9 Roles and Responsibilities of a Personal Trainer

roles and responsibilities of a personal trainer

Being a personal trainer is one of the most popular, rewarding and well-paid careers out there. But what exactly are the roles and responsibilities of a personal trainer? 

Like with any job, it is important to know exactly what it involves before you get started. This article will tell you all you need to know about the role of a personal trainer. We’ll cover:

If you already know that you have what it takes to make it in the fitness industry, check out OriGym’s CIMSPA-accredited personal trainer courses here! You can also download our latest free prospectus to browse the full range of courses available here at OriGym. 


Become a personal trainer with OriGym

If you think you have what it takes to fulfill the role of a personal trainer, enquire about our CIMSPA-recognised personal training diploma below!

What Is A Personal Trainer?

personal trainer duties nutrition

Before we get into the details of what it involves, you may be wondering, what exactly is a personal trainer? 

In simple terms, a personal trainer is a certified individual who works on a 1-to-1 basis with a client to help them achieve their fitness goals. 

A personal trainer will help a client reach these goals by delivering a fitness programme that is specifically tailored to their needs. These sessions mostly take place in a gym environment, but can also be done at home with an online personal trainer

Every client is different, but common goals include weight loss and building strength. Personal trainers may also work with athletes to help them improve their sports performance.

To be a personal trainer, you need to have completed a Level 3 Fitness Instructor Course and Level 4 personal training course. Once you have this qualification, a whole world of opportunities is opened to you in the fitness industry! 

9 Roles And Responsibilities Of A Personal Trainer

So, now you know exactly what a personal trainer is, let’s take a look at some of the main personal trainer duties you’ll be expected to carry out. 

1. Conduct fitness assessments with new clients

what is a personal trainer business

When taking on a new client, one of the first roles and responsibilities of a personal trainer is to carry out a fitness assessment. 

A fitness assessment is simply a short initial consultation with a client to help you get to know their current fitness level, their reasons for getting personal training and what they hope to get out of it. This helps you to really tailor your programme to their individual needs. 

There are many elements to a fitness assessment, but most include a postural assessment, movement analysis, flexibility assessment and a cardiovascular fitness test. It is also common to take some basic body measurements such as weight and height. 

Conducting a fitness assessment is perhaps one of the most important roles and responsibilities to a client as it helps determine the type of programme you will create for them and provides a baseline from which to measure their progress. 

Another great reason to do an initial fitness assessment is that it allows you to get to know your client on a personal level; this is a hugely rewarding part of being a personal trainer!

2. Carry out 1-on-1 training sessions with clients

personal training roles

Arguably the most important of all the roles and responsibilities of a personal trainer is that you will be conducting 1-on-1 training sessions with your clients. After all, this is what being a personal trainer is all about!

After the initial fitness assessment, the 1-on-1 sessions are when you’ll get stuck into the programme with your client. They typically last between 40 and 60 minutes. 

During the session, the role of a personal trainer is to guide the client through a workout. This can involve demonstrating exercises, checking their form, counting reps and sets and most importantly, motivating and encouraging them

The idea of leading a workout session might seem daunting at the moment. But here at OriGym, we believe that personal trainers should qualify with all the knowledge and skills they need to lead a session with confidence. That’s why our Level 4 personal training course goes above and beyond to make sure you qualify with everything you need to start your career in the fitness industry. 

3. Tailor programmes to client’s specific needs

personal trainer responsibilities

Another of the major roles and responsibilities of being a personal trainer is to make sure that you tailor your services to each individual client. 

When you first get a new client, it is important to establish what their goals and expectations are. This is best done by sitting down and simply talking to them! It can help to have pre-prepared questions to ask your client and write down their answers so that you can refer back to them throughout the programme. 

Every client is unique, but some common goals include weight loss, strength building and improving fitness performance for a specific sport. 

It is also important to take into account any health conditions, physical disabilities or injuries that your client may have when creating their programme. If you’re interested in training clients with specific needs, you may be interested in taking one of OriGym’s specialist fitness courses, such as our Level 5 Obesity Control and Weight Management Course


Become a personal trainer with OriGym

If you think you have what it takes to fulfill the role of a personal trainer, enquire about our CIMSPA-recognised personal training diploma below!

4. Monitor client progress

roles of a pt

A key personal trainer duty is to monitor your client’s progress. This allows both you and your client to see whether the programme is working for them and whether you need to make any changes.

There are many ways to monitor progress, from writing things down on paper to inputting data into an app.

