How To Become A Personal Trainer

by Lisa on January 27, 2011

How I Became A Personal Trainer..

Well my story is probably a little different to the normal Joe blogs out there who has become a Personal Trainer…

Little did I know, I actually started my journey towards becoming a Personal Trainer when I was working in the hospitality industry. I had come back from living a year in Germany, I had put on a hefty amount of weight and I was working in restaurant and bars. I loved it!!! I loved dealing with people. I actually really loved dealing with the difficult patrons. I loved the feeling of doing the best I possibly could to make them so super happy that they end up having nothing to complain about at all!

Losing All The Weight & Personal Training Courses…

Anyway, I lost 26kg’s and started to really get sick of working nights and weekends. My good old mother then said to me ‘Lisa, you have just lost all this weight and you love dealing with people. Have you ever thought about studying Personal Training and helping other people do the same?’ Hmmmmm. Well Mum was so right! I don’t even know why I hadn’t thought about it! So off I went searching for a Personal Training course. I found a good one at AUT in Auckland. Little did I know I would hate Auckland so much that after studying 2 years up there that I couldn’t possibly spend another year up there. So I pleaded the Waikato Polytechnic in Hamilton to transfer me over. Even though there course was chocker block. I pleaded and pleaded till they said yes. So back to Hamilton I went to finish off my last year of my Diploma.

There are so many Personal Training courses out there, some more intense than others. There was nothing wrong with the AUT Personal Training course at all, in fact it was incredible I just wasn’t an Auckland girl. The fact that I was the ONLY non-sporty person in the class did make it awfully difficult. But I persisted through. I do think the majority of people studying Personal Training or sport science are already healthy, fit, toned people! There are very few like me that go into it because they had lost weight and want to help others do the same. To be perfectly honest I felt so uncomfortable throughout so many stages of the course but I knew I had one thing that overpowered many in the course and that was my PASSION. For the first time in my life I was getting A’s! That’s something only my sister ever did, not me! Passion is a huge word and if you find what it is in life you are passionate about then I have no doubt you will succeed.

2 things to think about when looking for a Personal Training course. . .

1. Nutrition… After years of being in the industry I think this is hugely important, yet many courses bypass it and don’t cover much nutrition at all. It is part in parcel of dealing with people that are losing/gaining weight. Or whatever their reason is that they go and see a Personal Trainer they need to know how to eat right. If the course has no nutrition part at all then flag it. To me it’s not good enough.

2. Do Business Paper… Another aspect that I believe to be extremely important which once gain a lot of courses look over, is a business paper. ‘A business paper?’ I hear some of you asking. Well seriously, how on earth do you intend to make a proper go of Personal Training if you know nothing about how to run a business. Personal Training is usually ‘contract’ based, so you are working for yourself. To me it is an essential part of the course, just as much as all the other papers =) To me I feel like this is the paper that completes the puzzle for the perfect qualification.



For anybody looking at doing Personal Training via correspondance I recommend Outline Personal Training Academy. We do the basics to start with but cover everything essential then you can broaden your horizons as much as you wish afterwards with all their extra courses they have available. You may be wondering…. how does it all work? Well, the theory work is all done via correspondence, in your own time and around your own commitments. The practical ONE-ON-ONE training (which is most important in this type of study) is performed with Lisa at Outline Personal Training Academy. That’s the beauty of this course, you can achieve Internationally recognised Certificates 3 & 4 in Personal training, whilst studying in your OWN time…. but with the practical support of your own private trainer! Studying with us includes 24/7 customer support team, an online assessor, access to all the modules and a helpdesk. It also includes student support, training and your assessment tools. For more information click here >>

Let me know where you studied and your thoughts on the best place to study Personal Training!


{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

madeleine tyson November 14, 2011 at 6:54 am

I have just managed to come across your page… when i was searching the web trying to find the best place to study personal training In NZ for 2012! I am actaully wanting to inlcude nutrition not matter what.. as i to think that its a hugely important part of getting fit and losing weight etc!! I to have been in the hospitality industry for the past few years and working on the superyachts now … however i need a change , a career/….. and have always be aware of exercise… and the importance of it… how it has shaped my life. also losing a lot of weight… but put it all back on… the idea is to keep it off…. and help others to do the same. any way… best place to study??? id love to hear it??


