How to Become a Fitness Instructor

How to Become a Fitness Instructor

Fitness instructors use their knowledge of exercise and nutrition to help others transform their lives.

This career is rewarding and is full of purpose and fulfillment.

Do you want to know how to become a fitness instructor? Here are the education and experiences you need to get started in the industry and how to specialize your services later in your career. 


Table of Contents:

  1. Get an Education
  2. Find a Mentor
  3. Get Real-World Experience

What is a Fitness Instructor?

A fitness instructor is someone who teaches other humans, their clients, how to use physical fitness to achieve their highest level of physical function. These instructors coach inside of gyms, work online, and own their gyms. For these individuals, fitness is their career.

How to Become a Fitness Instructor

To become a successful fitness instructor you need three things: 

  • An education
  • Mentorship 
  • Real-world experience in a gym 

Step 1) Get an Education

The first thing you need is an education that prepares you for the field. 

Your education should include basic business skills (typically not taught in a 4-year university), physiology, anatomy, exercise fundamentals, consulting skills, and nutrition principles

There are multiple ways to get this education. 

A traditional 4-year-degree in exercise science with further specialization in the field of your choice is one option. This route is the most expensive and time-consuming. 

The other option is to get an education through a certified 3rd party organization, similar to a trade school. This route will best prepare you for the real world, cost the least, and take the least amount of time. 

Moreover, note that whatever education route you choose, the most important factor is how well it prepares you for working in the real world.

(Note: Interested in a career in fitness? Sign up for our free coaching course today and learn the basic skills you need to be a successful fitness instructor.)

Further Education

Education doesn’t stop here though.

Successful fitness coaches continue to pursue the areas that interest them and specialize their services. Here is a list of typical areas of specialization.

Further education and specializing in a specific area is a great way to set yourself apart from the industry. It also allows you to charge a higher price for your services. 

Step 2) Mentorship

Mentorship is a great way to set yourself up for success in your new career. 

There are multiple ways you can get mentorship from other fitness instructors. First, you can work in a gym run by an experienced fitness instructor. Working under an experienced coach is a great way to learn first hand and get experience in a gym environment.

The other route is to sign up for a certificate program that includes mentorship directly from the instructors that are teaching you. Pairing your education and mentorship is highly beneficial because your mentors can help you transfer knowledge from the classroom into the gym.

Mentorship doesn’t stop after your initial education. The best and brightest coaches around the world are constantly surrounding themselves with other fitness instructors. Continually collaborating and keeping your finger on the pulse of the industry will help you succeed.

Step 3) Real-World Experience

The third and arguably most important thing you need to become a fitness instructor is real-world experience. 

You need to step outside of the classroom, into the gym, and learn how to work in this dynamic environment. We like to call it coaching in the trenches.

A simple way to gain experience is to sign up for an education program that includes a case study or work as a floor coach part-time during your studies.

We recommend working with 5 clients for at least a month before you start looking for a job. This gives you experience that you can include on your resume and confidence that you are prepared to work with clients on your first day.

Career Opportunities as a Fitness Instructor

There are many opportunities for fitness instructors. Gyms all over the world are always looking for people to lead their classes and coach their clients.

Once you have your education and experience in the real world, there are multiple jobs you can get. Here’s a list of common fitness instructor jobs:

After multiple years working in gyms, in the trenches, fitness instructors often open their own gym. These facilities are usually micro gyms or small fitness studios. If you have the right business model this is a great way to increase your earnings and deliver your own model of fitness.

This brings with it a new set of responsibilities as you will typically hire coaches to work underneath you. Now you have become the mentor and are responsible for guiding your personal staff of fitness coaches.

Are You a Fitness Instructor or Want to Become One?

Are you a fitness instructor or interested in becoming one?

Helping people reach their goals through exercise and nutrition is a fulfilling experience.

It is also a skill that can be learned.

In just six months you can become an independent fitness coach, running your own small business and dramatically impacting the lives of those around you.

Sound intriguing?

Download our free curriculum guide today and learn exactly how you can become a fitness coach with our Coaching Certificate Program (CCP).

Download the curriculum guide
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