Interview Questions for a Personal Fitness Trainer

Male personal trainer talking to female client

Louis-Paul St-Onge/Getty Images

Although you should be confident in your abilities and qualifications as a fitness trainer, all interviews require practice beforehand. It isn't enough to come to the table with one exercise regimen and a few buzzwords about supplements. Now’s the time to give some serious thought to the interview questions you might be asked and how you would answer them. Come prepared with specific ways that you as a fitness trainer will handle clients, as you are in many ways directly responsible for another person's physical health.

Research the employer's standing in the fitness community, talk to professionals who have first-hand knowledge about the company, and then run through at least three or four practice runs for your upcoming interview. You should practice both in front of a mirror and, if possible, in front of a friend who has agreed to play the role of your “interviewer.” It is important to dress appropriately, which can be said for any interview but is especially true to a fitness trainer. You need to appear in a way that is both professional and highlights your commitment to fitness.

The goal is to be able to interview in a confident manner that demonstrates your level of comfort and suitability for the role. Use this list of commonly asked fitness trainer interview questions as you prepare for showcasing your skills and qualifications.

Warmup Questions

An interview will usually begin with basic questions, perhaps related to your background in competitive sports or education in nutrition. Your answers should be practiced beforehand, but they shouldn't sound rehearsed during the actual interview. How you answer is almost as important as what you have to say. Hitting both marks get you past the easy questions:

  • Why did you decide to become a fitness trainer? 
  • Are you CPR-certified? What other certifications do you hold?
  • How do you keep your fitness training knowledge up to date?
  • Do you have fitness goals for yourself? If so, what are they?
  • What group classes have you taught? In your group classes, can you explain how you accommodate varying skill and fitness levels?
  • What diet and nutrition education have you received?
  • What is your schedule for classes, and can you walk me through a class from start to finish?
  • How important is nutrition to you in creating a client's regimen?

Technical Questions

After you cruise past the initial line of questioning and everyone is more comfortable, the interviewer will hit you with harder, more technical inquiries. These are usually open-ended, and it is a good idea to practice your answers so that you don't ramble. Using personal anecdotes about your fitness history will add depth to your answers. You've heard that clear and concise answers are valuable. That advice holds especially true to questions such as these:

  • What evaluations do you conduct with a new client who's eager to begin a fitness regimen?
  • Do you recommend dietary supplements to enhance your clients’ performance? Which ones?
  • Can you describe your time management approach for assisting individual clients versus group workout classes?
  • Imagine a client is discouraged during a training session. How do you keep that person motivated?
  • If a client complains about a previous injury, how do you handle that when constructing a fitness regimen? What do you do to prevent further injury or to discourage the client from engaging in activities—during the client session or working out without you—that would exacerbate a pre-existing condition?
  • Can you tell me three essential exercises you suggest for all clients, and why?
  • What techniques do you use to increase your clientele? What are your goals for increasing the number of clients you serve?

Customer Service Interview Questions

Since you are working in what is primarily a customer service role, the interviewer will want to know the specifics regarding how you interact with clients. Do your best to answer well, while also being yourself. A solid personality never hurts, and often helps, when a question leaves you with the opportunity to show how you would handle the situation:

  • What experience do you have with customer service? Can you describe how you handle customer service situations involving difficult fitness center members or prospective members?
  • What are your thoughts about organic food and a vegan diet? When you encounter a client or prospective fitness club member who is committed to a diet that differs from your own, how do you remain objective?
  • How would you handle a client who is unhappy with your work, or a client who doesn't achieve goals, when you know the problem is with the client's level of motivation?
  • Tell me about a time when a client was unhappy with your work. How did you handle the situation?
  • Walk me through an overview of a training program you would set up for a client looking strictly for weight loss and toning. What do you tell clients who are looking for instant results?
  • How would you structure a training program for a senior citizen with a pre-existing condition like diabetes?

General Inquiries

In addition to job-specific interview questions, you may also be asked general interview questions about your employment history, education, hard and soft skills, strengths, weaknesses, or areas for improvement. You will often be asked how you can improve, which is just another chance to highlight what sets you apart.