Whether a career in personal training has been a long-term goal or you’ve just started considering taking the leap, now is the time for a jump-start that can turn your passion for fitness and for helping others into a growth-driven personal trainer career opportunity.
If you’re ready to turn your “someday” into “today,” then it’s likely you’re wondering where to start. Consider these 10 tips on becoming a personal trainer as your launch point:
1. Develop a plan.
Every fresh career move is best served by a plan of action, and personal training is no different. As you’re readying yourself to choose a personal trainer certification program, it’s worth taking the time to understand whether you want your career to start off as part-time or full-time, whether you’d like to help a specialized population—such as seniors, athletes, or those trying to lose weight—and other factors.
2. Know your why.
As a personal trainer, you’ll help clients reach their fitness goals, beginning with understanding why they set those goals in the first place. For example, a client might want to have more energy to play with his kids, or develop greater muscle mass so she can age with lower risk of injury. Similarly, you should know your “why” when you start. Ask yourself why you want to be a trainer and what your goals might be. Write them down and refer back to them as you progress through your training.
3. Get certified.
Knowing a great deal about your own fitness progression is helpful, but that doesn’t translate into being an effective trainer. For that, you need to understand how to coach others toward their physical, mental, and lifestyle goals, and obtaining a certification is the best route to that knowledge.
4. Line up your liability insurance.
Insurance is critical for any personal trainer, and even if you don’t have your certification yet, it’s helpful to know your insurance options from the start. Take time to look through what professional liability organizations offer, their coverage specifics, and what the cost will be.
5. Understand your post-certification steps.
Just like every job hunter gets asked the standard interview question “Where do you see yourself in five years?,” you should ask yourself what your personal trainer career will look like a year from now, or even a few months after you’re certified. Will you be working from your home or in a gym? Part-time or full-time? What do you expect your income to be? How much will you charge clients? The more questions you can answer as you’re heading into your certification program, the better your jump-start will be.
6. Develop business management skills.
As you’re learning the essentials of exercise science for your personal trainer career, you’ll also need plenty of business management know-how that has nothing to do with fitness. That includes client communication skills, marketing savvy, tax preparation knowledge, public relations skills, and other fundamentals aimed at growing your business. Consider reading magazines and books related to small business management to get the skills you need.
7. Start your sales and promotion now.
As a newly certified personal trainer, you’ll be taking many steps to help your business grow, and the sooner you start, the better you’ll be at promoting yourself and your services. Begin building sales skills now and considering different offers and package deals, so that if potential clients approach you about pricing and group rates, you’ll have the answers.
8. Get your tech in place.
If you only have a couple of clients, using a paper-based calendar will likely work fine. But do you really want only a couple of clients? Take time to dive into the digital realm instead, and educate yourself about business management software, fitness apps, wearable tech, website creation, and e-mail newsletter programs. The more you can harness technology for your personal trainer career, the easier it will be to streamline your communications.
9. Establish your policies.
What’s your policy for cancellations within 24-hours of the appointment time? What about your policy for doing workouts at a client’s home or at a gym where you’re not a member? As in any business, you’ll have to be flexible when it comes to accommodating client needs, but you can still benefit from having clear, written policies that protect you and your personal trainer career.
10. Stay informed.
As you already know, fitness is a fast-moving industry, which is one of the reasons it’s so appealing to both clients and their trainers. That doesn’t mean you have to attempt every trendy workout in your personal trainer career, but you should stay on top of current issues in order to keep your training as fresh and relevant as possible. Subscribe to podcasts and follow reputable blogs. Remember that certification is just the start of a lifelong education in an exciting field.