If you have taken some time out from your original job to raise children, and are thinking about starting to work again, there are plenty of good reasons to consider training to do something new, rather than returning to what you did before.
Perhaps your interests have changed, or you have lost touch with things in your old industry and feel like there would be a lot to get used to if you went back. Perhaps you now want a job that fits better around your home life or involves shorter hours and less stress. Or, perhaps you just weren’t doing something you particularly wanted to do forever, to begin with!
If you are in the process of weighing up different possible career paths you could consider and are someone who enjoys health and fitness, then one career path you may find interesting is becoming a personal trainer or fitness instructor. Here we are going to look at whether this can be a good second career for mums returning to the workforce.
What Type of Work do Personal Trainers Do?
Personal trainers and fitness instructors work in different environments, with different clients, depending on whether they are employed by somewhere like a gym or health club or work with their own clients on a private basis. Personal trainers work with people one on one, whereas fitness instructors generally run classes, although plenty of people do both of these things.
A personal trainer can have different levels of involvement with their clients depending on their role if they work at a gym or other fitness facility. In some cases, they work with all of the members to provide general help with using gym equipment, and with deciding on their workout program when they first join the gym.
In others, they have a much closer relationship with the client, working out a tailored exercise regime and possibly a nutrition plan for the person, and supervising and accompanying them when they train. This means you can either end up providing fairly general service to a lot of people, or a very focused one to a few individual clients.
At a gym, typically this will depend on what the members have paid for, with many gyms offering both basic and personalized training services, but if you work on a private basis you will normally be having a closer and more intense relationship with every client.
Do You Need to Be Super Fit and Have a Great Body?
Some people who are interested in becoming personal trainers worry that they themselves aren’t in perfect enough condition to be good at the job. While you do, of course, need to be someone who takes their own fitness seriously and practices what they preach, you do not need to look like a fitness model or a professional athlete – often people prefer someone relatable who has their own fitness challenges and imperfections to work with.
A bit of leftover baby weight or stubborn cellulite will not put people off hiring or working with you at all if you know what you are doing and are qualified, and you don’t need to have muscles like Arnie, either.
The exception here may be if you specialize in something like bodybuilding, where a client would generally expect the person training them to have achieved the type of look they are aiming for, though this is quite a niche sector of the personal fitness market.
That said, people do tend to want to entrust their personal fitness goals to someone who looks like their approaches work, so if you are choosing this as a career do bear in mind that you will need to maintain a good level of fitness and a reasonably healthy weight for the long term. Fortunately, you’ll get plenty of opportunities to exercise in your work!
How Flexible is Personal Trainer Work?
One of the big questions for a lot of parents choosing a new career is how easy it will be to fit their new working life around their family life. Being a personal trainer can be flexible if you need it to be – you can find part-time positions at gyms or you can arrange your own appointments with freelance clients at times to suit you.
However, it is not a job that tends to be compatible with taking long holidays, for instance, only working during school term time. This may be possible at gyms where you are just one of many trainers working with the full complement of members, however, if you are working with people one on one, they will want the consistency of being able to meet with their trainer regularly.
If you are considering teaching classes as a fitness instructor, the same also applies – while you can arrange your classes to be at times that suit, you will need to find cover if you can’t teach a scheduled class, and classes at gyms tend to run all year round.
There is, however, the option to consider doing fitness classes for kids (for instance, dance or martial arts classes aimed at school children, if you are skilled in these areas of fitness), which could be run during term time only. In general, though, you shouldn’t find too much difficulty in making a career as a trainer or instructor compatible with your home life.
How Do I Retrain as a Personal Trainer?
If all of this sounds good for you, then you’ll next need to know how to become a personal trainer! Requirements from different employers will vary, but you should first look to gain your certificate in personal training. Courses for this are offered all over the country and can be taken on a full or part-time basis, with some courses helping people to find work placements at the end.
Being a personal trainer can be interesting, rewarding and fun, so if you are looking for your next career as a working mom, it could be well worth looking into qualifying!