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A HFE personal trainer guides a client through a cable exercise.
A HFE personal trainer guides a client through a cable exercise.

Why become a personal trainer?

7 minute read

Understanding your motivations for becoming a PT can make all the difference

If you asked a hundred different personal trainers why they decided to become a PT and start a personal training course, you’d probably get as many different responses. If you’re clear about why you want to become a PT, then your future chances of success will be dramatically improved.

As the international best-selling author and motivational speaker, Simon Sinek says:

People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do itSimon SinekAmerican author and inspirational speaker

Simon Sinek portrait

If you’re clear about why you want to become a PT, then this will show up in everything that you do. The way you conduct yourself, the way you interact with your clients, your commitment to supporting them – all of this is affected by your why!

If your motivations and intentions are good, and they align with the interests of prospective clients, then these clients will more naturally want to work with you. In turn, this like-mindedness should spur both you and the client on to achieve goals.

However, if you aren’t clear about why you’re in the PT business, or your motivations are more about you, what you can earn, and less about your clients, then you’ll certainly find it much harder to attract and retain clients.

They say: “to have anything you have to be willing to sacrifice something” – becoming a credible and successful personal trainer is no exception!

Why is your ‘why‘ important?

To start with, you’ll need to sacrifice a lot of time to studying, especially with the science based subjects, like anatomy, physiology and nutrition. You’ll also need to put in a lot of time in the gym, learning new techniques, fine tuning your teaching skills, and working on how to encourage and motivate clients more effectively.

So, before you commit to this path, it’s essential that you take the time to consider why you really want to become a personal trainer in the first place.

Knowing why you want to become a PT will give you a compelling reason to start your journey. It will also help to keep you motivated, inspired, and focussed when things get tough, which they inevitably will. If you’re left without a reason as to why you’re doing something and you come across adversity, it can be incredibly easy to give up.

So, we encourage you to take a few minutes now to be honest with yourself as to why you REALLY want to become a personal trainer.

Personal Trainer assisting client with exercise ball

What’s your why?

There are an almost endless number of ways in which you could have answered the “why” question, and we’ll provide some of the more popular responses we hear from students later on in the article.

But before we do, it’s important to underline once again the importance of honesty. Everybody is different, so it’s essential to establish what motivates you as a person – just because something motivates somebody else doesn’t mean the same can be said for you.

However, if you are struggling to find a bit of inspiration, here are some of the more common reasons why people tell us they want to become a personal trainer. You may even resonate with some of these ideas, which have proven to be effective for our past students. This is also a good time to point out that having multiple reasons to do something is only going to help you achieve your goals.

Career opportunities: 

Students tell us they want a career in an industry that is growing and where there are lots of future opportunities.

The fitness industry continues to grow and evolve and there is a wealth of different professional roles, from fitness instructors, personal trainers, group exercise, middle and senior management positions, tutoring and assessing just to name a few.

It provides variety:

People want a career where the working day is varied, and they get the opportunity to meet and work with lots of different and interesting people. Every day is different, which can be motivating in itself.

Personal trainers don’t usually work 9-5 and many PT’s work from lots of different locations, including online. So, the role of a PT is in fact varied and this feature is often quite attractive to people.


Similarly to the previous point, a lot of people are attracted to personal training because they don’t want to know what each day is going to bring.

They get work with lots of interesting people, helping them to overcome lots of challenges and hurdles in their lives so that they can become healthier and more active. Whether it’s training people on the gym floor, taking group training sessions, running a social media campaign to get more clients, or shooting a promotional or educational video, the modern PT role can be quite exciting for a lot of people.

Flexible work options: 

Being a PT doesn’t always need to be a full-time gig, and many people like the fact that they can do a little PT work alongside their other work or family commitments. Whether it’s a couple of sessions in the morning before the 9-5, or at weekends with a select few clients, there are plenty of personal trainers that run their PT work as a part-time job on the side.

And for many, it doesn’t even feel like work.

They want to help others:

This is one of the most common reasons our students report becoming a PT.

They tell us that they have a strong desire to help others and to give something back to a community that has helped them previously. Some of the best personal trainers are those that have been on their own fitness journey and have experienced what it’s like to turn things around.

Whether it’s weight loss, muscle gain, or overcoming an injury or long-term health condition like diabetes, a lot of PTs motivated by contribution know how it feels and want to help others to do the same.

Previous inspiration: 

Most people have someone that they look-up to and admire, and for many, this is their fitness instructor or personal trainer. A lot of our past students have told us that they have been so inspired by their trainer that they want to walk in their footsteps and train to become a personal trainer.

In fact, many tell us that it was their personal trainer that actively encouraged them to get qualified!

They love working with people: 

A lot of our students and graduates tell us how much they love meeting and working with different kinds of people with all their unique quirks and traits. Some people find this side of the role fascinating.

As a PT, you’ll have clients from all walks of life and you’ll get the opportunity to support them in a variety of ways, helping them to solve their health, fitness nutrition challenges. For many, this really excites and intrigues them.

Retirement plan:

Despite what many stereotypes will have you believe, the health and fitness industry isn’t all about young, body beautiful people. A lot of our students and graduates are in their twilight years, and many of them have already had successful careers in others professions and industries.

Now that they’re retired, or preparing to retire, they want a flexible and part-time job that allows them to stay fit, meet different people, and do something that they enjoy and are passionate about. Many of our older students also decide to specialise in working with older clients, because they’re better positioned to understand the needs of this population.


If you’re motivated purely by money, then there are probably going to be other careers that will be more lucrative than personal training. With the exception of a few celebrity trainers or social media influencers, most personal trainers don’t become rich from their work. That’s a fact!

While it is possible to earn a good income and have a great lifestyle as a PT,  most people don’t join the fitness profession for the money.

Personal training is a client focused and results orientated business, so it’s more important to focus on these aspects first. If you master how to meet your client’s needs, then to some extent the money will follow.

Earning well should never be your sole focus – it’s an outcome of doing a great job, not the goal. If you do want to learn more about pay and salaries of PTs, read our guide on how much you can earn as a personal trainer.

So, that’s a summary of some of the common reasons why people tell us they’ve decided to become a personal trainer. Of course, nothing is more important to you than your own reasons, so it’s important to be clear about those.

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