I'm Considering Becoming a Fitness Trainer

  • SpikeJock

    Posts: 51

    Jun 11, 2010 4:31 PM GMT
    I'm considering becoming a Certified Fitness Trainer as a change of careers. Does anyone know if the 500-hour program (http://nptifitness.com/) is sufficient to begin and maintain a career in this field or do you really need a BA in Health and Fitness to successfully make it in this field?

    I'm asking, because I find my current job/career unsatisfying, and with a background and education in management, I'm thinking a job alignment towards managing a gym, becoming a fitness trainer and possibly inlcuding massage therapy (LMT) to be something I'd actually want to wake up in the morning and go to work and do. I think I'd really enjoy my job and the quality of my life would dramatically improve.

    Both the fitness program and LMT programs, however, require an investment of time and money, which I'm evaluating would be worth it to pursue. I'm just unsure whether the 500-hour program is enough to get a job worth having, or if it's one of those degrees that are sub-par and will only get you so far. I plan on talking with the trainers at the gym as well, but thought I'd get some feedback and input from anyone on here that has gone through the program or has any knowledge of it.
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    Jun 11, 2010 7:49 PM GMT
    I'm getting the ACSM Certification for a career change, but it's a 5 year plan. Having done other self-employment, I already know it's gonna take a while to build a rep and get some regular clientele.
  • SpikeJock

    Posts: 51

    Jun 11, 2010 8:01 PM GMT
    Hey thanks for the replies, but my original question remains unanswered............?
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    Jun 11, 2010 8:07 PM GMT
    SpikeJock saidHey thanks for the replies, but my original question remains unanswered............?
    Most successful people I know (all self-made multi-millionaires) never graced a college campus with their presence.
    Other than those folks, all the trainers at the gym I'm going to be joining soon all have degrees.
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    Jun 11, 2010 8:28 PM GMT
    A degree makes it easier and the big certifying bodies usually require a degree in exercise phys or kinesiology or some other related field. I have managed a big box gym before (Gold's) and I will never do it again. I loved the members, but hated the bullshit the job required.
    I don't know anything about nptifitness, but I can tell you that I am very happy as a personal trainer. It is very fulfilling to help people reach their goals and share in that acheivement. It does take a while to get your base clientele going but once you do then you can be busy all day. Just keep organized.
    Check out NSCA, ACSM, AFAA, or NASM (certifying entities, just to name a few) to see what their requirements are.
    good luck
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    Jun 12, 2010 12:07 AM GMT
    I have no direct experience. But from reading previous threads about this topic, you really need to hustle to make a living out of it. Marketing yourself and networking with people will help you get steady business.

    Personally, if I had the time/money, I would go back to school and earn a degree in kinesiology. Then go look for a job in specialized fields like strength training coach at a university or for a sports team. Or possibly look into physical therapy/rehabilitation.
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    Jun 12, 2010 12:15 AM GMT
    I was considering NPTI for awhile as well. The best advice is to talk with owners of legitimate fitness studios, and find out who they'd hire. The guy with a diploma from a trade school is going to have to work much harder to prove himself than the guy with a Bachelor's or Masters. Also, I don't think NPTI would count toward any college credit...that was my understanding, but I could be wrong about that you'll just have to see. To me the thought of paying 10 grand for a piece of paper and no college credit is kind of unsettling. I do think that they do offer job placement assistance, but any kind of career assitance worth about a dime a dozen with the economy being the way it is. Truthfully, I would ask fitness professionals in your area at legitimate fitness studios (not your typical cookie cutter health club training company). Since most trainers seem to be pretty type A people, you'll probably get some pretty colorful answers.

    In regards to the NPTI program itself, I've heard very mixed reviews. I did go and talk with the head guy/teacher. He seemed like a genuine, knowledgeable person who is passionate about what he does. In trade type schools of any sort, you really have to consider the instructor as well as the learning environment you will be in. If you have the money it may not hurt to go through the program, but you will need to get a nationally recognized certification to work at most places regardless of the piece of paper NPTI gives you. I'd say you have a lot of homework to do because there are so many different ways you can go. At this point in my life, the thought of paying a trainer who was new to the field and didn't have at least a bachelor's really turns me off, but that's my perspective as an athlete who's figured out what has worked and what hasn't over the years. The average client in a personal training studio just wants to get back into shape.

    I did do my homework in regards to personal training as a whole and I went and sat in and observed in several studios. As a resultI've pretty much ruled out personal training as a career, I went and observed some trainers in action, and I wasn't too impressed, with the work environment, the attitudes, the repetitiveness...really anything. Nothing wrong with it, simply not my cup of tea. Really what I want to do is more on the clinical/rehabilitative end of the spectrum so my decision was to go ahead and do a clinical massage therapy program. Then from there I may go back and get my associates in physical therapy and then go from there. It's just got to be one thing at a time when you're in your 30s and still working out what you want to be when you grow up.

    Hope that helped somewhat.
  • SpikeJock

    Posts: 51

    Jun 12, 2010 4:52 AM GMT
    Very helpful responses, thanks very much for the input, experience and advice.