Calling all Personal Trainers – Do You Know How to Establish a Gym in UAE?

September 14, 2023

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With the health and fitness sector of the UAE estimated to be worth AED 3 billion by 2022, it is no wonder why fitness-related jobs in the country have seen a surge in demand in the past few years. Not only that, but the world over the fitness industry has also is gaining widespread popularity and is thriving.

According to recent estimates, the global fitness equipment market is anticipated to be valued a staggering AED 45 billion by 2021! Apart from the rise of gym equipment, fitness apps, and wearable technologies (such as Fitbit, Apple Watch, etc.), one of the most notable areas that have seen significant growth is that of a personal trainer.

The residents of the UAE possesses a fondness for maintaining a healthy physique and overall fitness. By the year 2022, it is estimated that over 1,400 fitness outlets will be operating in the UAE and will be well spread across the entire country.

If you are passionate about exercise or have the skills needed to train others, then it getting started as a personal trainer in the UAE is relatively easy. You can finally quit your mundane 9-to-5 job and make your dream of becoming your own boss into a reality.

Qualifications and Requirements of a Personal Trainer in the UAE

If you are seriously considering to be a personal trainer in the UAE, then you need to know all that there are specific criteria that you need to satisfy to get permission to work as a trainer. Since the fitness sector has now become widely popular, therefore, it has become highly competitive as well. Hence, you need to have at least a Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training — the entry-level certification for the UAE market of personal trainers. Besides that, the holder of this Diploma can work in a gym with a client one-on-one or be a free agent, i.e., become a freelance personal trainer.

Along with obtaining the customary certifications and acquiring the requisite skillset and getting the proper licenses, you also need to work on you as an individual and build yourself into one of the finest and matchless trainers out there. Merely being able and skilled will not be enough; you need to be excellent at what you do. So you can deliver real value to your clients and satisfy them utterly because a satisfied customer is better than any marketing strategy you can employ.

Once you have completed your training requirement, you will now need to register yourself as a professional personal trainer with the Register of Exercise Professionals UAE (REPs UAE). This Authority regulates and lists all fitness professionals in the UAE who carry approved qualifications and are working as personal or gym trainers. REPs membership is mandatory for all fitness professionals in the UAE, as mandated by the Dubai Sports Council.

Set up a Personal Training Business in the UAE

Here are some key steps you need to follow to set up a personal training business in the United Arab Emirates.

1.Apply for a Requisite Business License

To ensure you are licensed to trade as a fitness professional in the UAE, you will need to apply for a suitable business license. Moreover, you will also need to apply for an appropriate business license for your business setup in the UAE.

In the case of a personal trainer, this application process is two-fold.

Free Zone:

For starting a business in Dubai Free Zone, you need to obtain an individual training license, which permits you to establish your business without any hiccup. Once you get a free zone permit, the next step will be the application for a work license from the General Authority of Youth and Sports Welfare in Dubai.

You are obligated to fulfill both stages of this process because Free Zones can issue a sports services license but do not have the authority to give their consent to work in the mainland.

Dubai Mainland

In the case of the Dubai mainland, you just need to obtain a DED Trade license, and you are good to go. This license is easier to get and is far more affordable than the free zone alternative.

2.Low Entry Barriers

The limitations of entering in the UAE for a personal trainer are moderate or are very low. Many of the UAE free zones that house sports services will ordinarily issue a business license in a mere fortnight, and applying for a work permit is also very swift and quick.

Application for a Work Permit

To get a work permit, the first thing that you need to do is register with the General Authority of Youth and Sports Welfare and next with the UAE Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs). REPs is a self-governing, civil register which recognizes, and necessarily approves, the abilities, qualifications, and expertise of fitness and healthcare professionals in the UAE.

The documents demanded by the REPs Authority are

  • A duly filled application form
  • Certificate of REP qualification
  • A draft that outlines the type of fitness activity you wish to perform
  • Copies of your visa and passport

3. Opening your Own Gym Studio

Depending on the kind of fitness space you want to open, you need to apply with the DED Authority. Once you are granted the go-ahead, you can then negotiate a lease for your chosen building straight with the landlord. As this method can be complex, it pays to seek guidance from a UAE business setup consultant before starting the company formation in Dubai.

4. No NOC Needed from Local Sponsor

A No Objection Certificate (NOC) is not demanded in order to obtain a personal trainer license, enabling trainers to build their gym business on the side until they are ready to break away and go it alone.

5. No Audit Necessary

Unlike many firms in the UAE, there are no conditions for personal trainers to get their finances audited or to present their account books to the government.

Need a Hand?

If you choose to start a personal training business or decide to get qualifications to become a personal trainer, then the process of establishing a gym business is quite complicated.

We at KWS Middle East is a consultancy that is well-versed in the art of company formation all across the UAE, be it in Free Zones or the Dubai Mainland.

Contact us today and book your commitment-free call with us today!.

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