As one of the fastest-growing industries – and arguably one of the healthiest career choices you can make – personal training and fitness instruction has become one of the most sought-after occupations of the modern age.
With career building potential, flexibility, and the opportunity to grow your business the way you want, it seems that the personal training industry has endless benefits.
But, how lucrative is the personal training industry? How much does a personal trainer really earn?
If you’re hoping to build a personal training business but aren’t certain that it’s the right financial choice for your career, we’re here to provide you with the answers you need to make an informed decision for yourself.
Check out what we have to say below to get a better idea of just how much personal trainers can make, and what kind of options might be available for you!
What are my options?
While there are dozens of different options when it comes to working as a personal trainer, we’re going to take our time and focus on the two primary – and very inclusive –categories which are typically chosen by most personal trainers.
In general, personal trainers and fitness industry experts often are forced to make a choice between working as an independent contractor – equipped with freedom and the ability to creatively form a place for themselves within the fitness realm – or as an employee – which allows them a steady supply of clientele and usually an hourly or salary wage.
Each of these categories has their pros and cons, and it’s likely that one or the other will best benefit you and the personal training business you hope to build.
And of course, each will offer you different opportunities to make money – but which will work best for you?
Typically, personal trainers can expect to make an average of $25 per hour, or an estimated $52,000 annually as full-time trainers; however, you can expect this number to fluctuate depending on the personal training opportunities you intend to embrace.
Which of these pathways can offer you the best financial security as well as bring the most to your personal training career?
Read on as we discuss just how much you can make, and how you can benefit, from working in these personal training realms.
As an independent contractor, you’re a professional with the freedom and flexibility to build your business exactly the way you want to.
You can set your own hours, control your business associations through your choice of networking, market the way you want to, and can craft a schedule and client base that makes the most sense for you.
But how does this work out financially?
As an independent contractor, you’re not obligated to follow a certain price point, and you don’t need to rely solely on the salary coming from the corporation or organization that hires you.
That means, ideally, you can set prices for your services that make the most sense for you.
This also means you’ll need to work (likely) twice as hard to bring in clients, market yourself, and build a client base.
According to the Exercise Science Guide, it’s possible for self-employed personal trainers — or independent contractors – to earn as much as $140,000 annually.
This number, however, fluctuates based on your clientele, your hours, your fitness repertoire, what kind of certifications you hold, and what type of degree you might have.
Essentially, the amount of money you can make is going to build down to your work ethic, your area, your expertise, and the number of clients you’re able to take on and train.
This option, however, is going to cost you in areas that working as an employee for a corporation or organization wouldn’t.
You’ll need to provide your own insurance, liability coverage, workspace area, resources, supplies, and if you choose to expand your business, salary for your employees.
As a personal training employee, you reap the benefits of steady clientele, steady salary, health insurance, and the ability to focus entirely on the training.
A typical personal trainer who is an employee works for a gym, an exercise studio, a specialized corporation, a resort, a spa, a cruise ship, a retirement community, a university, or any other organization that will pay them based on salary and commission.
As an employee at a facility, you’re often not able to set your own prices, and you typically cannot adjust based on the specific services offered.
Instead, you’ll either be paid based on a flat rate salary, hourly or commission.
Your salary is going to depend on the facility you work at, your experience, education, your certifications, your specializations, and dozens of other considerations.
When working on commission – especially when first starting – it’s likely you’ll work for (close to) minimum wage while you work the floor, or rather, while you try to get members of the gym or organization to hire you.
The lowest 10 percent were reported making less than $27,300, while the top ten percent were reported earning about $79,200.
Although you’ll be lucky enough to reap the benefits of your corporation’s marketing, networking, and their steady stream of clients, you’ll also likely be stuck at their price points, meaning, you might not be able to create costs that make the most sense for your services.
Welcome to the world of being a personal trainer. For anyone who's interested in health and fitness, this job will guarantee you true fulfillment. Your clients will come to you with a goal, and you will be instrumental in helping them achieve it to create a lasting change in their lives. Really, what could be better?
As a personal trainer, you have the luxury to decide. You can go to one of the biggest gyms or fitness centers and get hired as an in-house expert. If you are organized and can manage different aspects of the fitness world at the same time, you can become an independent trainer and run your own fitness business as well.
No one ever said you could only have one resume.
Your resume needs to reflect the route you choose and must attract different employers. If you are looking to build personal clients, you will need to appeal to their needs and wants. If you are looking to land a job, then your resume will be geared toward the business you are most interested.
In this book, we will tell you how to pull together your experience and qualifications in a way that will get you noticed above the rest. You will learn:
How to prepare your resume so that it works well for the reader
How to optimize your resume to work well online
How to create your brand and keep it consistent
How to maximize your references and recommendations
These are internet websites where you can post a resume and where prospective clients come along and enter search criteria for candidates who interest them. The type of resume you put onto a job board is different than a resume you send for a specific job.
By definition, your resume has to be generic, but it still has to be geared to the industry and the general way in which personal training works.
This resume and the one you submit for a specific role are based on the same information but need to look different. You might also add things to a job board resume that you would not include in a resume for a specific job.
For example, you might add a recommendation sector where you quote past clients extolling your virtues as a trainer. Draw on the information in the text for these different resume types.
The ideal world and the real world
You’ve probably noticed there is a big difference between what you should do and what you actually do.
In theory, we should all have a resume we can draw on at any time, in practice most of us only update it when we need to and, then we sort of update the last one.
Throughout this book, we will point out what we should do, and we will focus intensely on what is practical, and what isn’t. You can take either route; both will work.
Just think for a moment
Your resume has one job, and that is to get you to the next step. For the record, the whole process is a series of just getting to the next level. Step One; get your resume noticed. Step Two; Get an interview. Step Three; Ace the interview. You get the idea.
A resume is designed to get you a job, but a bio is a document that says what a fantastic person you are. These two are entirely different. What you are doing in a resume is matching your skills to the job you want to have.
Following what you should do, you should start with what you wish and desire. What are you looking for in a job?
Where would you like to be in five years? What are your long-term goals?
Your resume should reflect what type of job you really want to get.
A resume’s job is to show the hiring manager how you are the perfect person for their job opening.
In a resume, your skills need to match the specific needs of the company.
Don’t lose sight of the long-term commitments
As a sports trainer, you have taken a vocational role in the world, and there must be authentic reasons why you chose this over all the other things you could have done. Write down the answers to the following:
Why did I decide to become a personal trainer?
What do I most enjoy about being a personal trainer?
What do I least enjoy about being a personal trainer?
What do I want to spend days doing?
What job are you applying for?
Look at the job ad you plan to apply for and pull out the key needs of the company.
Actual Personal Trainer Ad:
We are looking for Company Personal Trainers to enhance the competencies of our Company Fitness franchise by conducting training programs that will boost franchise club performance in alliance with company brand and core values.
⦁ Build a clientele base through prospecting, conducting fitness assessments, seminars, and class demos.
⦁ Prescribing comprehensive wellness programs based individual client’s goals.
⦁ Motivating and inspiring clients to reach their goals with enthusiasm.
⦁ Keeping clients accountable using a combination of goal setting, and consistent re-evaluations and assessments.
⦁ Embodying the pinnacle of professionalism through actions and attitude.
⦁ Cultivating a safe, enjoyable community between Team Training, Small Group Training, and One-on-One instructions.
This ad is taken from a real advertisement where the company was looking for personal trainers, so check out the words in blue. Boost club performance and build client base are real clues that in addition to the job of the trainer, they’re going to want you to help get people through the door.
What did you do in your current position that helped get people through the door?
Who will read your resume?
The hiring manager will definitely read your resume, and the HR or recruitment person will be the one to find your resume among all the other applicants.
Your resume needs to appeal to those two people.
