Personal Trainer/Exercise Professional Kaiwhakangungu Tinana/Mahi Ngaio

Personal trainers/exercise professionals provide expertise, knowledge and structured support to improve and maintain health and wellness through physical activity.

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

Personal trainers/exercise professionals may do some or all the following:

  • assess clients' health and wellness and design exercise programmes for them
  • explain and demonstrate safe exercises, weight training and class routines
  • give advice on nutrition as well as injury recovery and prevention
  • help out at the exercise facility, which can involve cleaning and reception duties.

Personal trainers may also:

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

Physical Requirements

Personal trainers/exercise professionals need to have good general health.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for personal trainers/exercise professionals includes:

  • communicating in group settings 
  • work in areas such as nutrition, physiotherapy or physical education
  • public speaking
  • customer service work.

Personal Qualities

Personal trainers/exercise professionals 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/exercise professionals need to have:

  • skill in exercise prescription, nutrition and wellness
  • an understanding of how to prescribe and demonstrate safe and effective exercises
  • an understanding of anatomy and physiology
  • knowledge of first aid
  • knowledge of exercise equipment and how to operate it correctly.

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

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

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


Personal trainers/exercise professionals:

  • usually work shifts, including early mornings, evenings and weekends
  • usually work in exercise facilities, recreation centres and community settings
  • may need to travel to meet clients.

Personal Trainer/Exercise Professionals can earn around $23-$70 per hour.

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

  • Exercise professionals usually earn between minimum wage and $28 an hour.
  • Group exercise professionals usually earn between $35 and $70 an hour.
  • Yoga teachers usually earn between $23 and $70 an hour.
  • Personal trainers usually earn between $45 and $90 an hour.
  • Self-employed personal trainers can earn between $50 and $120 an hour, but their income depends on the success of their business.

Source: NZ Register of Exercise Professionals, 2022.

Personal trainers/exercise professionals 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/exercise professional.

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

You can also complete a personal trainer/exercise professional apprenticeship and gain a New Zealand Certificate in Exercise (Level 3 or Level 4).

Te Mahi Ako oversees personal trainer/exercise professional training and apprenticeships.

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

With over 3,500 exercise professionals registered with REPs (as at August 2022), over 84% of the industry are REPs registered (4,146 fitness instructors Census data 2018).

Personal Trainer/Exercise Professional