For many health and fitness enthusiasts, fitness coaching and instructing would seem to be the perfect route to fulfilment. Your career:

  • is constantly evolving and changing
  • keeps you in great physical and mental shape
  • genuinely pushes you to change people’s lives for the better by making them fitter or
  • bringing them back from injury, or simply giving them a more positive outlook
  • could take you around the country and world, or alternatively not even outside your front room
  • could see you working with elite athletes in any sport, other esteemed fitness professionals, and young sportsmen starting out on the road.

It can also be well-paid if you make a successful, sustained go of it, allowing you to expand to own your own gym, leisure centre or fitness facility/equipment.

Personal Trainer

How can I make money as a fitness instructor?

There are generally three routes to making money by becoming a personal trainer:

  • Working in a gym or for a fitness company.
  • Self-employment.
  • Online.

It’s also perfectly possible that you could do all three, simultaneously, dividing time between them – here’s how you can make a career.

How much can a salaried personal trainer make?

According to Indeed, the average fitness instructor salary is around £28,500, but the range is quite substantial; the minimum is £14,000 but top-end annual earnings can exceed £60,000 per year. That also includes fitness workers in London, who can earn substantially more. Salaries depend somewhat on the size of the establishment; a smaller indie may pay less than an established chain.

You might not be working in a gym, of course; it could be a college, a hotel, within a sports team, a cruise ship, and many more locations – all of these may differ in how much they pay. You may be paid by the hour, and in this case you can expect to earn anywhere between £7-£15 an hour, but again this really depends on where you’re working and the hours themselves. Someone in a managerial role might be able to push up to £25,000-30,000.

It also depends on your level of speciality; if you branch out into nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, or training for a specific sport, you may be paid more.

People on a personal training course

What can a self-employed fitness trainer earn?

If you’re self-employed your earnings will depend on the way you construct your business, the hours you put in, your pricing structure, and the number of clients you have. You may also have to pay rent for any premises you have, and perhaps even employ someone to look after finances (tax etc) and a cleaner. Your aim, ultimately, is to establish yourself as a fitness brand, and that may mean taking on employees yourself, or renting out your premises for associated businesses (physiotherapy, hypnotherapy etc).

That said, a fitness instructor with the ability, qualifications and time to teach multiple classes most days of the week could earn more than enough to live comfortably. Fitness training income also relies heavily on the type of clients and the area you serve; a celebrity personal trainer could comfortably earn £100,000 plus a year, while a trainer in London should be able to charge two to three times a session than a trainer outside of London.

Hypothetically, 15 clients who each take three one-hour sessions a week, at a cost of £50 an hour, would equate to £2,250 a week. Let’s take a different typical pricing structure; you have access to a gym, and you charge clients £70 a month for its use which also includes a set number of bootcamps in evenings and weekends. Fifty clients alone equals £3,500 a month, from which you’ll deduct rent and overheads of course. After a few months you decide to take on an employee, and instructor who has passed their Level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instruction, on a salary of £1,000 a month. His/her presence allows you to take on another 25 clients – and now your income is £5,250.

Bear in mind that you’ll need to pay for your qualifications and it takes time to become established. There may be fallow months such as during Christmas and summer holidays, rent might be expensive, and you need to consider tax. However, the positives are that you are in control – and you can make a good income.

What can an online personal trainer earn?

Fitness Blender’s ‘Fat burning cardio workout – 37 minutes’ on Youtube has been seen by almost 38 million people. Looking for the term ‘fitness’ brings up 34.5 million views, while workout brings up 33.1 million. According to SocialBlade, Fitness Blender earned anywhere between £27.7k and a mammoth £443k in 2017. Bright Side – a fitness and health site that also features humorous videos – bagged anywhere up to £3.1million. It’s easy to see why people like them: the sound is clear, the studios and settings are nice and there are often readouts detailing the pace of the exercise.

Clearly not everyone can gain such traction and income, but if your videos are regular and easy to find, you may be able to make £10-15 a month for a video from a few thousand views. While that doesn’t sound a lot, if you’ve got multiple videos uploaded and they’re all making some money at the same time, it could be a nice little addition to your ongoing fitness income. The more work you put in to get viewers and subscribers, the more quickly your earnings can rise.

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