For a while after college, I was thinking of becoming a fitness trainer, and I am a certified aqua trainer.

Dylan Lauren, Businesswoman

Pros and Cons of Working as a Gym Instructor

advantages and disadvantages of being a fitness instructor

You think about becoming a fitness instructor but are not sure whether this is actually a good career path for you or not?

Great! This article is exactly for you since I will show you all the pros and cons of being a fitness trainer in the following.

Table of Contents

Fitness Instructor Job Profile

Job DescriptionFitness trainers usually work in gyms and make sure that their clients work out in a proper and healthy manner. Moreover, they are also responsible to maintain the gym and keep it tidy. Some fitness instructors also work as personal trainers.
Salary$37,000 per year on average, most fitness instructors make between $28,000 and $52,000 per year.
Job SecurityPoor since gym instructors are replaceable rather easily.
Job SatisfactionDecent if you love working out.
Work-Life BalanceGood since you will not work many extra hours and also have free weekends and holidays.
Physically / Mentally Demanding?Physically demanding job.
Future OutlookPoor since many jobs will be lost in the fitness industry in the future due to machine learning and artificial intelligence.
RequirementsNo special educational requirements. Finishing high school will often be enough to work as a fitness trainer.

Advantages of Being a Fitness Instructor

  1. Gym instructors have a rather relaxed job
  2. You learn a lot about keeping your body fit
  3. You learn a lot about proper nutrition
  4. You can make additional money as a personal trainer
  5. Fitness instructors can work with many different people
  6. You can combine your job and your passion
  7. You can work indoors as a fitness trainer
  8. Easy to connect to people
  9. You can work out for free
  10. You don’t have to go to the gym after work
  11. You can give your friends free lessons
  12. Fitness instructors can build a strong network of influential people
  13. You don’t work many extra hours as a fitness trainer
  14. You barely work on weekends or holidays
  15. Good work-life balance for fitness instructors
  16. You can start a side hustle around fitness and health
  17. You don’t need a college degree for becoming a gym instructor

Gym instructors have a rather relaxed job

One advantage of being a fitness trainer is that you will have a rather relaxed job.

While other people will have to deliver their work in time and don’t know how to do all the work they should do, you will have a rather relaxed schedule and enough time to spend for each individual client as a fitness instructor.

Moreover, as long as you show up at work on time, you will also have plenty of time for breaks and quite often, you will even be able to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea.

In fact, your job will often just be to supervise people and make sure that they don’t do something stupid or that could hurt them or the equipment of the studio you work for.

You learn a lot about keeping your body fit

As a fitness instructor, you will also learn how to keep your body and your brain fit and vital.

In fact, you will learn many methods of how you can improve the performance of your body and also what you can do to give your brain a performance boost as well.

Consequently, you will not only have more power at work, but you will likely also enjoy a higher level of energy throughout your whole day and will really be able to get things done.

Also your risk of suffering from serious health issues may be much lower since you can take some preventive measures in this regard.

You learn a lot about proper nutrition

Another upside to working as a fitness instructor is that you will also learn a lot about proper nutrition.

As you can see when you take a look around in public, many people in our current state of the world are heavily overweight or even obese.

If you don’t want to end up like that as well, you have to care about your nutrition and you also have to learn what’s healthy for your body and what’s not.

As a fitness trainer, you will learn all of that since you will also have to advise your clients in this regard many times.

In fact, nutrition and fitness are closely linked and only if you do both things in a proper manner, your body and your brain will be able to stay healthy in the long run.

You can make additional money as a personal trainer

If you are really good at fitness and have extensive knowledge in this field, you may even be able to work as a personal trainer.

Compared to normal fitness instructors, personal trainers have fewer clients and work one-on-one with them to really improve their performance and to eliminate the individual weaknesses of the respective person.

Sure, if clients book a personal trainer, they will often be much more demanding since they pay much more money for the service and expect appropriate results.

