There are a lot of stigmas and stereotypes about personal trainers and their position. While some of these hold some water and others don’t, the fitness industry has been rapidly evolving.

If you still think a personal trainer is just someone that wears spandex, eats all their meals out of Tupperware, and only counts reps for a living, then you’re in for a surprise. That’s the old Hollywood version, but things are changing – and we think for the better. 

Read on to learn three surprising facts about personal trainers that you probably didn’t know but just might change your perception.

Fact #1 – A Degree Isn’t Necessary For Success

Ok, this one might not have come as the biggest surprise. After all, the typical stereotype of a trainer is a big jock that probably didn’t ace math class.

While a degree isn’t necessary to be a successful trainer, you still need to know your stuff. That’s because the average knowledge level of trainers is much higher than previous decades due the popularity of exercise-based collegiate degree programs and more research being conducted in exercise science.

The best trainers don’t just master physiology though, they become students of psychology and how to drive change. They know how to work with people, not just exercise, and to do that you need personality, emotional intelligence, and a growth mindset. Books and college courses are great to master the theory, but you have to be able to put that info into practice with clients that aren’t living inside of a research study. 

So, while education is always a benefit, in an experience and people driven industry like fitness it doesn’t always equate to the best investment. For hands-on learners and aspiring trainers there has never been greater access to learn from and gain experience with the world’s best coaches and trainers, and not all of them have degrees.

Fact #2 – Not All Trainers Work In A Gym

Personal trainers have always been seen as a staple in gyms across America, but their working environment is changing rapidly. As more consumers work from home and the landscape of health continues to shift, trainers are finding multiple opportunities to practice their craft in other settings.

Even prior to the pandemic, many personal trainers have started living the “laptop lifestyle” and begun training their clients virtually. Whether conducting their sessions in real-time on Zoom or delivering their programs through an app, online training is becoming quite popular. Consumers can literally workout with their trainer from the comfort of their home or anywhere else they see fit. Even large companies like Peloton and Mirror are embracing the trend which makes it highly unlikely that this will slow down.

Aside from online, there are many in-person environments where trainers are working outside the gym. Medical fitness is surging due to obesity rates rising and the need for trainers in a cardiac rehab or medical weight loss clinic setting is increasing. These workplaces are focused on getting people healthy, not just fit and providing a diverse and long growth path for trainers getting into the industry. 

Fact #3 – Exercise Is Only Part Of The Job

When most people think of personal trainers, they imagine someone teaching exercises, counting reps, and motivating a client to new levels of fitness. This isn’t wrong, but it’s also not right because exercise is really only a part of the gig – and it’s probably the easiest part.

Sure, trainers have to train, but there’s actually a lot more to it than that. There’s sales, marketing & networking, psychology, nutritional guidance, and more. That’s a lot of hats to wear for anyone!

Regardless of where a trainer works, it’s usually what happens in between the sessions where a great career is created, and the real work is done. You still need to drive results and deliver killer training sessions, but the business aspect of being a trainer that is often overlooked or underestimated. Finding clients and encouraging them to buy sessions, helping clients stay motivated to their goals when they’re not feeling it, and teaching them to make sound decisions about food – these are responsibilities that take significant time but have the biggest effect.

So, when a personal trainer charges a hefty hourly fee, it’s not just for coaching that session but rather for all the work that happens before and after it. 

Bonus Fact – Trainers Don’t Always Have The Perfect Diet Or Training Plan

Quite possibly the biggest myth most people believe is that personal trainers eat perfect and workout all the time. For some this might be how they got started, but for the most successful ones this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Fact is, good trainers often de-prioritize their own training and nutrition to give clients their best. Sometimes that means working long days with few breaks which makes it complicated to squeeze in a workout or grab a healthy snack. Of course, it’s important for trainers to practice what they preach, especially if they enjoy working out, but for most, their life doesn’t revolve around fitness and nutrition in the way you might think.

Personal trainers are people too. That means they have the same struggles as everyone else and also realize that there’s a lot more to life than the gym. 


Today, being a personal trainer is quite different than even just a decade or two ago. The profession is constantly evolving, responsibilities and work settings are changing, and the stereotypes of yesterday are being broken.

Personal trainers are much more than just broccoli eating, bicep curling rep counters (let’s be real most of them suck at counting anyways). They’re educated professionals that work in a variety of environments to change the health and wellness of those that choose to work with them.

Are you interested in becoming a personal trainer or finding out whether you’d be a good fit? Click here to book a call with one of our advisors who can give you more info and provide you insight into starting a career in fitness.