How to get a personal training internship at a gym

I would like to start this article off by mentioning to you that this is not a requirement to become a personal trainer.

However, it can be beneficial if you want to learn from professional trainers.

If you are currently not yet a trainer, take the quiz to see which CPT certification is best for your training style.

The menu at the top of this page will answer any question related to personal training that you have. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave me a comment here (I’ll respond within 24 hours). Also, visit the home page for the most recent and popular articles.

Now that you know that, I would like to mention that it is incredibly beneficial to participate in an internship if you are getting started out as a personal trainer.

You can learn lots of excellent tips from people that have lots of experience in the industry and can even get some hands-on practice before you work with your first client.

You will learn all about the job before even you start training which is very cool! Shadowing a personal trainer can teach you so many things that a textbook can’t especially if you’re a visual or kinesthetic learner!

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Let me explain to some of the better ways that you can go about getting a personal training internship at your local gymnasium.

In my opinion, this is the best way to avoid beginner mistakes when you’re starting out in the industry. You can even do this without having a personal training certification!

Contact all the gyms that are close to you for personal training internships!

The first step in your process towards getting an internship for personal training is to locate all of the gymnasiums in your area, contact them and directly ask them if they have an internship program.

You need to express your desire to do some personal trainer shadowing. By showing a lot of passion for the industry, you will increase your chances of getting hired after you finish the internship.

If you currently have a membership at a gym, you can walk up to some of the personal trainers and politely ask if you can shadow them for a couple of sessions.

A lot of areas do not have training internships, but you can still ask some of the personal trainers one-on-one. Most personal trainers are similar to contractors because they do not necessarily work for a company or even the gym itself.

In my experience, most personal trainers are very open and friendly to people asking them questions or that show interest in their profession. Don’t get discouraged if you get rejected by a personal trainer when asking to shadow them.

Just move on and ask the next one. If anything the client might feel uncomfortable, and that is why you will not be able to shadow them. In most cases, the personal trainer will say yes if you ask nicely.

Study and become a trainer while at home. Certification and Study Guide Sales:

Get the ISSA Elite trainer and get the 3 Certs for the price of one! Their personal trainer cert, Nutrition cert and one other of your choosing. Limited time online offer.

Save 25% on NASM with my personal code PTP25

Save 50% on the ACE CPT.

Huge savings on online study materials for NASM, ISSA, ACE, CSCS or NSCA and ACSM
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What type of personal training would you like to do?

As I have talked about a lot on PTpioneer before you get started as a personal trainer you need to understand what type of training you want to do.

Do you want to work with individuals with muscular imbalances, or do you want to work with athletes?

You should have an internship or shadow a trainer that works with the type of clients that you would like to work in the future.

Most personal trainers specialize in one area or another so it is essential to ask them that question before you ask them if you can shadow them.

Be quiet during the sessions but take plenty of notes

Clients of personal trainers pay a lot of money for their time and expertise (which is why you can make a good salary). If you get the opportunity to shadow a personal trainer make sure to keep quiet during the personal training session.

You can ask as many questions as you want after the personal training session has completed. Make sure to bring either your tablet (on silent) or a pad of paper with a pencil or pen to take detailed notes on the session.

If this is your first training session shadowing, you will probably have 1 million questions afterward. Make sure to sit close enough to the personal trainer and client so that you can hear but not too close that you make the client uncomfortable.

Try to get as specific with the questions as you can when asking the trainer after the session. If the personal trainer is not in a rush to get to another client after the session, I’m sure he or she will be more than willing to answer any questions that you have.

Getting your questions answered is the best part about having an internship.

Conclusion on Getting a Personal Training Internship

I hope you enjoyed my article. It will be more comfortable if the gym already has a personal training internship program in place. If not, it is not that difficult to walk up to a personal trainer and directly ask if you can shadow them.

Let me know if you have any experience with shadowing a personal trainer or being part of an internship.

