10 Fitness Instructor Interview Questions and Answers

Illustration of four people working out at the gym

So, you’re mean and lean, you’ve got that well-earned fitness instructor qualification, and now you’re ready to kick-start a successful fitness instructor career.

And while keeping fit is important to land the job, preparing for a fitness instructor interview is not just about looking the part; on the contrary, knowing your stuff about the fitness industry is just as important.

Sure, prepping for an interview might not exactly be the same as working on your calf muscles, but knowing what answers to have readily prepared for a job interview is just as crucial as keeping in shape.

So, put on your workout gear and get those burning answers pumping as we run down the top fitness interview questions and answers to get you ready for that essential fitness instructor interview!

1. ‘Why did you decide to become a personal trainer?’

First impressions are crucial, and how you answer this type of question will very much depend on much you’re willing to reveal to the interviewer.

Many of the top fitness instructors in the industry have had to overcome their demons in achieving their fitness and health goals, and so can relate to the struggle and determination of the many clients that they train and work with.

Put the focus on any obstacles that you had to overcome to achieve your goals in becoming or wanting to become a fitness trainer. Be confident and demonstrate your passion in your answer, and let the interviewer know something about your journey that will make you stand out from other applicants.

EXAMPLE

 

I once had an eating disorder and was inspired by a personal trainer I worked with when I finally realised that I was unhealthy and could not carry on the way that I was going. My trainer put me on a specialised diet plan, and I began to put on weight as a result of eating good nutritious food and by also building muscle mass in the gym. I began to research more about nutrition and healthy eating, and decided I wanted to help others just like my trainer helped me.

2. ‘Tell me about your customer service experience.’

The kind of bog-standard question that you might expect in an interview when applying for a job in retail, yet when it comes to working as a fitness instructor, helping clients navigate the gym and offering expert advice is just part and parcel of your daily routine.

Be specific in your answers and give detailed examples of when and how you helped customers in your previous roles. Your examples don’t have to be just fitness instructor-related and can be transferable from other customer-facing roles. If this is the first job that you’re applying for, meanwhile, try to think of examples of when you helped family and friends and how you communicated effectively with someone while understanding their needs.

EXAMPLE

 

While previously working in a busy supermarket, I learned how to handle difficult customers and keep a positive attitude, especially during busy and often challenging periods throughout the day.

3. ‘What do you know about our company?’

Another common interview question, yet one that will have a different answer depending on the type of company that you’re applying to. With different gyms catering towards a certain kind of training and clientele, what kind of fitness instructor and the kind of fitness that you want to specialise in will impact the kind of gym you want to work for.

Do you want to specialise in helping clients build body mass and muscle and work in a powerlifting gym? Or do you want to cater only to female clients and empower women in a women-only gym? The type of gym that you ultimately end up applying to work in will help you answer this question with ease.

EXAMPLE

 

You’re a newly established CrossFit gym that specialises in high-intensity fitness programmes. As someone interested in strength and conditioning, I feel that this would be the kind of high-energised environment that I could offer support and guidance to clients in.

4. ‘How do you keep your fitness knowledge up to date?’

With different forms of fitness and new workout methods always being developed, staying up to date on the latest trends in fitness is essential in becoming a successful fitness instructor. This is your opportunity to demonstrate to the interviewer that fitness is truly your passion and not just a job.

Engaging on social media and seeing what online health influencers are promoting is especially good in keeping up to date with the newest fitness techniques, and demonstrating your social media savviness is a good way in showcasing that you have your finger on the pulse when it comes to keeping your fitness knowledge up to date.

EXAMPLE

 

I am subscribed to blogs that specialise in physical activities that build endurance, and I like to keep my finger on the pulse of the latest strength, balance and flexibility workouts so that I can incorporate them into my workouts for new clients.

5. ‘What are your thoughts on a vegan lifestyle?’

Veganism, the practice in which a person does not eat any food derived from animals, has proven popular among those who want to stay healthy in recent years, while staying clear of meat and dairy products.

The rise of the plant-based diet has seen vegan lifestyle influencers and fitness instructors come to prominence, with many health-conscious gym users now switching to meat substitutes in a bid to stay healthy while keeping nutrients in their diet like fruit, nuts, seeds and vegetables, which are packed full of beneficial fibre, vitamins and minerals.

