If you’re genuinely interested in health and fitness, becoming a personal trainer might seem like the ideal career path. You can spend a decent amount of your time in the gym, share your passion with other people and help them achieve their fitness goals, and earn money doing something you love.
Like any career path, it’s important to understand your earning potential before you start to undertake any training. A personal trainer’s salary will vary depending on a number of factors that are common across all industries – experience and training are hugely influential on how much you can earn as a personal trainer, but unlike some career paths, there are various ways you can supplement and grow your income.
How Much Do Personal Trainers Earn in the UK?
Before getting into rough earnings, it’s important to understand that a personal training career can take several different paths.
Freelance In A Gym
One of the most common situations, a trainer will work as a freelancer but will work exclusively for a single gym or chain of gyms. The arrangement involves the trainer paying the gym a set monthly fee to operate within their premises, with the gym providing access to their membership list as potential clients.
The earning potential of this arrangement will vary depending on factors such as the type of gym, general affluence of the area and the number of potential clients you can sign up. The salary of a personal trainer working for a big club in a well-off area could expect to earn up to £40-50k per year, while a trainer in a smaller gym in a less affluent area may be more in the region of £16-22k.
Working freelance in a gym is often the first work newly qualified trainers undertake. Because it can be a competitive environment, many people become disheartened by the low initial earnings when they get started. It’s often advised that the first year or two is treated almost as an apprenticeship that allows you to build up experience and a client list before going fully freelance.
The advantages of this approach are having access to a large list of clients and the weight of the club’s marketing team behind you. It’s also a great way to gain experience when you’re newly qualified, as it’s generally the easiest way to get started in the industry.
The downside is that you can be rather limited by your environment, and if there are several trainers working in the club at the same time the competition for clients is often strong.
Employed By a Gym
One of the least common arrangements, working as an employee of a gym offers a more stable income than working freelance, and generally offers a more stable stream of client work.
Many large chain gyms employ a couple of in-house people to work with members looking for individual training sessions. This can remove the obstacle of finding clients to work with, letting the gym’s marketing team find the majority of your clients while you worry about getting the work done.
Many gyms also encourage trainers to bring clients into the gym, which will be incentivised through bonuses and similar arrangements.
The salary for a personal trainer employed by a gym varies between £18-26k normally, and will depend on where you are based and how busy the gym is. Like any environment where you work as an employee, there are usually ways to move up the ladder and earn more money, either by transferring to a bigger gym in a more affluent area or moving into a management position.
Freelance Personal Trainer
Working as a full-time self-employed freelancer is potentially the most lucrative approach to earning a living as a personal trainer. Unfortunately, it also comes with the highest risk of failure.
You’ll be fully responsible for finding your own clients, as well as growing and managing your business and cultivating your existing relationships. With many people asking if it’s worth hiring a personal trainer at all it’s a much more difficult route to take, but the rewards can make it all worthwhile for those who succeed.
The earning potential is extremely high for those who are successful as full-time freelancers. Once you’re established in the industry and have a steady stream of client work you can earn as much as six figures a year, and there are various ways to grow your income even more.
Many people choose to leverage their client list and experience to create franchises, employing other personal trainers and growing their business in other areas. If you can master marketing your services and can run your business well there are countless ways to earn money in the industry – consulting work, speaking at seminars, training wealthier clients and many more.
There is, of course, the chance that it could all go wrong. That’s why this approach tends to suit those who have been working in the industry for years and have a substantial list of potential clients and contacts which will give them the head start required.
The important thing to know about succeeding as a freelance personal trainer is to understand marketing and business as much as you understand health and fitness. That will give you a substantial advantage over your peers and give you the highest chance of success.
Growing Your Income as a Personal Trainer
Many successful personal trainers have a diverse set of qualifications and expertise that helps than earn more than the standard salary. By developing your skills and knowledge you can open up various new potential revenue streams and increasing your earning potential.
Many personal trainers are qualified in areas such as sports massage therapy and injury rehabilitation, which opens up avenues to work with a whole new market. Treating a muscular injury could lead to developing a full rehab program, including gym time, which could help add new clients to your list.
Some trainers opt to move more towards the nutritional fields, offering weight management programs to clients and sometimes running weight loss groups.
Those with experience teaching classes often supplement their income by running regular evening workout classes in their local area. These have moved well beyond the stereotypical ‘keep fit’ classes people often think of, and running a regular class with regular clientele can really help top up your salary.
There’s also the option to become a strength and conditioning coach, working with athletes and sports clubs to train higher-level clients looking for that extra edge.
Understanding marketing can help make sure you always have a steady stream of clients. Simple things like setting up a website and advertising in the right places can really help you get the calls and the business you need to thrive in the industry, so look into the business and marketing aspects to see if there’s a new way to target potential clients.
Overall, a personal trainer salary can be as much or as little as you want it to be – it just depends on the route you take and how successful you end up being!