The Hiring Manager
This person will be looking for someone who they believe can do the job and whose outlook matches theirs.
The HR Person
This person will be looking for someone who ticks the boxes — someone who doesn’t contradict the corporate ethos and should be able to do the job.
This step can be achieved by wording your resume well and being aware of what they are looking for by reading the ad carefully.
Do some research
Your next task is to familiarize yourself with how the world of personal trainers presents themselves. Look at the bios of the trainers you know and check out how they show themselves to the world. What impresses you? What leaves you cold?
Read resumes on the job posting sites and read ads because this will give you an idea of how people present themselves, and then you can begin to assess how you will introduce yourself too.
Key Words and Keywords
All industries have a vocabulary they use. You probably already know it but perhaps do not recognize it as a keyword. The wording of the ad will reflect words that are important to the company. These are the main keywords, and you can also think of them as trigger words. When the HR person, weeding through a host of resumes, sees these triggers, they place the resume on the maybe pile.
There are also keywords that words databases use to sort electronically. The search engine will recognize the words and include the document in the search results.
These words could be the same, but they could also differ. You need to make sure your resume includes them. If you post your resume on a website, your full services need to appear on your resume. In this case, if someone is looking for those specific skills, they can easily see what you have to offer.
If you are sending your resume in response to a job posting, it’s wise to use their keywords. It shows the company that you understand their language and by implication, have an idea of their culture.
Before we move on
By know you should know:
What you are looking for in a job
What the industry and your prospective clients are looking for when they hire a personal trainer
What appeals to you and what doesn’t
What skills and words you need to include on your resume/ bio
In this chapter, we will look at the information you need to have on your resume and the things you’d want to leave out. All resumes have some elements of similarity about them, but you need to know how to make yours stand out.
Gather all the information together
First of all, collect all the information. Creating the perfect resume is somewhat like a jigsaw or Lego. There are blocks of information which will come together to form the whole picture, so start with the visible pieces which are your contact details, any (relevant) social media, your educational credentials, and your skills.
The good news is that with your resume jigsaw pieces you can construct many different looking resumes.
What your resume must have
Contact information is an essential thing you need to have when building a resume. If employers cannot get a hold of you, how will they arrange an interview?
Name, Email Address and phone number are essentials. Your exact address is not, but you should include city, state and zip code.
Links to your social media accounts if they are relevant.
LinkedIn and a portfolio website if you have one.
Don’t include links to social media that aren’t relevant.
State license number when needed.
For some, this will be probably the most challenging part of writing, but if you follow the tips below, you can build a great summary statement.
Make it short – a paragraph or two
Create a professional synopsis of your career accomplishments to date
Outline your future goals
Read some examples before you write yours. You can find hundreds online. Search for ‘great summary statements resume’.
Put your professional qualifications first, and then list your working below. Don't add the date unless you graduated more than five years ago. Your experience will count for more than the year you qualified.
If you need state approvals or licenses to work list these in this section too.
If you are recently graduated it is appropriate to brag a little. If you made the Dean’s List, just say so.
This list also works backward. It contains relevant jobs for which you have been paid and may include internships.
It is standard to state your job title(s), and the dates worked.
You might also list achievements here. See page xx.
Qualification and Skills
These are the things that make you shine. In the previous chapter, in the relevant example that was provided, we talked about things you have done to get people through the door.
This list describes the things you are proud to have achieved until the present moment. You might say:
Inspired and helped 15 non-runners to complete their first marathon
Last 15 clients combined weight loss = one and a half baby elephants, 10% more than the collective goal
The idea is to pull out the highlights of the things you have done. (in the next chapter we will talk about making these relevant. See page xx.)
If you have achieved some work-related event make sure to state it here. If you run marathons or are a champion weightlifter, add it. If you won a gold medal in your sport, this is a skill that will add a little extra pizzazz to your application.
Things you do not have to have
All a resume needs to contain is the applicable information. Anything that is not applicable can be left out. If you worked as a chef before you became a personal trainer, you do not need to include it.
You also do not need to include any personal details. Specifically, do not include:
Salary information – this is not the appropriate place for that discussion
Your social security number – they do not need it at this point
References – when someone wants references they will ask for them
Current business contact information
Personal information including age, marital status, sexual orientation
A word on references
There are two situations where you might allude to testimonials rather than references. These are a little different from references, but they do have a place:
A job board resume
For a job board resume, a testimonial will differentiate you, and show your employers you understand the personal side of the business.
A resume for prospective personal 1:1 clients.
In this type of resume, your testimonials will prove that you deliver results. Prospective training clients will need to know that you can turn them into an Olympic champion.
In both cases, you will not state the name of the person giving you the credibility and nor their contact details – even if they are one of your references.
Testimonials are personal and helpful:
“With the help of (your name here), I was able to kick off the pounds finally.(Name) helped me set the goals and encouraged me even when I wanted to give up. I would never have lost that last 5 lbs without him/her.”
Before we move on…
In this chapter we have learned:
What information you do need for creating a resume
What information is useless
What you can use
To gather all the information together in some format. It does not matter whether it is in notes, envelope backs or on a computer file. The information is there, waiting to be used.
How to Make Your Resume Pack a Punch
In this chapter, we are going to discuss how to put the information together in a way that is dynamic and interesting. Have you heard the phrase seen one, seen them all? Nowhere is this truer than when reading resumes.
You Have Six Seconds to Catch Someone’s Attention, Use Every One.
How to appeal to your audience
To appeal to an audience, you have to know who they are. Not personally but in outline terms. For personal trainers, you have three types of audience.
Specific Job Resume
When you are applying directly for a job, and you know the audience is the organization. When you assume that an HR person, the hiring manager, and potentially other people involved in the hiring decision look at your resume.
These people are looking to check if you have the skills they need. Also, they want to know you’ll fit in their environment, and they need to know everything that’s special about you.
Resume to attract personal 1:1 client
These people are individuals who are looking at what you can do for them.
All they care about is how you can help them achieve their goal.
Your credentials are important, but really, it’s a reflection on them. You can imagine them telling their friends “my trainer is a….”
Job board audience
The audience board is like a little mix of these two. You might be scouted by an HR person looking for employees or be looked at by a potential 1:1 client.
Of all the resumes this is one that is focused solely on you, and you’ll need to explain all the benefits you bring to a potential employer.
Once you know your audience, you can begin to craft your resume text in a way that is going to appeal to them. See the difference between the following skills:
“Worked with clients to build a personal fitness program taking advantage of all the fitness center offerings including the pool, weight room, and steam room.”
“Constructed individual workout programs reflecting each client’s personal goals and physical ability and desired outcome.”
In both cases, you did the same work, but in the top one, your clients kept coming back to the gym.
In the second example, the focus is on the client. Your experience, which appears on your resume, has to be aligned with who is going to be paying for your services.
In the first example, the employer is the company. In the second, an employer is a person.
Creating sentences that make sense but use keywords
Remember the work you did on keywords: Your sentences need to include these words. A search for the keywords in “personal training” reveals the following as the top 20 keywords.
You cannot and do not want to include ‘gyms near me.’ Instead, integrate all the other words in your text. The key is to work the keywords into the narrative in a way that is both natural and normal.
‘My goal is to help clients achieve their lifetime fitness goals through a combination of work in the gym, aerobic exercise, and nutritional guidance.’
Getting attention in 6 seconds flat
Here’s the clue, getting their attention in 6 seconds flat is about them and not you. How do you do it?
i. You present something that looks nice
ii. You say something that will appeal to what they are looking for
In the next section, we will talk about how sentences need to be further organized, and how a great layout influences the way people look at you.
In a resume for a job application – use keywords that will appeal to the company.
When looking for 1:1 client use keywords that will show them what they will receive.
