It’s been three years since I became certified as a personal trainer. It’s still something I enjoy, but it’s also something that’s changed over those three years. I wanted to take today to share with you some of the takeaways that I didn’t have when starting out, and I’m sure that this list will change in another three.
I don’t want it to be my full-time job
As I’m sure you can gather, training is not my full time job. I split time between running this blog and training clients, which means that I have a fair amount of flexibility in my schedule. I enjoy training and have made several friends from it, but it’s not something that I want to devote all of my time to.
Figure out if training is something you want to try and pursue as a full time career or whether you might want to do it part time along with something else. This post may be able to help you.
It pays better to be independent, but it’s likely more work
I’ve done independent training, contracted training for corporate fitness, and taught group exercise. Out of all these, independent training pays by far the most.
I really enjoyed teaching classes, but when it came time for me to cut out things to make time for ventures that brought in more income, that was one of the first to go. It’s also very hard to make a living as solely an instructor.
Although independent training pays the most, it also requires the most work because there’s no one handing you clients. Luckily I have a good resource in the city who matches clients with trainers (Right Fit Personal Training), but I also have several individual clients that I took on through referrals or social media.
Work longer and harder in the beginning to be able to work less in the future
Since I had no clients when starting out, I saw whoever I could in order to bring in a paycheck. I would ride the train 60 min round trip for a 30 min session. I would see people at 5 am and at 6:30 pm. It was not ideal and continuing on that path would have left me burnt out.
What taking on so much did for me, however, was 1) give me experience and 2) give me visibility to many people who in turn knew many people. From those clients I was referred new clients, and as my schedule became busier I was able to decrease my traveling radius.
These days I train out of my building or travel to clients who are no more than a 10-15 min drive away.
Go to a conference to renew your certification
If you can swing it and there’s a conference near you, I’d definitely recommend going for a number of reasons. One, simply attending the conference takes care of all your continuing education credits. You don’t have to worry about piecing them together here and there through small online courses or similar method of acquiring CE’s.
Two, you are likely to retain more information by attending a session in person, possibly doing a live demo of something you’re learning, and taking notes than you are sitting in front of a computer screen. Third, you meet lots of like-minded people and it’s even better if you can go with a friend. Lastly, there are often vendors at conferences, so you can head home with some new equipment to try out with your clients (or yourself!).
Each client is different
When I started training, I wanted to train one way and anyone who didn’t desire that type of training “might not be a good fit.” Over time and with education, I’m able to listen to each person and hear what they want in a workout. Different ages as well as different fitness levels require different approaches, and it’s over time that I’ve learned what works best for each person.