7 Essential Skills for Personal Trainers


Becoming a personal trainer requires a certain set of skills in order to deliver the best service possible and thrive within the profession. In this article, we’ll explore seven of the most essential skills needed to become a successful personal trainer. Many of these skills align with traits required to excel in most professions, with a key focus on interpersonal communication, motivation & drive, and a thirst for continual improvement and knowledge development. 

Whether you’re just starting your journey in the fitness industry or looking to enhance your existing skills, this short article will help guide you with a checklist to become a more well-rounded personal trainer.

1. Excellent Communication Skills

Communication is key in personal training. Personal Trainers must be able to listen to their clients’ goals, concerns, and feedback while also providing clear instructions and guidance. 

Communication between PT and client is key throughout the entire personal training journey, from the beginning to the end. Being a good listener and communicator helps to build trust and rapport with clients, making them more likely to follow advice and achieve their fitness goals. 

Personal Trainers should be able to tailor their communication to suit the individual sensitivities and situations of each of their clients in order to deliver the best service possible.

2. Patience and Empathy

Clients may come to Personal Trainers with varying fitness levels, goals, and limitations. This means that having patience and empathy is crucial when working with different individuals. 

Understanding struggles, celebrating successes, and motivating clients through challenges are all part of the job. Some clients may be naturally more motivated than others, and it is important for personal trainers to understand that some people may naturally just not enjoy training or may potentially be intimidated by it, especially at the start of their fitness journey. It is therefore a part of the Personal Trainer’s responsibility to be sensitive to this and clearly show patience and empathy to each of their clients.

3. Adaptability

The fitness industry is constantly evolving. Personal trainers must be adaptable and open to always learning new training techniques, understanding new equipment, and being aware of trends.

Staying up to date and adapting to new philosophies keeps training methods fresh and effective, and it shows a commitment to client success. This doesn’t mean however that Personal Trainers should jump on every new trend at the earliest opportunity; instead that they should have an open mind to new methods and always keep client success at the forefront of their minds when considering what is the best approach to training.

4. Goal Setting and Planning

Helping clients set and achieve their fitness goals is the primary responsibility of PTs. Personal Trainers should be able to create realistic and achievable fitness plans, including long-term and short-term goals, and help clients track their progress along the way.

Being able to find out from clients what their goals are is key for a successful PT and client relationship. Once a Personal Trainer understands the goals of the client, they can manage realistic expectations and create SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound), which will both help motivate the client and also provide a clear progression plan for them. Goal setting hugely helps to inform the personal trainer so that they can plan the best and most efficient training and nutrition plan possible.

5. Motivational Skills

Motivating clients to stay committed to their fitness journey can be challenging. A good personal trainer knows how to inspire and motivate clients, especially on days when they feel demotivated or discouraged. 

Personal Trainers should be able to tailor their motivating communication to every client; some may require a more sensitive, gentle approach, whilst others may want a more ‘hardcore’ approach. It is important for personal trainers to be able to recognise and understand which approach will work for their clients. 

6. Problem-Solving Abilities

Clients may encounter setbacks or obstacles whilst on their fitness journey. Personal Trainers need to have good problem solving skills in order to help clients find solutions to challenges and adapt their routines as required.

Whilst being resourceful and creative in finding solutions is a valuable skill, it is also important that Personal Trainers are mindful of their clients’ resources whilst looking for solutions to problems.

7. Business and Marketing Skills

Whilst having skills that benefit the PT-Client relationship are definitely at the forefront of those you need as a personal trainer, it is also important that self-employed personal trainers have business and marketing skills in order to promote their services, attract clients, and manage finances. 

Understanding the business side of personal training is essential for success, both with extra revenue streams and personal training. Our PT Business Accelerator Course, GROW, is a mentoring programme which teaches PTs the ins and outs of marketing and sales in order to start, manage and grow their Personal Training businesses.


Becoming a Personal Trainer is not just about helping clients get fit; it’s about making a positive impact on their lives. This article has presented 7 key skills that all personal trainers should have in order to maximise their effectiveness in service delivery to their clients whilst also growing their business to the best it can be.

If you’re looking for a career change to Personal Training, then be sure to check out our Level 3 Personal Trainer Course. An L2 and L3 combined course, it requires no previous knowledge, experience or qualifications in personal training. If you have more questions about the personal training industry, then be sure to check out our Personal Training FAQs.