“How I went from a call centre 9-5 job to the UK’s Leading PT Training Provider in 5 Years.”

Steven Dick The Fitness Group UK's Leading PT Training Provider

Active IQ and CIMSPA Endorsed, The Fitness Group, entrepreneur reveals how they built the UK’s Leading PT Training Provider which qualifies thousands of students each year to take their first steps into the fitness industry.

Our Background

7 years ago I was working my 9-5 Call Centre job desperately trying to break into the fitness industry. Two life long friends and I decided to take a huge risk and open our own 7,000 square foot private gym.

We spotted an opportunity in a local commercial building and we decided to take open our own commercial gym.

We had some experience in the industry and the opportunity seemed too big to pass on. There were 3,000 office workers employed in various blue-chip businesses in the building and this was about to increase by 33% to 4,000.

There was an empty gym space and it seemed like an obvious opportunity, lots of office workers could go to the gym before work, after work, or on their lunch breaks. A gym had been there before that was moderately successful, however, when we started to do some customer research in the building we found that lots of former gym customers had lots of customer service complaints. This reinforced our vision that if we improved the service and had 33% extra potential customers we would be in a strong position.

I was working in a management position in a call centre for the company who was moving into the building, so I had advanced notice. We knew about it internally along with the landlord, but it wasn’t common knowledge.

We started to proceed with our interest officially although we had virtually no money behind us. Most people think to open a large commercial gym you need a wealth of investment however that simply isn’t true.

Initially we had to present a robust business plan to demonstrate our intentions were serious to the landlord. Next, secure an equipment deal worth £100,000s however we set up a monthly payment plan to pay off this purchase.

We had to sell enough memberships in our first month to pay the bills. Everything was resting on our performance to meet our monthly expenses.

The critical factor was whether we forecasted our income correctly to make the bills in our first 12 months.

Could we make enough monthly income to pay the bills and importantly would our cash flow be sufficient? We forecasted that we could sell enough memberships to make the bills and our pre-launch sale had given us a strong indicator of that. We could still opt out of the commitment if we started the early bird sale and customer uptake was flat. We would simply refund the customer money and withdraw our interest.

We still opted to take out a loan purely for cash flow though as a back-up. We would build in a £15,000 loan into a repayment plan with a small level of interest over a 48-month period to ensure our new business had the cash flow it needed if something cropped up.

The loan repayment was just over £400 per month so we build the repayment cost into our expected bills on our financial plan. We worked out that just needed to add 13 members at £30 per month to add to our sales target to meet the loan cost and provide us with this vital cash flow.

For most students step one after qualifying is to start their own business but do so in another gym. We too have provided a platform for lots of successful Personal Trainers to launch their business over the years within our gym business. We have also secured a place for thousands of students to operate their business inside a commercial national gym like Pure Gym. At one Pure Gym venue one full-time course provided enough graduates to fulfil a staffing gap they had in their club for over 6 months for several positions.

Starting your business within a gym, whether it’s a nation gym or an independently owned gym, will l allow you to master your craft, gain vital customer experience, create amazing client transformations, and build your brand reputation in your local town or city.

It also means that your outgoings are lower, therefore the risk is smaller. However, there is a degree of relatively here too – our outgoings were larger when we opened the gym however, we were not just selling personal training services, we had a target market of 4,000 people to sell £30 gym memberships too and a fantastic opportunity to build upon this base to grow our personal training services.

What does remain true whether you are starting small like 99% of graduates or decide to go big relatively soon after graduating, is that business planning, financial planning, marketing investment and cash flow is vitally important to your future business.

If you do not invest in your new business, plan effectively and in some instances secure a safe cash flow for your new business your business may not survive.

We made some mistakes along the way however what we can do now for our students is share the mistakes and successes I have witnessed other fitness professionals make, both from owning our own gym and from running the UKs largest education company.