You should also always refer back to the initial fitness assessment as a way to assess the client’s progress compared to when they started. Personal trainers all report that one of the best parts about the job is seeing how your client has improved since their first session!

Remember that progress is not just physical. Whilst measuring things like weight and body mass index are useful, part of the role of a personal trainer is to check in with your client’s mental progress too. If they came to you feeling unhappy about their body, for example, progress for them would be if they are feeling more positive and happy!

If you’re interested in becoming a personal trainer, here are 3 more articles that we recommend reading:

5. Offer advice on nutrition and lifestyle (but not meal plans!)


Since diet is such an important part of fitness, it makes sense that nutrition advice is one of the roles and responsibilities of a personal trainer. However, the type of advice you can give is very specific!

OriGym has a whole article that discusses whether personal trainers can give nutritional advice. But the short answer is: personal trainers can give advice about nutrition and lifestyle but they cannot prescribe specific meal plans or nutrition programmes. Only registered dietitians can do this! 

In OriGym’s Level 4 personal training course, you will learn about the main principles of nutrition and its role in a physical activity programme, giving you a solid foundation of knowledge to advise your clients.

You can advise your client about nutrition if you feel it is relevant to their goals, but you should also be responsible and careful about the type of nutritional advice you give. This is why it is important to know exactly what the role of a personal trainer involves but also what it doesn’t!

If you’re particularly interested in nutrition, you can pursue your passion by taking OriGym’s Level 5 Sports Nutrition Course to help you stand out from the rest! 

6. Maintain an online presence

what are the roles of a personal trainer

In a world where the Internet rules, having an online presence is an essential part of the role of a personal trainer. It is one of the most effective ways to advertise your services, create a brand identity and ultimately gain new clients! 

Social media is perhaps the easiest way to do this. You can set up an Instagram or Facebook account in a matter of seconds! 

Some good things to include on your personal training social media pages are transformation photos of clients, client reviews, videos of your sessions, fitness tips and of course, your price list and contact details. 

If you’re just starting a personal training business, having a website and/or social media account is also an easy way for you to reach prospective clients and for them to contact you.

Whilst it is arguably not a personal trainer ‘duty’ as such, working on your online presence is an important part of the job. Plus, it is a great chance to be creative and have fun with it! 

7. Act as a positive role model for clients 

roles of personal trainer

As a personal trainer, you should think of yourself as a role model for your client. Especially if they are new to fitness or struggling with motivation, they likely look to you for inspiration!

Whilst there is certainly no personal trainer ‘physique’ or ‘look’, an important personal trainer duty is to keep yourself in shape too! Clients will be much more likely to be engaged and motivated if they see you as a positive role model to aim for. 

Being a role model isn’t just physical- your client should also be inspired by your attitude. Part of the role of a personal trainer is to always be positive, optimistic and outgoing! 

One of the key things that you’ll learn during your Level 4 personal training course with OriGym is leadership skills, meaning that you’ll be ready to inspire and support your clients. 

8. Keep up to date with the latest trends in the fitness industry

personal training

As with any job, staying up to date with the latest news, trends and developments in your industry is always beneficial- and the same goes for being a personal trainer. 

The fitness industry is one of the fastest growing industries, so an important role and responsibility of a personal trainer is to keep up with it all! Social media is a great way to do this, as it is full of fitness accounts, videos, and trends. 

There are also a whole host of blogs, websites and forums where you can chat to fellow PTs and keep up to date with the latest fitness news. Networking face-to-face with other personal trainers in your local area is another great way to learn about what is going on in the industry! 

With this in mind, OriGym’s personal training courses guarantee to prepare you for this dynamic industry by providing you with only the very latest information and skills so that you can stay one step ahead of the game! 

9. Attract and retain clients 

responsibilities of a personal trainer

When asking the question, ‘what is a personal trainer?’, you may not immediately think about the sales side of the job. But whether you’re working for a gym or as a freelancer, you should remember that you are ultimately trying to sell your services!

Most personal trainers offer the initial consultation session for free to attract clients. It is therefore important that this first session is engaging enough to keep your client interested enough to sign up for paid sessions. 

If you work for a gym, you may also be required to promote the gym’s membership options to your clients. This is an important personal trainer duty that you should look out for on job descriptions.  

Here at OriGym, our personal training courses cover the business side of personal training and help you create a successful personal training business model. 

