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Can Older People Be Effective Personal Trainers? Why 50+ Is a Great Age to Become a Personal Trainer

Updated on June 28, 2019
Lorra Garrick profile image

Former ACE-certified personal trainer Lorra Garrick has trained men & women for fat loss, muscle building, more strength and more fitness.

Years ago I learned a fool-proof method for rehabilitating an injured rotator cuff from an “older” personal trainer!

I have used his protocol multiple times over the years (it’s a rehab technique, not a preventive technique), and every time without fail, it works. I learned something valuable from a man who appeared “too old” to knock off 50 pull-ups or sprint like a rabbit up a hill.

An older personal trainer will attract older clients. The aging population is rapidly increasing; this is a growing demographic with money to spend.

When I eventually became a personal trainer myself, I’d approach senior citizens in the gym to start small-talk about their fitness goals.

I found that often, they were not interested – a lack of interest that was not present with the younger members whom I approached.

I concluded that this senior crowd did not want to take advice or ask for help from a much younger trainer.

Some senior gym patrons cannot relate to a younger personal trainer. It’s that mindset of “I’ve been exercising longer than you’ve been alive” that hinders the receptiveness of the 65+ crowd when approached by a younger trainer.

Plus, the older gym patron may assume that the younger personal trainer “just doesn’t understand” an older person’s body.

There’s also the assumption that the younger personal trainer will want the older gym member to perform exercises that are unreasonable for the aging body.

Where an Older Personal Trainer Comes In

However, an older personal trainer will have more credibility with many senior-age gym patrons.

Senior people will feel that they can relate more to the older personal trainer, and won’t feel as “intimidated” or insulted by the older professional.

If you’re older, you do not have to perform strenuous exercise routines as part of your job as a personal trainer.

You are working one-on-one with a client, rather than hopping around leading a group fitness class.

Many 65+ and even 50+ gym members simply want instruction on practical exercises, proper form, and ways to make exercise more inviting and less boring. They want to be fitter and gain energy.

However, you will get maximal client retention and many new clients if your own body is physically fit.

What about the younger crowd?

An older personal trainer may be less “intimidating” to self-conscious younger gym patrons, especially ones who are sensitive about size issues.

Furthermore, as an older personal trainer, you can specialize in training the senior population, and further specialize in working with seniors who have specific problems such as cardiac rehab; osteoporosis; osteoarthritis; knee and hip replacement; and many more conditions.

If you’re over 50 and have been going around asking people if it’s a good idea to pursue a new career as a personal trainer, and you’ve been met with negative reactions or admonitions to give up this dream, it’s time to blow off those naysayers.

Your Next Steps

  • Contact a reputable certifying organization such as the American Council on Exercise or the National Academy of Sports Medicine to get started on your new career as a certified personal trainer.
  • Or, you can inquire about becoming a personal trainer at the club you work out at; many are always hiring. However, you will still need to be certified.
  • Order your exam materials; study hard; take the exam; and prove all the naysayers wrong by becoming a personal trainer at any age.

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