loss can still be attainable.

It highlights several people involved in a study who move around a bit more, for no particular reason. In other words, they were not moving for their health, but getting up an extra few times each day seems to have kept them from gaining weight even after eating too much. Paul Howard, SICH Director, said: “It’s not that these people in the study were fitness fanatics, it would appear that all they did differently was simply walk more, get up from the settee to run everyday chores or find other reasons to get on their feet. The people that did this burnt a lot more calories and were healthier. It seemed to me to be the easiest way to lose weight or at least keep it off.”

This correlates with another study from the American Cancer Society, conducted in 2010, which compared life expectancy between people who sat down for 6 hours a day, versus others who sat for just 3 hours or less. The results showed that shockingly, increased time sitting lead to a 37% increase in mortality rate for women, while men’s mortality rate increased by 17%, even after taking into account factors like diet and pre-existing conditions.

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Power of positive thinking

We hear it every day don’t we?  You ask a client to do an exercise, you demo it beautifully and then ’I can’t do it’ they tell you – they tell you that before they have picked the weight up off the floor – before their feet have touched the treadmill – and do you know what – they are right.  As Henry Ford famously told us – ‘If you think you can or if you think you can’t – you are probably right’.

I work a lot alongside some very large ladies and I can often tell how they are going to get on right at the start of their journey.  It’s in the language they use.  Those that say that they will never be able to get their BMI into the healthy range – they probably won’t.  Those that say ‘its tough, but I am determined’ are more likely to achieve their weight loss.

So, how can we use this knowledge?  We all know that Mo Farah didn’t win because he stood at the start line murmuring ‘I can’t do this, I’m no good at running, everyone is going to laugh at me’.  No, he would have trained, planned and envisaged himself winning.  I would guess he started off with an expectation that he was going to win.

Use the language of winning with your clients.  Challenge their ambiguity.  The client that says that they will ‘try’ to keep to healthy eating has set themselves up with an excuse not to succeed.  You know what they will say when you arrive next week, ‘well, I did try, but the cake was calling’.  Get them to reframe their thoughts ‘ this week I will eat healthily’ – get them to hold themselves to account for their own actions.

We use an accountability framework with all our clients – we ask them to set their goals according to their priorities and  get them to agree, week by week, what they are going to do to get them closer to where they want to be.  Once they realise that we remember what they said they were going to do and challenge them when they don’t keep to the plan they soon understand how poor their excuses sound!

Its all about what goes on in the head.  Tap into it – use it – help every client to get to where they want to be – help them to be their best.

Marion Foreman



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The effects of poor hydration – Conrad Rafique

Recently I ran the Chester 1/2 Marathon and with the warm conditions there were several runners suffering from dehydration.  Many of them were in club colours and I would have expected them to know how to hydrate better. I saw one runner stopping with cramp after only a few miles, another one at about 4 miles with the bicycle-paramedics treating him and probably the most disheartening of all: in the final uphill mile to the finish outside Chester Cathedral, a poor guy went into what I would call hyper-dehydration.  He was staggering all over the road and his body was almost vibrating… needless to say the heat had got to him and the paramedics were quickly on hand, along with other runners. Personally I like running in the warmer weather as, mentally, I feel it keeps the achilles tendons, calves and MT joints nice and warm

Little and often is the way to do it on a warm long 13-miler – take a bottle at every feed station, sip the water, don’t gulp it down and pour some over the head to keep what is the hottest part of the body cool.

Mankind evolved to run – we were Born to RUN – we became the dominant species due to our uncanny ability to regulate our body temperature better than any other living thing on the planet.  Our temperature regulation allowed us to hunt anything from wild boar to horse and even big cats and bears.  We could do this because we could regulate our temperature whilst our prey overheated…. a bit like an old Alfa Romeo or Ferrari, only more edible.  Crucially though, we needed sips of water every hour to make this happen.

Day-to-day I use a great wee App called Hydo to track my own hydration – on a warm day when I am Training, my required intake is 3.2 litres…. and I am only a wee guy as they would say back home in sunny Giffnock! Right I’m off for more water, why don’t you do the same?



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Extend your fitness repertoire with the latest dance-fitness craze

Just Jhoom! which means Just Dance! brings together aerobics, mindful movement and Bollywood dancing (drawing on a range of dance styles from Indian classical dance to Bhangra) to create a unique dance experience – nourishing both body and mind.

Just Jhoom! is the brainchild of classically-trained Indian dancer, Shalini Bhalla who has collaborated with dance, fitness and yoga professionals to create training programmes that enable our instructors to provide fun, dynamic fitness sessions to people from all walks of life.

Just Jhoom! is suitable for people of all ages, abilities and fitness levels. In one class you can have an 18 year old, Jhooming side by side with a 70 year old.

We are offering one lucky individual the chance to win a Just Jhoom! instructor certificiation course worth £275 & 16 REPS’ CPD points.

Enter here for your chance to win >

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Sleep for Athletes – the rush to get to bed and sleep

By Conrad Rafique – Fitness & Motivation Coach

I’m sure that if you are anything like me, and I am not atypical in any sense, just maybe a little OCD…, then getting to bed at a decent time to score some decent quality regenerative rest is not as easy as it should be.  It’s always high on the list of priorities for the day – “must get to bed early and sleep well…”.