When creating a job board resume focus on the benefits someone who hires you will accrue.
Things to avoid – it’s not what you say, it’s really the way that you say it
As a culture, we are so used to words that convey hype. Buzzwords basically have two effects. Firstly, they can have a direct shorthand effect so that you can get a concept across quickly. Secondly, they can also be volatile and mean very little.
People will talk about being a team player for example. What does that really mean? A better way of getting the same idea across would be to talk about helping colleagues or supporting a team effort or contributing to corporate goals.
The difference is what you did, not what you are. What you need to share with people is the benefits of what they will receive when working with you.
If you are tempted to say what you are, especially in the skills section, an excellent way to think about this is to add a ‘what this means’ statement:
I am a personal trainer
What this means is: I help people achieve their health and fitness goals.
I am a specialist in nutrition
What this means is: I can provide individuals with their optimum diet for weight loss and good health.
The sentences in the far-right column are the benefits, and these are very important to the company and people who might want to hire you.
Clarity over clutter
More than anything else, you want your resume to be clear and precise. It is advisable to use action words. These are words like implemented, achieved, delivered, facilitated, which are all great words that inspire the idea that you made something happen.
Remember to be clear about the effects of what you did. If you were a manager and you implemented a 6:00 a.m. daily call that might be something you did. If you were to say you implemented a 6:00 a.m. call that resulted in the center having an extra ten clients per day at a revenue increase of $y per month, the company is going to be a lot more impressed.
Be clear and make each sentence have a point and work to deliver a message.
One resume doesn’t fit all
No rule says you can have only one. You can have a different resume for every company you apply to, another resume for private clients and a third one for the job boards.
Personalizing a resume for a company means that when you get to the interview, all you need to do is check what you said on the resume, and for what job you have applied for, and you'll already know how to answer the questions.
What you have learned
In Chapter 3 you learned about:
Addressing the audience in a way which is relevant to them
How to get attention in the time you have available
How benefits are better than attribute statements (what this means….)
How effects are better actions
Making sure you express what is most important
Formatting Your Resume
In the 6 seconds, you have to get your resume noticed, the first thing that will attract a future employer is how the resume looks.
Using a format
Even if all you do is pick a template from a word-processor or from an online source, searching for a format is really important.
A format will systemically present the information blocks, and make sure the information appears in a clear and concise way.
Search for best- looking resumes, and you will see all sorts of formats which will appeal more or less to you.
They will also indicate where you need to put contact information so that it appears on all the pages.
This process is especially important for personal trainers who are attempting to set up their own practices. Essentially, what you are doing is creating a brand. How you present the way you train other people, will become your trademark to the world.
The key is to keep everything consistent across all the platforms you use. It’s advisable to use the same colors and fonts, and include common benefits that speak to any person you would like to train directly.
Besides the resume you might consider:
Your LinkedIn Profile – besides putting your resume there, make sure the details of your profile line up with it.
A microsite or website – is a way of telling the world what you can do for them. You do not have to have one, but if you do ensure that, make it consistent.
Blogs – are a fantastic way of creating interest in your brand. Use the same colors and fonts, but use the blog to express more about your lifestyle.
Creating a cool document that works online
The chance is that no one is going to print your resume, so you need to be sure that it will work online.
The advantage of this is that you can structure the screen view to get the exact look you need. You can also use colors and effects which would not work on paper.
The disadvantage is that you have to have something that will open on a cell phone as well as a laptop.
Follow the rules but get smart when breaking them
Your resume has to have the correct information in it, but how you pull that together is up to you. If you want to create a flowchart – go ahead. Imagine for a fantastic moment you were a personal trainer to a major film star. At the top of your resume you might put a tagline: ‘Jane Doe trainers to fabulous film star’ or you might add a client section: Personal Trainer to…film star and sports personality. Then after this section, you would follow with all the other information.
Remember 6 seconds is all it takes, if you have some pull like a big name, use it.
Spell Check and Proofread
It is just silly not to use spell check. Do it. Don’t argue.
If possible, get someone else to look over your document. A fresh pair of eyes will see things differently, and this can be helpful in case you misspelled something or used the wrong word.
There are also great websites where you can improve your sentences and check for passive verbs.
They also catch things you might easily miss.
What you have learned
In this chapter we covered:
The need for a format
The need for consistency across all your online sources
How to use the resume builder
When to break the rules, and create a resume that gets you noticed
Sending your resume to its target
Now you are ready to get the resume in front of potential employers. Congratulations!
You are on the home straight, but there are some last-minute steps you should take before you send it to recruiters.
Is your resume finished?
When did you last read your resume? Reread it. Check if it really says what you want to convey to its future readers.
Convert the file to a PDF when you are happy with it. Do not merely call it ‘resume', but give it a filename which works. Naming it ‘Jones Personal Trainer’ (when your name is Jones)is going to help you identify it easier when you'll need it.
But your resume still needs more details to it.
At this point, you could upload it to a job board site, and attach it to your LinkedIn profile, etc.
If you are sending a resume for a specific role, you will need to create a cover letter that accompanies the resume.
The art of the cover letter
Writing the right cover letter is an art. Even though they might not read it, and go straight to your resume, you need to create one that reflects the expertise you are presenting to your future employers.
You need to write one, but they might not read it and go straight to the resume, so your cover letter will not contain any extra information that doesn’t already exist in your resume.
The cover letter offers you a chance to add a little shine, so make sure that you won't forget to emphasize the points you want to get across.
The cover letter has three sections:
In this segment you tell the reader why you are submitting the resume:
I am responding to your ad
I have long been interested in
I have a recommendation from *
*It’s also essential that you first ask the person who’ll recommend you if they want to appear as a reference on your cover letter.
In this section, you get to sell yourself the way you want. You need to repeat your key
reasons as to why they should pay attention to your application, and you can do this by writing in the first person.
I believe I am practically perfect for this job because…
Keep it short and make sure that it talks to their benefit and not yours.
The letter close
If your application was unsolicited, you could indicate that you will follow up in a few days. In this case, don’t forget to do what you have said, and get back to them.
If you responded to a posted ad, then indicate you look forward to discussing the position.
Technically it is called an assumptive close. You are assuming that of course, your future employers would want to discuss the position with you. Be polite but assertive.
If you submit the cover letter as PDF make it look like your resume from a style and language perspective. If it is in the body of an email, you need not to worry about the style but try to use the same font.
Getting it to the right place
Always follow the submission instructions exactly. You are ruling yourself out if you do not. You are effectively saying “I never bothered to read your instructions.…” Many companies will rule you out on this basis alone.
If the routine is to submit to HR, but you know who’s the hiring manager of the company, you can Cc the manager, so they know you applied.
Submit only what is asked to submit. If they say resume only – when you provide just that. Do not add additional materials unless asked. If the requirements ask for a resume and cover letter, that’s what you send.
What we learned this article
Creating cover letters
Following submission instructions
Lastly, always keep in mind that your words value more than you think. In case of a follow-up, even if you do not get the job, you can still be in their consideration, as long as you’re forging a way of communication between you and them. In this day and age, there are only a few companies that will not put the time and effort into replying, so if they don’t get back to you, don’t take it personally.
Everything you need to know to make it as an independent personal trainer and ensure your success. Browse no more as this is the ultimate guide!
Have You Decided to Take the Next Step and Become Your Own Boss?
Congratulations, even if right now this is a dream and you’re only thinking of taking the step into the great unknown—this is a brave step forward, and you are going to have the time of your life.
The first thing you need to know is that there is a great market for personal trainers.
There are plenty of people who are looking for your help and support as they try to achieve their fitness goals. All you need to do is go out and find them. When you have made your way through this guide, you will be ready to do exactly that.
