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Am I Too Old to Become a Personal Trainer?

  • Last Updated: 25th November 2021
  • Careers

If you’ve ever considered pursuing a career in the fitness industry but you’ve stalled your career change by worrying ‘am I too old to become a personal trainer?’, we’re here to tell you that no, you aren’t!

Whether your current job just hasn’t panned out in the way that you imagined, or you have always been interested in turning your love for fitness into a career and never got round to it, it's never too late to pursue your dream job.

Here at OriGym, we’ve qualified thousands of personal trainers, all from a range of backgrounds, ages, and with varying life experiences. We are often asked questions along the lines of ‘is it too late to become a personal trainer?’, so we thought we would write this guide answering that exact question, and hopefully inspiring some older personal trainers along the way!

Contents:

If you’re tired of waiting to start a career that you are truly passionate about, then go ahead and enquire about our CIMSPA recognised Personal Training Diploma or learn more about our online personal trainer courses here

For information on the range of health and fitness courses that you can study with us, download a free OriGym prospectus now.

 

Enquire to Become a Personal Trainer

It's never too late to change careers, enquire about our personal trainer courses now. 

Overcoming Perceived Barriers for Older Personal Trainers

am i too old to be a pt

Over the years, we’ve heard tons of people question ‘am I too old to be a personal trainer?’, and tons of reasons why they think that it's too late for them to get qualified. The truth is, there are no personal trainer age limits. In fact, the fitness industry needs more diversity!

We really can’t emphasise just how much age doesn’t matter when working as a PT, but hopefully the following section will help you to see why the perceived barriers for older personal trainers really do not exist.

A little further on, we’ve included a list of benefits detailing all of the great things about older personal trainers - you’ll definitely want to stick around for those!

The Truth About Personal Trainer Stereotypes

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We are here to tell you exactly what we tell our students - as long as you are motivated, healthy, and passionate about fitness, age is no concern.

Despite the stereotype for a personal trainer being a young man in impeccable shape, research has consistently shown that personal training may not be a young man’s game, after all. 

The latest research has placed the average age of personal trainers as 39.8 years old, while the National Federation of Personal Trainers stated 40% of their certified trainers were between the ages of 42 and 60.

As you can see from the statistics above, becoming a personal trainer at 40 or older really isn’t that wild of an idea!

We do, however, understand that entering into a new profession can be a daunting prospect regardless of how old you are. As such, here are some of the more frequent apprehensions that we hear from people who are contemplating whether to begin a career in personal training at a later stage in life.

Want to learn more about the things that truly matter when it comes to becoming a successful fitness professional? Check out our article on what makes a good personal trainer here

How to Avoid Getting Trapped in a ‘Comfortable’ Career 

am i too old to be a personal trainer

In our experience of asking people why they think that they’re too old to become a personal trainer, one of the most common answers is ‘I already have my career’.

We’re going to be honest, taking the plunge and quitting your comfortable job is probably the biggest hurdle to overcome in your journey towards becoming a personal trainer, but it will be worth it!

More often than not, we are all guilty of succumbing to the temptation of falling into a routine, feeling comfortable in a career that is not-quite right for us - sound familiar? Of course it does!

First things first, you should know that you're not alone in this. It is worth bearing in mind that regardless of age, many successful personal trainers started their working lives in other professions.

Nobody is saying that you have to sacrifice your current job in order to complete the training to become a personal trainer. Nowadays, personal training qualifications are extremely flexible and can easily fit around your busy schedule.

For example, here at OriGym our students have the option to choose from full-time, part-time, and online personal trainer courses.

Whilst our full-time courses are best for anybody who is eager to get qualified as quickly as possible, online and part-time (also known as ‘blended learning’) courses allow you to train and study around your existing commitments. 

What’s more, if you really don’t want to, you won’t even need to quit your current job once you’re qualified as a personal trainer. Careers in the fitness industry are extremely flexible, and personal training works great as a second job, side hustle, or part-time income for anybody looking to slow down!

Want to know more? Read this OriGym guide to becoming an online personal trainer, which is a great option for those looking to work part-time. 

Are You Too Old to Learn Something New

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Okay, we admit it. Anxieties usually occur for a reason, and it can’t all be good news. When wondering ‘am I too old to be a personal trainer?’, a common worry is the sheer volume of content that must be learned in order to pass a personal training course. 

And it’s true, if someone is paying you to be an expert with regard to their fitness, then they will expect a certain level of expertise. Expertise, by its very definition, requires knowledge and learning.

