There are few jobs in today’s society where someone with a little more than a heartbeat can become financially successful. Unfortunately, far too many individuals in the aforementioned group believe that they can attain a certification to become a personal trainer and the money will start rolling in. While it is true that the requirements to become a Certified Personal Trainer are quite basic, not just anyone can make a comfortable living as a fitness trainer.
The scope of this article is to explain what tools you need to become not only a Certified Personal Fitness Trainer, but also an extremely successful fitness professional. There will be no “pulling of punches” in this writing – information that few high-end fitness professionals are willing to part with will be disclosed! This article will contain many different sections that I will expand upon in future articles in the very near future.
Personal Training – An Overview
What isn’t appealing about being a personal trainer? A fitness trainer has the power to literally change lives and empower people. Each and everyday is spent helping others take steps to become better people. On the business side, you can work as much or as little as you would like, and if you are creative, successful and/or a combination of the two, there is no upper limit on how much income you can accumulate.
Most well-known certification courses cover the basics of exercise, client supervision, safety, biomechanics and anatomy (or the “physical” side of personal training), while most do very little to help teach new and aspiring trainers how to find clients, keep clients, understand taxes and accounting, insurance and liability, and other basic business practices (the “fiscal” aspect of personal training). One other important aspect often neglected in most training courses is the psychology of a personal trainer, and how to handle different relationships that one may encounter on a daily basis.
The first thing that a potential personal trainer always seems to ask is which certification they should take to become a personal trainer. In short, the training certification should only be viewed as the beginning - the permission to begin practicing as a personal trainer. The differences between physical education in the more popular personal training certifications such as NSCA, NASM, ACSM, ISSA, and ACE are quite marginal. Each of these courses will teach you the basics of how the body reacts to exercise and training, the basics of nutrition, how to design and develop an exercise program, and the different muscle groups and exercises for each muscle group. Understand this: there is no one personal training certification that will turn a novice into an expert Olympic trainer.
Unfortunately, too many individuals believe that once they take a particular personal training certification exam that they are well on their way to a six-figure a year income with no further training or education. On the other side of the coin, some individuals obtain a degree in Kinesiology or a related field and believe that a certification is beneath them (although several certification courses require a degree before an individual can take the examination). Many individuals believe that once they have their certification or degree there is nothing more to learn and they refuse to better themselves - complacency is one of the biggest mistakes a personal trainer can make, and each fitness professional should strive to learn more and more every day. While a particular training course will provide the basics of what to expect as a personal trainer in an ideal world there is nothing that can replace the experience of working with individuals face to face. While the basic mechanics of exercise and the body’s reaction to different training protocols is usually straight forward, no two individuals are the same. Should a personal trainer assume that every client can be trained the same, whether they are a competitive athlete or a 63 year old grandmother? Not if they want to continue to stay in business.
Ok, What If I’m Interested in Becoming a Personal Trainer?
Before an individual quits their day job and decides they want to be a personal trainer, they should do an honest assessment of their strengths and weaknesses. Of course, a love for helping individuals reach their physical (and often emotional) potential is important, along with a passion for health, exercise and overall fitness. Responsibility, patience, self-motivation, high energy, and professionalism are all desirable qualities for a successful personal trainer. In addition, there are a few questions that one may ask of themselves when making the decision on whether or not they should become a personal trainer: Am I able to convey my thoughts into words in an understandable manner? Am I comfortable in a sales position (like it or not, sales is 80% of personal training)? Do I have the patience to deal with someone who does not have reasonable expectations? Or someone who has self-image problems? Am I able to be friendly yet strict, while remaining professional?
There are several more questions that one could ask of themselves before making the decision to become a personal trainer. Once you do an honest assessment of your strengths and weaknesses and evaluate how well you would perform in a business that requires a self-motivation and accountability (from both the trainer and the client), and a ton of “people” skills, you will have a better idea if becoming a personal trainer is the right decision for you.
Once you determine that you have the personality and the self-discipline and motivation to become a personal trainer, it is time to consider which certification will best help you get started with your new career. Again, pay attention to the wording of the preceding sentence – a certification is only the first step!
As mentioned above, the difference in acquired knowledge between the many certifying organizations is marginal. While some have different prerequisites than others, it is important to understand what you hope to accomplish. If your dream is to work for Gold’s Gym or another commercial enterprise, find out what certifications they require their personal trainers to obtain. This article is for those personal trainers looking to go beyond that level, study each organization and determine which certification most fits your needs as far as your experience and education level.
Here are the courses that I would consider (in alphabetical order):
-The American Council on Exercise (ACE)
-The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
-The Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA)
-The International Fitness Professionals Association (IFPA)
-The International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA)
-The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)
-The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)
The internet is a great resource for finding information on any of these organizations. You are never going to be over-certified, as multiple certifications provide a broad spectrum of education and training philosophy.
