Become a Personal Trainer


20yrs old, 6 feet tall and  170 lbs, 6.3% body fat.  My question is not so much related to my work out or personal health but rather becoming a personal trainer.

I have a good job right now but it is boring and stressful and I have thought long and hard about where and what I want to be in the future.

I have set my mind on becoming a personal trainer. I have really no experience except that I have been consistently working out and lifting weights for the past 5 years.

I assume I am doing my exercises correctly. I would like to know where I can begin?

I am beginning to study anatomy and physiology on my own and am aware that I need to get my CPR and AED certificates. I will also start preparing for my NASM-CPT certificate once I am confident.

Once I receive a certificate where do I go from there?  With no experience will it be hard to find work?

Where can I get experience?  I looked into schools for physical science degrees but that is some thing I cannot afford and spend the time doing at the moment.

I would greatly appreciate any tips or pointers you could give me.

Answered By:

Mike Behnken, MS, CSCS ANswers the Fitness Question

Qualifications of Mike Behnken

Before you Start

Becoming a personal trainer is not boring or stressful. Good choice on the NASM-CPT certification. It will give you everything you need to be a successful personal trainer. Make sure you study everything, even if it seems boring because it will all come together once your start training a variety of clients.

If you read the page about How to Become a Successful Personal Trainer, you will know that making a living from being a personal trainer really depends on your geographical location. If you live in a large metropolitan area or suburbs you will have a far easier time than if you lived in a small town away from the city.

Even before you get your certification, the first thing you should do in your spare time while you are working is research personal trainers in your area. Find the most successful trainers and contact them.

Pick their brains for any information which they can offer about the local personal training market. Ask if it is possible try to shadow them for a couple training sessions. You may even find that you don't want to become a personal trainer after all.

Scout out local gyms and/or personal training studios (if they exist in your area) and see which place is most convenient for you and your would-be clients. Ask as many questions as you possibly can.

Make sure you know each gym/club/studio's exact requirements. Most personal trainers start working in a large gym. You may even be able to get a job as a personal trainer before you get your training certification. Again, ask the club owners/managers what the exact requirements are. Also ask them how you will get personal training clients.

When you Start

You will most likely start your personal training career in a large gym. Most large gyms have a plentiful supply of would-be clients. You may have to start doing "floor hours" where you walk the floor and help gym members. It is up to you to find your clients.

If you're lucky your gym will have a pool of clients who have training sessions that either came with their gym membership or left over from other trainers. These clients are given to personal trainers whose job it is to provide great services so the clients want more personal training.

If your gym does not give you clients to train right away you will have to hustle for clients. You will have to walk the floor and talk to people who look like they need help. You may even have to make phone calls to gym members who you've never met.

You are extremely athletic and you have experience so it is really up to you to be yourself and develop productive relationships with your clients. Always rely on the feedback which your clients provide to give them the best personal training service you can possibly give.

Your satisfied clients will refer their friends to you. This is the best way to get new clients. Remember, you have to let your clients know that you are available to train their friends, or they may never refer you.

Another way to get clients is to advertise your services on various forms of classified ads. You can use local newspaper, or online on or other websites. A great way to get new clients is to build your own website. There are numerous free services such as facebook and Myspace which you can use to advertise your personal training services and network with potential clients.

In the future you may want to look into online college degrees which you can complete during your own spare time from your own home. If you work as a personal trainer, you can apply much of what you learn online, and apply it to your job instantly.

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