While you may not be a vegan yourself or even promote the diet in your workouts, at some point you will have vegan clients, and this type of knowledge is crucial in staying ahead in an ever-growing market and growing your knowledge. Whatever your thoughts of veganism, be diplomatic and try not to offend. Remember: the interviewer may be a vegan!

EXAMPLE

 

While I am not vegan myself, I have had clients achieve excellent results by cutting out meat and dairy. As a result of seeing such great results, I have now developed an exclusively vegan workout and diet plan that focuses on staying lean while incorporating a plan that has proven to be efficient for replenishing amino acids and repairing the muscle.

 

6. ‘Describe a successful training session.’

How you define success will depend on a large part of the goal of your clients.

Are you working with a client who wants to lose that stubborn fat around the belly? Or are you working with someone who wants a shredded and ripped physique just in time for summer?

Provide an example of a client that you have worked with and describe to the interviewer how you took that client from their goal to the eventual result. Make sure to explain your approach to personal training and the methods in which you use to make each session a success.

EXAMPLE

 

I measure success based on the personal achievements of my clients. One example that inspired me and made me feel proud was when a client struggling with their weight dropped five sizes in the space of three months. We achieved this success by implementing a high-intense workout alongside a low-carb diet in which I closely monitored their food intake and workouts throughout.

7. ‘How do you keep clients motivated and engaged?’

Working out isn’t exactly an idea of fun for many, which is why the job of a fitness instructor is essential in keeping the motivation to feel the burn for many who want to work on their own fitness goals. How you choose to answer this question will very much depend on your style of training and personality, as many fitness instructors like to incorporate their personalised approach into their workout sessions.

An interviewer will get a taste of this during the interview, as a big aspect of a fitness instructor is the ability to sell yourself to an often cautious client who may have doubts and insecurities when first stepping on the treadmill or picking up their first dumbbell.

Think of quirky ways in which you help clients stay motivated, and give examples that sell both your personality and your workout approach.

EXAMPLE

 

I like to motivate my clients by giving them daily motivational reminders on WhatsApp or Messenger and checking in throughout the week. I think that it’s important to build a relationship with my clients and be available for them whenever they need me. Working out and keeping healthy doesn’t just stop and start inside the gym, after all.

8. ‘Do you have any relevant certifications?’

To become a fitness trainer, you must hold some form of a recognised qualification. Depending on whereabouts in the world you’re from, the type of qualification you’ll need to obtain in becoming a professional fitness trainer will vary. However, in most cases, you’ll need to have enrolled on some form of certificate programmes, which can take as little as three months to complete in many instances.

Come readily prepared for your interview and bring with you copies of any type of certification that you have obtained.

EXAMPLE

 

I have a Level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instructing and I’m in the process of obtaining a Level 2 Diploma in Health, Fitness and Exercise Instruction. I am also CPR-certified and fully capable of providing first aid if needed.

9. ‘What’s your sales record like?’

While helping clients achieve and maintain fitness goals is the main cause for many fitness trainers, it’s ultimately sales role. And while under contract for a gym or health establishment, employees will be expected to secure new clients and keep them under long- or short-term membership contracts.

This is your time in the interview to demonstrate and talk about your sales technique and go over the methods that you use to attract new clients.

EXAMPLE

 

I maintain a client referral list and make cold contacts by promoting my services on social media. I also have a business card and use promotional materials to bring in my own clients that I have successfully obtained.

10. ‘What makes you a good fitness trainer?’

Being different and offering a unique service from your competitors is essential in achieving success in this industry. Ask yourself what makes you stand out from other fitness trainers and what you do that’s not only exceptional but better than other applicants applying for this role.

Summarise your qualifications and your previous experience and highlight times in which you have achieved extraordinary success with a client.

EXAMPLE

 

I have great reviews from past clients who I have trained and who continue to use me because of the way I make them feel motivated and inspired to achieve their fitness goals. I also think that it’s important to build a rapport with my clients outside of the gym, and I let them know that I am always available if they require support and guidance.

 

Preparing for an interview is like prepping for a high-intense workout, and while you may not burn calories during interrogation from an interviewer, you will certainly feel the sweat. Prepare for any anticipated questions by practising with a friend, and you should be able to ace your interview. You got this!

What other questions have you been asked during an interview for a fitness instructor job, and how did you go about answering them? Let us know in the comments section below!


This article is an updated version of an earlier article originally published on 21 May 2015.