Becoming a personal trainer

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 25, 2013 5:57 AM GMT
    I've never seen this discussed here before, surprisingly. But, I would really like to become a personal trainer. When I am at the gym, I am HAPPY. It is the highlight of my day, every day. Swimming, weight lifting, yoga, tennis, I love it all.

    So, since I am unemployed right now, I think this could be the perfect opportunity to do something that I really like doing. Growing up I always wanted to be a doctor, but now I think fitness and nutrition are better than hospitals and medicine.

    Problem is, I have a ton of time on my hands, but no money!! I know I have to become certified and all. Wondering if any trainers here can offer me some advice to jumpstart this next part of my life. Such as, where do I begin icon_question.gificon_question.gif
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    Jan 25, 2013 12:16 PM GMT
    Best way to do it is find a job at a large fitness chain. They need personal trainers as part of their business and usually help pay for your training. Start doing it there and slowly get your clients to train at the gym and sometimes outside so you are paid directly. If you are any good you can expand your client base, use a gym chain to fish for new clients, and eventually find your own studio to train. It is hard to make a living out of it so it takes focus.

    In fitness for over 20 years and this seems to be the standard way to make a living. I seen very successful trainers and those who move on quickly. Those who stick with it are really dictated to their clients and to themselves. ( sometimes more themselves)
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    Jan 25, 2013 2:29 PM GMT
    I am looking into it as more of a hobby job- something I can do evenings and weekends. I know it would be extremely difficult to be able to support myself or even live comfortably as a trainer. But it would be something I love doing, and I'm at the gym anyway for myself, and I could make people happy.

    I actually have a trainer at my gym, so I'll talk to him about it too when I see him again.
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    Jan 25, 2013 2:47 PM GMT
    I started out at an established gym, and then transitioned to private home/condo training. My biggest issue as a trainer was the fact that the clients didn't follow through with their end of the agreement which was the nutritional element. They'd "confess" to me with a little smile on their face as if I caught them eating crap right there and then. And then once renewal time came around they'd get cunty and grill me for not getting them fit and sexy. So now I train a select few, the ones who know how to eat properly.
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    Jan 25, 2013 4:36 PM GMT
    Achillesblade saidI started out at an established gym, and then transitioned to private home/condo training. My biggest issue as a trainer was the fact that the clients didn't follow through with their end of the agreement which was the nutritional element. They'd "confess" to me with a little smile on their face as if I caught them eating crap right there and then. And then once renewal time came around they'd get cunty and grill me for not getting them fit and sexy. So now I train a select few, the ones who know how to eat properly.


    I hear ya.. my approach would be an all around mental and physical conditioning. You got deep dark secrets you are hiding in the closet? Anxiety and stress taking over? Then it's prob not gong to work out since you are going to overeat an emotional eat and then give me bad reviews on yelp.
    I would only want to work with the most serious contenders, those that are as dedicated to their mental and spiritual health as they are their physiques.
  • Medjai

    Posts: 2671

    Jan 25, 2013 4:42 PM GMT
    As a student of nutrition, it's a four year degree, one year internship. I don't think that fits your schedule.

    However, although many personal trainers acquire a kinesiology degree, a simple certification will do in many cases. As for the details, I'm not sure, but there are members that are.

    CrossFit certifications are a weekend ordeal, if that helps at all.
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    Jan 25, 2013 6:44 PM GMT
    I did a 1 year college program geared for personal training, summer internship at an NFL training studio, got ACE certified, and then never worked a goddamn day after I did =D I realized during the internship I didn't like the actual training work.
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    Jan 25, 2013 6:44 PM GMT
    Any gym worth its salt is going to require certification.

    I have never heard of a gym paying for a trainer's certificaiton. If I am wrong, please enlighten, as I am investing close to $800 to get certified though NASM
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    Jan 25, 2013 6:52 PM GMT
    Where's He_Man and Coach Mike when we need them?
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    Jan 25, 2013 7:32 PM GMT
    timshel saidI've never seen this discussed here before, surprisingly. But, I would really like to become a personal trainer. When I am at the gym, I am HAPPY. It is the highlight of my day, every day. Swimming, weight lifting, yoga, tennis, I love it all.

    So, since I am unemployed right now, I think this could be the perfect opportunity to do something that I really like doing. Growing up I always wanted to be a doctor, but now I think fitness and nutrition are better than hospitals and medicine.

