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So you love going to the gym, are well up on how to train, know the difference between a kettlebell and a powerbag.

At this point you are probably toying with the idea of spending all day in your playground (the gym) and helping people to love it as much as you do.

Well lets have a look at whether you have what it takes to be a successful Personal Trainer....

In the UK alone thousands of people, just like you, make the choice to become a trainer.

The scary thing is the number of these, well intentioned, motivated, fitness loving individuals don't even last a year in the industry.

So What Qualities Do You Need?

I have been a PT, fitness manager, educator and general industry hang around for over 15 years. In that time I have seen thousands of trainers (if you are interested to know a bit more about me click HERE).

The successful ones always share the following qualities...

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1. Drive

Personal Training is a very insular profession, this means that for a large part, what you do is up to you.

It's not like an office job where work arrives an you deal with it, most of your time will be spent finding tasks to do.

If you are not super self motivated you will simply not take enough action to be a success. Especially if you go down the route of self employment.

To read more about how employment in the industry works, click HERE

2. Self Confidence

You may think that you are a confident person, I did when I was starting out.


There is a special kind of doubt that creeps up on you when you realise, in general, the people you though would fall over themselves to have a PT simply aren't interested in talking to you.

It is vital that you can take this on board and come back stronger.

there is, however, a happy medium to find here. NEVER let self confidence stray into the world of arrogance, nobody likes an arrogant trainer. You can avoid this by having the next quality....

3. Willingness To Learn

I have lost count of the amount of trainers I have employed straight from their course who think they know everything there is to know about the industry.

Here is the biggest tip I can give you...

You never know what you don't know.

The trainers that arrive thinking they know everything invariably cannot take feedback OR advice and don't last long because they make so many small mistakes very quickly. They then decide they cannot function in this industry - for a list of some of these mistakes click HERE.

I still maintain that I have been in the industry for as long as I have because at no point have I EVER thought I know everything I need to.

In fact, most of the time I am worried I don't know enough!

4. A Thick Skin

In a sales based environment (don't be shocked, PT is one of the most sales based jobs you will ever see) you will hear the words 'no thanks' far more than anything else.

The most successful trainers I know actually love hearing it, they know that every time someone says no they are another step closer to getting a new client.

If you struggle with rejection, or if you have never had to sacrifice and play the long game then you better learn to deal with it!

5. Patience

The saying goes 'good things come to those who wait', in the fitness world this is especially true.

In an industry that is plagued by 'quick fix' solutions for both clients and for trainers. Just check out the amount of facebook ads from 'gurus' who promise online businesses in 30 days. It is vital that you can filter the junk and stick to your plan.

This goes when working with clients as well. You will come across many many clients that seriously try your patience. The key is to rise above it and keep being you!

6. Empathy

Following on from patience, empathy is one that directly related to your clients.

Quick point here - believe it or not we are freaks (in the nicest possible way obviously).

People generally do not like exercise, for whatever reason. One of the biggest reasons for hiring personal trainers is that people cannot motivate themselves.

As a skilled trainer you need to be able to put yourself in these peoples shoes and understand their reasons why.

You can then work with them to find a way for them to enjoy exercise.

Believe me, if you cannot see their viewpoint they will not be clients for very long!

Personally, this was the hardest skill I had to learn, having been a competitive athlete since my early teens I just didn't get why people didn't like training. Plus I am not the most 'sympathetic' of people so the empathy levels were not great!

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7. Ability To Communicate

Notice I didn't say 'communication skills' there is a big difference between the two.

In a world where you need to sell yourself to clients, speak to people that you might not have anything in common with AND find a way to teach practical techniques to people that have maybe never considered movement before. It is clear that you need to be on point with how you communicate!

If you struggle to make points in a clear and concise way, you need to nail this!

Have You Got The Qualities?

Right now you are probably falling into one of three categories....

I have all of the above...

Great - the likelihood is that you will be able to get out there and smash it, but beware of the warnings I gave you, this industry is a long game. Play it well and love your job (like me).

I have some of the above...

Nice one, you should seriously think about getting involved, just be aware of where your limitations are and take steps to improve. Remember, none of the above points are things that cannot be developed through education, practice and coaching.

This does not sound like me at all...

All is not lost, as I said in the previous point, none of the above are things that you cannot develop with effort and time.

If you REALLY want to become a GREAT personal trainer then start off by spending time and honing these skills.

It could be a good idea to start off with completing your Level 2 gym qualification fist and spend a while learning your craft as a gym instructor.

Good Luck 🙂

I hope you have enjoyed this read - remember to check out the FREE PT Career Toolkit, just drop your email below and all the details will get sent direct to your inbox.

Michael Dempster
Michael Dempster

For Michael's full biography please follow this link...

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