The good news is there are a few steps you need to take to get going, but once you have those in place, you can proceed immediately. Check out your first steps below:
Know What You're Good With
One of the things you need to be realistic about is what you are really good at.
Are you one of those people who can talk to anyone and get them to come on-board as a client? What sort of client do you work best with? Are you good at helping people after an accident?
That’s one side of the business, but there is another more practical side, too.
Are you good at managing the books? It is not a big deal; there’s software out there to help and you probably could do it.
Can you pull a website together? If this is not one of your skills, there are other ways to create a web presence when you aren’t a programmer.
Every state has legal requirements that you must adhere to. Some of these may be obvious. As someone running their own business you still have to pay taxes. Depending on your state you might need to file an estimate once a quarter.
This guide will send you in the direction of the things you need to do and give you some pointers. But you should check the requirements locally yourself.
Building a Client Base
Unless you’re really lucky and already have some clients who can start working with you, getting started is the most difficult phase.
This is the time when you’re likely to question yourself more than ever before. This is also the time to hold on to your hat and go for it. There are lots of people out there making money at this.
There’s no reason why you can’t be one of them.
There are some things you need to be aware of when you are kicking off this journey.
For starters, there may be legal and other requirements, so the discussion in this section centers on the information you should work out before you begin.
Having made this decision, can we assume that you already have some sort of certification? If not, you’re going to need to get one. There are a number of options and a lot of choices you can make. If you are making that choice, check this out.
Don’t necessarily limit yourself to the obvious. Having an interest in nutrition, for example, might open doors and become your specialty. If you are looking to work in weight control and management, being able to advise your clients on their food and drink intake might give you a business edge over your competition.
Membership in Professional Associations
There are many professional fitness associations.
Membership in any association comes with levels that are dependent on the level of certification you have achieved. The higher the certification level, the higher the membership level.
If you're new to the association game, we've done the homework for you and sorted out the most 10 popular below:
To be a personal trainer you will need to have professional liability insurance. Insurance is going to protect you from claims of bodily injury to a client or general slip-and-fall accidents during a training session. What if your client were to slip on some sweat moving from one exercise to another and break their arm? Guess what—you're liable. Even though this was a genuine accident, it happened during your session under your supervision and you can be sued. Purchase your complete coverage here.
While in the early days you might see this as a cost, it is a cost that you have to accept. It’s like having a cell phone, and it costs less than your yearly gym membership.
A Certificate in CPR
Lastly, you will need to show a first aid certificate that includes cardiopulmonary resuscitation. This is for obvious reasons, and while the risk is hopefully remote, there is the possibility that a client or someone else can have a medical problem at the gym.
Part 1: Business Basics
Running your own personal training business has more to it than dealing with clients, although obviously, that is one of the basic tasks.
Presumably, that is what you want to spend most of your time doing, but there are going to be other things you must do to keep a business going.
In this section, we will discuss some of the things you need to understand from the very beginning.
Build a Business Plan
The business plan is your cold hard look at reality. It sets out what you need and what you have to do to get there. It does not have to be a complex plan that has the answers to every possible question (and delivers world peace too).
What it will do is give you a basic structure against which you can measure where you are and where you need to be.
Here are the things you need to remember about business plans:
The goal of having a business plan is to lay out your ideas.
You can change your ideas at any time.
The business plan is a touchstone so you can work out where you are and then what you need to do next.
If you have no other basis for your plan, you can simply start with how much you want to earn.
Assume that you’d like to earn $60,000 a year or $5,000 a month before taxes. And the price of a session with you is $35/hour.
In addition, your gym membership costs $79/month. Your website costs $10 and your insurance is $14 per month.
*Your calculations can be more complex than this. You could add your cell phone bill, equipment, gas, etc.
The next step is to assess how many hours you would need to bring in to reach this income level.
Client hours needed: $5,063 ÷ $35 = 144.66, and rounding this up you see you’d need to spend 145 hours per month in training sessions. This means you’d be spending 36 hours per week.
Now you have strong data points. You need to train clients for 36 hours per week and you need to bring in $35 an hour.
The next step is to question whether that is reasonable.
Can you make the jump from no clients to 36 hours of training every month? Here’s a hint: The answer is NO!
You know you can’t do that on day one, but you can roll back to what does seem reasonable. And then build toward a weekly schedule of 36 hours over a period of time.
Business plans are a guess.
They are always flexible, but what they do give you is the ability to see what you are doing, and then help you decide if it makes sense.
Part 2: Pricing
This is about the most fundamental item you will need to consider.
How much are you going to charge a client for a session with you? There are a number of considerations to think about before you decide:
What is the going rate in your specialization?
Do you want your rate to be more or less than that?
If the standard rate is x per hour, and you want to charge more than that, you are going to need a good reason why a client should pay you extra. So be clear about why your rate is different.
How many clients at your chosen rate would you need to work with each week to make the sort of income you want?
How much would you need to work with clients to reach that level of income?
How else could you structure your pricing to make it easy for you to do all the things you need to do?
Booking a line of Classes
Most trainers will offer a series of classes rather than booking a single class at a time.
This has benefits for both you and your clients. From your perspective, you will know your commitment level and income. From your client’s perspective, they will expect a discounted rate for booking (and paying) in advance.
Keeping at the $35-hour level, four hours training = $140.
Assume you decide to discount the booking to $130.
Three things happen:
Your hourly rate just got reduced to $32.50.
But you now have 4 of your 36 hours booked.
You have gained a consistent client.
The best way to set your hourly rate:
Place it at market value (plus or minus according to special factors).
Adjust it upward so you can discount it for committed clients but not compromise your other assumptions.
Discounting is a psychological thing.
People like to get a good deal.
When you discount, you are taking money out of your own pocket. It might be good to discount but do it knowingly.
Discounting is about getting clients to commit to you, so it has a value.
Discounting is marketing; how you express the discount makes a difference.
Going back to the client who commits for a series of 4 lessons. Which of these is more powerful to you?
Book four lessons for a 10 percent discount.
Book four lessons for $130.
A 10 percent discount on $140 is $14, so you would earn $126. But you’d earn $130 if you gave $10 off.
Both work; the customer knows they are getting a deal. But make sure that you are aware of the effect of your policies in exact dollars.
The important takeaway is that discounting takes money from your pocket. Don’t give it away for no reason. When you do give it away, make sure that the client understands the value they are receiving.
Managing Cash Flow
This is an art that you must master. You will need to be stringent on the rules you set for yourself on this.
Businesses have expenses as well as income.
Business expenses occur monthly. In the early days, especially, income might not happen monthly—or if it does it is likely to vary from month to month. The business will stop if you don’t have the money to meet your expenses, so you must manage your cash flow.
Because expenses are part of the cost of running your business, they will be tax deductible. You need to have sneakers, gym wear, shorts in the summer, sweat pants in the winter; these are expenses you wouldn’t have if you didn’t have a business. You will have website costs, and these can be offset too.
Remember the point about being good with managing money? As you see, there’s more to it than the cash people give you.
If your clients pay you for three months of sessions at the beginning of month 1 (and assuming that there are no other income sources and no new clients,) you will receive an injection of cash at the beginning of month 1, but you won’t get any additional cash until month 4.
You must set aside cash in month 1 to pay for months 2 and 3.
Cash flow is likely to be the biggest issue for you in the early days. Learning to manage cash will save you a lot of headaches.
Remember, this flows through to your personal finances too. You have to pay yourself three times in that same period. You needed to make your commitments on housing and whatever personal bills you have.
Cash flow is the difference between the business plan and reality.
There are a number of ways you can manage cash flow. Having a bank that will provide you with either overdraft protection or a line of credit is one way. Another is to start the business with a small injection of capital to get things off the ground. How you manage it is up to you—but remember that you must do so.
