Thinking of a career change to personal training?
Being a personal trainer can be very rewarding. For me, it has always been a sideline gig but I spent a long time researching the longevity and practicality of going at it full-time. It is so tempting to take the plunge and do what I love. Here are a few things to consider if you want to pursue your passion of health and fitness.
You can work with like-minded people. People who understand why you have to lift instead of go to the pub, can’t drink because you have a long run the next day, and are giving the Whole30 a try.
You get to exercise daily. You will be teaching classes, demonstrating moves, and sneaking in a session between workouts. Think of all the endorphins!
You can make an impact in people’s lives. Personally, this is why I do it. Your clients will become healthier because of you. They will achieve what they never thought possible without your help. Their joy is worth it all.
If you are self-employed, you can make your own hours and be your own boss. The creative freedom can be a breath of fresh air for someone used to sitting at a desk and being told what to do all the time. It does take discipline and a few other valuable skills, but your career will be your’s and no one else’s.
It’s fun. You can chose all your favourite songs to listen to, create class plans that fit your training goals too, and do what you love while getting paid for it.
There will be lots of laundry. If you are teaching group exercise classes (great idea to recruit new clients), you will have lots of sweaty kit.
The hours are unsocial. Fitness can be a 24 hour a day job, but typically gyms are open 6am-10pm. Be prepared to work any and all of these hours. You might have a cluster of clients from 6-10am, a few at lunchtime, and then another group from 6-10pm. Use the down time to sleep and work on the business side of things.
No paid holiday, pension plan, or other benefits of working for someone else. If you work for a large chain, you will have to pay ‘rent’ too so make sure you do your maths to figure out what you need to charge and how many clients you need to maintain to make a profit.
It can be hard on your body. This was one of the reasons that I decided not to for fitness full time. Long-term injuries and conditions, such as tendinitis or a bad back, will never get proper rest. If you develop a new injury, you won’t be paid for the time you take off work to heal.
It can be hard to develop and manage a client base. Once you have your target demographic in mind, you can start to target them. As I mentioned previously, teaching group exercise classes and working on the gym floor are great ways to build a reputation and meet potential clients. You will always need a few additional clients than you think in case a few go on holiday or their schedule fills up with work commitments. It is a delicate balance that might take a while when you are first starting out.
Aside from physical strength (which you don’t need that much of) there are a few other key skills to have:
Business. Whether you are self-employed or work for a gym, you will need to be able to market yourself to attract new clients, do your own accounting to make sure you are making a profit, schedule your day so you have adequate rest and can have a life outside the gym, and you need to know sales techniques to build up attendance in your classes and gain personal training clients.
Improvisation is quite handy too. You might not be able to access the equipment you were hoping to use. You phone might run out of charge, leaving you without music, or the people who turn up to your class are all OAPs who have never exercised before. Thinking quickly on your feet will take you far.
Listening. Ask your clients what they want and give it to them. If you don’t, they will go with someone else. During the session, you might find you become a part-time therapist too. Pay attention to what your client says, as it might give you clues into what their barriers are and they will appreciate it you remember the name of their favourite pet.
Working as a personal trainer, you need to be a master of all trades- fitness, marketing, sales, and therapist. But if you enjoy interacting with people and helping them lead a healthy life, then it is a perfect career match. Don’t forget to check out our 8 week Blogging MBA course if you’re ready to take the leap and use your blogging to enhance your career in the fitness industry.