    Problem is, I have a ton of time on my hands, but no money!! I know I have to become certified and all. Wondering if any trainers here can offer me some advice to jumpstart this next part of my life. Such as, where do I begin icon_question.gificon_question.gif


    You begin by walking away from a job that very few ever make any real money in. E.g. pay for a personal trainer at LA Fitness: $6.00 / hr in 1/2 hour increments. If you don't have an appointment, you don't get your six bucks.

    There's a few guys that end up with a training business. I have a friend that has 18 trainers working under him, and he makes a decent living, but, it also took him 25 years to get to that point.

    It work in IT. I rarely work for less than $50/hr. Logan, who lived with me for 3.5 years, works in IT (I was his mentor). He is 23 years old and makes 120K annually. Logan has a GED and no college debt. I make six figures and have a two year degree. The lesson: pick a job that is in demand, pays well, has benefits, and you don't end up with 100K of school debt.

    Most folks that go to trainers are either head cases, or want therapists, or are lazy assess.

    You like getting at 0400 and going to bed at 2200? That is the life of a trainer because real folks have jobs, and the time you train them is when they aren't working.

    For most "trainers" it's just therapy session with someone who has a bit of money.

    Pick a real career that you can make a living in, has a benefits package, where you can work decent hours, and have a real hope of progressing.
  • ASHDOD

    Posts: 1057

    Jan 25, 2013 7:38 PM GMT
    i am about to find out ,just finishing my p.t course.
    the pay ]here in israel] at the gym is very low, but i decided to try out this proffesion and see what goes.
    wish me luck ! [and to you too!]
  • wild_sky360

    Posts: 1492

    Jan 25, 2013 8:04 PM GMT
    timshel saidbut now I think fitness and nutrition are better than hospitals and medicine.



    I have the same perspective and also wanted to pursue this with a comprehensive liftestyle approach; focusing on helping people work around their disabilities and other health challenges.

    My husband at the time is a doctor. I was going to set up an office in his suite and keep hours based on the particular patients he was going to directly refer to me after their appointments with him. It would just be a quick intro and pitch based on his recommendation.

    The studio vs public gym vs in home wasn't fully explored before I got sidetracked with some serious illness of my own.

    Since then, I've observed a model that works on the down low. Most gyms won't let you train clients at their facilities without an arrangement. Working for them only pays an average $15/ hour and is mostly a commission sales job. I've had more than one staff trainer approach me on his day off for private sessions at another gym where he pays a daily guest fee.

    There is a guy at my gym that seems to have worked around this. Practically every time I go, he is there working out, but also dropping in for some time, to work with up to 4 others throughout the gym. Most of them are new faces at the gym. I'm guessing he's getting a free pass to train in exchange for bringing in new members.

    This must be a word of mouth model from a tight community. From observation, I'd guess that 80% of these new members are Lithuanian, like him. They likely get a great rate, and the trainer can afford to discount because no one else gets a cut of what is otherwise, on average about a $70 /hour rate.
  • wild_sky360

    Posts: 1492

    Jan 25, 2013 8:16 PM GMT
    chuckystud said
    Most folks that go to trainers are either head cases, or want therapists, or are lazy assess.

    You like getting at 0400 and going to bed at 2200? That is the life of a trainer because real folks have jobs, and the time you train them is when they aren't working.

    For most "trainers" it's just therapy session with someone who has a bit of money.


    ...or a lot of money

    That's the "other" lucrative model that was recommended by a friend who moves among the very wealthy. Someone he knows, makes a lot of money, all within a 2 miles stretch of Lake Shore Drive in Chicago. These people don't work, the way most people do. And most of them have complete personal gyms within their own palatial co-op apartments. But like Chucky says, it's partly a babysitting job.
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    Jan 26, 2013 3:48 AM GMT
    chuckystud said
    timshel saidI've never seen this discussed here before, surprisingly. But, I would really like to become a personal trainer. When I am at the gym, I am HAPPY. It is the highlight of my day, every day. Swimming, weight lifting, yoga, tennis, I love it all.

    So, since I am unemployed right now, I think this could be the perfect opportunity to do something that I really like doing. Growing up I always wanted to be a doctor, but now I think fitness and nutrition are better than hospitals and medicine.

    Problem is, I have a ton of time on my hands, but no money!! I know I have to become certified and all. Wondering if any trainers here can offer me some advice to jumpstart this next part of my life. Such as, where do I begin icon_question.gificon_question.gif


    You begin by walking away from a job that very few ever make any real money in. E.g. pay for a personal trainer at LA Fitness: $6.00 / hr in 1/2 hour increments. If you don't have an appointment, you don't get your six bucks.

    There's a few guys that end up with a training business. I have a friend that has 18 trainers working under him, and he makes a decent living, but, it also took him 25 years to get to that point.