Cash Flow and Profit and Loss are Not the Same Things
It is possible to have a profitable business that fails because it doesn’t have the cash needed. So, wrap your head around that and file it away for future use.
Part 3: Marketing
As a business owner, you will have to market yourself to get customers.
It is part of the job, and love it or hate it you have to do it, so you might as well get used to the idea.
By marketing yourself, what we mean is that you have to get your name out there to the people who are looking for trainers. Obviously, you can market your business online, and many gyms have notice boards.
Have business cards, so you can leave them at coffee shops close to gyms in addition to handing them out to prospective clients.
Who are your Target Customers?
Answering this question is absolutely fundamental to who you are and what you do. If you work with clients who are planning their first marathon, you want to go to the places where runners hang out. Is there a fun run group in the city? Join them. There might be people who would benefit from your skills in the group, runners know runners—join in with them.
Where are your Target Customers?
If you’re a swimming coach looking for clients to take private lessons, the place where you’re going to find these people is at the pool. The first thing to do is check out if the pool has notice board and if so, get a flyer on there. Find out where your target customers hang out and join them, even if only on paper.
You can’t get hired if no one can find you.
Become a Session Leader
Becoming a session leader at a local gym can be a paid gig before you take the big step of going out on your own. Taking a job leading a high-intensity interval training class, for example, might put you in touch with people who could use your training.
Word World of Mouth
There is nothing more powerful than someone else doing your marketing for you. Getting someone to tell everyone else what a good job you do will help get people through the door. Word of mouth will spread, and soon it will be a friend of a friend who approaches you.
You can also build this into a referral program. How this works is you ask people to forward your name and recommend you. You’ll want to give them something in return. Structure this so that it doesn’t make a large amount of money go out the door. You could reduce your price one percentage point for every referral, or a free hour every five. The idea is to get other people recommending you to the rest of the community.
Approach your Target Client
You can’t get away from this truth: No one is going to approach you in the early days and ask if you have ever dreamed about being a trainer. You have to make it clear to them by some message that you’re available for training. If this does not break your gyms’ policies you could wear a T-shirt during your own training time that says “personal trainer” and your phone number.
Your goal is to tell people this is your job and when they know, they will come to you.
Add some Target Activities
This works well with group fitness activities.
You can organize an event like a Friday Fun Run or a Salute the Sun for a sunrise yoga in the park session.
People who show up for that may not be your clients, but if they associate you with the activity you will get to the point where business starts to come from these sessions and the money will follow.
How do you get someone to bite and become a client?
This is actually the easy part. When someone comes to you expressing interest, they are already more than halfway ready to become a client. All you need to do is to bring them into your fold.
You do that by asking them.
If that seems too obvious, believe it. If you want it to put it more technically, you have to ask for the business. Don’t let that overwhelm you. It can be something as simple as “Are you ready to start?”
It really is that easy.
Your Goal is Committed Business
A client taking one lesson with you is not a lot of help. What you’re really looking for is repeat business. You need clients to come back for blocks of sessions. That way you build a reliable income stream and you have an idea what your schedule will look like from one week to the next.
You can combine the goals of a committed business and getting a client to bite by creating special offers:
Offer the first lesson at either no charge (if your goal is to get people to book the first lessons) or at a discounted rate.
Offer a graduated scale to encourage clients to book larger numbers of lessons.
Offer a free lesson for every recommendation—this is a way of getting referrals and getting your client base to do the work for you. The only real cost to you is time, and at the start of the business, this is something you will have plenty of.
Build Outreach into Your Activities Every Week
This is a must.
Think about your clients as being on an escalator. Some will take the ride and fall off at the other end.
Others need to be coming on at the beginning to back-fill for those who leave.
Some part of your work week every week must be set aside to bringing on new clients.
Even when you’re teaching at your capacity hours, you must still find time for marketing activities.
Part 4: The World Wide Web
Your online presence refers to any of the ways in which you are online.
This could be as simple as having an email address or as complex as an integrated presence that includes everything you can think of: a website, social media, plus a blog and hundreds of thousands of followers.
A BASIC TRUTH ABOUT THE WORLD WIDE WEB:
There is one thing you need to know from the beginning.
Maintaining an integrated online presence can be a full-time job if you let it, and the more attention you pay to it, the less you are paying to your clients, who are the ones who pay you.
As you read through the following sections, think critically about each one; is this something that will help you get new clients and keep the old ones coming back? If not, ask yourself critically: Why do I need this?
You online presence has one goal, get more customers.
That is it. The only point about having an online presence is to get and keep clients.
It can prove that you are the best personal trainer, ever. It might demonstrate that you have impeccable graphic-design skills, but unless it is keeping new customers coming to you for training and your old customers staying with you, it is wasting your time and resources.
Here are the top three ways to use the internet to your advantage.
Customers have to be able to get hold of you.
One way is by cell phone. But when you are in a training session with one client, you can’t take a call from another one.
(This is a golden rule—your clients are paying for your time and expertise. No matter how tempting, if you’re with a client don’t take calls; in fact, leave your phone in your bag or locker.)
Hopefully, you will be with clients during much of the day and so there are hours when you can’t answer.
Clients still need to be able to reach you when you can’t respond. Leaving you a voicemail is one option, the other simple one is an email address.
You don’t even have to have your own. You don’t have to be [email protected] (although it will be great when you eventually do). Any email platform such as Gmail or Outlook will work well enough.
You need to have an email address. This one is not optional.
#2. Social Media
Social Media encompasses all sorts of methods of getting creative messages to the outside world.
These include platforms like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest. These are all great ways of reaching your clients and prospects, but the downside is that people need to know that they should follow you and you have to give them a reason to do so.
It’s a bit like the chicken and the egg problem.
The problem with social media is you can spend your entire day watching it, and it may have no possible conversion into business.
But then suddenly someone else tweets to the whole of their twitterverse that they had a brilliant session with you, and adds your twitter name. You didn’t do anything, but now you’re the go-to trainer for the town mommies-with-disposable-income-who-want-their-figure-back group and more clients than you can handle.
You don’t need social media on day one. You might need it on day three, so we will come back to this later in the section.
A website does say quite a lot about you. It suggests a solid presence, it suggests that your training business is here to stay, and it says there’s more to you than the other trainers who don’t have a website.
That sounds great, doesn’t it? Except when it doesn’t work.
Here’s the problem, a bad website is worse than no website.
If you decide you’re going to have a website, it has to be good. Spelling mistakes, bad text, a badly organized website are all much worse than not being there at all.
If you’re going to have a website you must do it well.
How to Do Your Website Well
Luckily there are loads of ways and they don’t have to cost a fortune. Here are some of the routes:
Spend just time and no money. With this option, you can go to one of the companies that offer you the option of a free site under their name. You can use their online tools to build out your site. They usually have images and pop-out boxes available, making this an easy way to build a site.
How these sites work is they add their name to yours. Imagine your site is going to be www.excellenttraining.com. Under this option, your site name would be www.excellenttraining.websitebuilder.com.
These same site builders also offer you a domain name for a few dollars per year. In this way, you pay a nominal fee for your domain name (www.excellenttraining.com) and you get to drop the “sitebuilder.com” from your address.
The other way is to have someone do it for you. This will cost you, but luckily there are two options:
Have someone do it for you using a site builder. This is the cheaper option because the person building the site uses the host’s tools and it will take them less time than building a site from scratch.
Have someone do it from scratch. There are some reasons to do this, but they don’t really factor for someone starting a brand-new business. Later on, when you have your own training franchise and there is a line of trainers working for excellenttraining.com, it will make more sense. For now, let it go.
What Should a Website Have?
Your website will be about you and what you can offer clients who work out with you. Its job is to get new clients and keep your old ones.