While this may lead to significant pressure for you, it can also be quite interesting since you can really focus on the individual person instead of having to deal with a large group of people where you can’t optimize the individual training behavior that well.

Fitness instructors can work with many different people

Another benefit of becoming a fitness trainer is that you can also work with many different people.

In fact, you will supervise many new gym members every day and this can be quite interesting since we are all different and all have individual strengths and weaknesses to work on.

Moreover, if you talk to many different people, you will also get a lot of different opinions about certain topics and this gives you the opportunity to see the world from a different perspective.

You can combine your job and your passion

Working as a fitness instructor can also be great for you in case you are really passionate about working out in general and if you like to spend lots of time in the gym.

In such a case, your job as a fitness trainer may not even feel like work but rather like a leisure activity with which you can make money.

In fact, this is the best way of working in my opinion since you will really enjoy what you are doing and will therefore also stay motivated in the long run.

Consequently, a career in fitness can also make quite a lot of sense for you if you are really passionate about fitness and health in general and if you want to turn your passion into a career.

You can work indoors as a fitness trainer

As a fitness instructor, you will also have the privilege to work indoors in the gym while many other people have to work outdoors in the cold or during periods of extreme heat.

Consequently, while other people out there have to deal with the cold or have to sweat all day long, you will be able to spend your workday in a rather convenient environment and many people who don’t have this luxury secretly wish to change places with you in this regard.

Easy to connect to people

Since you will be able to talk to so many different people, it will also be easy for you to make new connections as a fitness trainer.

For instance, if you have just moved to another city and haven’t found many friends yet, working as a fitness instructor can make quite a lot of sense for you since you will just meet many new people in a natural manner and you can also make many new friends pretty soon.

Moreover, you may also have an easy time finding a partner in the gym since you will just stay in shape and many people will try to hit on you.

You can work out for free

Another advantage of working as a gym instructor is that you will also be able to work out for free.

Quite often, fitness instructors get free gym memberships from the company they work for.

Even if you don’t, you will still have plenty of time to work out during your workday when you show your clients certain exercises they can do.

Hence, as a fitness instructor, you can also save a little bit of money on gym memberships and you can use this money for other things you like.

You don’t have to go to the gym after work

Since you will already work out quite a lot during your workday, there will be no need to go to the gym after work like many other people who work in office jobs have to do.

In turn, you will have more time to spend on hobbies or with your favorite people.

You can give your friends free lessons

Being a fitness instructor can also help you in the sense that you can give your friends or family free workout lessons.

Due to your daily experience with many different clients, you will soon realize which exercises work best and which are just a waste of time.

In turn, you can recommend the best ones to your family and friends and also show them what they shouldn’t do if they want to stay fit and healthy in the long run.

Fitness instructors can build a strong network of influential people

You may also be able to build a strong network of people as a fitness instructor.

This is especially true if you work as a personal trainer since only people who make good money will be able to afford those services in the long run.

In fact, if you are really good at what you are doing, you can meet many famous and influential people during your career.

Not only can this be quite interesting, but it may also help you in various parts of life since you will be able to get important information sooner than the general public if you are friends with important people and this can greatly help you to make important decisions in various parts of life.

You don’t work many extra hours as a fitness trainer

Another benefit of working in the fitness industry is that you will also not have to work that many hours.

In fact, most fitness instructors barely make any extra hours at all and some of them even work significantly less than 40 hours per week.

You will often also have rather short workdays and free evenings as a fitness trainer.

In turn, you will have more than enough leisure to spend on the things you like even more than work.

You barely work on weekends or holidays

Not only will you not work that many hours as a gym instructor, but you will also be able to enjoy free weekends and holidays most often.

This gives you the opportunity to spend some quality time with your loved ones and you can also make nice city trips while other people have to work during those unpleasant times.

Good work-life balance for fitness instructors

Since you will have free weekends and will also not have to work many extra hours, you will also be able to enjoy a pretty decent work-life balance in general.