Lisa November 14, 2011 at 9:02 am

Hi Madeleine, You should look into AUT in Auckland/Hamilton and FIT nation. Both are great courses and cover nutrition and business courses. I do think FIT nation actually goes a bit deeper into the nutrition side of things and you can do it by correspondance too. Let me know how you get on =)


Corina March 27, 2012 at 10:41 am

Hi Lisa =)

This will be long I apoligise now haha

For the last year I have been going through the police recruitment process to get to the end with only medical clearance to go, for my selection specialist and the head of recruitment to tell me they are deffering my file for 18months because they believe i lack the confidence needed for the job =( Just found out yesterday! Heartbroken! During the training to meet the physical requirements I managed to lose 6 kgs as a bonus and started to alter my diet aswel to really make the most of it. I have lost 9kgs total and have lowered my body fat % from 36(shocking!) to 21%. SoOoo long story short after my crappy news yesterday it screwed up my career plans and I have realised like you I love the gym and would love others to experience weightloss, bodyfat loss and muscle gain just as I have! So here I am. Was just wondering what you think about the correspondence course vs campus courses? Do you learn all you need in the 3-4months? Advantages and disadvantages of correspondence vs campus learning? and also how long did it take for you to find employment?? Sorry for all the questions! and thanks so much for your blog it is really helpful. =)


Lisa March 27, 2012 at 12:20 pm

Hi Corina, wow! But hey all I can say to that are ‘things are meant to be!!!!’ Yay you for losing that weight, so proud of you! Where do you live? There is quite a lot to write down. I could ring you, I would be more than happy to have a chat with you. Or you could ring me on 06 8680961. Look forward to talking!


Corina March 27, 2012 at 6:08 pm

Thanks for your quick response =) Yes I do believ in everything happening for a reason also! I live in West Auckland. Yes I did ask a thousand questions! A chat would be awesome =) Eeither, Eiither which ever suits you best. Maybe you could call me when you get a spare moment (09) 818 1705 or just let me know a good time to contact you. Thanks Lisa! =)


Lisa March 27, 2012 at 6:12 pm

Awesome I will ring you when I get a chance. =) Have you read this?


Lisa March 27, 2012 at 8:28 pm

Hi again Corina, Send me an email if you can, tell me how old you, are your plans if you get qualified, would you think of moving, how much you did weigh, how much do you weigh now… I am really interested! I will try get around to ringing you tomorrow =)


Codey July 26, 2012 at 8:19 pm

Hey Lisa

I’m glad i have stumbled upon your page, i’m hoping you could help me out or give me some pointers. I’ve recently graduated from EIT here in Gisborne in health and fitness, but now I’ve spent the past month or so (probably longer) searching for a job but to no avail. I have been attending Kick Fit classes with Emma at Outline and am loving it. I was wondering if you were looking for a personal trainer to work at Outline Health Studio or looking for someone to mentor I’m eager in learning more about the industry and want as much job knowledge as possible.


Codey July 26, 2012 at 8:19 pm

Hey Lisa

I’m glad i have stumbled upon your page, i’m hoping you could help me out or give me some pointers. I’ve recently graduated from EIT here in Gisborne in health and fitness, but now I’ve spent the past month or so (probably longer) searching for a job but to no avail. I have been attending Kick Fit classes with Emma at Outline and am loving it. I was wondering if you were looking for a personal trainer to work at Outline Health Studio or looking for someone to mentor I’m eager in learning more about the industry and want as much job knowledge as possible.
Look forward to your reply :)


Lisa July 26, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Hi Codey,
Yes Emma is great =) We don’t have any jobs going at Outline though. I love to see and hear people so eager and keen to get into the industry, that’s really great and well done for doing your study! Like I said I don’t have any jobs going but i would be more than happy to meet with you and try help you in any way I can.


Codey August 7, 2012 at 10:22 am

Hey Lisa
I’ve found a weight room to do my PT but now i need to advertise, what do you think is the best way to advertise in a town like gisborne?


