How to get a personal training internship at a gym (2023)

I’m going to show you how to get a personal training internship at a gym, thanks to my 10+ years of experience in the industry.

You’ll learn:

How to make contact with personal trainers or gym owners
How to ensure the internship sessions is successful

Strap-on and let’s go for a ride!

GYM Internship


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 a personal trainer internship if you are getting started out as a 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.

Gym internships afford you the privilege to see and experience first-hand personal trainer duties, personal trainer roles, and personal trainer responsibilities.

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!

Undergoing personal training internships should be part of personal trainer goals and objectives for professional development.

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A lot of personal training opportunities can pop up during the personal trainer internships.

Let me explain 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 

Contact close gyms

In this segment, I’m going to show you how to establish contact with gyms around you.

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

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.

You need to show interest and passion before getting a suitable gym for your personal training 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 health and fitness 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.

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Save 25%
Most Popular Cert
3 Certs for 1
Best Study Materials
See MVP discount
A Good Option
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50% off
Best CPT for you?
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What type of personal training would you like to do?

What type of personal training

Before you proceed, you need to have a clear purpose for internship.

Read on to find out more.

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.

Having obtain a professional certificate with a certification body, you should know what to look for in an internship as relating to a personal trainer description.

You should have personal goals for internship which should be performance based.

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

Be quite

In this section, I will show you how to maximize each shadowing session.

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 but after the personal training session has been 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.

Try to be specific with your questions after the training session to avoid delaying the personal trainer and getting late to the next session with a client.

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

Conclusion on getting a personal training internship

These are all the tips you need to clinch a much needed internship at your favorite gym.

If you want more info, kindly drop a message in the comment box and I’ll respond ASAP.

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 to properly understand the job roles done in the real world.

Let me know if you have any experience with shadowing a personal trainer or being part of any internships for health and wellness.

Read Also: Best way to become a personal trainer!

Getting your questions answered

Having continuing education units through online courses with certified certification bodies and authorized partner program will help you on your career road-map.

With the right training resources gotten through the use of information technology, the certification process is more simplified for student membership or entry-level

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!

Tyler Read

Tyler Read, BSc, CPT. Tyler holds a B.S. in Kinesiology from Sonoma State University and is a certified personal trainer (CPT) with NASM (National Academy of sports medicine), and has over 15 years of experience working as a personal trainer. He is a published author of running start, and a frequent contributing author on Healthline and Eat this, not that.

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8 thoughts on “How to get a personal training internship at a gym (in 2023)”

  1. PTPioneer User

    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. Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

      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. PTPioneer User

    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. Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

      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.

  3. PTPioneer User

    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. Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

      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. PTPioneer User

    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. Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

      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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