How to Start a Personal Training Business: A Comprehensive Guide

Personal training has gained significant importance in recent years, as more and more people are seeking professional guidance to achieve their fitness goals. Whether it’s losing weight, building muscle, or improving athletic performance, personal trainers play a crucial role in helping clients attain their desired outcomes.

By providing tailored workout plans, nutrition advice, and ongoing support, personal trainers have become indispensable assets in the fitness journey of countless individuals.


The Growth of the Personal Training Industry in the UK

The personal training industry in the United Kingdom has experienced substantial growth in the last decade. As the UK population becomes increasingly health-conscious, the demand for qualified and skilled personal trainers continues to rise.

According to a report by LeisureDB, the UK fitness market is now worth more than £5 billion, with over 7,000 gyms across the country, making it an opportune time to start a personal training business.

Brief Overview of the Process to Start a Personal Training Business

Starting a personal training business in the UK involves several essential steps, such as becoming a certified personal trainer, researching the market, choosing the right facility and equipment, and developing effective marketing strategies to attract clients. This comprehensive guide will walk you through each step to help you launch a successful personal training business in the UK.

Become a Certified Personal Trainer

Why Certification is Important

Certification is a crucial aspect of starting a personal training business in the UK, as it demonstrates your expertise, knowledge, and commitment to the profession. By becoming a certified personal trainer, you:

  1. Gain credibility with clients and employers, as they will be more confident in your ability to provide effective and safe training programs.
  2. Stay up-to-date with industry standards, techniques, and best practices, ensuring you provide the best possible service to your clients.
  3. Increase your earning potential, as certified trainers often command higher rates due to their verified expertise.
  4. Meet legal and professional requirements, as some gyms and fitness facilities may only hire trainers with accredited certifications.

Top Certification Options in the UK

There are several reputable awarding bodies in the UK that offer personal training qualifications. Some of the top options include:

  1. Focus awards
  2. ActiveIQ
  3. YMCAfit
  4. Innovate awarding

These awarding bodies offer various levels of personal training qualifications, starting from Level 2 Gym Instructor to Level 3 Personal Trainer, and even Level 4 Master Personal Trainer.

How to Choose the Right Certification

When selecting the right certification, consider the following factors:

  1. Accreditation: Ensure the certification is accredited by a recognized authority, such as REPs or CIMSPA.
  2. Course content: Review the course curriculum to ensure it covers essential topics, such as anatomy, physiology, exercise programming, nutrition, and client communication.
  3. Learning format: Consider whether you prefer an online, in-person, or blended learning approach, and choose a certification that offers your preferred format.
  4. Cost: Compare the costs of various certifications and factor in any additional expenses, such as exam fees, study materials, or continuing education requirements.
  5. Duration: Assess how long it takes to complete the certification and whether it fits within your schedule and timeline for starting your personal training business.
  6. Reputation: Research the reputation of the certification provider and read reviews from other personal trainers who have completed the program.

By carefully evaluating your options and considering these factors, you can select the certification that best aligns with your goals, preferences, and budget.

Profitability and Demand for Personal Training in the UK

Is Personal Training in Demand in the UK?

Yes, personal training is in high demand in the UK. As more people seek professional guidance to improve their health and fitness, the need for skilled and knowledgeable personal trainers continues to grow.

The UK has seen a steady increase in gym memberships and fitness facility usage, further fueling the demand for personal trainers. The rising awareness of the benefits of exercise and the popularity of personalized fitness experiences have also contributed to the growth of the personal training market.

How Much Do Personal Trainers Make in the UK?

The earning potential for personal trainers in the UK can vary widely based on factors such as location, experience, certifications, and clientele. On average, a personal trainer in the UK can expect to earn between £20 and £50 per hour for one-on-one sessions. In major cities like London, rates may be even higher, reaching up to £100 per hour or more.

Annual salaries for personal trainers can range from £20,000 to over £60,000, depending on factors such as the number of clients, hours worked, and additional income streams (e.g., group classes, online coaching, or selling workout plans). Highly successful personal trainers with an extensive client base or those who run their own gyms can potentially earn even more.