    It work in IT. I rarely work for less than $50/hr. Logan, who lived with me for 3.5 years, works in IT (I was his mentor). He is 23 years old and makes 120K annually. Logan has a GED and no college debt. I make six figures and have a two year degree. The lesson: pick a job that is in demand, pays well, has benefits, and you don't end up with 100K of school debt.

    Most folks that go to trainers are either head cases, or want therapists, or are lazy assess.

    You like getting at 0400 and going to bed at 2200? That is the life of a trainer because real folks have jobs, and the time you train them is when they aren't working.

    For most "trainers" it's just therapy session with someone who has a bit of money.

    Pick a real career that you can make a living in, has a benefits package, where you can work decent hours, and have a real hope of progressing.


    Thanks but I responded to all of what you said in earlier posts at 6:29 and 8:36
  • Whipmagic

    Posts: 1481

    Jan 26, 2013 3:54 AM GMT
    timshel said
    Achillesblade saidI started out at an established gym, and then transitioned to private home/condo training. My biggest issue as a trainer was the fact that the clients didn't follow through with their end of the agreement which was the nutritional element. They'd "confess" to me with a little smile on their face as if I caught them eating crap right there and then. And then once renewal time came around they'd get cunty and grill me for not getting them fit and sexy. So now I train a select few, the ones who know how to eat properly.


    I hear ya.. my approach would be an all around mental and physical conditioning. You got deep dark secrets you are hiding in the closet? Anxiety and stress taking over? Then it's prob not gong to work out since you are going to overeat an emotional eat and then give me bad reviews on yelp.
    I would only want to work with the most serious contenders, those that are as dedicated to their mental and spiritual health as they are their physiques.


    I hear you as well, but only very few have the luxury of working only with the most dedicated clients. I'm not a trainer, but have been in the educational sector long enough to know that you work with the students that you got, and where they're at in their personal development, and not where you wish they were. Part of your job is to get them there, one day and one step at a time. So a trainer has to work within the constraints of the client, like that they may have only two evenings a week to devote to fitness, or aren't willing to give up the occasional sugary desert, at least intially. If you're effective, you get them small victories for smaller committments, like they see some change for working out two times a week, then based on these small victories, encourage them to do more, eat better, etc. But insiting on an all-in or nothing from the beginning is unlikely to work in most cases. And even if you can't get all the way with a client - take it as a victory for yourself if he gets off the couch even twice a week, and stays away from junk food, and you help him keep that up - that's already better than probably half of the population.
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    Jan 26, 2013 5:52 AM GMT
    There is some good advice here.It can be done yes...
    I am a full time trainer.Doing just fine.I have also been extraordinarily lucky.I mean stupid lucky.
    I also teach PT courses..first thing I do is line up all of my students and tell them 85% of you will be gone in the first year.Those of you that remain will struggle for a while, and if you aren't tough enough you'll cave maybe one or two of you will make a go of it as a fulltime career.
    I just came home from work I trained six clients 5 at one facility and one at another.I'm tired , but I do feel like I've had a good day.Sunday is my only day off , and I do NOTHING.
    Life can be rough for a trainer , but it can also be rewarding.Financially I do just fine thank you and am VERY lucky to say I keep turning work down.I wouldn't trade my life for the world, but it ain't for everyone.Long hours, unpredictable people and their issues, and also moments of pure inspiration where you realize you've made a difference in someones life.

    I know of one trainer in my city [Vancouver] who makes over 100,000 a year-and it isn't me.He is a very nice guy about 39 and he told me "I won't be doing this at 50.. he works from 6 am in the morning until 10 pm at night five days a week.Saturdays and Sundays he won't even answer his phone.He takes a two week vacation three times a year-he has to.

    Theres a lot to consider, but if your truly passionate about it go for it and focus on the passion and not the money...
  • MuscleComeBac...