In order to work as a qualified personal trainer, you will be required to complete a Level 3 Certificate in Fitness Instructing and a Level 4 Personal Training qualification

Provided that you are motivated to complete the course and interested in fitness, passing these qualifications won’t be anywhere near as difficult as you might think.

For reference, the Level 3 course is about as hard as a GCSE, whilst the Level 4 personal trainer course is around the same level of difficulty as an A-Level. 

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No academic course is easy, but here at OriGym, we aim to offer our students the best possible support. For example, all of our students can access the expertise and support of an experienced fitness Tutor 7 days a week. 

This support is available via email, through a chat box, over the phone, and for full-time and part-time students, there are opportunities to talk to a tutor face-to-face, too.

 

Enquire to Become a Personal Trainer

It's never too late to change careers, enquire about our personal trainer courses now. 

The quality of support offered to our students is reflected in our consistently high first-time pass rates, and in the excellent feedback we receive from our past students on sites such as Trustpilot

While you shouldn’t come into a personal training qualification believing it will be easy, you can be safe in the knowledge that, if you put the work in, we will be here to support you throughout your course and in the years that follow, too.

Want to know more about careers in the fitness industry? Check out the following articles:

Is There Demand for Older Personal Trainers?

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Some of the most frequent questions that we get from people who enquire about becoming a personal trainer at 40 or above include ‘will clients want to train with me?’ and ‘is there demand for older personal trainers?’. 

Whenever we have students ask questions along these lines, we always explain that yes, there absolutely is demand for older personal trainers.

In fact, according to AARP:

“Demand has accelerated for personal trainers who can relate to older adults in the gym.”

This claim is backed up by reports on tools such as Ahrefs showing that an increasing number of online users are searching for terms such as ‘personal trainer for over 50s near me’. 

Despite what you might have thought, affluent women make up a huge part of the demand for fitness professionals. This puts specialties such as pre- and post-natal personal training right at the top of the best routes of progression for mature PTs, making it one of many reasons why the answer to ‘is it too late to become a personal trainer?’ is absolutely not!

Read more about becoming a Strength and Conditioning Coach vs Personal Trainer here, as this is one of the various career options available for aspiring fitness professionals.  

am i too old to become a personal trainer

When you think about how many over 60s use the gym, whether as a social hobby or to keep fit, you can start to see just how many potential clients there are for older PTs. Not to mention the amount of people in their 40s and 50s who fit in a gym session around work and family life.

Now, we’re not saying that older personal trainers can only train slightly older clients, but this is an instance where you can really use your age to your advantage!

We naturally relate more to people with similar demographics to ourselves, so for a mature client, training with an older PT can actually make them feel at ease - especially if they’re new to working out in a gym.

Think about this, would a retired client really want a ripped 20 year old for a personal trainer? Or would they prefer somebody of a similar age, who they feel that they can relate to? 

It's not hard to believe that anybody would feel more comfortable training with somebody of a similar age seeing as they are likely to have more in common and have mutual interests to talk about.

One prominent explanation for the increased demand for older personal trainers is the fact that, over the last couple of decades, Ireland has seen an increase in average life expectancy for men and women, as well as a rise in the population of people within the ‘65 and over’ age bracket.

Statista cited that such population shifts are down to the fact that Ireland “ranks among the top countries globally in terms of human development, GDP and quality of healthcare.”

Relevant to personal trainers and the fitness industry overall, this means that more and more older people are seeking advice with regard to health and wellbeing, boosting demand from clients.

Paired with the fact that the fitness club industry has grown at a rapid rate over the past decade, it’s only logical that there is a need for more personal trainers within that age bracket to cater for the new demand.

Benefits of Being an Older Personal Trainer

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By now, we hope that we have squashed any niggling thoughts that were making you question ‘am I too old to become a personal trainer?’.

If you still aren’t convinced that becoming a personal trainer at 40 or over is not just possible, but in fact a good idea, sit tight, because we have listed a couple of benefits of being and hiring an older personal trainer!

The Value of Life Experience

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Running a successful personal training business requires the ability to recruit and retain loyal clients. Building rapport, establishing loyalty, and ensuring that your reputation is nothing but positive are all just as important as your expertise in the field.

A lot of these skills can’t be taught and instead take time to acquire, emphasising the fact that life experience really is invaluable.

