Professional Development for Personal Trainers

Whether you’ve just qualified as a fitness professional or you’ve been in the game for years, professional development for personal trainers is definitely something that you don’t want to overlook. That’s why we created this guide, covering these important topics:

Before we get straight to it, the best way to advance your career as a personal trainer is with an advanced personal trainer certification, such as our online Nutrition course. Enquire now or download a free prospectus to find out more!


Why is Professional Development Important for Personal Trainers?

why is professional development important for personal trainers image

Before we share our tips for professional development, it’s important to be aware of the importance of this; so here are the top reasons for prioritising this:

  • Increases your income 
  • Adds to your knowledge and experience 
  • Helps you to deliver your services more efficiently as you grow 
  • Allows you to network with & learn from other fitness professionals 
  • Keeps you in with current fitness trends 
  • Boosts your client base and overall retention 

Ultimately, the more education you have behind you the more qualified you become in the fitness industry. 

By opting for accredited training, such as a CIMSPA endorsed CPD, you’re able to broaden your skillset and also demontrate your value and credentials to both employers and potential clients. 

So, now that you’re aware of the reasons why you should prioritise professional development, here’s how you can get the ball rolling.

8 Personal Trainer Professional Development Opportunities

Here, we are going to share the most sensible and relevant routes that you can take for professional development as a personal trainer. 

These courses can help to take your brand up to the next level and elevate your earning potential, so be sure to find which of these courses would complement your desired career path.

Nutrition for Sport and Exercise is a Popular Professional Development as a Personal Trainer

nutrition professional development opportunities for personal trainers

First off, this course is about nutrition, an integral part of any fitness path. One of the great things about this course is that on completion you’ll reach the highly sought after Level 4 status.

Once you complete an Ofqual Regulated Sports Nutrition qualification, you’ll be able to advertise your services with this extra qualification in your title.

Remember though, this doesn’t mean that you can start to offer services like weight loss meal plans or start instructing clients on specifics on what they can and cannot eat since this is working outside your scope of practice.

Nonetheless, what you can do is provide informed advice and direct your clients in the right direction. It proves that you have their best interests at heart by ensuring that you’re up to scratch on the latest knowledge and research surrounding nutrition.

There is a certain language that you can use when personal trainers give nutritional advice and you should stick to this. For example, “I would suggest” is something that you might want to say when handing over advice. 

Nonetheless, even if you aren’t a registered dietitian and thus cannot prescribe meal plans, having a nutritionist qualification can give you the status and knowledge that you need to gain trust between you and your clients to really see results.

For example, if you’re qualified as a personal trainer you can suggest and advise what you think could help your client in terms of diet. However, if your client has a particularly bad relationship with food they’re much more likely to trust the advice coming from a higher qualified PT with a level 4 nutrition course behind them too. 

It is all about increasing your repriotore of qualifications to show your drive and enthusiasm for your clients while also gaining hugely valuable knowledge all the while.


An Advanced Professional Development for a Personal Trainer is Administering Sports Massage Therapy 

sports massage professional development for personal trainers image

One of the most popular professional development opportunities for personal trainers is to expand their expertise into sports massage therapy.

The main reason for this is simple; not only will they gain access to a new client pool, but they can refer clients back and forth between the two specialisms and make money as a personal trainer.

All the while, income can effectively double through the introduction of sports massage as a separate entity to personal training, yet as well as that, it can be boosted further by the self-referral process. 

For example, if you’re training with a client that has recently been talking about how they suffer with their recovery time, you can mention that you’re also qualified in sports massage. 

They might then be interested in trying out your services in this area too since you’ve already built up the trust in personal training. 

Similarly, once you’re qualified in sports massage therapy and you start to gain clients, you can get to know your clients and if they like to train, offer them a loyal client price in which you reward your clients who utilise both of your services.

As long as you’re always building rapport and maintaining a good relationship with your clients, this is a foolproof way to use professional development to boost your income. 

Yoga is a Unique Direction for Professional Development as a Personal Trainer

professional development oppourtunities for personal trainers

Yoga is on the rise, with some statistics even stating that approximately over 300 million people internationally practice yoga! So, it’s safe to say that there is a demand for yoga instructors just about anywhere and everywhere.

That being said, becoming a yoga teacher is an incredibly fulfilling career that can see you boosting your income and trying out new career paths all interlinked with a passion for health psychologically and physically. 

A course in yoga instructing includes experience and knowledge needed to deliver classes effectively and safely and by dipping your toe into the vast community of yogis around the world you could branch off into another part of the fitness industry.

With this course, you could open your own studio, work as a freelance yoga instructor or even deliver classes in commercial or private gyms that you might already work in as a personal trainer. 