    Posts: 2376

    Jan 26, 2013 9:34 AM GMT
    Sorry, but ChuckyStud's perspective discounts the value of being in work YOU love. While Chuckystud is correct about the hours, and the disparate clientele what he us incorrect about is the earning potential if you truly are ambitious and good at your work. Earnings that come both in dollars and dignity and satisfaction.
    You WILL pay dues, you will start at zero but you CAN work up to very good money as long as you are working for the right reason ... Money is the worst reason for any career. It's soulless. I walked away from six figures to be a trainer (NASM, CSCS) and started with nothing. Nothing. I lost my savings and my income in a couple of years due to circumstances that were unforeseen and devastating (my only solace was my home was paid for and I almost lost it.) i had two options - one paid tens of thousands of dollars doing something i was very very good at with people I really did not like very much and the other paid minimum wage with people I loved. A desire to make real change possible for people and help them see their own potential drove me to say yes to managing a gym (read clean toilets, rack weights, manage billings and give tours) for minimum wage. BUT, suddenly I was happy. And on minimum wage I borrowed less than $10K to get my certifications while managing the gym. When I started training I billed at $45/hr of which I kept 60% and the club kept 40% and I had two clients. Inside of a year I had 18 clients a full book of business, a base rate of $75/hr and had paid back my loans in full. How? I never said no. I trained people other trainers avoided: elderly, never been in a gym, severely compromised (hip replacements, spinal curvature, timid and afraid of other people watching, etc). My clients taught me SO much. Some came and went because they couldn't afford it, lots stayed (thankfully) and they brought me more clients. And seeing me be uncompromising in my focus and unwavering in the discipline I demand of clients, and the fact that I show up well dressed, focused, attentive, positive, on time and energized brought me athletes and experienced gym-goers who wanted to be pushed. And they all brought me physician referrals and family members. Why? One - I'm bloody lucky as hell. Two - I'd do it for free if I could. And the latter is key: I love my work.
    Our careers choose us. We may choose something else but if we listen to our heart then work comes to us and if we sacrifice for the passion the reward is ten fold. No, I'm not making six figures anymore. I'm mid-middle-aged and making just under six figures and it fluctuates because of holidays and traveling clients and school schedules - but I focus on my clients not my accountant and it always works out. And above all - I'm happy. I studied my ass off, I went from being the creative lead on $150M projects to scrubbing toilets for $8 an hour at age 51 - because I believed in something FINALLY believed in something for which I was passionate and which asked more of me than any other job (make no mistake - it is EXHAUSTING to go six to nine hours with barely five minutes to eat or piss and be 100% focused and 'up' hour after hour AND find time to train myself so I can walk my own talk) but I'm happy.
    I promise you money will NEVER make you happy. EVER. It will come to you if you sacrifice and commit to something for which you have passion and aptitude. That may or may not be training, but you won't know if you don't try.
    Good luck, and message me if you want to know more about options in learning your trade.
    xo
    r.
    chuckystud said
    timshel saidI've never seen this discussed here before, surprisingly. But, I would really like to become a personal trainer. When I am at the gym, I am HAPPY. It is the highlight of my day, every day. Swimming, weight lifting, yoga, tennis, I love it all.

    So, since I am unemployed right now, I think this could be the perfect opportunity to do something that I really like doing. Growing up I always wanted to be a doctor, but now I think fitness and nutrition are better than hospitals and medicine.

    Problem is, I have a ton of time on my hands, but no money!! I know I have to become certified and all. Wondering if any trainers here can offer me some advice to jumpstart this next part of my life. Such as, where do I begin icon_question.gificon_question.gif


    You begin by walking away from a job that very few ever make any real money in. E.g. pay for a personal trainer at LA Fitness: $6.00 / hr in 1/2 hour increments. If you don't have an appointment, you don't get your six bucks.

    There's a few guys that end up with a training business. I have a friend that has 18 trainers working under him, and he makes a decent living, but, it also took him 25 years to get to that point.

    It work in IT. I rarely work for less than $50/hr. Logan, who lived with me for 3.5 years, works in IT (I was his mentor). He is 23 years old and makes 120K annually. Logan has a GED and no college debt. I make six figures and have a two year degree. The lesson: pick a job that is in demand, pays well, has benefits, and you don't end up with 100K of school debt.

    Most folks that go to trainers are either head cases, or want therapists, or are lazy assess.

    You like getting at 0400 and going to bed at 2200? That is the life of a trainer because real folks have jobs, and the time you train them is when they aren't working.

    For most "trainers" it's just therapy session with someone who has a bit of money.