While younger personal trainers may have a perceived head start in that they ‘look the part’, those who push the typical personal trainer age limits have the advantage of being wiser, more patient, and more knowledgeable.

What’s more, older personal trainers are more likely to have first-hand experiences and therefore a better understanding of life events like pregnancies, surgeries, injuries, and the many other experiences that could affect a client’s fitness, health, or motivation.

This is another reason why pre- and post-natal personal training services are a great career for women in particular who are looking at becoming a personal trainer at 40 beyond!

Who do you think an affluent, 30-40 year old pregnant lady would prefer to train with - a young personal trainer with no children, or a mature woman who has experienced pregnancy and motherhood first hand? 

The ability to be patient and recognise that clients have lives and commitments outside of the gym, and being able to understand exactly what the client is going through, is something that sets older personal trainers apart from the competition.

View more on why this is a great career path for those who want to stand out and find a niche they're passionate about in our article, 'Should I Become a Personal Trainer?'.

Clients Relate to You

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As we touched on when we discussed the demand for older personal trainers, one of the reasons that it isn’t too late to become a personal trainer is that mature clients can relate better to an older PT. 

Being of a similar age or demographic to a client means that they will feel more comfortable around you, which is exactly the relationship that a personal trainer should want to have with their clients.

If a client feels comfortable in your presence, they will find it easier to be honest with you about how they are finding their programme, they’ll admit when they have found themselves off track, and they are more likely to become a loyal client.

Creating positive and professional relationships with clients is the key to becoming a successful personal trainer with a healthy client list. Whilst there are many effective marketing strategies for personal trainers, you really cannot beat good word of mouth marketing.

This is especially true if your target market is older individuals, who are more likely to trust what a friend says about a personal trainer than they are to hire somebody based on something that they see on a social media post or a paid Google advert.

Want to know more about the different possibilities of a career in fitness? Check out our guide on becoming a Mobile Personal Trainer

Transferable Skills

am i too old to become a pt

In addition to the wisdom that comes with life experience, older people, having already spent a significant amount of time in the world of work, are more likely to have transferable career skills than, say, an 18 year old who is fresh out of a personal trainer apprenticeship

Being able to manage people, time, and finances, are all skills that only get better with time (and as a result, age). When it comes to working on a self-employed basis and starting your own personal trainer business, these are all skills that will help you behind the scenes.

What’s more, anybody with experience of working in a sales or marketing role, or any aspect of business or admin for that matter, will have a huge advantage when carrying out tasks such as writing a personal trainer business plan and selling as a personal trainer.

You Have More Resources

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There are many possible career routes for a personal trainer, with the 3 most common options being to work on a contract basis for a gym, working as a freelancer in a gym, and working as a self-employed personal trainer.

If you work as an employee for a gym, then you won’t really need any resources to get started. However, if you become a freelancer or a self-employed PT, there are a couple of costs.

Whether that is paying rent to a gym so that you can use their facilities to train clients, or finding the funds for equipment, space to store it, and money to set-up and register your personal training business, these things all cost money.

Fortunately, a higher disposable income often comes with age. This recent CARDI report shows that in Ireland, disposable income is typically "€654 for those aged 50-64, and €418 for those aged 16-24". 

In fact, the same report found that the disposable income of 18-24 year olds is among the lowest of all age groups.  

This suggests that one of the benefits of becoming a personal trainer at 40 or older is that you have access to more money and resources than you would if you were to become a PT at the start of your working life.

Having these funds and resources is something that will only help you to build a client base quickly and as a result, get your salary off to a healthy start. Seeing as self-employed and freelance PTs almost always earn more than those working for a gym full-time, being able to jump straight into life as a freelancer or a business owner is a huge advantage.  

Before You Go!

We hope that this guide has helped you to realise that the answer to ‘am I too old to become a personal trainer?’ is a huge no!

Here at Origym, we offer a range of health and fitness qualifications, all of which you can learn about by downloading this FREE course prospectus.

It’s never too late to pursue your dream career so why not go ahead and enquire about our CIMSPA endorsed Personal Training Diploma or check out OriGym’s Online Personal Trainer courses here.

 

Enquire to Become a Personal Trainer

It's never too late to change careers, enquire about our personal trainer courses now. 

Written by Luke Hughes

CEO

Luke is the CEO for OriGym, with a masters degree and 1st class honours degree in sport and exercise science and is a qualified personal trainer. Luke loves playing football and running, but his main passion is for cycling, where he can often be found cycling round the Lake District on a Sunday afternoon!

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