This is going to help you reach a client base that you probably haven’t had before. This might drive more clients towards training with you as a personal trainer since you would clearly have the knowledge and expertise in how the body works across different sports.

Plus, if you have clients coming along to your yoga classes that are particularly interested in progressing in yoga, you could have this as their goal for personal training and design programs specifically for improving flexibility and advancing in yoga.

As a personal trainer, you often get to know your clients relatively well since you spend a lot of time in contact with them. So, if you get the opportunity to get to know their likes and dislikes, it could be a good chance to invite them along to a yoga class.

This can be a great driver of clients both to your yoga classes and from your yoga classes to your PT sessions.

Exercise Referral is a Rewarding Progression 

networking professional development for personal trainers

Becoming an Exercise Referral Specialist is a great way to create a professional career in helping patients on a more meaningful level.

As a personal trainer, getting this qualification can see you working with clients who suffer from certain physical conditions or illnesses that ordinary PTs are required to refuse. However, you’ll be able to gain a whole pool of these clients through the referrals that you receive.

These will either be from the NHS, the client’s GP, or private healthcare practitioners. 

If you’re really looking to maximise your PT salary, you’ll be glad to know that working for private health clubs or organisations such as Nuffield Health or BUPA becomes an option once you’re qualified in Exercise Referral

This is often accompanied by a higher yearly salary too due to the nature of the business, although going freelance can transform this into an uncapped earning potential and allow you to take referrals from multiple sources.

Once you begin training with referred clients, you’ll soon see how rewarding this process can be for your career. You’ll take pride in helping your clients to find their motivation to exercise, as well as helping them to deal with and manage their conditions.

As you develop your approach to training with them (which will come naturally with experience), you’ll be able to encourage positive changes in their attitude towards their own fitness. 

Working in the same way as PT client retention methods, this should lead to many of the clients booking to train with you after their initial training duration has ended, which makes it a worthy investment. 

Professional Development for a PT can Include Strength and Conditioning Training

strength and conditioning professional development for personal trainers

Becoming a strength and conditioning coach is a specialism that is directly related to personal training, yet allows you to provide a service to professional athletes who are looking to reach peak performance in their sport of choice.  

Essentially, providing a niche and sought after service to both amateur and professional athletes can really boost your income, as well as your overall reputation as a fitness professional. 

Not only will you gain the opportunity to train gym goers who are beyond casual fitness enthusiasts, but with the right personal trainer marketing and outreach strategy you could even land yourself a role working with a professional sports team which would certainly contribute to a healthy pay rise. 

If working with athletes is on your list of aspirations then taking an S&C course is certainly a step in the right direction. 

Strength and conditioning is a niche that can boost your income from adding a new pool of clients to your schedule. For instance, you might have a PT client who has recently gotten into weightlifting after your help, and now wants to take the plunge and get involved with competitive powerlifting.

This would be the perfect opportunity to train them through your S&C service, and even boost your retention as they could be tempted to look elsewhere if you didn’t hold this extra qualification.

Thus, not only can this increase your income and your client base, but it can help retain any clients that exceed what you’re able to offer to them.


Tutoring and Assessing is a Good PT Progression Route to Take

professional development for personal trainers image

We’ve established that personal training can be an incredibly profitable career (and more so with the right professional development), but what we haven’t talked about is how you can utilise your skills and experience in the industry to help others gain their qualifications. 

The great thing about getting qualified as a fitness course assessor is that you can enter a secure full-time role if this is what you’re looking for in the fitness industry. Plus, all the while you can still work as a personal trainer.

Though you don’t need any prior qualification to enrol onto this course (with OriGym) you only have the authority to teach up to the level in which you’re already qualified to. This means that if you’re not level 3 PT qualified, you won’t have the authority to teach this until you’ve achieved it.

The award in Teaching and Assessing is split across two separate qualifications, and usually takes around 8 weeks to complete. 

This means that if you’ve ever had the urge to take a step into teaching, this is the closest that you’ll get in the fitness industry, apart from personal training itself.

The good news with this direction though is that it doesn’t require you to take on a 1-2 year PGCE that you would need if you were going to teach within a school. So, think of it as a faster approach to combining two passions – teaching and fitness.

A Business CPD Can Help you Develop Your Career Skills

reading professional development for personal trainers

This topic may not be related directly to the knowledge and skills behind personal training itself, but it’s certainly vital to learn if you want to make serious money with the qualifications that you’ve invested in. 

After all, your skills will be no good to you if you struggle to sell them, which is why a Business CPD course can be super beneficial.

Having the right knowledge of how PT marketing and sales strategies can boost your business is essential, especially if the end goal is to work for yourself full time.

Take Joe Wicks, for example. You don’t need to aspire to be like him if he’s not your style, but we’re sure you’ve heard of him before, and that’s the point!