Who Pays Personal Trainers the Most?

Personal trainers can earn the most by working with high-paying clients or in premium fitness facilities. Some examples of lucrative personal training opportunities include:

  1. High-end gyms and health clubs: Exclusive gyms and health clubs often charge members premium rates and may pay personal trainers higher fees compared to budget or mid-range fitness centres.
  2. Corporate clients: Some companies hire personal trainers to provide on-site fitness services for their employees, often at competitive rates.
  3. Celebrity clients: Personal trainers working with high-profile clients, such as celebrities or professional athletes, can command higher fees due to the specialized and discreet services they provide.
  4. Private personal training studios: Establishing a private personal training studio allows trainers to set their own rates and potentially earn more than working as an employee in a gym.
  5. Online coaching: Offering online personal training services can expand your client base beyond your local area, allowing you to potentially earn more by tapping into a larger market.

Ultimately, the key to maximizing your income as a personal trainer is to continually invest in your education, develop your brand, and explore various opportunities within the industry.

Setting up Your Personal Training Business

Licensing and Registration Requirements

To set up your personal training business in the UK, you should:

  • Register as self-employed with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) within three months of starting your business.
  • Obtain any necessary permits or licenses from your local council, especially if you plan to offer outdoor training sessions in public spaces.
  • Set up a separate business bank account to manage your finances and track your income and expenses.

Researching the Market and Competition

Conduct thorough market research to understand the local fitness industry, your potential clients, and your competitors. This will help you make informed decisions about your services, pricing, and marketing strategies. Consider the following:

  • Analyze the demographics of your local area to identify potential target markets.
  • Assess the number of gyms, fitness studios, and personal trainers operating in your area.
  • Determine the average rates charged by personal trainers in your region.
  • Identify any gaps or opportunities in the market that you can capitalize on.

Creating a Brand and Identifying Your Target Market

Developing a strong brand is crucial to standing out in the competitive personal training industry. Consider the following steps:

  • Define your unique selling points (USPs) and what sets you apart from other trainers.
  • Identify your target market based on factors such as age, fitness goals, and location.
  • Create a memorable business name, logo, and tagline that reflect your brand identity.
  • Develop a professional website and social media presence to showcase your expertise, services, and client testimonials.

Choosing the Right Facility and Equipment

When selecting a facility for your personal training business, consider factors such as location, size, cost, and accessibility. Options may include:

  • Renting space in a local gym or fitness studio.
  • Opening your own private personal training studio.
  • Offering outdoor training sessions in parks or other public spaces.

Ensure you invest in high-quality, versatile equipment that meets the needs of your target market and enables you to deliver effective training sessions.

Investing in Insurance

Obtain appropriate insurance coverage to protect yourself and your business from potential risks, such as public liability insurance and professional indemnity insurance. These policies can cover claims related to injuries, property damage, or negligence arising from your personal training services.

Online Coaching Options

Consider offering online coaching services to expand your client base and increase your income potential. This can include virtual one-on-one sessions, pre-recorded workout videos, or personalized workout plans and nutrition advice. Utilize platforms such as Zoom, Skype, or dedicated fitness apps to deliver your online services.

Payment Methods

Offer a variety of payment methods to make it easy for clients to pay for your services. Common options include cash, card payments, bank transfers, and mobile payment apps. Additionally, consider offering packages, memberships, or discounts for clients who commit to long-term training plans, as this can encourage loyalty and provide a stable income source.

Pricing and Revenue Generation

How Much to Charge as a Personal Trainer in the UK

Determining how much to charge as a personal trainer in the UK depends on various factors, such as your location, experience, certifications, and the local market. On average, personal trainers charge between £20 and £50 per hour for one-on-one sessions, with rates being higher in major cities like London. To set your rates, consider the following:

  1. Research the average rates charged by personal trainers in your area.
  2. Assess your experience, qualifications, and unique selling points to determine your value proposition.
  3. Factor in your overhead costs, such as facility rent, equipment, insurance, and taxes.
  4. Consider offering tiered pricing based on the level of service or session frequency to accommodate different budgets and client preferences.