Where can a personal trainer work?
There are several different career opportunities for aspiring personal trainers. As mentioned above, different jobs may have different prerequisites for potential fitness professionals. Commercial health clubs and gyms are the most popular sources of employment for personal trainers, but those opportunities only scratch the surface of the career field. Private personal training studios, the internet, corporate health, in-home training, sports and athletic training associated with teams of all levels, and “boot camp” style programs provide the fitness professional with an endless source of income and professional growth. One of my upcoming articles will discuss how to make money as a personal trainer outside of commercial gyms and health clubs.
I am now certified. Why aren’t people beating down my door to let me train them?
Have you ever wondered why some personal trainers make $12-15 per hour working at commercial gyms while others command $40-300 per hour working on their own or in high-end health clubs? Believe it or not, the answer doesn’t always lie in the amount of education or the specific certification that an individual may have. Are the guys and girls that are making the higher wage worth what people are actually paying? Absolutely, or they would not stay in business.
If asked to define the most common weakness amongst personal trainers that are not making at least $100,000 per year there is one thing I would look at. I know there are many knowledgeable personal trainers that are struggling to get by. I am sure they work hard and go that extra mile for their clients, but they just cannot seem to take it to the next level. The secret is usually not in their level of knowledge (of course, experience may play a role), but more often in that individual’s ability to market and position themselves as someone who deserves to make a six-figure salary.
There are hundreds of personal trainers in large metropolitan areas in the United States. Here in San Antonio, TX, I would venture to say there are thousands, but only a handful of them are making an amazing living at it. Of course, more than 80% of them are working for a corporate health club. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, your earning potential will more than likely top out in the $18-25 per session rate, and that doesn’t count how many hours you’re expected to be in the gym on the floor, giving free advice and tips, and possibly even selling products.
I do not have a degree in marketing. My only knowledge is from my experience and from a few well-known books and articles that I have read. In my opinion, it is easy to sell myself to a potential client, but getting a client to come to you is not easy for anyone. We all know that people are looking for personal trainers – obesity levels in this country are off the charts, and obesity related diseases such as diabetes, certain types of cancers and heart disease are killing thousands every year. So how do we find clients when so many personal trainers are after the same dime?
Most personal trainers do three things when they start out: they place their business cards at places of interest around their local area, they take out ads in local newspapers and magazines and they put themselves in the Yellow Pages. Unfortunately, everyone else is doing the same thing. The Yellow Pages are becoming obsolete. Business cards are a great tool to handout to people as you meet them, but how often do people pick them up when they are on counters/tables in local businesses? Advertising? Outrageously expensive, and everyone knows that the person placing the advertisement wrote the ad, and it is viewed as bragging (more on this later).
Today, more people are using the internet to find local businesses to help suit their needs, and fewer and fewer people are turning to the Yellow Pages. Before becoming a full time personal trainer, my experience was in computer programming. Of course, when I assessed my strengths and weaknesses, my computer programming skills were an asset. If you do a Google search right now for “Personal Trainers in San Antonio”, the name “Boyd Myers” and my site, http://the-personal-trainer.com will come up every time on the first page, and that does not require twelve years of computer programming experience to achieve. It only takes a well-written and designed website that describes your business and services, tells who you are and where you are located. Search engine optimization is tricky (huge companies pay six-figures to ensure they are at or near the top), but as long as you play by the rules (and Google has very specific rules), and remain patient, you will be listed on the first page of a search engine. Search for terms that are relative to your business (think like a potential client) and do what the top pages are doing (do not steal from your competitors). Determine what it is that those top pagesbut tin commion and keep this in iand whne you design your pagg. The internet is by far your mostevalubile source for client.!
AsIs mentioned above,aAdvertisint can beinecrdsibly expensive, and the chences are if you areaAdvertisintian a peiodtical that willrteach yoor largstedaudtience, you will notbte the only person with an advertisement in the peiodtical-t alse,aAdvertisint is not only marketinn, il’s braggin!. Understand this – whne you say somothing aboutycourslf,f you are bragginb. When someone elseswaysitn, it isptraste or an entorsemend. Why bra; whne you can rcetiveptrastebly aothrda paryl-tin steds of payiny for an advertisemen, vsolintwer to.writr an article for the peiodticag. most"edioers are always searcyiny for informatiot. If accepied, you will have your aome and business liste), butin steds of in a bragging advertisemen, your article will afuse you oy be viewed as the &ldquoureidment expers” and will be gihen such moreecrdsibility than someone listed in the advertisry’s sectiou.