In fact, many fitness trainers are quite happy in this regard and barely anyone in this field complains about the ratio between leisure and work.

Hence, if having enough leisure is really important to you and you are willing to sacrifice some income prospects for that, it can also make quite a lot of sense for you to work in the fitness industry.

You can start a side hustle around fitness and health

You may not know it yet, but you will also be able to make really good money from side hustles as a fitness instructor.

Fitness is a topic that is important to almost everyone and if you become a real expert in this field, you can start a YouTube channel or a blog where you share all your best tips that you have learned from your work.

If you are willing to work hard on those things, you will be able to build a large audience soon and you can monetize this audience through ads or other measures in the future.

In the long run, you may even be able to make more money from those side hustles than from your normal job and you may therefore be able to quit your day job and go full-time YouTubing or blogging.

You don’t need a college degree for becoming a gym instructor

Another benefit of working in the fitness industry is that you will not need a degree most of the time.

Quite often, it will be enough to finish high school and you will be good to go.

This also means that you will not have to spend many years on college and can also avoid the significant costs related to it.

Instead, you can make your own money pretty soon and can become independent of your parents right after school.

As you can see, there are many advantages of becoming a gym instructor.

However, it is still not all upside and we also have to talk about all the issues that may come along with it in the following chapter.

Disadvantages of Working as a Fitness Trainer

  1. Fitness instructors don’t make good money
  2. Old-age poverty may become an issue
  3. You will have a rather low social standing
  4. Gym instructors are replaceable
  5. Rather unclear future job prospects
  6. Teleworking is not possible for gym instructors
  7. You will have to work in a rather artificial environment
  8. Clients can be difficult
  9. You will not learn many hard skills as a fitness trainer
  10. Lack of digital skills
  11. Hard to get out of this field
  12. You will have to work in a physical manner
  13. Lack of promotion options
  14. You may have to quit your job once you get older
  15. Your work may feel like a waste of time

Fitness instructors don’t make good money

One problem with being a fitness trainer is that you will simply not make good money from what you are doing.

In fact, many fitness instructors are barely able to make a living from what they are doing and especially if you live in a region where living costs are quite high, you may even need a second job to pay your bills.

You will also not be able to afford any luxury and may also experience financial problems if something unexpected happens since you will often not be able to build a sufficient emergency fund.

Old-age poverty may become an issue

Since you will not make much money as a fitness trainer, you may also not be able to save enough money for retirement.

In turn, once you reach retirement age and don’t have your income from your fitness career anymore, you may no longer be able to pay your rent and may even end up homeless in the worst case.

You will have a rather low social standing

Another downside to working as a fitness instructor is that you will also have a rather low social standing.

While your clients will be grateful for your support, you will just not get the same level of appreciation and admiration as people like doctors who can save lives in their jobs.

Gym instructors are replaceable

You should also not think that your job as a fitness trainer will be safe.

In fact, you will be replaceable pretty easy and this means that if someone comes along who will be better than you or demands a lower wage, you may just get fired pretty soon and will have to search for a new job.

Rather unclear future job prospects

Not only will you have rather poor job prospects right now, but also conditions for people who work in the fitness industry will likely even worsen in the future.

Due to our technological progress, people will rather workout from home and also the demand for fitness instructors will be much lower in the future.

Hence, you should also not become a gym instructor in case job security is really important to you.

Teleworking is not possible for gym instructors

You will also not be able to work from home as a fitness instructor.

While many other people who work in classical office jobs are able to work remotely, you will be the one who has to be present at work in person and this will take away some flexibility out of your life.

You will have to work in a rather artificial environment

While some people love to spend their time in the gym, many others don’t like gyms at all.

I personally don’t like them since it feels kind of unnatural to me to spend my time in those artificial environments instead of nature and if you have the same opinion as me in this regard, you should also not become a fitness instructor since you will just not become happy in the long run with it.

