What is the Difference Between a Fitness Instructor, Gym Instructor, and a Personal Trainer?


Level 3 Gym Instructing and Personal Training Diploma

Alexandra Carruthers

If you are considering changing career or becoming qualified to help others reach their health and fitness goals, there are many training courses available that can help you get that job.

Here at The Fitness Group, we help people just like you gain the qualifications they need to find a career in the fitness industry. With over 6,700 gyms, studios and leisure centres serving 97 million people in the UK, why wouldn’t you want to get in on a career in an industry worth £4.7 billion or more?

But how do you decide whether to become a gym instructor, a fitness instructor, or a personal trainer?

There are a few differences between each role and knowing what they entail will help you make the right decision.

Fitness Instructor/Gym Instructor

A Fitness Instructor is employed by a gym, leisure centre or health club, and usually leads group fitness classes (often with other qualifications, too.) For some Fitness Instructors, clients are dealt with in groups, while others focus on teaching specific types of class (like Les Mills or Zumba).

Fitness Instructors usually have a Level 2 qualification which means that they often lack the ability and knowledge needed to deal with clients on a one-to-one basis, especially if they have ongoing health issues.

Gym Instructors work in the gym (as the name suggests). They can often be found sorting out and recruiting members, giving advice about safe usage of equipment, and depending on the facility they can sometimes produce a generic training plan for clients. Also qualified at Level 2, being a Gym Instructor can be a great starting point in the fitness industry for those who are looking to make a quick entry for a career.

Personal Trainer

A Personal Trainer, on the other hand, is qualified to at least Level 3 (Level 4 courses and the resulting specialisms are available), and this means they can assist people with their health and fitness goals in a more specific and focused way.

Personal Trainers can be employed in the same way as a Fitness or Gym Instructor, but most often they are self-employed, working wherever is necessary to provide personal, bespoke training plans that include relevant nutrition advice.

Personal Trainers develop long-standing working relationships with clients and the one-on-one attention that a great personal trainer offers can help clients reach their goals faster while avoiding injury. Assessing fitness, taking health-related measurements and build a regime that includes the right foods as well as the right exercise is just part of what a Personal Trainer does – they can also monitor the client as they complete the exercises to ensure they are being undertaken safely.

Becoming a Personal Trainer needs more commitment – not only to the financial cost of the course but also the breadth of the content and assessments. Here at The Fitness Group, we offer a Level 3 Gym Instructing and Personal Training course that is perfect for those just entering the industry who want to be able to offer personalised, tailored training.

Of course, if you have ‘dipped a toe’ into the world of fitness instructing with a relevant Level 2 course, you can take the Level 3 Personal Trainer course separately, saving time and money.

Becoming accredited with CIMSPA, REPs and Ofqual thanks to The Fitness Group will give you the best start in your new career – whether that is as a Gym Instructor, a Fitness Instructor, or a Personal Trainer.

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