Becoming a personal trainer in London..what you need to know!

Updated: Jul 20, 2020

I was working in an office job in central London, when something finally clicked and I knew that I needed to train as a personal trainer. Health and fitness was always my passion but I didn't necessarily think that it would be my career. I quite riskily quit my stable job and decided that it was what I was going to do. I began my training with TRAINFITNESS in November 2019.

Before I quit my job, I was hesitant and didn't know how it worked, how you even train to be one, how long it takes, what the qualifications mean. I found that you need minimum a level 3 qualification accredited by REPS (register of exercise professionals board) this follows a level 2 gym instructor course which your fitness/class instructor at the gym might be qualified as. It was going to cost at least £800 for the standard level 3 qualification. But I still had so many questions. I had to do so much online research, contact heaps of companies, have telephone interviews and it did actually take up a lot of my time - enough to put some people off i'm sure. I wanted to know if i could train around my full time job.

There were some key decisions to be made, which would dictate how long it would take to qualify, if and when I needed to quit my job, how much money I needed to save and the mode of study.

There were lots of companies out there and they all were offering the same sorts of packages for similar prices. Finally I came across TRAINFITNESS, they had useful information, great referrals and clear helpful communication.

I decided I would study with them but i needed to decide what package and mode of study I was going to choose. As I wanted to give myself as best opportunity as possible and whilst I had the time, I decided to invest in the highest level course - Master Diploma. This ended up being Level 4 course with diploma's in outdoor fitness, exercise referral, sports conditioning, indoor cycling, group exercise and then diabetes and obesity management (level 4 element) and life coaching (level 4 element) which i am currently still studying for. I would definitely recommend this as you can get more courses done whilst you have the support, time and in the right mind frame. It also works out to be ALOT cheaper with each course massively discounted as a bulk compared to the cost of them all individually that you might want too study later on.

It seemed that all the training providers offered the three main study options -

online distance learning which is completely independent study and then going into a center to take your exams. Part time study where you would go to the center for 2 days or evenings a week for around 11 weeks or finally full time which would only take full time 2 weeks with the exams included. For this option you are required to complete a certain amount of online theory learning before you go in so that the 9-5 is mainly focused on the practical side.

I was raring to go and wanted to get started with the full time option, which meant 9-5, 5 days a week for 2 weeks. I probably would have done the part time option, however I knew that I wouldn't have two weekend days or weekday evenings free consecutively for the give amount of weeks.

As I enrolled on the master diploma course i was going to need to attend for an additional week so it would be 3 weeks total. I handed in my months notice and chose the course date which started 2 weeks after my final day of work. This gave me only two weeks to study, which i crammed full - literally worked all day to get through the vast amounts of online theory (GIVE YOURSELF MORE TIME). They recommend that that this online theory takes around 150 hours. Luckily I had done A LEVEL PE, biology and dance, so I did have a good understanding on a lot of the theory already and with my huge passion for health, fitness and nutrition a lot if it i had already studied, researched or it was just common sense. Don't get me wrong there was still a ton of information that was completely new to me - for example i definitely did not know about training people with injuries or special populations such as pregnant woman. I found everything so so interesting - this is my passion after all, so i enjoyed learning and revising but was just a bit worried that I had left myself under prepared and I would struggle on the course.

On the course, I ended up being fine, our tutors did revise the theory with us and gave us practice mock papers to revise with. This was on top of all the new practical material, assessments and course work that was all to be completed in the 3 weeks. I won't lie it is incredibly full on and in an ideal situation you would have longer to complete the course, so that you deepen your knowledge and get more practical experience before you go into the real PT world. However it is ideal for those wanting go get it done quickly (like me) or under time pressure. All I can compare it too is like an intensive driving course - probably not the best way to learn how to drive but it gets the job done and then you can work on it after.

Overall it was a great experience, we had support from our tutor, the online platform and app work great and the training center/ gym was really nice - I chose the central London location which is near Waterloo in Southwark. 2 months later I was fully qualified - I failed one theory exam and had to wait until after Christmas to re sit it! I will go into more details on the course in another post for those interested in qualifying!

Let me know if you have any questions and please like, comment and share! xx

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