Why I Don’t Pursue Fitness as a Full-Time Career
I’ve written a lot of posts about being a personal trainer and group fitness instructor. They were both something that I got into after moving to Chicago because I wanted to be able to give back and help my community approach their physical health in, well, a healthy way.
It’s been over four years since I’ve come to Chicago and over that period of time, like other things I’ve been interested in, my opinions and outlook have shifted some. While I once wanted to pursue fitness as a full-time endeavor, I quickly realized that if I wanted that to happen, I would have to give up my early mornings and late evenings, spend at least a year growing my client base, or open a gym — none of which I really wanted to do long term.
I have gotten a lot of questions and emails from people wondering how to start in fitness or what to do with a certification (this post may be helpful for that), so I figured it was only fair for me to share my perspective on it now that several years have passed.
I have other passion projects
I am really starting to ramp thing up over here in this corner of the internet, with plans out the WAZOO of how to bring you quality content and connection. I thoroughly enjoy fitness, but I like the connections with clients and students more. I enjoy helping people on a journey, which may be evident from the fact that I’ve also made a career out of this website.
Because of this, it sometimes feels like taking on more than x number of clients is actually taking me away from my main goal, which isn’t growing a personal training business.
I’m not willing to work in a chain gym
From the very beginning, I knew I didn’t want to work in a chain gym because I knew my earning potential was so much more on my own. If you’re looking for a more steady set of clients, however, maybe this is a good choice for you.
I only want to train clients
Many people I know with careers in fitness do more than just train clients and go home for the day. They own their own studios, hold fitness sales jobs, or work in a higher level position such as gym manager. For awhile I was the midwest manager of a company that supplied corporate fitness programs and challenges, but this was in addition to my own clients and my own classes at another studio.
I really just wanted to have the one-on-one connection with clients without having to oversee anyone else, so that limited the amount I was able to make financially.
No work, no pay
The problem with working as a trainer or group ex instructor is that it’s not a regular salaried job. You don’t get vacation time or sick days. If you have to not see clients for days or, heaven forbid, a week, there’s no income coming in. I didn’t want to structure my business so that it was necessary for me to be physically present at all times to make money.
I am in no way saying that you can’t have a full-time job in fitness, but it’s going to be difficult. There are certainly people who have their entire schedules packed with one-on-one clients, but personal training in that system tends to lead to burnout after a finite number of years unless you change the way you’re operating.
Most people I know with jobs in the fitness industry do it as a part-time endeavor because they love it. They have a 9-5 job and then teach or train before or after work because it’s something they love doing. This is certainly not to dissuade anyone from pursuing their dreams because I think that anyone can make a career out of something that they are incredible passionate about; it’s really just about how hard you’re willing to work.