The Personal Training Industry

The professional personal training industry is highly competitive. Once you are qualified it's essential to learn how to run and grow your business and also to stay at the forefront with your fitness knowledge. I also urge you to be led by science, be different and keep your clients at the centre of your practice. In other words, stand out from the crowd.

Recognised Personal Trainer

The personal training industry is very simple but for some reason many people are trying to make it sound really complicated.

CIMSPA is the OFFICIAL government register for gym instructors and personal trainers. As a gym instructor you will register as an ‘Exercise & Fitness Affiliate" and as a personal trainer you will register as an "Exercise & Fitness Practitioner". Then you can purchase the "public liability" insurance that you need. Gym instructors need insurance even though they are also insured by their employer at the gym, and personal trainers need insurance as they are usually self-employed working out of a gym or in their own business from clients' homes.

Reps (the register of exercise professionals) was the 'old' register, so if you have previously join Reps you will have been moved to the CIMSPA register as long as you have the correct qualification for CIMSPA. All our qualifications are recognised by CIMSPA.

To register with CIMSPA you need to be properly qualified and your certificate must from a CIMSPA recognised "awarding body". All reputable training companies (like HFI) use an official awarding body. Our awarding body is "Focus Awards" as they are one of the main CIMSPA recognised awarding bodies. Active IQ and CYQ are the other main ones. If you are looking at a qualification that doesn’t use one for these three awarding bodies do check with CIMSPA before going ahead as your qualification most likely won't be recognised or official. Also, be aware of 'courses' that don’t lead to an actual 'qualification'. A 'course' isn't the same as a 'qualification' and you need to be 'qualified' not just trained on a course. Fitness instructor qualifications are sometimes called "level 2" and personal trainer qualifications are called "level 3" as this is the way the old register (REPS) used to describe them. The more up-to-date way to describe the qualifications is Fitness Instructor (CIMSPA Affiliate) and Personal Trainer (CIMSPA Practitioner).

CIMSPA consult with the government and the government consult with employers to ultimately decide what knowledge, skills and abilities are required for gym instructors (CIMSPA Affiliates) and personal trainers (CIMSPA Practitioners) to become qualified. The awarding bodies keep up-to-date with what is required content for these qualifications. This is how the fitness industry works.

If you have an ‘old’ or different qualification other than the "level 2 gym" or "level 3 PT", or have a certificate which isn't from one of the main awarding bodies, please get in touch as we can help you fill in the gaps to get you properly PT qualified and registered with CIMSPA.

If you are coming from overseas and have a degree and maybe other qualifications too, please look at our RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning) page for guidance.

CIMSPA have a code of conduct which is worth a look.

How To Get A Job as a Personal Trainer

The gym instructor role is a precursor to the personal training role. Before getting out there and 'being a personal trainer' it is advisable to gain some gym instructor work experience working with clients day in day out. In addition, it can be useful to work as an 'employed' personal trainer (ie it is supervised by a fitness manager) before you become self-employed and alone in your business. Of course, this isn't always possible and HFI can help you set up your business however you decide to move forward.

How to Maintain Your Personal Trainer Qualification

For your continuing development (CPD) and quality control you must maintain your membership of CIMPSA. You will have to do provide 12 continuing education credits per year to maintain your CIMSPA registration.

Professional Personal Trainers

There is still a lot of weird and not-so-wonderful personal training stuff happening in our gyms. Here are some reputable organisations to follow to keep you grounded, science-based, effective, and humble:

American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) - the world scientific leader for what to do for the best business, safety and effective exercise as a personal trainer.

UK Active – the government’s official organisation for improving the health of the nation.

Health Club Management (from Leisure Media) (UK) – to keep a track of what’s going on in the industry.

Health & Safety – look to the HSE for all your health and safety at work information.

National Strength and Conditioning Association –the World's leading organisation for strength and conditioning.

UK Strength and Conditioning Association –the UK's official organisation for strength and conditioning.

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