#1. ABOUT YOU
Your site needs a section about you. It will have things like who you are, what your aim as a trainer is and what you think about the business. It will show your licenses and accreditations and express your areas of interest. But only the ones relevant to training and perhaps one other quirky fact (such as you hate broccoli, or that you never have smoothies in the winter, or you believe squats are overrated).
It should be something that makes you a little more approachable as a person.
#2. ABOUT THEM
Suppose you specialize in weight loss training. You might create a section called “Weight Loss” and underneath it list all the types of training you provide. If you specialize in weight management, you might talk about a different set of abilities and might have sections on weight gain and maintenance, too.
In this section, you tell your prospective customers what you offer and what they will gain from working with you.
Try to get quotes from your clients and add them to the site. “I worked with [your name] after I got out of the hospital and he/she is the best swim therapist I have worked with.” You get the idea. Prospects might not believe you, but they will believe your clients. If you have a website, this page is a must.
#4. CONTACT PAGE
A website always needs a contact page.
There are many places on a website to put it—do what you think looks good, but make sure finding out how to contact you is easy. It is best to have an entire page or section dedicated to this.
#5. GETTING FANCY
There are plenty of other things your website could do. You could add an online schedule that allows your clients to see your availability and book their sessions online. And you could add a payment portal allowing people to pay you online.
These are great additions but store them away for later. Go back to the basic test: Do I need this to get clients and keep them?
#6. A BLOG
The main idea of a weblog, or “blog,” is that you post often. These posts can be long or short entries.
They can include images, video, spoken or written words, links to other people’s posts, etc.
If you spend a little time, your blog can do everything a static website does. You can consider doing both, or just add static pages to a blog and have both in one.
Like websites, there are blog platforms out there that will do all the structural work, allowing you or someone else to create your message on the platform.
In the early days, this is the way to go.
A few other Tips to Make the Most of Your Online Presence
YouTube is a great medium for personal trainers, but it requires dedication, and building a channel is a slow business.
As you know, YouTube is a showcase site for videos, and from a personal trainer’s perspective there are all sorts of possibilities:
Demonstration videos—40 seconds showing the best way to do a lift (or anything else). This is a practically unlimited stream of content. You demonstrating, a “client” trying it, and you offering help and guidance.
Before-and-after videos—these are effectively testimonials, but being a personal trainer is not about you, it’s about what you do for your clients.
A perfect workout to achieve “X.” This can be any goal clients frequently set for themselves.
Combining exercises for greater calorie burn, more muscle, etc.
A complete online class for the home user; this could turn into a revenue stream if done properly.
LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE, YOU NEED TO BRAND IT.
There are things you can do with the actual video—overlays of logos, graphics, etc. You can ticker-tape your contact details across the bottom of the video, too. There are many ways to brand yourself: For example, wear the same clothes each time so people get a feel for your video style, or wear a T-shirt with your logo on it.
You have to keep this going. It is like a blog in that as your audience begins to grow, you must keep the momentum going. Posting a 40-second video shot on your cell phone once a week can get you a sizeable channel quickly. Posting an all-dancing high-quality video is going to take a lot longer to do.
We know, all the hip kids aren’t on Facebook anymore.
But 2.23 billion people a month do use Facebook and the people who are likely to pay you to train them probably are part of that group.
You have to be where your client base is. Having a Facebook page is a good idea once you get off the ground.
TWITTER, PINTEREST, AND INSTAGRAM
These three social media platforms could ultimately be of value to your business. Pinterest and Instagram are primarily based on images and video.
All three have some value, but they are probably worth looking at later when your business is better established.
Gather emails while you can.
Going back and reaching out to people who have dropped by your site or your blog is a great idea and the way to do it is to collect their emails. When people sign up to your email list, they have agreed to receive an email from you and so you are able to send them a newsletter or a special offer by email without sending spam (which is illegal).
Build into your blog, website, and social media as a way to collect emails and build your list over time.
There are lots of online sources that list businesses and services. Finding them and getting your name and listing on them is a one-and-done thing to easily get your name out there.
If you perform an online search using words like “personal trainer in [your city],” or “weight trainers near me,” or “celiac nutritionists” you will see this sort of list.
How to get onto these listings:
Do some searches using words like the ones above for your discipline.
Check out the obvious page for the same lists.
Read your competitions’ listings—they are going to be on these lists, so check out what they say and how they say it.
Use your competitors’ names as search terms—see what lists they are on.
Go to all of these sites and add your business. Usually, it will be your name and contact details and a couple of concise paragraphs explaining what you do.
This is where all of these pieces work together. You post on your blog, it goes out to your Twitter account and hits Instagram and Facebook at the same time. For example, if it is a video of you showing how to properly do an asana in your yoga program, post it to your YouTube channel at the same time as well.
AVOID THESE MISTAKES
Don’t start with the big sell. Introduce yourself and what you’re going to and then do it. Your online presence should reflect what potential clients will get from training with you. No one likes to hire a used-car salesman.
This is a bit counterintuitive: Your content needs to be of good quality, but not that good. You’re a personal trainer, not a marketing professional. Keep your fonts, themes, and brand consistent across all platforms. Make sure it looks professional and clean but keep your focus on your actual job—training clients.
Part 5: Maintaining Your Business
As you go through the experience of creating a business, you will see that it changes. You will go through distinct phases of your business’s life. You’ve gone through the previous chapters, but now check yourself and make sure you are confident about the stages your business will likely go through.
PHASE ONE: Pre-Start-Up
This is before you kick things off and is the preparation stage. This is where you check into state requirements. Firm up your professional association membership, arrange your insurance coverage and don’t forget the CPR training.
PHASE TWO: The Start-up
In the start-up phase, you will be actively doing things to start your business. These might overlap with the pre-start-up because there are some things you can do in advance, but remember there are some things that have to happen in order. Your marketing materials need your professional credentials, for example.
In the start-up phase, you’re going to be busy getting things off the ground. Whatever you have decided in terms of marketing is going to be happening at this point. Most of your focus is going to be on getting clients. You will be using the business plan as your main measurement. The plan is there to give you confidence that things are happening as you thought they might, or that things are going better or worse.
PHASE THREE: The Early Days
In this stage, you will be working with some clients, hopefully at least one more than you put into the business plan, but you will still be spending more time getting clients than training. The business plan is still your guide, but you will be making changes based on your current reality.
At this point, you need to revisit the plan and check the assumptions you made and decide if they were valid or not. Do you need to make any changes? Specifically, after a month or six weeks, take some time out and question:
Is my pricing structure correct?
Are my assumptions on getting people to sign up for classes accurate?
Do I have as many clients as expected? If I have more, why? If I have fewer, why?
Of all the things I’ve done so far, what was effective and what failed?
Be brutally honest with yourself.
If you got lucky and five people signed up with you, but you have no idea why then go and ask them. You need to be certain of what was effective and do more of it; you need to stop wasting your time on what didn’t.
You still spend more time on things other than working with clients in this phase, but the gap should be getting smaller.
PHASE FOUR: Early Steps Towards Being Established
In this stage of the business, there is a subtle change. Now you’re starting to feel that you have a handle on it. You know what you need to do, you know what’s working and you start spending more time with clients than on your other tasks. You also need to look at paying some taxes at this point, as you have really kicked into the earning stage.
Now that you have a handle on the business, you can create a structure and a discipline regarding work.
As a personal trainer, time management has to be on your side. If you let time management slide and you don’t get to the things you should be doing, what was a small task now becomes a huge one and you’re even less likely to do it. This can be a disaster for your business.
How you decide to manage your time is up to you. It doesn’t matter if you go high-tech or keep it on color-coded pieces of paper.
Break the week into hourly slots, marking off client time and allocating time to the other tasks you need to do.
There should be time dedicated to keeping track of the money side of things. Spending 15 minutes a week—which is probably all it takes—will save you hours of work at tax time and ensure your cash flow.
