How to Become a Fitness Coach

Personal trainers help clients reach their fitness goals by developing workout plans, assisting in exercise routines, and providing advice on health, nutrition, and lifestyle issues. Understanding how to become a personal trainer can help decide if this role is right for you. In this article, we discuss what personal trainers do, the different types, and how to become a fitness coach.


To become a fitness coach, it is important to narrow down your focus to one type of fitness and take a certification program to prepare for the certification exam. After completing the program, take the exam to obtain your certification and start training clients.


Different Types of Personal Trainers

There are many different types of personal trainers, though they often share similar backgrounds in education and training. Below are several types of personal trainers:

  1. Fitness trainer
  2. Exercise specialist
  3. Lifestyle coach
  4. Health coach
  5. Sports coach
  6. Wellness specialist
  7. Bodybuilding coach

Salary of a Fitness Coach

Personal trainers earn an average of $45,650 per year and don’t need a college degree. To build an online fitness coaching business, it is important to build a strategy, design and price your online training program, and launch it successfully.

How to Become a Fitness Coach

1. Decide What Your Fitness Focus Will be

The first step on your journey to becoming a fitness coach is to decide the type of fitness coach you want to be. Choose from the different types mentioned above.

Choose whether you’ll be a group fitness instructor, teaching things like cycling, step aerobics, or boxing, or if you’ll be a personal trainer who only works with individual clients. Decide if you want to work in a class setting, work one-on-one, or even do both, as well as picking a specific type of fitness. This choice will determine the type of certification you will need to go for.


For instance, professional fitness certifications like ACE or NASM offer certifications for many different types of fitness. If you’re a group fitness instructor, you’ll choreograph movements for your own classes, while a personal trainer needs knowledge about creating a fitness plan based on one person’s fitness goals. Knowledge about various types of fitness goals is desired.


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2. Get Certification

There are numerous certification programs and online courses that offer the content needed to pass a specific fitness certification. Some of the popular options include the American Council on Exercise (ACE), International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA), or National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). Programs are also offered by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

Many personal training/fitness coaching programs offer options for how much or how little you want to pay. Prices range from $450-$1,200, with some programs including the cost of the exam. Some programs offer deals giving a percentage off if you sign up quickly.


3. Take and Pass Certification Examination

Register for an exam to become a personal trainer, which typically includes an application and fee. The test may include 120-150 questions across four sections: Program Planning, Client Consultation, Fitness Assessment, Exercise Techniques, and Safety/Emergency Issues.

4. Get CPR/AED Training

CPR training is essential for fitness coaches to ensure they can help clients in a medical emergency. Personal trainers must complete CPR and AED certification programs, which cost up to $55 and take four hours to complete. Nearly every national personal training certification organization requires these certifications.

5. Earn a Degree

Earn a degree in a health- or fitness-related field, if applicable. Enroll in a college that offers a fitness-related subject, taking classes in person or online. Search for colleges and universities that offer degrees related to fitness and wellness.

Education is essential for becoming an online fitness trainer, as it will add credibility, stand out from competition, and make you a better coach.


More so, Some employers may require you to have a bachelor’s degree, or even a master’s degree, in a subject such as kinesiology, physical education, or exercise science.


6. Develop Key Skills

Personal trainers need to develop the following skills: fitness, stamina, communication, customer service, and problem-solving. Fitness is essential for performing exercises, stamina for moving around, communication for discussing fitness goals, customer service for building client lists, and problem-solving for listening to clients’ fitness concerns.

7. Set up a Coaching Framework 

Before putting together an online fitness course, it is important to plan an easy-to-replicate framework. This framework should include a client assessment template, a list of resources, and a goal-setting matrix. It should also include motivational stories, examples, and anecdotes, as well as additional materials like diet plans.

8. Build Your Client Base

Build your own client base if you want to be self-employed and work with clients one-on-one. Create a brand for yourself and create a website or social media page to promote your business. Offer to meet clients at a gym or outdoors, or work online through a web platform. Bring one set of equipment to share with clients, or suggest that clients purchase their own equipment to keep with them.

9. Create Your Resume

After developing your skills, you can begin applying for personal trainer jobs. Craft a resume highlighting your education, professional certification, relevant work experience and an objective statement on what you hope to accomplish as a personal trainer.

Read Also: Top 10 Best Paying Jobs in the US Without a Degree

10. Find a Job as a Personal Trainer

If you don’t want to be self-employed, you can find a job as a personal trainer. As a personal trainer, you may be an employee of a business or work as an independent contractor for them. Employment opportunities include commercial gyms, corporate fitness packages, cruise ships, hospitals, local community centers, personal training studios, spas and resorts, and online job boards like Cool Works and
The drawbacks of these employment opportunities include lower pay, working on commission, lots of selling, and having to work long hours doing new member orientations to get new clients. To get experience, many new trainers choose to work for an established business to get experience.

Top 10 states with the Highest Job Growth for Fitness Coaches

  1. Utah: 35.5%
  2. Louisiana: 27%
  3. Nevada: 26.6%
  4. Maryland: 25.8%
  5. Colorado: 25.6%
  6. Wyoming: 24.1%
  7. Texas: 22.8%
  8. Kentucky: 21.6%
  9. Oregon: 20.2%
  10. Florida: 20%


Personal trainers are in high demand due to obesity and sedentary lifestyles, so it’s important to learn about becoming a trainer before choosing a career.
The world always needs new, enthusiastic trainers to get the word out about health and fitness. Take the time to learn what’s involved in becoming a trainer before choosing your career.

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