How To Qualify As A Personal Trainer

If you think that you’re ready to take on the roles and responsibilities of a personal trainer, the first step is to get qualified! There are two main qualifications you will need: Level 3 Fitness Instructor and Level 4 Personal Training. Here’s what they both entail:  

Level 3 Gym/ Fitness Instructing Qualification

major roles and responsibilities of a personal trainer

The Level 3 Gym/Fitness Instructing Qualification is an entry level course that will equip you with the foundation of skills and knowledge you need to start a career in fitness. 

Once you have completed the course, you will be qualified to work as an instructor in a fitness environment, i.e. a gym, delivering group classes, running gym inductions, and cleaning and maintaining the gym floor. 

It is important that your Level 3 Gym Instructor Qualification is widely recognised by reputable bodies and organisations. Here at OriGym, all of our courses are CIMSPA-accredited and internationally-recognised, to give you the best chance of securing your dream job in fitness! 

Upon completing your course, you should have a comprehensive knowledge of topics including human anatomy and physiology, how to create a training programme and the principles of health and safety. OriGym’s Level 3 course covers all of this and more so that you can enter the industry with confidence. 

Check out this article on what a Level 3 Gym Instructor can do for more detail!  

Level 4 Personal Training Qualification

Once you have your Level 3 course, you can then go on to take your Level 4 Personal Training qualification. This builds on your existing knowledge and equips you with all you need to be a successful personal trainer!

After completing your Level 4 course, you should have an extensive knowledge of all things fitness, anatomy and nutrition. You should also have a deeper understanding of the fitness industry and have the skills to create your own personal training business model. 

You will be more than confident planning and delivering training programmes, including how to adapt your programmes for clients with special requirements or disabilities. 

With so much to consider when picking a Personal Training Course, OriGym makes it easy! We guarantee that upon qualifying, you will be fully equipped to start your dream career as a personal trainer. Plus, your qualification will be accredited by CIMSPA and internationally recognised!

For more information about these two qualifications, we have a handy guide explaining the difference between a fitness instructor and a personal trainer here.  

Where Do Personal Trainers Work?

Once you are qualified as a personal trainer, there are 3 main career paths to choose from, each of which will slightly affect the type of personal trainer duties you will take on. We’ve outlined the three main options below.

Taking your Personal Training Course with OriGym gives you access to our award-winning careers support after you qualify. So if you’re unsure of your next steps, our team of experts will be on hand to help you!

Employed By A Gym 

personal trainer duties

Being a personal trainer employed by a gym simply means that you work directly for a specific gym, such as Pure Gym or David Lloyd. 

With this option, you will likely take on an existing client base and be on a fixed wage determined by the gym. These factors make it a popular choice with newly qualified personal trainers, as you have a guaranteed income and set of clients. 

Working for a gym means that you will have to take on some additional roles and responsibilities as a personal trainer. You will be responsible for carrying out gym inductions with new gym members, which involves showing them around the gym, demonstrating equipment and generally introducing them to the facilities.  

You may also have to carry out more mundane tasks such as cleaning down equipment, monitoring the changing rooms and working on the reception. But most personal trainers testify that all the other rewarding, fun and inspiring aspects of the job make these tasks completely worthwhile! 

Another additional personal trainer duty you may have to take on is running group classes. Most gyms have a timetable of exercise classes, and you may be required to take them.

Freelance for a gym 

role of a personal trainer

Working freelance for a gym involves many of the same personal trainer duties as being employed by a gym, except you get a little more freedom!

Being freelance means that you have more control over your daily schedule. You run whatever sessions you want and choose the amount of clients you take on, meaning that how much money you earn is essentially up to you!

Unlike working for a gym where you are given an existing client base, freelance personal trainers need to seek out their own clients. This is one of the most important roles of a freelance personal trainer.

When working freelance, you will typically pay a small fee to a gym who will then let you use their facilities to carry out your sessions. Although small, this additional cost can make an impact on your ultimate earnings. 

The role of a personal trainer working for a gym and a freelance personal trainer are essentially the same. However, as a freelancer you will have to spend more time running your own business. This involves administration, organising your finances and marketing yourself on social media.


what is a personal trainer

The third employment type for a personal trainer is to become self-employed. This option gives you the most amount of freedom. It is therefore a popular choice for more experienced personal trainers who have already built up a client base and now want more control over their working life. 

Whether you want to focus on 1-to-1 sessions or group classes, you can dictate how much and what type of work you do! You can operate from various locations and even open up your own gym!

In terms of your roles and responsibilities as a self-employed personal trainer, they differ slightly from the other employment types. Although you won’t have to do things like gym inductions, you will have all the additional responsibilities that come with essentially running your own business! 

