Personal Trainer Careers in Fitness Nutrition
If you love fitness and want to inspire others to reach their fitness goals, personal training is a good avenue to pursue. There are some personal traits that a trainer may want to fine tune to enhance their passion for health. A successful personal trainer may want to be patient, a good listener, encouraging, organized, intuitive, and have an appetite to learn new philosophies and exercises. Working with a variety of people is key to the personal training job, and every client is unique and has individual goals. Don’t worry you don't have to possess the perfect body to be a fitness trainer, but a healthy lifestyle should be a top priority for any personal trainer. Practice what you preach.
What steps should I take to become a Personal Trainer / Fitness Nutritionist?
Choosing a certification is the first step to becoming a personal trainer. There are a variety of choices for getting certified. You'll want to choose an organization that is nationally recognized and accredited. If there is a particular club you would like to work at, it would be a good idea to call and ask what certifications they prefer. If you aren’t sure exactly where you will be working, take some time to research the websites of major organizations to find a program that matches your lifestyle. Some factors you may want to consider are how much the certification costs, what the pre-requisites are, if they offer a workshop/exam in your area or, a home study program.
Next an individual may want to determine what area of health they would like to specialize in. This isn't required, but fitness and health is a competitive market. Many fitness trainers find it beneficial to improve their resumes by getting specialty certifications. Getting a specialty cert means you have more to offer and, even better, you can usually charge a little more for your services. Some examples of specialties which might further your career might be healing practices, or nutrition specialist. Additional certifications take you beyond the basics of personal training, and allow you to work with special populations like people with chronic diseases or injuries.
After you have completed your desired education, the next step is to secure a job. Identify where you would like to work and hit the streets. You could use the internet, or a local phone book, to establish who you would like to approach. Ask about availability of jobs, the rate of turnover, and the procedure for filling out an application. Check back periodically to see if something has opened up. Some clubs allow internships, so this may be an alternative approach. An internship would allow you the opportunity to see if the club is a good fit for your goals.
Set up your own business by choosing a business entity (i.e., sole proprietorship, partnership, etc.), choosing a business name, registering your company with the city, getting liability insurance, setting up your gym (if you're training from your own home), targeting potential clients, and marketing yourself. There are also many opportunities here to further your education. Take a marketing class to learn how to market your skills, or an entrepreneurial class to learn how to run your own business with a client base.
Once your business is situated, it's time to let people know what you are up to, and gain some clients. Word of mouth is always the most effective form of marketing, but first you have to get the ball rolling! Some basic ways to get started might be making flyers, putting ads in newsletters, printing business cards, building your own website or offering free seminars and consultations to bring in business. Be prepared to enlist friends and family members to spread the word to people they know. Offering free consultations and seminars is a great way to get people in the door because when you help to improve others lives, they will want to tell everyone they know who helped them do it.
Areas of Practice - Overview
Personal fitness trainers work in all kinds of locations and facilities. You can decide to work for someone else, or work for your self. You can work from home or work at a facility. Some trainers work at corporations with employees, on cruise ships, at resorts, in luxury spas, or from home with online training. Once you're an established fitness trainer many opportunities become available to you. You can even consider consulting, fitness writing, athletic coaching, group fitness instruction or even opening your own gym. Whatever you choose, you'll find that being a personal trainer provides everything you love in one job.
* This salary information has been sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and is accurate up to May 2012, (bls.gov, 2013).