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Everything I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me About Becoming A Personal Trainer

Updated on November 29, 2011

Should I Become A Personal Trainer?

To be or not to be, that is the question! Are you one of the many fitness enthusiasts contemplating whether or not you should take your love of fitness to the next level by becoming a personal trainer? In this brief article, I will share with you important details that I've learned over my 10 + years of being a personal trainer. Personal training can be both more rewarding and more stressful than you could ever imagine! if you are considering fitness training as your full time job then it will require some research! First step, Personal Trainer Certification.

Dr. Cohen and Coach Kozak

Which Personal Trainer Certification Should I Get?

One of the first decisions you will undoubtedly have to ask yourself on the road to becoming a personal trainer is, "Which personal trainer certificate should I get?" The simple answer is ASCM, NASM, ACE, and NSCA are the most respected. You should be able to get a job in any gym across the country with one of these four. There are hundreds of personal training certifications that hiring managers have never heard of and could care less about. Stick to these four and avoid getting ripped off!

There is no need to get multiple certifications so save your money! The only time that I'd recommend getting multiple certificates would be if they are specialized such as Corrective Exercise Specialist, Crossfit, or Kettlebell Training Certified. Many assume that getting a personal trainer certificate will adequately prepare you for training, but unfortunately that couldn't be further from the truth. Certifications will help you gain employment; however, they rarely help you sell clients, gain usable knowledge, or become a motivational trainer. To become a top knotch personal trainer you will need to spend countless hours reading and educating yourself! (Which you should be good at because you are reading this article.)

Should I Get An Exercise Science or Kinesiology Degree?

This is an easy one! For most trainers, the answer is NO! You rarely receive any return on investment as a personal trainer by getting an exercise science or kinesiology degree. Your salary as a personal trainer rarely increases because you have a degree! The few cases where I would recommend an exercise science degree are if you plan on working in a university, on a professional sports team, or with special needs clients. If you want to increase your salary, you would be better off studying sales!

Inspiring Clients To Do Crazy Things!

Can You Sell Personal Training?

Do you like sales or does it make you feel uncomfortable? Do you enjoy negotiating? Are you outgoing or more reserved? One should ask themself these questions when considering whether or not to be a personal trainer. Most successful trainers are successful because of their ability to sell and market them self. I've seen many terrible trainers making a lot of money because of their ability to sell just as I've observed many incredible trainers go broke because they don't like asking for money! Make sure to educate yourself on sales the SAME WAY that you educate yourself on training. While the job is always about helping people, it is impossible to help someone who doesn't sign up. Motivating them to start is the first obstacle.

Becoming A Motivational Trainer

Motivating clients is an art form. A great trainer not only delivers cutting edge training techniques, but also lifts their clients to new physical and mental breakthroughs. Keep in my, most trainers are part of that 1% of the population that enjoys exercise while most of your clients are in the other 99%. They will cheat on their diet, skip workouts, and complain but it is up to your to hold them accountable with Tough Love. Tough Love means you don't let them quit, but your not mean either! A great motivator is outgoing, high energy, and encouraging. The energy in your training sessions should resemble more of a championship game and less of a Dr.'s office visit!

Personal Trainer Salary reports that the median salary for a personal trainer is $49,000 while working 40-60 hours per week. But before you get too excited, there is some pertinent information that you need to know! First, most trainers make little to nothing the first 3-6 months at any given gym and it can take years to fill up your full schedule to reach the $49,000 mark. This is because it can take a long time to establish your own clientele. So long in fact that many trainers quit before they reach this point!

They quit because this process of building a clientele can put a major strain on your finances. I highly recommend having your finances in order and at least 3 months rent saved before starting a new personal trainer job. Be sure to ask the fitness center what steps they take to help new trainers. They should provide you with PTO's (Personal Training Orientations with new gym members) at the very least.

Should I Work For A Gym or Start A Personal Training Business?

I could write an entire article on the Pro vs Cons of working for a gym and starting your own personal training business! Working for a gym is a great place to start, but seeing the gym take half of your wages may grow tiresome. Self-employment is better for experienced trainers that have mastered marketing them self and fully understand the business.

Should I Get A Personal Training Job?

It is one thing to do personal training as a hobby, but it is quite different to choose personal training as a career and primary source of income! If you have some friends or family members that you can train part time for a little side income, then that is great! No personal training education or certification necessary! However, becoming a personal personal trainer full time is a big commitment.


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