The compelling thing about how he transformed himself from a ‘broke PT’ to a worldwide fitness phenomenon is that he did it mostly through Instagram. He posted short workouts and easy recipes for his followers to try, and made fitness something that could be pretty easy to achieve as well as sustainable. 

This saw his followers grow nicely over time, until he gained an incredible amount of traction on the platform and his popularity really took off. Hopefully you get the idea and you can see how successful you can be if you draw some of your focus into being business smart. 

Most personal trainers aspire to be their own boss, it is what makes the career so attractive but to actually achieve this long term, knowing how to run a business is a large portion of what is to come.

– – – –

For some more helpful resources on progression as a personal trainer, head over to our articles below:

Offering Group Exercise Can Help You to Grow and Develop Your Business

why is professional development important for personal trainers

To start your own fitness boot camp, or run group exercise sessions is nothing new, but to do it well is less common so gaining a Group Exercise CPD can help you gain the knowledge and tools you need to create a successful group fitness class. 

At the very least, you will need a  Level 2 Fitness Instructor qualification to hold classes and if you’re hoping to hold said classes in a gym, it’s unlikely you’ll be allowed to work in a gym at all without the minimum of a level 2.

Armed with a qualification in group exercise, both prospective clients and those that you already train will trust that you can do more than the other PT’s they come across. Thus, they will expect you to deliver a high-quality exercise programme that will get them to where they want to be.

You can list this qualification in any marketing efforts that you use for your boot camp or group fitness class, making it easier to sell – plus, current clients who are loyal are likely to show you support by at least trying it out. 

You can create secure profit by selling classes in packages as you would with your PT services. You can either get your clients to sign up to a monthly fee that gives them a certain amount of classes per month alongside their PT sessions or you can get them to sign up for a set time period (like a 12-week boot camp, for example).

To give you an idea of what we mean, here’s how a huge class brand “Barry’s” present their packages:

professional development personal trainer

As you can see, there is a huge amount of choice between the amount of class packages that you can choose, this is the sort of structure you should aim for if you want to give people as much choice as possible and ultimately, maximise your income.

5 Professional Development for Personal Trainers Outside of CPDs

Although CPD qualifications are great for fitness professionals looking to develop their knowledge and grow their business throughout their career, it’s great to know that there are other professional development opportunities for personal trainers out there. 

#1 – Seminars can Inform Your Future for Professional Development as a Personal Trainer

webinars for professional development for personal trainers

Seminars are a great idea for fitness professionals looking to improve the service that they provide for their clients, especially since they’re a form of professional teaching.

They also provide a great opportunity for you to network and liaise with fellow fitness professionals, which can be a great confidence boost and pretty re-affirming if you haven’t yet had the chance to do so. 

Luckily for you, there are a range of fitness seminars that take place every year here in the UK.

They usually consist of 1-2 days of talks that seek to improve your personal training skills, or skills in any other given area of fitness (sports performance, sports massage, yoga, nutrition, etc).

Seminars attract highly specialised individuals who are experts in their chosen area of fitness, which is great news if you’re looking to learn more about a certain career path or method of teaching. 

You will often get the opportunity to ask them any questions that you have too, which is great news for those who are looking to move into a niche and may be struggling to find detailed information online. 

It’s a great idea to attend seminars every year if you’re a practising PT, as not only will you remain up to date on the latest industry information but your clients will be able to see how passionate you are about personal training too.

Seminars provide an extremely detailed amount of information condensed throughout a 1-2 day period. Plus, attending seminars with like minded individuals promotes a feeling of a growth in productivity and enthusiasm.

All that being said, it is certainly something that can contribute to professional development as a PT.

How Much does This Professional Development Method Cost? 

It’s hard to summarise the cost of seminars, as it depends on how far away they are from where you live (if you’re factoring in transport costs). 

They can run from being free to 3 figure price points, it totally depends on who you’re going to see and listen to. For an example of a good middle ground though we found this example below:

professional development personal trainer

This price point starts at £30, a relatively fair price for those who would be interested in learning more about how they can help their clients.


#2 – Webinars are an Affordable Tool to Progress Your Career

continuing professional development for personal trainers

If you love the sound of seminars but you’re really strapped for time, you’ll be glad to know that you can partake in something incredibly similar from the comfort of your own home. 

While it’s technically better to attend a seminar in person due to the networking opportunities, there’s nothing wrong with signing up for a webinar or two each year. 

Webinars are online events which are scheduled to go ahead at set dates and times. They provide you with direct contact with the host should you have any questions, just as you would during a seminar. 

You are usually able to interact with other individuals who are part of the webinar group via a live chat, which is a solid feature since there is no face-to-face networking, and one that you should definitely look out for. 