Like many of you, starting up a new business venture in sports and fitness, being a caring & helpful Dad, assisting with homework, making school lunches etc etc all run into the plan for an early night.  Well, I say that, those important and enjoyable tasks run in alongside the heavy exercise programme that we undertake, so it’s not the tasks and loving daily chores that lead to the ‘late*’ nights.  It’s all things taken together that lead us to pack as much into the day as possible – and often a good bit more too.
*I say ‘late’ because for many working parents with a love of sport, an early night can be bed at 11.30 for 6-7 hours rest.

Personally, 6 hours is inadequate, 7 hours is ok but not regenerative and 8 hours is my optimum for restoration benefits.  For some folks, e.g elite triathletes it can be 8-10 hours and famously Paula Radcliffe would sleep for 10 hours plus some sneaky cat-naps throughout the day.

One of my best friends and a super, high energy Group Exercise instructor and Personal Trainer (Gill Garner) regularly grabs cat-naps of up to 1 hour during the day in between her busy schedule of classes and PT sessions.

What’s the learning point? What can we all try and do better or differently to get the rest and recuperation we need so that we can be productive, helpful, powerful & fast (and sweet-natured!) tomorrow?

First thing – no electronic devices in the bedroom, no iPads, laptops etc. Leave them outside the door, the bedroom is your sanctity of rest.  No TV either.  Read a book and drift into a deep slumber.  Waken with your alarm or with the daylight – whatever you use, force yourself up and out once you waken, do not hit snooze. Hit the day running, and make a pact with yourself to get to bed at a specific time.  If you haven’t got all your ‘To-Do’s” done then rise early tomorrow to finish them – the body and mind will be stronger and fitter for the high quality rest that you invest in your sleep bank.

For all you athletes out there, when we sleep the body releases human growth hormone (HGH), that’s what Dwaine Chambers infamously injected to himself to build his strength, speed, stamina, & accelerate his recovery so he could train harder next day…. and cheat! We can do this naturally by sleeping well – HGH rebuild and repairs muscles, boosts the immune system, repairs micro-damage to tendons, ligaments and bone structures. All massively important for all sports people and indeed all of us.

Sleep Well, Sleep Tight


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Branding for small businesses

What is ‘branding’ exactly?

When you hear the word ‘branding’ do you immediately think logo? Initially it meant the same to me, but if you dig below the surface you get to realise that branding is a whole lot more than just a logo, name and tag line.

Branding is creating a whole image for your business – it is ‘what springs to mind’ for your customers, clients and associates.

When I think Apple I think ‘market leader, cool and expensive‘. So if I buy an apple product I will feel cool, be at the top of the technology game and sending out a message that I can afford the best. This may not be correct but it doesn’t really matter because at the end of the day it is what I think and feel and my perception of that brand that matters.

Branding is therefore managing the thoughts and feelings of your customers to ensure that you are what they desire. It’s how you’d like your customers, tribe, clients to feel about you and your business.

If people are confused or baffled by your brand, they’re not to going to buy. They should be able to describe your brand easily and simply.

Developing your own brand

So – what do your customers desire? What experience do they want to have? Now consider the experience they will have when they buy your product or service – how will they feel? Do they match up?

To find out more read ProFit Issue 8 OUT NOW!


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Win a Just Jhoom Certification Course!

Now you too can teach Just Jhoom! Bollywood Dance and Fitness Classes. Become part of this massive, successful industry with vibrant music and energetic routines. Take your career to a whole new level by becoming a Just Jhoom! Certified Instructor!

Enter NOW! And double your chances of winning by sharing your entry on either Facebook or Twitter.

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Fitness Foods

5 fitness foods that will help fuel your body properly to get the most from your workouts and to aid recovery. Next time you’re at the supermarket make sure you stock up on these staples…


Bananas are the perfect fitness food: compact, unfussy, soft to chew, and packed with nutrients. Don’t be too quick to bin the peel however – Taiwanese nutritionists found the peel is not only packed with even more potassium, but mood-boosting serotonin and eye-protecting lutein, too. Try the whole banana – peel and all – in a smoothie.


As well as being loaded with vitamin C, tomatoes contain a powerful antioxidant called lycopene, which gives the fruit their lovely letterbox-red colour. Lycopene has been making headlines for a few years now as a powerful nutrient to help prevent prostate cancer in men.

Sweet potatoes

Mash, roast or turn into chips – sweet potatoes are ultra versatile and are a healthier choice than regular potatoes, with disease-fighting beta-carotene, iron, fibre and vitamin C.

Brazil nuts

All nuts are packed with vitamins, minerals and fibre, but Brazil nuts are also one of the few good sources of selenium, a mineral and micronutrient which helps to maintain a healthy immune system and can help protect against heart disease and cancers. The heart-healthy ‘good’ fats in nuts help to lower bad cholesterol levels, but be wary: they can be high in calories if you nibble too many.


Cocoa is especially nutritious, rich in magnesium, antioxidants and amino acids. To get the full benefit you need to get as close to the whole bean as possible. Cocoa nibs or powder are best – sprinkle on yoghurt, fruit or add to granola.


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