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Male trainer with female client lunging with medicine ball in hand

Have you ever found yourself daydreaming during your 9-5 job, envisioning a career where your passion for fitness and wellness can take centre stage? Or are you facing the end of your schooling career with absolutely no desire to “get a safe desk job”?

The demand for health and fitness professionals in South Africa has skyrocketed in recent years. According to a report by Ken Research, the revenue for South Africa’s fitness services industry is projected to reach over USD 580 million by the end of 2023. This substantial growth is largely due to an increased awareness of the importance of health and fitness, combined with a rising interest in tailor-made personal fitness solutions.

Why consider personal training? What can you expect in this profession? And how do you become a personal trainer? 

Let’s find out

Why Become a Personal Trainer?

Imagine this: instead of juggling spreadsheets, you’re planning engaging workout sessions. Instead of mind-numbing meetings, you’re motivating clients to reach their personal best. Now, doesn’t that sound exciting? You see, becoming a personal trainer allows you to positively transform lives, all the while keeping yourself fit. It’s like hitting two birds with one dumbbell!

If you have an interest in health and fitness and a keen desire to help others – both mentally and physically – then this may be the route for you. 

Is There a Market for Personal Training?

Absolutely, yes! The market for personal training in South Africa is not only thriving but also showing signs of robust growth. With the advent of sedentary lifestyles, accentuated by the shift to remote work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, wellness has become a crucial aspect of our lives. People want respite from their screen-dominated routines and are eager to embrace healthier habits.

As a result, more and more people are seeking personal trainers to guide them on their fitness journey. Many are trying to mitigate the effects of prolonged sitting, while others want to improve their general fitness and mental health. The popularity of fitness and health apps further evidences this shift towards wellness. However, while these digital tools can provide a great start, they often can’t match the personalised advice, motivation, and accountability that comes with a personal trainer.

How to Become a Personal Trainer

The journey to becoming a personal trainer might seem like scaling Table Mountain, but it doesn’t have to be. You don’t need to be a seasoned gym rat or have a degree in physiotherapy to start. All you need is a passion for fitness, a commitment to learning, and a knack for motivating others. Here’s a simple roadmap to guide you:

Get Certified

Acquiring a recognised certification in personal training is your first step to success. eta College offers a comprehensive course that equips you with the knowledge and skills to excel in the industry. From understanding human anatomy to learning how to design effective fitness programmes, this course is the perfect jump-off point.

Personal Trainer Course

Our course here at eta College doesn’t just arm you with theoretical knowledge; it gives you the practical skills necessary to shine as a personal trainer. Each module is designed to equip you with a comprehensive understanding of different aspects of fitness and personal training. 

Here’s what you can expect:Female personal trainer with male on leg extension machine

  1. Kinesiology: This module will teach you about the mechanics of body movements. Understanding kinesiology is crucial for designing effective workouts and ensuring that exercises are performed correctly to avoid injuries.
  2. Exercise Science: This dives into the science behind exercise, providing insights into how different types of exercise affect the body. It’s a vital part of creating training programmes that work.
  3. Nutrition: As the old adage goes, “You can’t out-train a bad diet”. This module gives you a sound understanding of nutrition, enabling you to provide clients with balanced diet plans to complement their workouts.
  4. Assessment and Testing: This is all about measuring fitness levels and progress. Knowing how to assess and test your clients’ fitness accurately will help you tailor training plans to their specific needs and track their progress effectively.
  5. Exercise Programme Design and Implementation: Here, you’ll learn how to create and implement personalised workout plans. This is at the core of what you’ll do as a personal trainer – creating plans that help clients achieve their fitness goals.
  6. Fitness Facility Orientation and Supervision: This module will prepare you for working in various fitness facilities, ensuring you can effectively guide clients and oversee their workouts.
  7. Lead Exercise Sessions: This is where you’ll learn how to lead group exercise sessions, a key skill for any personal trainer. It’s all about inspiring and motivating clients to give their all during workouts.
  8. Safety and Risk Management: This is crucial for ensuring that your workouts are not only effective but safe. You’ll learn how to manage risks and maintain safety standards in all your training sessions.
  9. Fitness Business Management: This module will equip you with the skills to manage your personal training business effectively. It’s an essential part of being a personal trainer, especially if you plan to work independently.

Each module is like a piece of a puzzle, and together, they create a comprehensive picture of what you need to become a successful personal trainer. So, whether you dream of working in a gym or running your own fitness business, eta College’s personal training course is the perfect place to start your journey.

Gain Experience

The next step is to gain hands-on experience in the field. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. So, don’t worry if you stumble along the way. Every successful lunge, squat, and burpee will contribute to your growth as a fitness expert. The more people you work with, the greater your understanding (and empathy) which makes you increasingly valuable as a fitness partner.

Continuous Learning

Staying updated with the latest fitness trends and techniques is crucial. This will not only help you stay ahead in your field but also provide your clients with the most effective training. Make it your mission to absorb everything you can about health and fitness. Consider information from alternative sources to widen your understanding of the human body. Listen carefully to what your clients say.

How to Be a Great Personal Trainer?

Being a great personal trainer is like being a tour guide on a fitness journey. It’s about showing your clients the right path, cheering them on during their journey, and celebrating with them when they reach their destination.

A great personal trainer inspires and motivates their clients to push beyond their limits. (After all, nothing screams success like seeing your client conquer that dreaded plank!) As you grow and develop in your field, you’ll learn what motivates one person may not work on another. You’ll also realise the importance of both mental and emotional support for your clients. Never assume that you know everything; always be ready to learn new ways, accept new viewpoints, and grasp new concepts. 

Each client is unique, with different goals and capabilities. So, it’s important to adapt your training methods and innovate as per your client’s needs. Think of it like a bespoke tailor – crafting the perfect suit to fit your client’s specific measurements.

Safety First

The health and safety of your clients should always be your priority. Ensuring they execute their exercises correctly is just as important as motivating them to do more.

Now You Know How to Become a Personal Trainer in South Africa

How to become a personal trainer in South Africa? The answer is simple – join eta College’s personal training course! This course, designed with a global perspective, provides you with a solid foundation in fitness training and health promotion.

What makes this course stand out is the focus on both theoretical knowledge and practical application. The course content includes everything from understanding human movement and applying fitness techniques to promoting health and wellness. By the end of this course, you’ll be ready to jumpstart your career as a personal trainer in South Africa!

Yes, becoming a personal trainer can be an exhilarating career choice for fitness enthusiasts. So, why wait? Start your fitness journey today and learn how to become a personal trainer. Who knows? Your passion today might transform countless lives tomorrow!


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