A career in Fitness Training

Desire to become the next Satyajit Chaurasia or Yasmin Karachiwala, but are unsure of how to get there?

In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about becoming a personal trainer. Right from the skills and certifications you need and the challenges you will face to the pay you can expect to earn.

Are you pumped? Let’s go!

Scope of personal and online fitness training in India

There has never been a better time to be a fitness trainer. 

Let’s back that statement up with a few stats.

  • The total revenue in the Health & Fitness segment in India is projected to have a CAGR of 6.14% from 2022 to 2026. This would result in an estimated market volume of USD 59.17 million by 2026.
  • The Indian home fitness equipment market grew from Rs 329 crore in FY19 to Rs 570 crore in FY21.
  • The Indian wearable market grew 170.3% year over year in Q1 2021.
  • As per a 2020 survey done by Gympik, 55% of participants had started exercising 3-4 days a week, since the onset of COVID-19.

One thing is clear.

The pandemic has served as a wake-up call to many of us to prioritize our health, above everything else. 

People are now looking at health more holistically. They don’t want to just lose weight or have ripped abs. They want to feel physically and mentally strong, eat right, build their immunity, and have a better quality of life. And this has led to a steep demand for fitness experts, be it personal and corporate trainers, Yoga teachers, aerobics instructors, sports nutritionists, and more.

The best part about being a fitness trainer today? You can virtually train clients living in any corner of the globe!

Never has there been more demand for live-streamed classes, on-demand fitness, and virtual personal training. This trend is here to stay, as people who previously couldn’t hit the gym for various reasons, can now just tune in to an online personal training class and reap the benefits.

So, now that you know how huge the scope is for a personal trainer, let’s talk about how you can become one.

Steps to become a personal trainer

1. Hone your skills

Maybe you can crank out 100 push-ups or run a mile without breaking a sweat. But that isn’t enough to become a personal trainer.

You should…

  • Be Motivating. See the potential in your clients and push them to do their best every day and encourage them when they feel like throwing in the towel.
  • Communicate. Give your clients clear instructions on how to perform various exercises and explain to them why they are necessary. Also, don’t forget to LISTEN to them. Ask them for their feedback and modify your training program, if necessary,
  • Be friendly. Make your clients feel comfortable so that they never hesitate in asking you questions.
  • Be committed. Your clients have entrusted their health in your hands. Hence you have a responsibility to always deliver the best service to them.
  • Have extensive knowledge in fitness. Keep abreast of all the latest fitness trends, equipment, technology, etc. to stay at the top of your game.

2. Register for a certification course

Next stop… getting a certification from a recognized organization. Even though it isn’t mandatory, it throws up a whole lot of job opportunities for you as most employers only hire certified trainers.

Here’s a list of a few top Indian institutions offering certifications for fitness trainers.

S. No.

Institute

Courses offered

1.

K11 School of Fitness Sciences

  1. Diploma in Personal Training (DPT)
  2. Personal Training for Special Populations (PT-SP)
  3. Human Performance Nutrition (HPN)
  4. NASM CPT (National Academy of Sports Medicine - Certified Personal Trainer)

2. 

Integrated Fitness & Sports Institute

  1. Certified Fitness Trainer
  2. Certified Personal Trainer
  3. Master of Exercise 
  1. Nutrition for Fitness, Performance & Sports

3. 

FSSA Council

  1. Diploma in Personal Training
  2. Diploma in Nutrition
  3. Certified Personal Trainer
  4. Exercise Programming For Special Population
  5. Yoga Teacher Training
  6. Group Exercise Instructor Certification Course

and others.

4. 

Fit India Trust

  1. International Fitness Trainer
  1. Certified Personal Trainer

5. 

Ibis Institute of Fitness studies

  1. American Diploma in personal training (DPT)
  2. American Diploma in Sports Nutrition

6. 

Leaders Fitness Academy

  1. Diploma in Personal Training

These certification courses usually have a duration of 2-8 months with fees ranging from Rs.15,000-85,000. Please note that you should renew your certifications every 2-3 years.

There are also government institutions that offer both undergraduate and postgraduate programs such as M.Sc. Exercise Physiology, M.A. in Yoga, PG Diploma in Fitness Management, Bachelor / Master in Physical Education, etc. 

Some of them include:

  • Lakshmibai National University of Physical Education, Thiruvananthapuram and Gwalior
  • Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports, Patiala 
  • Indira Gandhi Institute of Physical Education and Sports Science, University of Delhi 
  • BPCA's College of Physical Education, Mumbai (aided by the State Government)

Here’s a list of a few internationally accredited organizations that offer certifications in fitness training.

