Personal training is a rewarding and lucrative career path. The personal trainer’s job involves helping clients achieve their fitness goals, which are written through exercise or other physical activity. Personal trainers can work in many different settings, including gyms, schools, private studios, and even people’s homes.
Some people might be surprised that there are also opportunities to specialize within the field of personal training, are written, for example, in orthopedic rehabilitation or sports conditioning.
Regardless of what specialization you choose to pursue (or where you decide to work), becoming a qualified personal trainer will require some time and effort on your part – but the rewards will make it well worth your while. Here are seven top tips to help you along your journey:
1. Know The Requirements
Before committing yourself to a personal training course, find out what the requirements are in your country. Although there is no minimum qualification required by law, most employers will expect you to at least have completed secondary school or its equivalent (this is normally around 16 years of age). Some countries have a legal requirement for personal trainers to have completed a secondary education plus a nationally accredited qualification in fitness or sports coaching. In the UK, this is often referred to as the Awarding Body Course (ABC).
In some cases, you will be required to have a level 3 personal training qualification. In other countries, such as Australia and New Zealand, you must have at least three years of experience in the fitness field before sitting an exam.
2. Gain Relevant Work Experience
If you are interested in becoming a personal trainer, there are opportunities out there to get some hands-on training and gain relevant experience – especially if you’re still at school or college. Many schools offer work experience programs where students can be attached to a gym or health club, while university courses usually give students the chance to go on placement with local fitness facilities for up-to-date practical instruction.
Aside from helping you to earn some extra income during the course of your studies, this experience will also demonstrate your interest in the profession and enhance your employment prospects. Employers are always impressed by people who are committed enough to want to gain practical experience while they are still learning, so make the most of every opportunity you get.
3. Consider A Personal Trainer Certification
Many countries have national associations or unions that accredit courses on personal training, health and fitness instruction, sports coaching, etc., while others may allow their individual members to set up training programs with different levels of certification available depending on what level of qualification you require (the years of experience required before sitting an exam will usually determine this. Secure your personal training certificate as it would help you get recognized as legitimate and not a fraud. However many certifying bodies there are in the field of personal training, all will require you to prove your competence by passing an exam or assessment.
4. Look At Your Options
There are several different options available when it comes to pursuing a career in personal training:
- a) Complete a course offered by a college or university. This might also involve volunteering for a gym or sports facility in order to gain practical experience. The downside is that these courses can be very expensive; especially if you live outside of your home country (as international fees tend to be higher). However, this route does give you the opportunity to work closely with experienced professionals who will be able to share their expertise with you.
- b) Work part-time for an established fitness organization while studying to become a personal trainer. This option is usually cheaper than enrolling in a full-time course, but it means that you’ll have less time available for study and increased financial commitments.
- c) If you decide to do the course only (i.e., not work for a company), take other classes offered by your college or university while you study, in addition to the personal training course. This will help improve your job prospects when you graduate, especially if these skills are in areas that are related to fitness instruction.
5. Polish Your Personality
For those who are considering a career as a personal trainer, it’s important to remember that this is not just a job – it’s your life! So you need to be passionate about fitness and optimistic about people. The majority of personal training clients work with you as much as they do the exercises – so they will be paying close attention to your personality as well as what you have to say about their training.
Your personality outrightly determines the manner in which you train. Which trait describes you – calm and caring or a fierce go-getter? Figure it out and develop yourself in it alongside proper communication skills.
6. Pick A Niche
Your clientele will be looking to you as an authority in certain areas of fitness and health. And this means that it’s up to you to select a niche, just like a business would. For example, you could undertake additional training to become a specialist – such as working with people who have special needs or ailments within the fields of sports coaching and personal training.
Having a specialty expands your options and enables you to target a specific group – making finding clients easier. And the more clients you get, the more experience you’ll gain, the more money you make, and the better your chances of attracting other potential clients.
7. Have A Plan
When you’re starting out in the fitness industry, it’s important to have a plan for where you see yourself in five or 10 years. You should have your goals written down and keep them in mind every day – no matter how long it takes to achieve them.
Your goals should comprise business plans, personal plans, and financial goals. They might include moving to a new city or buying your own gym, in addition to having an income target so that you can be mentally and financially prepared for when the time comes.
Achieving success in this industry takes hard work and determination, but the satisfaction is worth it. It will take time to build up your clientele, but if you work hard and smart, the best is yet to come.
Photo by Sam Moqadam on Unsplash