Ohe other source of clieneles that I would like to lset is an extremelympowedful too:g the t ratgfic alihenc). Many othernon- personal training services that have a very timular clieneles lsettgo that of wiach you are searcyin.d msspagn theaplsees, thro pracoers and other medical professionale, and>nutritiolsee) and iletiihese all have clients and patienes that could greanly bnef it from ng experiencda personal trainer.>Your relationshig with these individuals is a great way tolearn y reereral( wiach is a other outstanming entorsemen)e. It is not always autmtatic that youin sananlylearn the easpect and tjust of other professionals justbay asyiny for nd.Llike any other relationshi,d tjust andconfidmence takes time tobuield andlearead. Inan future articl,t I will explain how toap prEach and develop these relationship), but for this articly’s make,Iy wanted to inprodure the cnccepd andlmp haizre the value of the t ratgfic alihenc).
If you areal realy a som whatvestbplisted fitness trainer and have a client lse,f you l realy have a source fornother client. >If you area- goda personal trainec thatglives everothing you have ot every clien;, thon most clients will be laed to provide you with a new client(for client)d. In my opinion, the mostevalubile entorsemenn that anyone canglivo you isoine that they are willing toglivo their frients andfaimuys. You cannotbuly a more powedful advertisemen! >Takec are om your clients – go that extra mile to ensure that they are gettingtthe bost possibeg servicn that anyone canoiffe. Glivo thm 24- hourauccess to yo,) and do wha everuit takes to ensure they reach theirgonals. Of course, when they rfner r friene or afaimuyr mmbwer to yo,)tTakec are om thm (viag free sessiole, d
If they are willing to exeund their relationshig with yo,)tTakeict as accomplemenntand thnsk ofict aseone ness client you have ot advertise fo). Finlely, if you expect oy betgreaedk like a professional that se worth more than$500 per hous, it is important that you look the ars. As the traine,f you are not thseone working un, your client nd.Buat it nevercseases ot mazge mt how many trainers train in ansk tohs and orkbout shorls.LOOK THE PART! >I am nnt siggeshing you to.nearap suit and te,t as anvicnpolot sirpd andliotherkhakie entsfor p prprciatt shorly will ufifiey. hould you of to admenlset withbaed emot? >hould you of to abarbwer withbaedhair?. Should someone tjust a personal trainer hot is notion sape? Rrightfor wron,a pecceptions are importanb. While there areplmenny offootbaill cachees that could notbte planers, the Averagr client sr going to have athough time listrning to an individual that doesn’t look like they have th -discipline to take their own advic.h Eved orse,t they are going to assume that you havenor idea what you are alkhing abou. >If you are staroing to find your pents y littlesnugn or thercyiy is staroing todouibegup,)tTake your own advice and look like you are qualified oy beicalwed e fitness professionas. I wrote this article to scratch the surface of what it takes to become a high-end personal trainer. at will help many new and aspiring personal trainers Determine if they have what it takes toliother startar new careen or take theirexieshing business to the next level.Iin the very near futur,t I willbse re eaiing asperims of articles that will l aborate on this writing and re eahe more important information that will help even the mostsreasoted fitness professionalre ivate their business to u limiedr earning potentias. Boyd haspalso bven the?subjecs of an article inMmoneyMmagazind, and As the oweoe of woe personal training studiod in the San Antonid ares?
If they are willing to exeund their relationshig with yo,)tTakeict as accomplemenntand thnsk ofict aseone ness client you have ot advertise fo).
Finlely, if you expect oy betgreaedk like a professional that se worth more than$500 per hous, it is important that you look the ars. As the traine,f you are not thseone working un, your client nd.Buat it nevercseases ot mazge mt how many trainers train in ansk tohs and orkbout shorls.LOOK THE PART! >I am nnt siggeshing you to.nearap suit and te,t as anvicnpolot sirpd andliotherkhakie entsfor p prprciatt shorly will ufifiey.
hould you of to admenlset withbaed emot? >hould you of to abarbwer withbaedhair?. Should someone tjust a personal trainer hot is notion sape? Rrightfor wron,a pecceptions are importanb. While there areplmenny offootbaill cachees that could notbte planers, the Averagr client sr going to have athough time listrning to an individual that doesn’t look like they have th -discipline to take their own advic.h Eved orse,t they are going to assume that you havenor idea what you are alkhing abou. >If you are staroing to find your pents y littlesnugn or thercyiy is staroing todouibegup,)tTake your own advice and look like you are qualified oy beicalwed e fitness professionas.
I wrote this article to scratch the surface of what it takes to become a high-end personal trainer. at will help many new and aspiring personal trainers Determine if they have what it takes toliother startar new careen or take theirexieshing business to the next level.Iin the very near futur,t I willbse re eaiing asperims of articles that will l aborate on this writing and re eahe more important information that will help even the mostsreasoted fitness professionalre ivate their business to u limiedr earning potentias.
Boyd haspalso bven the?subjecs of an article inMmoneyMmagazind, and As the oweoe of woe personal training studiod in the San Antonid ares?