How to Become a Fitness Instructor


If you love working out, you might like to consider becoming a professional fitness instructor. You will need to have a passion for fitness and be able to drive and inspire others to reach their fitness goals. The demand for fitness professionals is on the rise in the United Kingdom, so there’s never been a better time to join this profession.

The following guide will tell you what fitness instructors actually do every day, what their duties and responsibilities are and what key skills are required for the role. You’ll also discover how much you can earn as a fitness instructor, what qualifications you need and the different routes available to get into this rewarding and enjoyable career.

What is a fitness instructor?

The main role of a fitness instructor is to create and deliver exercise programmes that help to improve their clients’ health and fitness.

Some people need a push to achieve their fitness goals, so this is where you can help. You’ll need to identify clients’ needs and motivate them to reach their full potentials. This can be a very rewarding profession, as you’ll be helping people on a daily basis to succeed in reaching their goals.


Typically, fitness instructors work with groups of people rather than on a one-to-one basis with individual clients. You will create, lead and instruct exercise activities to groups, which cater for their specific abilities. You will have to be aware of clients’ ages, body types and levels of fitness before selecting the right workout programmes for them.

Fitness instructors usually work in gyms, leisure centres and health clubs. If you become a self-employed fitness instructor, you could also provide classes in community centres or outdoor public spaces. Full-time instructors tend to work between thirty-two and forty hours a week, although those hours are rarely nine-to-five.

You may have to work early mornings, evenings and weekends. Many fitness instructors can set their own hours though, so there is flexibility.

What do fitness instructors actually do?

As a fitness instructor, you will create and provide inductions and training classes for clients who need assistance in their workouts.

You will also provide fitness advice to individuals by educating them on how to work out effectively. Giving motivation to your clients and setting them goals is a big part of your role as well.

Fitness Instructor Job Description

You could be involved with a variety of day-to-day activities as a fitness instructor. At the core of all your duties and responsibilities is the aim of helping people to improve their health and wellbeing by becoming fitter and reaching set goals. Tasks of a fitness instructor include:

  • Leading and supporting fitness classes.
  • Developing workout programmes that cater for individuals’ needs.
  • Demonstrating new and existing exercises.
  • Teaching clients how to use equipment.
  • Educating clients about how to complete exercises and stretches safely and correctly.
  • Assessing clients’ abilities.
  • Giving health assessments to clients.
  • Giving advice on nutrition and how to live a healthy lifestyle.
  • Cleaning and maintaining equipment.
  • Keeping records.

Key Skills for a Fitness Instructor

In this role, you’ll be working closely with lots of different people. You therefore need to enjoy being around people and have excellent communication skills. You will of course also need to have a major passion for health and fitness. Other important key skills and attributes required to succeed as a fitness instructor include:

  • A good level of physical fitness and endurance.
  • Organisational and planning skills.
  • The ability to teach and motivate others.
  • The ability to remain patient and calm.
  • A desire to help people.
  • Sensitivity and understanding.
  • Customer service skills.
  • Listening skills.
  • Basic IT skills.
  • The ability to work on your own.

Useful Work Experience

You’ll need to study for a qualification to become a fitness instructor. Before you take the plunge, it’s definitely worth working in a gym or leisure centre first to find out whether you’re suited to the environment.

Although you would be working in a different role, it will give you the opportunity to know what working in a gym or leisure centre is really like. You’ll also be able to talk to fitness instructors to ask their advice. You may be able to find voluntary placements at gyms and leisure centres as well as paid positions.

Average Salaries for a Fitness Instructor

Your salary as a fitness instructor can vary due to a number of factors, such as the qualifications and experience you have, your location, the type of venue you work in, whether you work for a venue or yourself, and how many clients you have.

Entry-level salaries for new fitness instructors are usually around £14,000 to £16,000 per year. With more experience under your belt, you can expect this to rise to between £17,000 and £20,000 per year. If you progress to become a manager, you could earn up to £30,000 per year.

Qualifications for a Fitness Instructor


Clients need to know they’re in professional and capable hands when they work with a fitness instructor, so to get a job in this role, you need to become qualified. By completing a course, you will not only learn practical skills, you’ll also learn about how the human body functions. You can become qualified by:

  • Enrolling with a specialist course run by a private training organisation.
  • Enrolling with a college course.
  • Enrolling with an apprenticeship.

Online Fitness Courses

At The Course Mix we offer online fitness courses that can help you succeed in the Personal Training Industry.

You can learn:

These online fitness courses are a great way to study an online cpd based course.


Popular PT Courses

To be accepted onto a level two college course, you will usually need to have two or more GCSEs at grades A* to D or nine to three; or equivalent qualifications. For a level three course, you will usually need four or five GCSEs at grades A* to C or nine to four; or equivalent qualifications. Available college courses include the following:

  • Level Two Certificate in Exercise and Fitness.
  • Level Two Diploma in Health, Fitness and Exercise Instruction.
  • Level Two NVQ Diploma in Instructing Exercise and Fitness.
  • Level Three Diploma in Gym Instructing and Personal Training.


Another route into this career is an apprenticeship. By becoming an apprentice, you can learn on the job while studying for a qualification.

You would also receive a basic wage as an apprentice. To be accepted onto an intermediate apprenticeship like Health and Science Apprenticeship – Sports Development, you will need some GCSEs, including maths and English; or equivalent qualifications.

Career Progression

The next step up from a fitness instructor is a senior instructor or manger position.

Both of these roles involve directing your own team of fitness instructors. Alternatively, you could progress in your career by becoming a personal trainer.

You would need to complete further courses of study to do this. As a personal trainer, you would work one-on-one with clients.

If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, you could even start your own fitness club and offer personalised classes.

In Conclusion

If you have a passion for fitness and you can motivate and inspire people, you could enjoy a career as a fitness instructor.

You will need to have a good level of physical fitness and endurance and you must have the ability to teach. Strong organisational skills, communication skills and having sensitivity to clients’ needs are also highly desirable skills and attributes for this profession.

There are three main routes into this career, all of which involve getting a qualification.

You can sign up for a course with a private training organisation to complete an industry-recognised fitness instructor course, or to specialise in a certain area of fitness instruction, such as aqua training or children’s fitness.


Your second option is to enrol with a college course to earn a level two or a level three qualification.

Once you have earned a certificate or diploma, you will then be ready to apply for fitness instructor jobs or become self-employed. You can even progress to a level four college course to develop your skills and expertise. Your third available route into this profession is an apprenticeship. By becoming an apprentice, you can study while you work and earn a basic wage.

Once you have become a qualified fitness instructor and you have gained some years’ experience, you could progress in your career to become a senior instructor or manager. Alternatively, you could go back to studying to become a qualified personal trainer. You could even set up your own fitness business.

If you’re serious about becoming a fitness instructor, carefully consider the available routes into this profession to decide what is the best course of action for you.

Once you have been instructed on how to become a fitness instructor and you have successfully completed your studies, you can begin to instruct people yourself.