Personal Trainer/Fitness Instructor Kaiwhakangungu Tinana/Kaiwhakaako Whakapakari

Personal trainers/fitness instructors help people improve their general fitness or train for special events through individual programmes or classes.

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Most employers require personal trainers/fitness instructors to be registered with the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs).

Personal trainers/fitness instructors may do some or all the following:

  • assess clients' fitness and body types and design fitness programmes for them
  • explain and demonstrate exercises, weight training or class routines
  • give advice on nutrition and preventing or recovering from injuries
  • help out at the gym, which can involve cleaning and reception duties.

Personal trainers may also:

  • market and promote their services
  • discuss lifestyle and fitness goals with clients
  • take clients for personal training sessions
  • make bookings and keep accounts.

Physical Requirements

Personal trainers/fitness instructors need to have excellent fitness and health, and must be strong.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for personal trainers/fitness instructors includes:

  • sports training or coaching
  • dance tuition
  • work in areas such as nutrition, physiotherapy or physical education
  • customer service work.

Personal Qualities

Personal trainers/fitness instructors need to be:

  • patient, friendly, supportive and professional
  • able to lead and motivate others
  • organised and adaptable
  • good at problem solving
  • good communicators.


Personal trainers/fitness instructors need to have:

  • skill in physical education, personal training and testing people's fitness
  • an understanding of anatomy and physiology
  • knowledge of first aid
  • knowledge of gym equipment and how to operate it correctly
  • an understanding of how to prescribe and demonstrate safe and effective exercises
  • knowledge of basic nutrition principles.

Personal trainers are often self-employed, so they need to have:

  • sales skills
  • the ability to develop and maintain their own client base
  • business administration skills.

Group fitness instructors also need to have knowledge of choreography and how to lead exercise classes.


Personal trainers/fitness instructors:

  • usually work shifts, including early mornings, evenings and weekends
  • usually work in gyms, recreation centres and fitness centres
  • may need to travel to meet clients.

Personal Trainer/Fitness Instructors can earn around $21-$25 per hour.

Pay for personal trainers/fitness instructors varies depending on experience, the type of work they do, and if they are self-employed.

  • Fitness instructors usually earn between minimum wage and $25 an hour.
  • Group fitness instructors can earn between $30 and $50 an hour.
  • Personal trainers usually earn between $25 and $35 an hour.
  • Self-employed personal trainers can earn between $50 and $100 an hour, but their total income depends on the success of their business.

Source: Exercise Association of New Zealand, 2018.

Personal trainers/fitness instructors may progress to set up their own fitness or personal training business.

They may specialise in areas such as:

  • Zumba
  • Pilates
  • yoga
  • weightlifting.

Years Of Training

There are no specific requirements to become a personal trainer/fitness instructor.

However, many employers prefer to hire personal trainers/fitness instructors who have, or are working towards, a qualification. A range of personal trainer/fitness instructor qualifications are available from polytechnics, universities and private training establishments.

You can also complete a personal trainer/fitness instructor apprenticeship and gain a New Zealand Certificate in Fitness (Level 3 or Level 4). Industry training organisation Skills Active Aotearoa oversees personal trainer/fitness instructor training and apprenticeships.

Most employers require you to be registered with the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs).

Personal Trainer/Fitness Instructor