Please like it on social media or share if it was helpful. Also, if you are not yet working as a trainer, I suggest checking out my article on how to build an impressive resume for personal training.

Also, check out my article on essential personality traits to have as a trainer! Happy personal training!

8 thoughts on “How to get a personal training internship at a gym”

  1. My name is Robert. I’m interested in doing an internship here in northern Virginia or Arlington Virginia. I have a bachelors degree in health, fitness promotion from George Mason University. I need more hands on experience with a seasoned trainer even though I have CPT with NASM, it does hurt to learn more about putting a client through professions of a workout. Cardiovascular and core training are my interests. Thank you. Robert Herrera

    1. That is great to hear Robert, have you tried going to all of your local gyms trying to ask if they do internship options? It definitely does not hurt to get more hands on experience. I definitely agree with that. Another option is to ask friends and family to do personal training sessions for free as that will also help you practice what you have learned and get some hands on experience with personal training.

  2. Hi. I am currently a registered nurse but looking into changing my career. I have been looking into personal training because I love the sports field and it’s not completely unrelated to the health field. I have a bachelor’s in nursing. I live in California, near Pasadena area. Any advice? I would appreciate it. do you recommend going back to school? If not how would I gain knowledge about personal training?

    1. Hey Patil,
      Yes, I think a personal training certification would be a great way to expand your personal knowledge into the health and fitness field of personal training. If you’re just doing it to expand your knowledge, I don’t think you need to go back to school as in going back to college. I suggest checking out my article on the top five personal training certifications and picking one of those. You’ll do fine with self-study and if you want to you can start working with clients after you are certified as well.https://www.ptpioneer.com/best-personal-trainer-certification-guide/

  3. Hello Tyler,
    I just recently (mid January 2020) got my personal trainer license through NASM. Currently I’m working at a GYM as Massage Therapist and actually got to get together with the main trainer a few times in which he “played” a client and also once where he took me through his program he wants me to start out with.
    Here is the problem: I’m not quite sure this gym is the right place to start out as a trainer due to some lack of real support in my opinion. Although that said head trainer took time to meet with me and gave me some great feedback, I have this “queasy” feeling that overall there not too eager to hire me and I have not been paid for the hours I met with the trainer even though some of those times we met were during my regular massage hour shift.
    Due to the fact that I have no prior experience with training anyone, I was thinking of trying an internship at another place to see what trainers do there and get some experience. It seems to be already way too long since I passed my NASM exam (a month ago now) and I haven’t gotten anywhere or trained anyone yet.
    I think I need an environment where people care more to help you get your feet wet since I also oftentimes unsure on how to strike up a conversation without doing the NASM “No’s” (trying to explain that a machine is only meant to do such and such exercise with while a person is doing some strange movements on a machine which is not designed to work it that way etc which you should not say to a member per NASM rules, and such)
    That said trainer appears to care but it seems a bit more like he feels he should not quite because he thinks I could become a great trainer.
    Any thoughts or suggestions from your end would be appreciated.

    1. Hello Stella,
      to sounds like you need practice working with clients. The first thing I suggest is to do some free sessions with friends and family in order to get used to personal training. Also, you might want to check other gymnasiums around your area. Commercial gyms can be great for people to start because they handy clients but at the same time you do not get as much personalized trading as you would have a smaller location. You can try to look around for both locations to see if you can get a personal training internship. Everybody has to start somewhere and I’m sure somebody will give you a chance to train and show your knowledge. Besides that, I’m sure you will become a great personal trainer and I wish you all the best in your personal training career.

  4. I’ve asked my mentor to take me on as an unpaid intern so I can gain more knowledge and experience before i start training on my own. She owns her own business/ studio and is insured. Will my Personal Trainer liability insurance cover the internship or will she need to add me as an employee on her PT insurance?

    1. That’s a great question Kim, I would definitely contact your personal training insurance company to see what they cover and what they don’t for those specifics.

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