In addition, you must set aside time for marketing.
These two tasks are so important that if you’re so busy with clients that you can’t do them, consider removing a client hour. This might seem crazy, because it’s money in the door, right? No, it isn’t. This is a critical time you spend making sure your business remains healthy.
Part 6: What's Next
CONGRATULATIONS. you now have a business that can generate an income and maintain your lifestyle.
Now you can consider what’s next—it just depends on you.
Expansion and Scaling
If everything goes according to plan, there will come a point where you’re running at full capacity and your earnings have maxed out. You have no more hours available to work with more clients, and your rates are as high as the market allows.
You can increase your pricing for new clients, but if new clients represent 5 percent of your time, a 10 percent increase in rates won’t show up as more money in your pocket for a long time. But there are still a number of ways you can grow:
Think about a partnership with someone else.
You can look to add classes—this is a way of getting more people per hour. Instead of training one person per hour, you train five people at a time. This increases your hourly income and gives you plenty of room for further growth.
Keep your eye on developments in your area of specialization. Developments in training and new ideas need to be brought into your work, and you need to remain up to date.
You may have a continuing education requirement for your license, so it is essential to take those classes and ensure your license remains current.
Also, this is one of the ways you make yourself attractive to customers, so time you spend on personal development is time well spent. Anything you add to your portfolio is going to be of value, so view continuing education as a good use of your time and not a nuisance.
Author Bio: Insure Fitness Group
Insure Fitness Group (IFG) provides personal trainers and group fitness instructors with comprehensive liability insurance protection, group fitness resources, and personal training insight. Please feel free to explore articles from IFG brand ambassadors on choosing the best personal training certifications, writing meal plans for clients, and more.
On any given day, the media would have us believe a range of wild claims: that a fat-reduced diet will make us skinny; that we can sculpt six-pack abs in three minutes or less; and that if we don’t exercise for more than an hour a day, five days a week, we’ll never reach our fitness goals. Above all, we are told that achieving a particular body shape will bring us happiness and fulfillment.
My answer to all this? Garbage!
The fitness industry is approaching $80 billion dollars – a staggering amount! But what’s more staggering is that the obesity epidemic’s global costs has hit $2 trillion a year! This begs the question: how can both the health club industry and the obesity epidemic keep growing year after year? Clearly something is not working…
As someone with over 20 years of experience working within the health industry, I'm embarrassed for the world now. We find ourselves living in a world of consumerism, in a time in history where we are spending more, eating more, and moving less than any other generation before us.
The fitness industry is a business. If people miraculously woke up tomorrow and were healthy, fit, and full of vitality, the industry would suffer. As we get fatter, we spend more on programs to try to control weight, but it isn’t working… we're getting sicker and living shorter lives.
As a father of two, I’m scared for the state of the world’s health. As an industry leader, it concerns me that more people in my position aren’t taking a stand. No more talking, it’s time to do something!
The World Health Organization shares a number of outlines for reducing the global burden felt by the obesity epidemic, which you can read about here. I have to agree with a few of the recommendations, in particular the need for education, supportive environments and communities, allowing opportunities to positively influence people's choices for living healthier, more active lifestyles.
As an industry leader, a trainer, a coach, a mentor, a father, a husband, a friend… I'm going to do my best to ensure I can empower as many as I can to live healthy.
[toggle title=”6 Key Facts about the Global Obesity Epidemic” state=”open”]
First things first, let's work on the muscle between the ears
Most people’s beliefs around fitness are driven by vanities. Many of us feel pressure to attain a certain body type, or to achieve top athletic performance. Much of our framework is built on the preconceived notion that having a lean or muscular body is an indicator—the only indicator—of fitness. But appearances, however clichéd this may sound, really are only skin deep. Approach fitness in this way and you’re following a Band-Aid approach to wellness that is simply unsustainable.
Over my nearly two decades in the health and fitness industry, I’ve seen my fair share of quick-fix thinking and short-term goal setting. Whether you’re trying to lose those proverbial 10 pounds to fit into a wedding dress, rock a bathing suit on your next vacation, or surprise everyone at the high school reunion, you have to ask yourself:What happens once the wedding, vacation or reunion is over?
The language you use is crucial to connecting your goals to your ability to achieve them. Replace I can’t with I can, and you will find that it leads to I do and I will. Replace discipline with desire, and you may find that you feel less bullied by your internal monologue and more motivated. Guilt and blame have no place in the worldwide fitness and health industries.
And this is where physical and mental fitness really start to reinforce each other in a positive feedback loop. We all know we need to push past physical resistance when we’re working out, on a strenuous hike, or skiing or snowboarding down a tough mountain run. It’s mental focus that comes to our rescue and carries us forward when our muscles start to fatigue. We need healthy thoughts and loving self-talk to encourage ourselves to take care of our bodies, and to face the challenges that life throws at us.
In turn, a strong, healthy body will give you the energy, confidence, and sense of bounce you need to achieve — and surpass —your goals.
Do something about it and take up arms in the war against obesity
Those who know me well know that fitness has been a huge part of my life, but it hasn’t always been that way. Growing up as a morbidly obese teenager, I experienced a self-defeated mindset. I know all too well what it means to fall out-of-health, and it’s not a place I enjoyed being. Experiencing all the stigmas of obesity was traumatic. At age 15, I made a decision to change my lifestyle and I haven’t looked back…
That was the catalyst to me pursuing a career in health, fitness and personal training. Over two decades later, it’s still my passion and I love every aspect of it. There’s a new type of personal trainer emerging today. This new breed of trainer is not just knowledgeable in health, fitness, nutrition, and coaching; he or she is also a MENTOR for the client.
Coaching and training are fantastic, but mentoring adds a whole new dimension, and it’s what the people of today and tomorrow need more than ever. Clients today need someone to empathize with their current situation, identify their needs, and create a plan that goes beyond a number on a scale or notch on a belt. Don’t get me wrong: coaching is great. Coaches have an ability to point out potential blind-spots, and to create plans to help clients reach their desired goals. However, mentors tend to walk the talk, ‘have been there and done that‘ so to speak and more often than not already have arrived at the destination that the client is striving to achieve. Lifestyle mentoring is another level of personal training and it’s where fitness training needs to go.
I'm going back to school – ACE here I come!
After more than 20 years of mentoring, coaching, and training people on and offline, I’m going back to school. I've recently enrolled to take my ACE (American Council on Exercise) certification.
With obesity rates on the rise (34.9% of adults and 17% of children), the need for personal trainers and lifestyle mentors is growing rapidly. Being someone who can help another human being achieve optimal health and happiness is a path to ultimate fulfillment for me. It's a career path that is not only fun and rewarding, but at the end of the day makes a huge impact on the lives and communities of those you work with. Sounds like awesome to me.
If you are like me and you want a job that doesn’t require sitting in a cubicle tied to your PC, and you prefer to be active and move around all day, it’s a great career path to consider. Heck, when it's nice outside I've always enjoyed meeting my clients and groups at the park for a fun and challenging outdoor workout.
Nothing like a great park workout to get the blood flowing… and always best with friends!
You are probably wondering what prompted me to redo my certification – in particular, why I chose ACE .considering there are hundreds of personal trainer certification options on the market. That’s a fair question.
ACE is the only one that has a deep history rooted in 30 years of science-based research, and is the world’s largest nonprofit health and fitness certification organization. The ACE certification is created to help health and fitness professionals deliver the type of individualized programs people need to adopt long-term, healthy behaviors and lifestyles.
Looking ahead to the next 20 years of my career, becoming an ACE Certified Personal Trainer will provide me with a career advantage at thousands of facilities nationwide and the expertise I will need to stand out among my peers. (check out the ACE career guide here:
And in case this hasn’t whet your appetite about the possibility of coaching, mentoring, and training people on the side or full-time, here’s eight more reasons to consider.
