During the last 25 years, we’ve certified over 110,000 professionals. To celebrate our 25th year in business, we’re selecting 25 grads to showcase this year. Meet our next featured grad, Andrew Schuth, an AFPA Personal Trainer, who's been certified with us for 10+ years and has used to his certification to build a successful group fitness and personal training business.
How did you become interested in health and fitness?
I always loved fitness growing up. I was an athlete in high school, and working out was something I really enjoyed. I got older, moved to LA, and was trying to figure out what I was going to do. I realized that I was pretty darn good at this fitness thing. So, how do you incorporate fitness and working out, and also making money and being successful? The best way to do that for me was personal training.
What was the AFPA personal trainer certification process like?
The certification process was fairly easy. The textbook was a lot of fun to learn and study. I could study on my own time. To me, the course was very well thought out. I looked at a lot of similar personal training programs. There are a lot of certifications out there, but AFPA stood out to me. The course was really in my wheelhouse; it was something, as a trainer, I felt I could relate to. It wasn’t like, “this is the perfect method, this is exactly how you do it.” It taught you the overall perspective of training and how you can work within the system. That's what I think makes AFPA very effective.
The reality is they're on to something. They're an outside the box thinker like me. I love that. It's about finding out what you can do. They teach you about the body and how it works and the training you can do, but it doesn't put you in a box.
As a personal trainer, when you go to a studio for work, the first thing they’re going to ask you for is your certification. The great thing about AFPA was that I was able to get my certification quickly and start making money fast. I was also able to get insurance through AFPA. I got my clients very fast and I generated income. A lot of times, you can get certifications, and you're like, "What am I going to do with this?" But it wasn’t like that. I'm still certified 10 years later. I'm very appreciative that I took the leap originally.
What is your career now?
I do group fitness, and I also do personal training. I'm able to go back and forth, which is great financially because if I'm not teaching a class, I can go train a client. For me, it makes a lot of sense to have that duality, and that's why I've been successful. I'm really passionate about group fitness but also very passionate about personal training. I do very well financially as a personal trainer, so I don't need to have the classes. I teach classes because I love them.
Can you share some of your personal training client success stories?
Every success story is that person who walks in the door, right? People come to you because they're confused and want help. They don't know if they can do it on their own. You are really there to guide them. You're really there to help them and say, “I got you, I'm going to make you better, I know what to do, and I know how to help you.” Every success story is the person who says, “how can I get better, and how can I trust you, and how can I make a better version of myself that I can present to the world?” So, I think every client I've ever had is a success story.
What advice do you have for aspiring personal trainers looking for the right certification?
I think the most important thing is to do your homework. Do your research. You need to figure out what's best for you. For example, in certain studios, they want certain certifications. The one thing that no one's going to tell you is that personal training and group fitness are like the Wild, Wild West. You can get certified from anywhere. People who aren't certified are training. What does certification do for you? It adds credibility, it adds knowledge, and it adds a place where you can go for different things; you can say, I need insurance, etc. What you need to do is find that organization that will work for you to benefit you. And for me, AFPA has been very invaluable there.
Fitness is also changing, and you need to be at the forefront of that. The good thing about AFPA is that they allow you to be on the forefront. They’re innovative, and that brings me a lot of clients and it also brings me pretty good money and that's the key, right? Be successful, be innovative, and change the game.
What advice do you have for anyone looking to make the leap into the health and fitness industry?
Start with AFPA. Branch out, try group fitness, do nutrition, figure out the game. Once you’ve figured it out, break all the rules and you'll be successful. Everybody has a story. Everybody has a mission. Everybody has a goal. Connect with people. That's the key to personal training, right? That one-on-one connection, that belief that they have in you and you have in them to work together on a common goal is a great thing.
When you find a career that you love or you find something that your heart says, "I have to do this. I don't know what's telling me to do this. I don't know why, but I have to do this." That is everything. I also think the key to anything is to find something you believe in. Find something you love. What makes you different? What makes you want to get up in the morning and say, “I can do this, I can be the best person I can be today.” If that answer is fitness, you need to go for it. Don't think about the money. Don't think about anything else. You just find that part inside you that will do whatever you can to make a difference in the world. If it's only one person's life, it doesn't matter. Change one person, then you can change two, then you can change three. There are very few careers in this world that allow you to do that.