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A Career In The Leisure Or Fitness Industry

It’s no secret that rising obesity rates have become a huge cause for concern. With more than 1 in 5 adults in the UK being classed as obese, the government has long promoted the need for people to take responsibility for their weight. One consequence of this is a growth in the number of gyms around the country and thousands of jobs being created as a result. If you’re thinking about whether a job at a gym, sports centre or leisure complex could be for you these are a few points to consider.

Are you fit enough?

If you’re unsure whether you’re fit enough ask yourself this: are you passionate about health and fitness? If your answer is yes, your personal fitness level is probably good enough because you’ll understand the importance of being healthy and apply it to your life. However, there are much more important questions: are you passionate about helping other people achieve their goals, and do you have the communication skills and patience to give people the motivation they need to achieve these goals? A positive answer to these questions is much more important - being a good personal instructor isn’t about what you can do for your own health, it’s what you can do for your clients.

Am I too old?

Remember that the law prevents discriminating against job applicants purely on the basis of age. If you can meet the job requirements your age doesn’t matter. When it comes to actually carrying out your job you might even find that being a little older helps - a 40 year old client may find it much easier to take instructions from someone closer to them in age. This is just one of many reasons why gyms and leisure centres like to hire trainers at a mix of ages, so don’t let yourself think that your age is a barrier.


To be a fitness instructor you will need at least a Level 2 Certificate in fitness instructing or an OCR Level 2 Certificate in teaching exercise and fitness, while having an NPLQ (National Pool Lifeguard Qualification) is essential if your work will be swimming-pool based. More advanced qualifications may be necessary for certain job roles, or provide similar work in different job sectors - for example, a Level 4 Specialist Exercise Instructor Certificate will teach you to create special training programmes for people with diabetes, coronary heart disease, and other medical conditions.

The nature of the job will also require you to have a first aid certificate (which covers CPR) and public liability insurance. If you will be working with minors or other vulnerable people you will also need a CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) check to ensure you don’t pose a risk.

What can you expect from a typical week?

Let’s start with what you shouldn’t expect: Monday-Friday, 9-5. Most people visit the gym in the evening, so shift work is inevitable. You’ll work with a diverse range of people during personal training sessions, and your job will be trying to find out how to get the best out of them. You may also have to take gym classes or provide general assistance on the gym floor.

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