Top 5 Tips for budding Personal Trainers




I was speaking with a student before class last week about some important things to consider when starting your own PT business – specifically Mobile PT, but some advice, rules and regulations are universal. I decided to include the tips in this weeks blog 😀


Here’s a brief overview:


1) Make sure you have the correct qualifications from a reputable education provider.


Before you fork out money and book a course – check that the awarding body is internationally accredited, registered with Active IQ and recognised by REPs. This is easily done by checking the relevant websites.


We have seen it time and again – students receiving certificates that were in-fact not recognised or sufficient enough to qualify for insurance. Many people have come to us for help but unfortunately we can only offer to enroll them on a reputable and fully accredited course. This is at extra cost to the student so get your facts right before you pay!


Ignorance is no defense – arm yourself with information, shop around, ask questions about the units covered in a course, the awarding body, what you can legally call yourself afterwards.  Any good quality education provider will be able to give you all this information and more!

knowledge is power

When you have obtained your certs from a reputable source (well done!) then make sure you keep a copy of them in a portfolio – show this to new clients during their initial consultation, or at least have it to hand if they ask.


Take your portfolio with you to each new client’s consultation if you are undertaking mobile personal training.


And encourage people to seek out those who are adequately qualified- it’s their health and safety that is at risk!


2) Make sure you have the correct insurances!


I can’t stress this enough.

First though you must have the correct qualifications from the appropriately recognised awarding bodies then make sure you explain the nature of your work IN DETAIL to the insurance broker. In my case this meant explaining that I would be working in several different environments – gym, outdoors, peoples’ homes and so on, it is your duty to make the insurance company FULLY AWARE of all activities and environments in which you will be working.  This safeguards both you and your client.


You have a duty of care to ensure you do no harm – but as we all know gyms and gym equipment are dangerous health and safety hazard and unfortunately accidents do happen so make sure you are insured!


Make sure you only train clients you are qualified to work with – as an example if you only hold a Level 3 PT qualification this is not enough to work with pre/post natal clients. You must obtain an Active IQ Level 3 certificate in designing programmes for Pre and Post Natal Clients. The same applies for other special populations for which you may need a level 4 qualification for example those suffering from chronic lower back pain or in a cardiac rehab programme.

3) Be organised


Have a folder with all your key pieces of legislation. PAR Q and Informed Consent forms are only essentials to comply with legislation you also need to compile your own lifestyle questionnaire to get a full 360′ and holistic view of your client.


Keep this content in a locked cabinet, in line with Data Protection laws.


Alphabetise your clients information, update PAR Qs every year and make sure you keep a record of any aches, pains or injuries they incur whilst on your books.


Do not leave client files lying in your boot, your backseat or on the gym floor!


4) Invest in key pieces of equipment.


This is particularly important for those undertaking mobile personal training.  Invest in key pieces of equipment that are portable and you can perform a multitude of exercises with. Whilst I now have a nice array of weird and wonderful equipment I started with a kettlebell, powerbag and set of resistance bands. These key pieces are still in use today!

Don’t overcomplicate your training programmes. Another thing I did when I started out was to download the training templates from NASM – I wasn’t a NASM qualified PT BUT these templates helped me to ensure that each client got a full range of exercises covering all aspects of mobility, core work and others depending on their training phase.



5) Be your own best advertisement but don’t put yourself on a pedestal.

Practice what you preach but also don’t pretend you are 100% good 100% of the time! I did this when I first started out, and clients thought of me as some odd alien version of reality that never set a nutritional wrong foot or missed a training session.  Far from helping to gain prospective clients this in fact alienated many as they simply couldn’t relate.  This was particularly true when I was in contest prep for NABBA NI and Brits, I had to ensure that my training and dietary views didn’t affect my professional approach to advising and programming for clients.

It’s easy to begin believing that your way is the only way – but your clients are individuals and you must treat them accordingly.

Of course I have a much more temperate approach now – I’m human, life is for living, and we all have to let our hair down now and again!

You are human, just like your clients, you will have cravings and bad days and lack motivation sometimes, just like your clients, be real, be you!


Don’t simply train clients how you train – Your goals are not their goals!!


And remember whilst gaining your Level 3 qualification in Personal Training is a wonderful achievement, (especially if you’re a PTI Diploma Graduate!) it is only the beginning of your journey.  As the number of people getting this qualification increases so too does the need to find your niche and specialize in one area. Becoming a specialist in an area you are passionate about will set you apart from the crowd and open up a whole new world of customers. Specialising actually widens your potential client base, as you become a Level 4 qualified trainer, not only has your knowledge and confidence increased but so too has your employability. The fact you are committed to continued education shows potential clients you have their best interests at heart and not simply a fly-by-night hoaxster!


The industry recognizes this need and there are now a plethora of specialist courses available to the driven, success seeking and inspired PT. Level 3 Exercise Referral, Level 3 Exercise for Pre/Post Natal Clients, Level 4 Cardiac Rehab, Level 4 Exercise for Mental health, Level 4 Cancer Rehabilitation, Level 4 Diabetes and obesity, Sports Nutrition to name but a few available at Platinum Training Institute.

The health and fitness industry is fast paced, constantly changing and full of misleading and sometimes dangerous information. The only way you can continue to be of service to your clients, is to continue to update your professional practice via Continued Professional Development.


I may have been overly optimistic when I said ‘brief’ at the beginning of this blog – apologies!


I hope you found some of the information useful, any further questions just give me a shout at or pop into our Malone Rd offices for a chat!


Happy Thursday 😀


Naomi McArdle MSc

PTI Director