Business ideas for 2014: Personal trainer

A booming market now worth over £3bn, 2014 is the year to start a business in fitness...

If you’re passionate about health and fitness than 2014 is the right time to turn this passion into a career and start a personal training businesses.

The National Obesity Forum suggested this month that 2007 predictions that half of the UK population would be obese by 2050 underestimated the crisis.

Alongside that, the fit and overweight alike continue to fuel the fitness industry. According to the 2013 State of UK Fitness Industry report, the market is now worth an estimated £3.92bn and with the population now living longer than ever before and changing gym culture, the personal training market is only set to grow in the year ahead.

Starting a personal trainer business: Why it’s a good business idea

Once an exclusive service to the elite, personal training is now accessible to millions of people with many turning to one-to-one fitness advice, and group training sessions, as an alternative to gym workouts.

In November 2013, health and leisure group David Lloyd published its fitness predictions for 2014 and identified personal training-led groups as a key area of growth, suggesting that people are beginning to favour a “more tailored – personal programme” over a “one size fits all approach”.

In its findings it argued that there will be increased demand for services that cater to the individual and enable them to achieve “great results”, hence a personal training business presents a potentially lucrative start-up opportunity.

The trend for personal trainers is not a new one and has been rising over the past few years as Britons have become increasingly health and fitness-savvy. However, the growth of “celebrity” and personal trainers operating in the celebrity scene has brought the industry back into the limelight.

In the last few months, press coverage has focused intensely on this area; Big Brother reality star Josie Gibson became a personal trainer following an extensive weight loss regime and celebrity fitness “gurus” such as Tracey Anderson have enjoyed increased media attention. The recent announcement from Olympic gold medallist Victoria Pendleton that she plans to embark upon her “dream” career of becoming a personal trainer is perhaps one of the biggest celebrity endorsements of this business opportunity.

Recent broadcasts of programmes such as Channel 5’s 50 Shocking Facts About Diet and Exercise, which featured the opinions and advice of several personal trainers, can also be seen to have increased interest in this sector.

Personal trainer business opportunities

Key to being a successful trainer is to identify a specialism to offer potential clients. This could mean focusing on weight loss, muscle tone, helping pre-natal women, or even training athletes.

The fitness industry is regularly evolving and new training techniques are emerging for 2014, high intensity interval training and bodyweight training have been identified by many fitness experts in particular, so there are opportunities to incorporate these areas into your offering.

Starting a personal training business costs less than £10,000 and it’s a flexible market as you can set up on full-time or part-time basis and you can work around an existing job to supplement your income.

There is also the opportunity to partner with established gyms such as David Lloyd and Fitness First, as well as organisations and clubs; local sports team for instance are a growing market for personal trainers.

With very little overheads, the primary cost of becoming a personal trainer is getting the necessary training and qualifications. Courses range from £300 to £6,000, depending on your speciality and prior knowledge, and there are many respected courses on the market such as YMCA’s Advanced Diploma in Personal Training, a 15-week programme which costs £3,070.

You will also need to get public liability insurance which costs a minimum of £100 per annum and access to transport and training equipment is essential.

This guide has all you need to know to get up to speed with personal trainer insurance.

Financial opportunities for personal trainers are great incentive to starting up in this area, with many trainers charging average hourly rates of between £20 to £50, with some able to charge high profile clients between £50 to £100 an hour.

Who else has started a personal trainer business?

Personal training is a continuously growing market and there are many opportunities within the industry, despite the sheer number of personal trainers currently operating in the UK.

The freelance route is one of the most popular as you can choose what times you work, when, where and for how long and you can set your own personal rates.

Nathan Woodward, freelance personal trainer and class instructor for Foxhills Country Club, Ottershaw 

“For me, there is little more satisfying than aiding another person in achieving their goals and ambitions. Whether their aims are simply to lose weight, gain muscle, or rehabilitate from injury; it is extremely rewarding to help people realise their goals. This acts as a big incentive and is one of the main reasons I became a personal trainer.

“Happy clients, usually means a happy trainer, and if you are good at what you do, and do it well, word of mouth will soon spread. I attracted a lot of my clients through teaching exercises classes; mainly spinning and bootcamp sessions.

“I put a lot of energy and enthusiasm into every single class, and trust me, if people consider you to be a good motivator in a studio class, then it is only a matter of time before people want your help and advice to achieve their own personal goals. Posters, social media and promotional events have helped gain clientele but you have to get out there to get noticed. Best of luck to anyone looking to get involved in the industry.”

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