For those that are passionate about fitness, becoming a personal trainer can be the perfect career choice. Here are a few tips for succeeding as a personal trainer.
Certification is necessary if you want to pursue a serious career as a personal trainer. Most gyms and personal trainer agencies won’t take you on if you haven’t got a recognised qualification. You may also find it harder to attract clients when going freelance.
There are various types of certification that you can look into. NASM, ISSA, ACE, ACSM and NSCA are five of the most recognised programs in the US. Courses can range from a couple weeks to a year – many people prefer short courses as they allow a qualification to be obtained more quickly, however some people may find such courses too intensive. Pricing for these courses can vary and some may include aspects of nutrition and physical therapy. It’s worth doing your research to find a course that suits you and your needs.
Consider starting out in a gym
Many personal trainers start their career by working in a gym. This is the perfect place to pick up clients and it can provide a steady income initially as you find your feet. Some gyms will take you on as an employee, whilst others may contract you out. If you’re contracted, you’ll likely have to pay your own tax and won’t get any employee benefits, however you may have more flexibility as to when you work.
Gym duties could involve manning the reception desk, cleaning equipment, taking new gym members through inductions and possibly hosting exercise classes. When applying to gyms, consider the type of gym you want to work at – some may be more basic than other or may cater to a certain demographic.
Consider other places to work
Gyms aren’t the only place where you can work for a wage. Some community centres, hotels, spas and cruise ships also employ personal trainers. This could offer something a little more exciting.
Having gym experience could help you to get hired by these more alternative workplaces (which are often more competitive). Such places may pay better rates than a regular gym too.
Find your niche
You’ll be competing with lots of other personal trainers, which can make it hard to win over clients. Finding a niche for yourself can help you to stand out from the crowd.
There are all kinds of niches to consider. A few examples include bodybuilding, long distance running training, postnatal weight loss or training aimed at those with injuries.
Alternatively, you may be able to incorporate other interests and activities into your training style such as martial arts, dance or yoga. You may even be able to incorporate elements of nutrition or physical therapy. These could all help to give you a USP, plus you may be able to charge more for offering speciality training.
Learn to market yourself
Marketing yourself is essential for gaining independent clients. Approaching people in the gym and relying on word of mouth may only get you so far – investing in some marketing will help you to build a brand and greater credibility.
You should start by building a website. Having a site could help you to attract clients online who may be Googling ‘local personal trainer’. There are guides online that can provide inspiration for fitness websites that could help you to produce something professional. You can either build a website yourself using a free website builder like WordPress, or you can pay someone to build you a website from scratch.
Social media can also be a great way to attract clients. By setting up a Facebook page and promoting posts, you can help to gain exposure locally.
You could also consider printing off some business cards. These could be a quick way of exchanging contact details with potential clients at the gym. You may even meet people at social events who you can hand them out to.
Do the business admin
As soon as you start working freelance or on a contract, you’ll need to start considering admin tasks like bookkeeping. You’ll be responsible for filing your own taxes and will therefore need to keep detailed records of your earnings and expenses. Downloading accounting software could help to make this task easier.
It could also be worth keeping diaries so that you can easily keep on top of sessions with clients. There are various apps and programs that can help you to stay organized so that you’re able to easily schedule and reschedule clients.
Keep developing your skills
Personal training should be a constant learning curve. By constantly learning new exercises and new facts about the human body, you can keep your sessions with clients feeling constantly fresh and exciting.
You can learn new things by following fitness blogs and vlogs and by reading fitness books. There may also be fellow personal trainers who you can share ideas with.
You may even want to take extra courses to build upon your qualifications. This could allow you to improve your credibility further and possibly expand your client base.