How Gyms Charge Personal Trainers

Gyms may charge personal trainers in several ways, depending on their specific agreements and policies:

  1. Fixed rent: Some gyms may charge a fixed monthly rent, allowing trainers to keep all the income generated from their clients.
  2. Revenue share: Other gyms may take a percentage of each session fee, typically ranging from 20% to 50%.
  3. Payroll: Some gyms may employ personal trainers directly, offering them an hourly wage or salary instead of charging rent or taking a share of their income.

When working with a gym, it’s essential to understand and negotiate the terms of your agreement to ensure it’s mutually beneficial.

Strategies to Make Big Money with Personal Training

To increase your income as a personal trainer, consider implementing the following strategies:

  1. Diversify your services: Offer a range of services, such as group classes, online coaching, and personalized workout plans, to appeal to a broader client base and generate multiple income streams.
  2. Build your brand: Invest in marketing and networking to raise your profile, attract high-paying clients, and secure referrals.
  3. Specialize: Develop expertise in a specific niche, such as sports performance, weight loss, or pre/postnatal fitness, to command higher rates and attract clients seeking specialized training.
  4. Continued education: Pursue advanced certifications and professional development opportunities to enhance your skills, credibility, and value proposition.
  5. Upsell and cross-sell: Encourage existing clients to purchase additional services or products, such as nutritional supplements or fitness equipment, to boost your revenue.
  6. Leverage technology: Utilize fitness apps, social media, and email marketing to streamline your operations, increase your reach, and create new opportunities for client engagement and monetization.

Getting Your First Clients

Is it Hard to Get Clients as a PT?

Getting clients as a personal trainer can be challenging initially, especially when you are just starting your business and have limited experience or connections in the industry.

However, by developing a strong brand, implementing effective marketing strategies, and leveraging your network, you can gradually build a client base and grow your personal training business.

How to Sell Yourself as a Personal Trainer

To effectively sell yourself as a personal trainer, consider the following tactics:

  1. Highlight your expertise: Showcase your certifications, experience, and unique skills to demonstrate your credibility and competence as a personal trainer.
  2. Share success stories: Use client testimonials, before-and-after photos, and case studies to illustrate the positive impact of your training services on your clients’ lives.
  3. Offer a free or discounted trial: Give potential clients an opportunity to experience your training style and the benefits of your services firsthand, with no obligation.
  4. Develop a professional online presence: Create a user-friendly website and maintain an active presence on relevant social media platforms to engage with potential clients and showcase your expertise.
  5. Communicate your value proposition: Clearly articulate how your services can help clients achieve their fitness goals and why they should choose you over other personal trainers.

Networking and Marketing Strategies

Effective networking and marketing strategies are essential for attracting new clients and growing your personal training business. Some strategies to consider include:

  1. Leverage your existing network: Reach out to friends, family, and acquaintances to inform them about your personal training services and ask for referrals.
  2. Offer incentives: Encourage existing clients to refer new clients by offering rewards, such as discounted sessions or free merchandise.
  3. Collaborate with local businesses: Partner with complementary businesses, such as physiotherapy clinics, nutritionists, or fitness retailers, to cross-promote each other’s services.
  4. Attend industry events: Participate in fitness expos, conferences, and workshops to network with other professionals and potential clients.
  5. Engage with your local community: Offer free workshops, seminars, or outdoor group classes to raise your profile and connect with potential clients in your area.
  6. Utilize online marketing: Implement search engine optimization (SEO) strategies, content marketing, and social media advertising to increase your online visibility and attract potential clients searching for personal trainers.

By consistently implementing these strategies and adapting your approach based on your results, you can build a steady stream of clients and grow your personal training business.

The Reality of Personal Training

Are Personal Trainers Wealthy?

The financial success of personal trainers varies greatly depending on factors such as location, experience, certifications, client base, and business model. While some personal trainers may earn a comfortable living or even become wealthy, others may struggle to make ends meet. To increase your chances of achieving financial success, focus on strategies to expand your client base, diversify your services, and build a strong brand reputation.