Clients can be difficult

Another downside to becoming a fitness instructor is that you will also have to deal with difficult clients.

While many of your clients will be nice, others will be demanding and may even try to bring you down for no reason.

Hence, also make sure that you have decent people skills so that you are able to deal with those situations in a proper manner.

You will not learn many hard skills as a fitness trainer

While you will become really good at many things related to fitness, you will just not learn many other skills that are valuable in the job market right now.

Consequently, you may also have a hard time in case you want to switch fields since not many companies will be willing to employ you.

Lack of digital skills

As a fitness coach, you will also not be able to learn many digital skills.

However, those digital skills are crucial for succeeding in our current state of the world in various parts of life and if you don’t learn them, you will soon be left behind.

Hard to get out of this field

Many people also just get stuck in the fitness industry.

Quite often, they start their careers in this field right after school and don’t learn anything that could give them options in the job market.

Hence, before becoming a fitness trainer, make sure that this is really what you want to do for a long time to avoid any trouble in this regard later in your life.

You will have to work in a physical manner

Working as a fitness instructor can also be quite exhausting.

In fact, you will have to show gym members how to work out properly on a regular basis and this means that you will also have to work out quite a lot.

In turn, you may be quite tired when you come home from work.

Lack of promotion options

You should also not expect great promotion options as a gym instructor.

Quite often, you will just work in the same position for many years without the hope to ever get promoted to a position where you will have more responsibilities.

You may have to quit your job once you get older

Due to the physical nature of the job, you may even have to quit your job as a fitness trainer once you get older since your body may just not stay strong enough to work in this field in your 50s or even 60s.

Your work may feel like a waste of time

If you are not really passionate about working out and fitness in general, you may also get bored with what you are doing pretty soon and it may even feel like a waste of time to you.

Top 10 Being a Fitness Instructor Pros & Cons – Summary List

Being a Fitness Instructor ProsBeing a Fitness Instructor Cons
Fitness instructors stay fitFitness trainers don’t make good money
You will not have that much stress at workPoor job security
You can advise your family and friendsUnclear job prospects in the future
Gym memberships for freeYou have to deal with difficult clients
Fitness trainers can start side hustlesYou may get bored pretty soon
You will not work many extra hoursYou may need a second job
Fitness trainers don’t work on weekendsOld-age poverty can be an issue
You have decent work-life balanceYou have to do physical work
You can connect to many peopleYou may have to quit your job
You don’t need fancy educationYou will not learn any digital skills

Should You Become A Fitness Trainer?

As you can see from the analysis in this article, there are indeed many advantages and disadvantages of being a gym instructor.

You should take your time and evaluate all the pros and cons of working in the fitness industry before you make your final decision regarding this important topic that could greatly impact your future.

If you are still interested in a fitness instructor career, you should also get detailed information on the salary, job prospects, future outlook, job satisfaction, educational requirements, working hours, work-life balance of fitness instructors and much more.

Also make sure to check out the following articles:

Advantages and disadvantages of a career as a property manager

Advantages and disadvantages of a career as a sales agent

Advantages and disadvantages of a career as a recruiter

Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_trainer

https://www.statista.com/statistics/641137/money-spent-on-personal-trainers-in-us/

https://www.statista.com/statistics/319319/number-of-fitness-instructors-in-the-uk/

About the author

My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people about the different career paths that are possible in our current state of the world. In my opinion, people often make the mistake to choose their profession solely based on how much money they can earn from it instead of doing what makes them really happy.

This is quite sad and I just want to give people a more objective picture of how a fulfilling career could look like. I did the same when I started working in consulting after finishing my Master’s degree in Economics. However, I’ve quit pretty soon after that since I haven’t found true meaning in my job.

Now I can do what I really love to do and I want to enable as many other people as well to go this exciting path towards happiness instead of money.

I conducted various interviews with employees to give you a good impression of what working in different fields will look like and that you can make the best possible decision regarding your future career choice.

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