Although being self-employed can be hugely rewarding, it also comes with a certain amount of risk, as you don’t have a guaranteed income or hours. 

However, if you’re willing to put in the work, this is generally the most well-paid of all the personal training employment options. But it does require a lot of self-motivation, determination and independence! 


Become a personal trainer with OriGym

If you think you have what it takes to fulfill the role of a personal trainer, enquire about our CIMSPA-recognised personal training diploma below!

What Career Progression Will I Have As A Personal Trainer?

Once you’ve achieved your personal training qualification, there are a whole host of career paths to choose from! 

We’ve outlined a few of the most popular career paths below:

Level 5 Sports Nutrition 

roles and responsibilities of a personal trainer to a client

If you want to delve more into the nutrition side of personal training, a Level 5 Sports Nutrition Course is a valuable skill to add to your belt! 

After qualifying, you should have an extensive knowledge of macros and micros, nutritional legislation, specialist diets and how to meal prep. You’ll also have a deep understanding of the relationship between nutrition and physical activity, allowing you to tailor nutrition programmes to your clients’ specific needs.

Having this qualification will help you really stand out in the personal training job market. You’ll be able to give your clients expert nutritional advice and create diet plans to help them reach their goals.

Whilst it involves much of the same roles and responsibilities of a personal trainer (such as motivating clients), this qualification allows you to give nutrition advice to your clients too.

Although many people take this course after completing their Level 4 Personal Training, there are no entry requirements for OriGym’s Sports Nutrition Course. So you can get this qualification at any stage in your career! Plus, our course is fully online and can be completed at your own pace, so you can fit your learning around your own schedule. 

This opens up a world of employment opportunities, either within personal training or as a self-employed sports nutritionist. Whatever you decide, taking your Level 5 Sports Nutrition Course with OriGym means that you’ll have access to our extensive post-course support and careers advice to help you every step of the way. 

Level 4 Sports Massage Therapy 

roles and responsibilities of a personal trainer

Another popular career progression for personal trainers is to take a course in sports massage therapy. 

You’ll learn about anatomy, physiology, the principles of soft tissue dysfunction, as well as professional practice in conducting massages. After qualifying, you’ll be able to deliver sports massage therapies, aid injury rehabilitation and enhance sporting performance.

Many of the roles and responsibilities of a personal trainer will overlap with your sports massage qualification, such as carrying out an initial assessment and working on a 1-on-1 basis. This is one of the reasons that it is a perfect progression for a qualified PT!

With so many courses out there, taking your Level 4 Sports Massage Course with OriGym guarantees that you’ll be equipped with all you need to become a leading sports massage therapist. With no entry requirements, it is a great option for both beginners and already qualified PTs. 

This course makes a great addition to your Personal Training qualification and will make you really stand out in the fitness job market. Plus, OriGym’s expert post-course careers advice will help you get the most out of your skills and land your dream job in sports massage therapy!

woman holding knee in pain

If you want to expand your client base, completing a Level 3 Exercise Referral course is a great way to add even more value to your personal training services.

Completing an Exercise Referral course allows you to tailor training programs based on a client's medical conditions. It is similar to the role of a personal trainer, but you'll be training clients who are diagnosed with conditions such as diabetes, osteoarthritis and obesity.   

Not only will this help you enhance your earning potential as a personal trainer, but it is also hugely rewarding on a personal level! Exercise Referral is all about helping your clients achieve their potential, regardless of their conditions!

Before you go!

So, do you think you are ready to take on the roles and responsibilities of a personal trainer? With so many different aspects to the job and so many different career paths to choose from, it is one of the most rewarding jobs out there!

If you want to start a career in the fitness industry, OriGym's Level 4 personal training course is the best place to start! You can also browse all of our fitness courses by downloading the free prospectus here


Become a personal trainer with OriGym

If you think you have what it takes to fulfill the role of a personal trainer, enquire about our CIMSPA-recognised personal training diploma below!

Written by Alice Williams

Content Writer & Fitness Enthusiast

Alice is a content writer at OriGym. With a first-class degree in French and Linguistics, she loves all things language, fitness and culture. As part of her degree, she spent a year living in France where she worked for a lifestyle blog, gaining professional experience in both translation and content writing. 

When she’s not writing, you can usually find Alice practicing yoga and she hopes to one day become a yoga instructor herself. She also loves running, tennis and cooking up a vegan storm in the kitchen! It was this passion for health and fitness, combined with her love for writing, that brought Alice to OriGym.

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