  • National Association of Sports Medicine (NASM)
  • American Council on Exercise (ACE)
  • American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
  • International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA)
  • National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)

If you’re looking to move abroad for better job prospects, then consider registering yourself with the Register for Exercise Professionals. (REPS India is a member of the International Confederation of Registers for Exercise Professionals (ICREPs), which has members throughout the world.) This means your registration would automatically be recognized in ICREPs countries including Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Poland, South Africa, and UAE. 

3. Choose your specialization

Depending on your interests, you can choose to specialize in a particular field such as:

  • Group training (Yoga, Pilates, aerobics, Zumba, etc.)
  • Senior fitness
  • Kinesiology
  • Clinical exercise physiology
  • Bodybuilding
  • Nutrition
  • Physical recovery and rehabilitation
  • Lifestyle fitness training
  • Sports and athletic training
  • Biomechanics
  • Weight loss
  • Functional training
  • Strength and conditioning, etc.

4. Get trained on-the-job 

Once you’ve completed your certifications, it’s time to get your feet wet! 

Start by joining a local gym as a junior instructor or a trainee. Another way to gain some practical experience is to join as an assistant to a trained professional. Eventually, you will pick up tons of worthwhile skills and contacts that’ll help you grab better job opportunities.


Challenges faced by fitness trainers

1. Unsteady income

One of the main occupational hazards of being a fitness trainer is the lack of a steady income, especially when you’re starting. You might have 5 clients today, but only 1 client the next. So how do you get around this?

  • Offer a free demo to potential clients.
  • Create workout videos and blogs and post them on your social media channels. Consider running ads to reach out to more people.
  • Ask your past and current clients to leave reviews and video testimonials on your website and other social media channels. 
  • Request your clients for referrals. You could even give them a free session if their referrals convert to clients.

2. Difficult clients with unrealistic expectations

Unfortunately for trainers, there are clients out there who expect that working out for a couple of hours in the gym is all they need to get fit. They don’t understand that what they do outside the gym (eating right, practicing a healthy lifestyle) is equally important. 

And once they realize they aren’t hitting their fitness goals fast enough, they end up blaming the trainer. 

So, ensure that you set realistic expectations with your clients before you begin training with them. Communicate all the dos and don’ts, so that they know what is expected of them.

3. Finding innovative ways to engage and retain your clients

From yoga and cardio to Zumba and strength training workouts, clients these days have access to dozens of free workouts on social media.

So, what can you offer them that these free channels don’t have?

  • Mix up your clients’ workout routine. They could be sweating it out on machines one day, using resistance bands another, and a hard-core calisthenics workout the next.
  • Attract new clients by inviting them to try out the latest workout tools. This will show them that you are keeping up with the latest trends in the fitness industry.
  • Leverage technology. If your clients go gaga over fitness gadgets, modify your exercise plan to cater to that technology.
  • Plan for a few outdoor workout sessions. Nothing like some fresh air and sunshine to amp up a workout routine.
  • Let your clients exercise to their favorite music. Guns N Roses, Rihanna. Whatever gets your clients fired up!
  • Flaunt their achievements on your social media channels. Your client lost 2 kilos in 3 weeks? Post pictures or videos on social media. This will not just motivate your client, but also show your followers and prospective clients that training under you yields results. Win-win!

Pay scale for fitness trainers

Now you’re probably wondering how much you can earn as a personal trainer.

To be honest, the pay can be quite modest at the entry-level. We’re talking Rs. 7500 – 15000 per month.

But as you gain experience and impress more clients with your training style, you can start raking in the moolah. Say you get a job at a top-tier fitness center or resort. Or maybe you become a celebrity personal trainer. Your pay can be anywhere from Rs. 40,000-2 lakh per month! If you’re charging by the hour, you could even earn say, Rs.1000-4000 per hour. Not too shabby, eh?


Best gyms to work for in India with pay packages

Here’s how much personal trainers can expect to earn at some of the top gyms in India.

Gym

Pay scale

Gold's Gym

₹2,87,423*

CULT

₹3,91,400*

Nitrro Bespoke Fitness

₹ 2.9 Lakhs to ₹ 3.7 Lakhs

Solaris Fitness World

₹ 2.7 Lakhs to ₹ 3.5 Lakhs

Fluid Fitness

₹ 1.6 Lakhs to ₹ 2.3 Lakhs

Snap Fitness

₹ 14,149**

Talwalkars Better Value Fitness Ltd

₹ 10,955**

Ozone Fitness And Spa

₹ 0.7 Lakhs to ₹ 0.9 Lakhs


* Average annual salary

** Average monthly salary


Final words

If you’re someone who loves nothing more than transforming people into the fittest and healthiest versions of themselves, then a career in fitness training is the best choice for you. 

Sure, the road will be filled with bumps and challenges, but if you keep at it, the rewards are SWEET!

So, go ahead and take the plunge! All the best!


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.