How To Become A Personal Trainer
In addition to being personally rewarding, a career in fitness gives you flexibility and independence in a growing industry. Getting started can be a bit overwhelming though, especially with more than 300 certification programs on the market. To ease that burden, we put together these six steps to help get you started.
1. Be committed
With two out of three adults in the United States struggling with their weight, personal trainers have a great responsibility to help people get healthier and change their lives. If you have a passion for fitness and you like working with people, this could be the perfect field for you. Just make sure you’re ready to put in some hard work. Getting new clients and staying up on the latest fitness trends and research takes focus and determination.
2. Choose a Certification
There are a large number of fitness certification options out there, but choosing one doesn’t have to be difficult. Only consider organizations that offer programs accredited by a third-party, independent organization like the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). If the process seems too easy, consider that a red flag. For many employers, a certification from an NCAA-accredited program is an easy way to identify a qualified candidate from an unqualified one. And when it comes to clients, no one wants to work with a personal trainer who doesn’t know their stuff. If you already have a club you’d like to work at, call and ask what certifications they accept. From there, choosing an organization should be relatively easy.
3. Get a Job
ACE secured an agreement with 24 Hour Fitness to grant interviews for ACE-certified Personal Trainers who apply at clubs nationwide, so that may be a good place to start. Be sure to network within your community, calling gyms in your area and asking if they employ personal trainers. If they say yes, find out if they have any available jobs and the procedure for filling out an application. You can also run your own business, but there are some legal procedures you need to take care of first. Choose an entity (ie: sole proprietorship, partnership), a business name, register your company, get liability insurance, set up your gym and target potential clients by marketing yourself. Personal trainers have also experienced great success by working for corporate wellness departments, hospitals and universities, so keep your options open.
4. Market Yourself
Once you earn your ACE certification, it’s time to get your name out there. Research shows the most effective marketing tool in the fitness industry is word-of-mouth, so start spreading the word. Set up a social media account for your business, make some flyers, create a newsletter and buy business cards. Start with the people you know or the places you frequent, and move outward from there. Offering free consultations and seminars is a great way to get exposure and attract new clients. Market yourself in a number of different ways, including using your My ACE Account profile, which helps connect you with clients who come to ACE for fitness information.
5. Choose a specialty
In order to stand out among the competition, you need to find a niche. Whether that niche is based on a personal interest like training athletes, the demographics in your area or earning potential, it’s important that you develop one. Some examples include becoming an expert in weight loss or sports conditioning, specializing in a specific training style like high-intensity interval training, focusing on one piece of equipment, working with senior adults, delivering group classes, or working with youth.
6. Stay Relevant
The fitness industry is always changing. Research is constantly being updated, new products are always being introduced and last year’s hot trends most likely won’t stay around for long. It’s your job to stay up to date with continuing education, which is not only vital to your relevance as a personal trainer; it’s a requirement for your recertification every two years. Many organizations, including ACE, offer continuing education designed to help you stay ahead of the curve.