Arguably, one of the best things about webinars is the fact that it doesn’t matter which location or country that you’re based in, you can still log on and watch which is perfect for those with niche interests who might not have the demand for a seminar in one place.

How Much does This Professional Development Method Cost? 

The good news is that often, webinars are free!

Not all webinars are free, it is similar to seminars in that it totally depends on who you’re going to see but there are an array of free fitness webinars out there, like this example below:

professional development personal trainer

Though this isn’t always the case, it could be good to start out with free webinars to see if they’re progressing your development and then moving onto the more advanced ones that may cost.

#3 – Conferences are a Common Approach to Professional Development for PT’s

professional development opportunities for personal trainers

The best thing about conferences is that they’re probably the least ‘professional’ form of professional development for personal trainers, meaning that you can shake that feeling of things getting super formal when it comes to furthering your career. 

Even the likes of BodyPower hold conferences led by fitness experts, but still have plenty of fitness challenges and merch stands to balance everything out.

professional development personal trainer

That being said, they’re still a fantastic resource for fitness professionals everywhere, and an incredible opportunity to meet like-minded individuals. 

One of the most important things that interlink personal trainer professional development and conferences is networking.

Networking can be incredibly difficult, especially if you’re new to the industry. Going to fitness conferences often can help you to build your confidence and start getting the right connections on your side.

How Much does This Professional Development Method Cost? 

It’s difficult to put a price on fitness conferences as they vary depending on location and how popular they are. 

However, to give some insight the ‘standard tickets’ for one day at BodyPower are usually under £40, making them pretty good value for money.

#4 – Attending Group Fitness Classes or Booking with Other PTs is a Good way To Find Development Opportunities

group exercise professional development for personal trainers

Attending group exercise classes every now and again is a fantastic way of picking up new fitness trends and training methods, or even observing the lack of them in your local area.

If you’re thinking of starting your own bootcamp or fitness class for a passive personal trainer income, then it should be your go-to method of research to find out what’s already out there. You’re then able to identify any gaps in the market to fill and profit from. 

As ‘group exercise’ is such a broad term and covers an endless amount of different exercise styles, this makes visiting new classes a pretty exciting venture for any fitness professional. 

There is a great deal to learn from experiencing your competitor’s sessions, from how they build rapport all the way to the physical training techniques that they utilise so why not try out their sessions? 

It may not seem like the most obvious choice of professional development for personal trainers, but it’s definitely a useful method, simply ensure you stay respectful to your competitors though, treat it as a lesson and you can be transparent with them and let them know that you’re looking for some guidance since you’ve just entered the industry.

It is probably one of the closest insights you’ll get in terms of how to beat your direct competitors, so if you feel this would benefit you, you could enquire to one of your peer PTs.

#5 – Researching Successful PTs is an Insightful way to Progress

successful professional development for personal trainers

Just like we mentioned in our section on business and marketing qualifications for PTs, performing extensive research on the most successful PTs in the industry is a foolproof way of learning how you grow your business effectively. 

There’s no set way of performing this research, but it’s surprisingly fun and you’ll get so many more ideas than you think you will from just a quick Google. 

Our tips for researching successful PTs for your own benefit are:

To thoroughly check out their website and ask yourself:

  • What is their DA?
  • What blog content do they post?
  • How much traffic do they get?
  • What online services do they provide?

To scour their social media and ask yourself:

  • What are their handles?
  • How many followers do they have?
  • What do they post?
  • How much engagement do their posts receive?
  • How do they interact with their audience/get them involved with their content?

To look up where they started out and ask yourself:

  • Is it a rags to riches story?
  • How did their success come about?
  • Who was their first big client? 

It’s great learning as much as you can about marketing, etc. but what good is this knowledge if you don’t know where to start? So while it may seem like a lot of questions it is the best way to understand what gets clients onboard and thus, births a successful business. 

The actionable steps that you need to take to make your dream a reality will become clear to you, and the process of ticking them off your list will become addictive, especially when you start to see your own success! 


Before You Go…

Now you can feel confident in your ability to take the next step and start taking action by going forward with a professional development progression like a CPD course.

If you’re ready for that step, check out OriGym’s Level 4 Fitness Courses, starting with our Sports Nutrition Course. Or you can find all of our CPD courses, Yoga diplomas and much more in our downloadable course prospectus.

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About the Author: Zac Yeo

zac yeo origym authour
With a BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations from Kingston University and previous experience working in the finance sector, Zac’s passion for fitness brought him to OriGym, and ultimately led him to become a qualified Personal Trainer and Nutrition Specialist. With a keen interest in developing consumer trends, Zac enjoys the creation of deep, insightful content catering to new trends and has contributed to various publications including the Daily Star. Outside of work, Zac can be found watching football, either in-person supporting Charlton Athletic or virtually on Fifa.

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