The personal training industry is set to soar this year, with data revealing it has been the second most popular career change for Brits during lockdown.

With the pandemic giving workers time to reflect on their jobs and career path, the fitness industry is set to be inundated with new trainers as hundreds of thousands of British workers consider the career move in 2021.

Searches for “train as a personal trainer” were surplus 270,000 at the start of this year, according to data from eLearning provider DeltaNet International, which analysed a list of the top 50 careers to uncover any patterns in people switching jobs.

It echoes official statistics by the ONS, which show that the coronavirus has had an impact on occupational switching. Of those employed in quarter 1 and quarter 2 of 2020, 6.1% changed jobs, compared to 5.7% in the same period the year prior. More than half of those (53%) took their career in a new direction and changed industry.

Darren Hockley, MD at DeltaNet International, comments: “Whilst it’s true the pandemic has brought with it plenty of uncertainty – especially for gyms and the fitness industry – I believe the effects of living with this stress long-term has left people with room to reflect on their choice of occupation and the virtues of their workplace environment. Faced with tough decisions and increasing pandemic fatigue, it’s perhaps unsurprising that dissatisfied employees across the country have decided now is a good time to make the leap into something new and possibly more fulfilling.

“With the shift to virtual personal training over the past year, the industry has become increasingly accessible for new entrants and allowed many to pursue their passion as a full-time job. As lockdown continues to ease, it will be interesting to see how the fitness industry adapts with the next generation of personal trainers moving into the field. For clients, it will mean an increase in choice to find a fitness professional who best suits their individual needs as many move to make this career change.”

The research also looked at search data for the past five years and identified a 70% increase in career-switch related enquiries from 2017-2021. Searches for ‘career change’, ‘career change jobs’, ‘move careers’, ‘how to quit my job’ and ‘career change quiz’ were all popular among those on the hunt for something different.

When taking into account the number of searches for ‘retrain as…’, ‘train as…’ and ‘how to become…’, the following were found to be the most popular occupations in 2021:

  1. Teacher

  2. Personal trainer

  3. Nurse

  4. Accountant

  5. Paramedic

  6. Dentist

  7. Lawyer

  8. Mechanic

  9. Vet

  10.  Pharmacist

Chris Allsbrook, a personal trainer at OriGym Centre of Excellence, adds:

“While undoubtedly a catastrophe on a global scale, the global pandemic has also provided opportunities for people to nurture passions that may have lain dormant through necessity, or through a lack of time. With the current prominence of online personal training courses, there will likely be a considerable uptake of exercise professions, and the primary amongst those is personal training.

“There’s also an abundance of resources available on the topic of becoming a personal trainer, or finding jobs in the industry, so many people will have turned to the internet for guidance when it comes to transforming a passion into a career. It’s an industry that can often be underrepresented, especially in terms of diversity of gender, and it’s refreshing to learn that more and more people are making the decision to transition to a career in the field that we love.”


Name: Adam Housley

“My name is Adam and I decided that I wanted to qualify as a personal trainer in January of 2020. I was currently working full time as a football analyst for a Championship Football Club, which is a role I had been in for nearly 10 full seasons across various Championship and Premier League clubs.

“Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the football season was postponed and I was placed on furlough, which enabled me to focus completely on fast-tracking my personal trainer qualifications, from what would have been 2-3 years around my working pattern, to 5 months over the first lockdown.

“After achieving my qualification in July/August, I decided to make the leap from just short of £40,000 a year job, to become self-employed as a personal trainer in September of 2020. I was fortunate to be offered a place as a Personal Trainer at JD Gyms almost immediately and began my new career from there.

“Despite the drop-out rates for new personal trainers being within 6 months, I have managed to make it through two lockdowns and still get my client base up to a level where I can support myself and my partner with our mortgage/bills.”