Lisa August 7, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Hey Codey, word of mouth in this town is huge. But I did a massive radio marketing programme for the first two years and then facebook took over from that once I had built it up. My website brings us in a lot of clients too. Websites need to be real informative. So may you should think about setting up a website too =)


Rach August 9, 2012 at 12:43 am

Hiya, exercise and nutrition is a passion of mine, ive been on both ends of the scale and have battled with injuries and health problems yet i still persist! Im thinking if studying at NZIHF in auckland. Just wondering if you have heard many positives about it? Its a 2 days a week intensive course and rest is independent study. Any advice would be great thanks!



Lisa August 10, 2012 at 8:48 am

Hi Rachel,
No I have not heard of that course before but just googled it now to have a quick look. As the course progresses it seems to cover everything from business to nutrition as well which is a must if you want to go places in this industry. How many years is it? It sounds like you have had your up’s and down’s and your own battles with weight and that experience in itself is priceless. You will do well in this industry =)


Kelly August 16, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Thanks for the info on FitNation! I’m a SAHM thinking about doing personal training, and studying at home would be the perfect way to get into a new career!
My only concern is whether I can make a business work while I still have a young family. Just need to brainstorm how it would go I think :)


Lisa August 16, 2012 at 2:05 pm

Hi Kelly,
Yes it is perfect for studying. It is a great course and covers everything you need. Personal training is however a ‘long day’ job. As in starting early and finishing late. But in saying that it is also very flexible if you run you own business.You have time to think about the family and kids thing, anything is possible. How many children do you have?


Julie August 25, 2012 at 8:19 pm

Hello Ladies !

Just came across your website and messages ! I moved in Auckland from overseas in January ..I am working shift hours as well and have always been interested in becoming a Trainer…I usually coach my parents or my coworkers when i can ;) ) My partner lost 30kgs in few months too !
But I am French…and I LOVE food and drinks…so …I am good at going to the gym almost every day but i am also very very bad with food especially when family or unusual events happen !!

So…I always told myself..when i will be able to do it for xxx months straight i ll look a PT..but I think I should look may help me too to be more steady ?

Anyway ! I am also getting married in a year good way to be motivated?:)

so if any of you want to chat with me and help/give feedback I would love to ! I will be looking at the FIT NAtion (i will have to do it from home)

Looking forward to read you !



Lisa August 27, 2012 at 9:36 am

That’s great Julie. Good work and welcome to Auckland. Congrats on your wedding plans! Fit nation is a great start, it is the perfect place to study =) Food is always a hard battle for some, you will need to get on top of that if you wish to become a trainer. If you need any help at all ask away =)
Cheers Lisa


Julie August 27, 2012 at 5:00 pm


So whats the difference between fit nation and for instance the university one part time ?

I have been trying to understand but I am confused ?

Thank you



Lisa August 27, 2012 at 5:03 pm

HI Julie, I am not sure I haven’t looked into University ones. As long as they are hands on and cover a business aspect and a nutritional aspect it’s fine. It’s just so much easier for people studying at home then they can continue to work and earn money at the same time =)


Pablo January 26, 2013 at 1:34 pm

Hello Lisa,
My name is Pablo Méndez I’m an overseas student.
I’m moving to New Zealand (Auckalnd) or Australia (Sydney). haven’t decided yet…… obviously before deciding the institution where to study I must clearly choose where to live first….. I really don’t know if it makes a difference studying and living in NZ or in OZ. You mentioned you didn’t like living in Auckland, is it possibly to tell me why?. I thought life was supposed to be great there.
I know you said AUT and FIT nation are the best options. but while I was looking for them over the internet i happened to find placed called the Institute of sport, have you heard from it?, is it good?.

Regarding Sydney i don’t know if you heard from TAFE, if you have, what is your opinion about it?.

Regards !


Lisa January 27, 2013 at 7:05 am

Hi Pablo,
Firstly, I wasn’t the confident person I am now way back then & I just didn’t fit into Auckland then. I was a small town girl. I now live in Mairangi Bay in Auckland. It’s on the Shore it is nice, so I guess that all just depends on where you live and what type of person you are. AUT has amazing courses. TAFE.. I don’t know much about TAFE at all but from what I have heard it is similar to a polytechnic and that would be just as great to study at. I think no matter where you go their will be amazing courses it’s just checking out the the content of the courses that I believe matters the most. =) Hope that helps. Lisa.


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