Fitness instructor
Education & Instructors

Fitness instructors provide instruction to help improve people's fitness. They normally specialise in one of the following areas: keep fit, aerobics, aquarobics, weight training or circuit training

Work Activities

Fitness instructors provide exercise tuition to help improve people's fitness in areas such as keep fit, step aerobics, pilates, aquarobics, weight training and circuit training.

Fitness instructors usually focus on one area of exercise. Those who specialise in keep fit or aerobics usually work with groups of people, mainly adults. They make up routines, which are usually set to music. During the session, the trainer usually demonstrates routines, so the rest of the group can follow them. They could be responsible for marketing the classes.

Fitness instructors who specialise in weight training work mainly with individuals in gyms. They begin by testing the individual's fitness by testing blood pressure, grip, and how well their lungs and heart are working.

They then develop an exercise programme according to the person's fitness rate. They also show them how to use free weights and exercise machines properly, and how to exercise safely. They could be responsible for following health and safety guidelines and maintaining equipment.

All fitness instructors need to understand the human body and the effects of exercise on it. They may also give advice about nutrition and lifestyle.

They could work in a gym, health club or leisure centre and might also work on the reception desk and deal with customer enquiries. Some employers will allow you to use their gym for your private clients in return for unpaid work.

Self-employed instructors can run classes in schools and community centres, or outdoors in a public space like a park.

It is possible to do a mixture of employed and self-employed work.

Working hours for fitness instructors vary, but generally they would expect to work 40 hours a week if working full-time. Weekend and evening work is normally required.

You will need a driving licence to travel to clients or a remote location like a spa.

Personal Qualities and Skills

Key skills for fitness instructors

  • The ability to motivate and inspire people
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Planning and organisational skills
  • teamworking skills
  • management and leadership skills

Pay And Opportunities

Typical employers of fitness instructors

Most fitness instructors work in private gyms, clubs, hotels and holiday camps. Local authority leisure centres/studios are increasingly popular. Pay rates for fitness instructors vary depending on whether they are employed or self-employed.

Vacancies are advertised online and by careers services.

You could also apply to be a fitness instructor through an apprenticeship (


Qualifications and training required

There are no set requirements. You can start as an assistant instructor at a sports centre and train on the job, or take a qualification in fitness instruction.

The Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA) ( and The Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs) ( have details about training.

In Scotland there are college and university courses with entry requirements ranging from 3 National 5s to 3 or 4 Highers. Preferred subjects include English and Physical Education.

You will need a first aid certificate and clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) , PVG in Scotland. This means that you must supply employers with details of any spent or unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands or warning, if they ask you to. This is different from other careers, where you only have to reveal information on unspent convictions if you are asked to.

You will also need public indemnity and professional liability insurance, which may be supplied by your employer.

You could to further training to become a personal trainer or teach extra activities.

With experience and qualification, you could become a senior instructor or manager. You could also start your own fitness club.

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