Is it Stressful to be a Personal Trainer?

Being a personal trainer can be both rewarding and stressful. Common sources of stress for personal trainers include:

  1. Building and maintaining a client base: Attracting and retaining clients can be challenging, especially when faced with competition or economic fluctuations.
  2. Irregular work hours: Personal trainers often need to accommodate their clients’ schedules, which can result in early mornings, late evenings, and weekend work.
  3. Managing multiple roles: As a self-employed personal trainer, you may need to juggle multiple roles, such as marketing, sales, and administration, in addition to delivering training sessions.
  4. Emotional demands: Supporting clients through their fitness journey can be emotionally taxing, as personal trainers often act as motivators, coaches, and confidants.

To minimize stress, develop healthy habits, such as regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep. Seek support from friends, family, and professional networks, and consider investing in business tools or outsourcing tasks to streamline your operations.

Balancing Work-Life and the Personal Training Hustle

Achieving a healthy work-life balance as a personal trainer is crucial for maintaining your well-being and preventing burnout. Consider these strategies to find balance:

  1. Set boundaries: Establish boundaries for your work hours and personal time, and communicate these boundaries to your clients.
  2. Prioritize self-care: Schedule time for self-care activities, such as exercise, relaxation, or hobbies, to recharge and maintain your mental and physical health.
  3. Plan ahead: Use a calendar or planner to organize your work schedule, personal commitments, and self-care activities, ensuring you allocate time for each aspect of your life.
  4. Delegate tasks: Outsource or automate tasks, such as marketing, accounting, or appointment scheduling, to free up time for your personal life.
  5. Build a support network: Connect with other personal trainers or small business owners to share experiences, seek advice, and gain emotional support.

By implementing these strategies and regularly reassessing your work-life balance, you can enjoy a fulfilling and sustainable career as a personal trainer.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


In the UK, you do not need a specific license to work as a personal trainer. However, you should obtain a Level 3 Personal Trainer qualification, which is the industry standard and recognized by employers and clients alike.

To become a self-employed personal trainer in the UK, follow these steps:

  1. Obtain a Level 3 Personal Trainer qualification.
  2. Register as self-employed with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
  3. Purchase professional liability insurance.
  4. Develop a business plan and marketing strategy.
  5. Create a professional online presence.
  6. Network and build your client base.

Personal trainers in the UK typically charge between £20 and £50 per hour for one-on-one sessions. Factors such as location, experience, certifications, and market demand can impact the rates you charge.

Yes, personal training is in demand in the UK, with a growing interest in health and fitness driving the need for qualified personal trainers. However, demand can vary depending on factors such as location, economic conditions, and competition.

Personal trainers can attract their first clients through various strategies, including:

  1. Leveraging their existing network of friends, family, and acquaintances.
  2. Offering incentives for referrals from existing clients.
  3. Collaborating with local businesses for cross-promotion.
  4. Attending industry events to network and build connections.
  5. Engaging with their local community through free workshops or group classes.
  6. Utilizing online marketing and social media to increase visibility and attract potential clients.

Yes, if you are operating as a self-employed personal trainer in the UK, you must register as self-employed with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). This will ensure you are compliant with tax regulations and able to legally operate your personal training business.


Starting a personal training business in the UK can be a rewarding and fulfilling career choice for those passionate about health and fitness. To ensure success in the industry, it’s essential to become a certified personal trainer, research the market, and create a strong brand identity. Balancing work-life commitments and managing stress are crucial aspects of maintaining a sustainable career in personal training.

In this article, we covered essential aspects of starting a personal training business, including obtaining a Level 3 Personal Trainer qualification, registering as self-employed, and understanding the licensing and insurance requirements. We also discussed pricing strategies, facility and equipment considerations, and the importance of developing an online presence.

Effective marketing and networking strategies can help you attract your first clients and grow your business, while maintaining a healthy work-life balance will ensure long-term success in the industry.

By following the steps outlined in this guide and staying committed to continuous learning and improvement, you can build a thriving personal training business in the UK and make a positive impact on your clients’ lives.



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