Our guide to gym instructor courses

Our guide to gym instructor courses

First published date January 29 2014 Amended date January 31 2014

Have an avid interest in the world of fitness? Are you good with people and have a desire to help others?   Reckon you can take your passion for health related fitness and helping others down a new career path? Then perhaps taking one of the many gym instructor courses on offer across the country will help you realise your ambition. The fitness bug has certainly bitten lately with more and more people taking a stronger interest in their personal fitness and health so are joining gyms, getting personal trainers and  signing up to yoga or spin classes. With demand on the rise, there is always a need for more personal trainers and fitness instructors to get qualified and get out there. Now is your chance!


I go to the gym but don’t know much about my body...

If you don’t know your deltoids from your adductors muscles yet, it’s not a problem; courses are there to teach you something new which you may not have had a clue about before. As long as you have a keen interest in fitness, regularly attend the gym and at least have some knowledge about the human anatomy you’ll do just fine and won’t be left behind.


What will a gym instructor course involve?

Most of the gym instructor courses available are focused on personal training. When taking on one of these courses you will be taught on a variety of topics ranging from health and safety, human anatomy, nutrition and others. Being a fitness or gym instructor doesn’t just involve lifting heavy weights or clocking miles on the treadmill, there is a lot of theory involved too. The gym can be a dangerous place if you are using the machinery incorrectly and push yourself beyond your limits. Improper use of a certain machine could result in an injury as can overexerting your body, so as an aspiring personal trainer (PT) you should take health and safety and physiology seriously, injuring one of your clients would be bad for business! Personal training isn’t the only option available however; there is a difference between personal trainers and fitness or gym instructors. PTs naturally work very closely with people and do a lot of one-on-one sessions over a period of time to help their client reach their targets. On the other hand, a fitness or gym instructor is more likely to be running or planning group classes and exercise regimes and are more likely to be employed by a gym or institution, where as PTs have more scope to be self-employed.


Career options, qualifications and personal traits.

All gym instructor courses available offer some kind of industry recognised qualification upon completion.  If you are looking to be a PT, then the qualification you want to be gaining is a Level 3 Personal Training Certificate which is the industry’s gold standard. At that stage you will be a fully fledged PT with membership with the Register of Exercise Professionals (REP). The career opportunities for a fitness professional are ripe in a booming industry. From PTs to fitness instructors, people are always on the look out to try and stay fit and in shape. While you may have the knowledge of the key muscle groups and the gym know-how, a PT in particular, requires a lot of communication and people skills. Working closely with people, you need to be friendly, patient and motivational as people will be looking to you for help and inspiration. The hours of fitness professionals aren’t always sociable, you may find yourself working more evenings and weekends as people try to keep fit around their busy nine to five work schedules.   You will find yourself spending a lot of your time in the gym obviously, but at least you’ll be keeping fit while you work!


A professional’s words...

Stephen Blake, a London based PT, decided to take it upon himself to do a fast track course in personal training and gym instruction, six months after that he now runs his own personal training business.

‘I went to uni, found it wasn’t for me and worked as baker for a while before finding what I really wanted to do. I was always keen on the gym and my fitness so took a full time, six week fast track course to do what I love. I got my Level 3 Personal Trainer and Level 2 Gym Instructor qualifications as well as spin, boxercise and nutritional certificates. After I set up my own personal training business and for what it’s worth, it’s going really well! Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard work being self-employed but when your job is your passion it pulls you through.’