Top 8 Reasons to #getACEcertified and Become a Personal Trainer aka Lifestyle Mentor
You can earn a fantastic living by helping and empowering others in improving their health and overall well-being.
You will witness the real-life, tangible results of your mentorship when clients reach their health, fitness, and lifestyle goals, making it an incredibly rewarding career path.
You have the unique opportunity to mentor, coach, and train with a diverse group of individuals with a variety of wants, needs, and ambitions.
You have full control over which niche you’d like to specialize in, giving you complete control over your career path.
You develop skills in a profession projected to be one of the fastest growing in the next 20 years.
You will have flexibility and freedom in creating your own work schedule.
Unlike other industries in the American and Canadian economies, personal trainers are not at risk of losing their jobs to oversea’s labor markets.
You have an opportunity to play a massive role in helping to eradicate the obesity epidemic.
I don’t know about you, but sounds like a freaking amazing opportunity to me.
Have you considered a career in the health or fitness industry?
Which of the above points resonate most with you?
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This post is sponsored by SocialMoms and ACE Fitness campaign for #getACEcertified The opinions are my own…
And to be absolutely clear, this is my disclaimer: “Just so you know, I have been compensated to share my ideas on this topic. Sometimes it is in the form of products, or services or even money… But here’s the thing; I won’t share anything with you that I don’t fully support. It doesn't matter what it is, or how much they are willing to give me, if I don’t believe in it, It won’t be on my site. Seriously. You’ll just have to trust me on this.”~ Moose
There comes a time in every professional’s career when they have turned their business of just a few clients, into something much bigger. If you’re currently there, then you know what I’m talking about. If you’re not, then trust me – if you’re good at what you do, you will get there very soon.
In business terms, this is called an “inflection point”, and that’s when you need to start building in efficiencies to your small business to help you grow in painless and scalable ways. There are 4 core elements to your business around which you can easily build efficiencies to help you not just take on more clients, but to continue to serve your clients well.
Each one of these core business pillars is like a body part that needs to be kept in shape. Just like your body, you need to hone the muscles of your business so that as you take on more work, you can manage easily and not have to spend excess energy (or money!) to succeed in scalable ways.
1. Your Clients: Core
The core building block to every business is your client base. Your clients are the most important part of your business – you need to serve them well, and you need more of them to grow.
In order to provide the best training and health services to each client, you need to know who your clients are, how to reach them, what their needs are, and where they came from.
Putting tools in place to create profiles for each customer is crucial. Give yourself a central location to access all your client information at the drop of a hat. That means who they are and how to reach them. Give yourself the ability to jot down notes and reference them while you’re on the go so you know your clients in and out. Quickly access your transaction and communication history with each client, so you know what you’ve advised the client before, when you last saw them, and what payments they have made or owe.
Putting these “client best practices” in place will make all aspects of client dealings incredibly easy. This will also free up tons of time to allow you to take on more clients without sacrificing any quality of your service whatsoever, and without giving you a headache.
2. Your Schedule: Quads and Calves
Your schedule keeps you moving from one spot to the next. The more organized you are, the more efficiently you can move from appointment to appointment.
Set up a system to allow you to efficiently organize your calendar of client sessions, meetings, appointments, etc. A pen and paper won’t cut it! That’s just another item for you to lug around. God forbid you lose it – do you have a back-up of your schedule? I know this sounds silly, but how about if you run out of space on a page to write?
And don’t simply set up a digital or mobile calendar to make your life easier. Use a system where once you input a session into your calendar, your client’s calendar gets notified as well so you both are easily on the same page. The worst situation ever is for you to show up and your client is a no show. Or for you to show up and your client isn’t at all ready because they simply “forgot”.
Use smart calendars to also set up automatic reminders to be sent to your clients…Maybe a day or two before the session to (again) professionally reinforce the fact that there is an appointment upcoming. Your calendar should show you (and your client) the job details and location, as well as give you easy access to your client’s contact info in case you’re late, or something has changed, or any other little update.
And keep all this info in one central calendar location so you don’t have to be opening up different computers or phones, or apps or calendar programs just to get a sense of what your day or week looks like.
3. Your Payments: Cardio
Payments are what keep the engine going!
You want to not only give your clients an incredibly convenient (and pleasant) payment experience, but you also want to give yourself a very simple tracking system to ensure no payment ever slips through the cracks.
Give your client easy options through which they can pay you. Don’t force them to lug around a check book or make sure they went to the bank to withdraw cash. And avoid making the act of asking for payment feel awkward or uncomfortable. Create a simple system allowing your clients to pay you remotely so you don’t have to be physically in front of them to collect, and so they can even pay you ahead of time for any services you offer (reducing your payment risk completely).
Keep a log of these payments close so you can quickly get a glimpse of who owes you what, and how much you’ve made from each customer. You want to make sure you know who your best clients are and ask them to refer you to their friends…maybe even send them a holiday card! At the same time, you want to know what payments are outstanding so you can efficiently and professionally remind clients to pay, never letting a payment slip through the cracks.
4. Your Business Health: Brain 🙂
Exercising this “muscle” drives you to make all the right business decisions.
Instead of flipping through bank statements, or making daily logs of cash payments, leverage technology to know exactly how your business is doing each day, week, or month. Having all your client information, appointments and payments in a central location will allow you to leverage all this data to understand the overall health of your business. This health score gets increasingly difficult to measure as you start to grow as an solo professional, as there becomes so much more information to keep track of. And don’t fall into the trap thinking you have to pay an accountant to tell you how you’re doing!
A major factor in growing a business is also understanding how much to invest for growth. If you know how much income you’re bringing in vs. last month, then maybe spend some of that extra income on marketing or leads or advertising, to bring in more clients.
If you’re making less this month than the previous month, understand why – Were you working less? Did certain clients take up too much of your time? Are you waiting on payment?
Help Is Now Here!
Following the above simple steps sounds like a ton of work, but the reality is it’s not. Technology is starting to offer independent and solo professionals (of all industries) valuable tools they need to help them compete, grow, and drive their business to success. The trick is finding the tool that’s right for you, without paying an arm and a leg. But little tips like the above can help you grow your business in incredibly efficient ways to reach that scale you need to succeed.
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Sam Madden Bio:
Sam Madden is the co-founder of PocketSuite, the first mobile business tool for independent professionals and solopreneurs. Sam spent most of his career researching and investing in business technology for small and medium sized businesses. He has since shifted all of his focus to build great technologies like PocketSuite to help eager and independent professionals succeed. You can read more about Sam’s mission on Entrepreneur Magazine.
PocketSuite is a new mobile app for fitness and health professionals helping them run and build a better business. PocketSuite empowers solo professionals with the ability to schedule appointments, invoice customers, collect payment, track income, and communicate with clients…All from a single app. PocketSuite is a free iPhone app to download and can be accessed through Dai Manuel’s referral link.
When was the last time you sat back and reflected on an important time in your life?
For me and my family that happens on January 1st each year. We have a #LifeJar which sits on a shelf above the sink and throughout the year it fills up with little mementos like ticket stubs, personal notes, receipts, expired room keys, plane tickets and other random memory joggers. Each one of these little artifacts acts as a trigger for memories back to certain experiences from the year that was.
It's an amazing exercise in reliving our annual highlights, fun life experiences, and gives us a few minutes to live them again while enjoying our New Year's Day brunch. What will you fill your #LifeJar with?
I don't necessarily have a #LifeJar for my blog, but I can share with you the top read posts of 2014 (just in case you missed them). Enjoy and feel free to share with anyone you feel could benefit from them.
Top 20 (Most Read) Stories from “The Moose is Loose” in 2014