Most of the mistakes we made running our gym and personal training business provided us the valuable lessons that we now pass onto our students who are taking their first steps into the industry. Very often this advice can be scaled to a business of any size, including a newly qualified graduate who starts by offering personal training sessions round about their current job as a side hustle.

It would be important to do your diligence on your environment, your customers and fully plan your business and your financial forecast.

Our gym business has now paid off loans and all of the equipment is owned by us. It is solid profitable business supporting up to 10 personal trainers to run their own business.

Today, our fitness education company, The Fitness Group is the number #1 leading PT training provider in the UK, qualifying thousands of students to take their very first steps into the fitness industry.

Our research shows that Most of our graduates at The Fitness Group have an average of 12 clients and with an average of 25 sessions per week by the end of 12 months. This number of sessions will generate an an annual revenue of £45,000 if you are charging £35 for these sessions.

I’m proud that we responded at lightning speed to the Covid-19 pandemic to build a world class online student support system so we could continue to qualify more students and provide excellent 5 star student support. As soon as the first lockdown was announced we released a social media post announcing the move to online study (go back to the 16th of March on our Instagram page on @thefitnessgrp and check it out!). We moved all of our fulltime and part-time students to our online platform where we delivered 8 x live tutor led lectures every day!

The live lectures that we now offer are in addition to the online recorded lectures, online emails and online coursework that you can access at anytime from home. As of 2021 no other Training Provider has offered this level of support for their students and we have again re-launched our full-time online schedule of live lectures.

Every other fitness training provider was slow to respond to the Covid-19 lockdown. Their students suffered and their education stalled as a result.

Find out what I have learned from the industry and the things you must consider if you are thinking about a career in the fitness industry….

Plus, I will give you free access to my 10 Step Checklist which reveals 10 simple steps to follow to go from ‘unqualified to a successful highly paid fitness professional

Thinking About a Career in the Fitness Industry

You will probably have lots of questions when you start to think about a career in the fitness industry.

  • Can I create a career that I can rely on financially to support my life / my family?
  • How much can I earn?
  • Where do I start, do I get qualified first?
  • What If I start my course and it’s not for me?
  • Should I leave my current job to start my own fitness business?
  • Should I train people on the side of my job to begin?
  • What are the hours like, can I choose my own hours?
  • Is my course accredited?
  • Can I study online during the Covid-19 pandemic and make use of my time?


Questions like this are common from students before they sign up to one of our qualifications and take their first steps into the industry. The decision to start your qualifications is a big step, you will be beginning a journey towards your new career.

So ultimately it will change your life for the better as you will be doing something you are passionate about, something you love and importantly, you will have taken a conscious decision to follow this career path.

Lots of people just end up in a job or a career. We either leave school and find a job to start making money or we go to uni, graduate and end up in a job that we didn’t plan.

Sometimes it’s a job that you picked up along the way round about your university studies that becomes a full-time gig. Sometimes it’s a job you shoot for after graduating to pay the bills while you wait on the dream job. You may still be unsure after graduating what it is you want to do as ‘a career.’

This is perfectly normal, and most people do not ever take the steps to change their careers to do something that they love.

If you are reading this, you most likely have a passion for fitness and you want to know more.

Right now, it might seem like an endless minefield or complete jargon. The course qualification titles are not particularly easy to follow and it can be difficult to know ‘where to start’.

I’ll make it easy for you to know where to start, how to qualify and what things you must consider before you begin.

Drop me an email and I will send you a free copy of my free e-book here that reveals you my 10 simple steps to follow to go from ‘unqualified to a successful highly paid fitness professional‘…

We have pulled this checklist together using years of experience running the UK Leading PT Training Provider to support thousands of students to gain their qualifications and supporting them to build and grow their fitness businesses.

P.S. Let me know in the email if you have any specific questions I can help you with, whether its business planning, marketing support or specific to gaining your qualifications. I am looking forward to hearing from you and how I can support you.

Steve Dick


The Fitness Group

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