    Pick a real career that you can make a living in, has a benefits package, where you can work decent hours, and have a real hope of progressing.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 26, 2013 9:41 AM GMT
    BOLD TEXT GOES HEREBOLD TEXT GOES HERE
    MuscleComeBack saidSorry, but ChuckyStud's perspective discounts the value of being in work YOU love. While Chuckystud is correct about the hours, and the disparate clientele what he us incorrect about is the earning potential if you truly are ambitious and good at your work. Earnings that come both in dollars and dignity and satisfaction.
    You WILL pay dues, you will start at zero but you CAN work up to very good money as long as you are working for the right reason ... Money is the worst reason for any career. It's soulless. I walked away from six figures to be a trainer (NASM, CSCS) and started with nothing. Nothing. I lost my savings and my income in a couple of years due to circumstances that were unforeseen and devastating (my only solace was my home was paid for and I almost lost it.) i had two options - one paid tens of thousands of dollars doing something i was very very good at with people I really did not like very much and the other paid minimum wage with people I loved. A desire to make real change possible for people and help them see their own potential drove me to say yes to managing a gym (read clean toilets, rack weights, manage billings and give tours) for minimum wage. BUT, suddenly I was happy. And on minimum wage I borrowed less than $10K to get my certifications while managing the gym. When I started training I billed at $45/hr of which I kept 60% and the club kept 40% and I had two clients. Inside of a year I had 18 clients a full book of business, a base rate of $75/hr and had paid back my loans in full. How? I never said no. I trained people other trainers avoided: elderly, never been in a gym, severely compromised (hip replacements, spinal curvature, timid and afraid of other people watching, etc). My clients taught me SO much. Some came and went because they couldn't afford it, lots stayed (thankfully) and they brought me more clients. And seeing me be uncompromising in my focus and unwavering in the discipline I demand of clients, and the fact that I show up well dressed, focused, attentive, positive, on time and energized brought me athletes and experienced gym-goers who wanted to be pushed. And they all brought me physician referrals and family members. Why? One - I'm bloody lucky as hell. Two - I'd do it for free if I could. And the latter is key: I love my work.
    Our careers choose us. We may choose something else but if we listen to our heart then work comes to us and if we sacrifice for the passion the reward is ten fold. No, I'm not making six figures anymore. I'm mid-middle-aged and making just under six figures and it fluctuates because of holidays and traveling clients and school schedules - but I focus on my clients not my accountant and it always works out. And above all - I'm happy. I studied my ass off, I went from being the creative lead on $150M projects to scrubbing toilets for $8 an hour at age 51 - because I believed in something FINALLY believed in something for which I was passionate and which asked more of me than any other job (make no mistake - it is EXHAUSTING to go six to nine hours with barely five minutes to eat or piss and be 100% focused and 'up' hour after hour AND find time to train myself so I can walk my own talk) but I'm happy.
    I promise you money will NEVER make you happy. EVER. It will come to you if you sacrifice and commit to something for which you have passion and aptitude. That may or may not be training, but you won't know if you don't try.
    Good luck, and message me if you want to know more about options in learning your trade.
    xo
    r.

    You absolutely nailed it-EXACTLY!!
  • Montague

    Posts: 5205

    Jan 26, 2013 9:55 AM GMT
    If you want to be a personal trainer you'd had better have put in the studies to do so. Mainly! because you don't want your client coming in knowing more than you can answer just by them doing a google search.
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    Jan 26, 2013 11:40 AM GMT
    Agreed with above there is also a reference site called PT on the Net that can help trainers develop routines. It is an inexpensive resource.

    As for gyms that pay most large chains do, or reimburse you a certain amount, but it is not always a quality certification. It is just enough to help them say you are certified so they can charge the fees. If you are serious and have the funds then by all means use a more reputable certifying agency that you can take any where you go.
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    Jan 28, 2013 6:08 PM GMT
    Thanks MuscleComeBack, you described how I feel about it. I don't even think about money. I don't know how much PT's make nor do I really care. I don't plan on it ever becoming my full time job. It is just something I know I would like to do. I would probably even consider becoming a sliding scale PT. After all, low income people are more at risk for diseases, which affects all of us.

    I also want to be a tutor, or a teacher, for kids and/ or teenagers. Again, not in it for the money at all.
    My plan is to have a full time job with good pay and benefits that I don't necessarily love, but am still interested enough in and that can provide the resources that will allow me to do these other things with my life that I really do love. (yeah, gotta find one of those first icon_biggrin.gif ) A few months ago I posted about my dire situation.. lost my job, moved away from my comfort city to a new city, so no real friends, feeling lonely, broke, etc. But, going to the gym always makes me feel better and helps me stay positive. And I know I'm on an upward swing.. there's a lot of momentum I've been building up for a while now and it's about ready to shoot up, like a slingshot. I had a job interview last week that went really well for an excellent job and they say I'm a front runner and will know by the end of this week. I hope it works out, because, among other things, it really sucks not being able to date because I can't afford to go out, even though I'm in my "dating prime" icon_redface.gif

    Once I get my career up and running again, then I can come back to this thread and talk to some of you more when I'm able to start up the process. You all are awesome!!
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    Jan 29, 2013 4:17 AM GMT
    I am contemplating getting AFAA certified. A friend who instructs book camp suggested I do go that route. I am excited.