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Becoming a Personal Trainer

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 09, 2011 at 2:50 PM

Now this isn't really a Paleo related question (however my dietary teaching approach will probably end up being that of a paleo nature as me and my gf have noticed great increases in our training just over the past 6weeks of starting Paleo). But the paleo community is one that has been friendly and generally supportive - so i thought why not ask for some oppinions here anyway.

I'm looking to become a Personal Trainer (teaching others and passing on knowledge is something i enjoy very much). I've done a lot of research on where i think i want to study and my course could take part in the latter part of this year. - I've made sure not to go with an extremely basic course and i will be covering REPS lvl 3 and all possible subcategories aswell (I'm one of those people who hate to be in a situation where i can't provide an answer for someone, so this seemed like the best choice for me).

http://www.eifitness.com/ - Its a UK based course, only one in the country, high price tag, intensive (this was a slight negative to me, however i would be spending all 5 weeks living, eating, sleeping PT - aswell as picking up 1 to 1 client time which no other course could offer me). Any future retraining and resits are also included in the price (however i'm hoping resits won't be necessary of course :P) Also a guaranteed job once I graduate at any of their select gyms across the country.

I basically wanted to know how other PTs got into the business? Any books they would strongly suggest having readily available (or any other resources at that matter)? And also their oppinion on the above course?

I'm only 20yrs old and i'm very much interested in taking this up as a full time career however before I commit to a course (whether its this one or another) I want to be 100% sure I will be knowledgable enough to feel comfortable helping anyone that comes to me.

Any further advice for someone starting out would be greatly appreciated.

E4b14e23024642b553a224d284d11422

(153)

on July 09, 2011
at 04:06 PM

Thanks for the quick reply. Really helpful to hear someone elses experiences, and i can see that it won't be easy to just fly through a course and be an expert straight away (i definately didn't expect that) but it will give me some solid building blocks to work from. More answers like this would be excellent - exactly what i was looking for thanks

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(19479)

on July 09, 2011
at 03:43 PM

I'm a personal trainer and it is my primary source of income (blogging may be fun, but, for the time being at least, it is not a bringing home the bacon...although I do talk about bacon quite a bit, but I digress).

It started when I was a teenager since I realized that working out at the weight room required less coordination than team sports. Weight lifting also operated as a meritocracy rather than a popularity contest.

After going to the dark side of fitness (excessive supplements, bodybuilding routines, etc.) and burning out, I took a couple years off and just goofed around (typical stuff for a male in their late teens).

By the time I realized that Psychology was an unsuitable major, I was out of shape, out of whack and needing a kick in the pants.

So, I moved back in with my parents, did what I had to do to get into The University of Florida, and enrolled in their college of Exercise and Sports Science. I got my Bachelor's degree in Fitness & Wellness and did a practicum (like an internship) at a local gym.

My starting position was a simply as an "exercise floor instructor", not what you would call a personal trainer (this was a separate department), but we did help people work out and were constantly interacting with guests.

While still working at the gym, I started an intership at a continuing care retirement community working in their on-site wellness center teaching classes, conducting assessments, etc. I pursued an American College of Sports Medicine Health & Fitness Specialist Certification and started doing personal training at the retirement community. Not long after that, I was moved to the personal training department at the gym.

Working at a place that had a dedicated sales team allowed me to focus on my clients, their training programs, learning from other trainers, taking continuing education classes/attending seminars, and getting used to the lifestyle. I picked up some skills around the sales/marketing of classes and personal training along the way.

I eventually quit the job at the retirement community and went full time at the gym. Me and another trainer got together and put on a Boot Camp in 2007 which is still going strong today. We built it on the principles of the early Crossfit stuff (when crossfit was still underground) and had a lot of fun and a lot of success with it.

Eventually, I got married, my wife and I moved to Orlando, and after an initial freakout (the job that I was promised in Orlando fell through) I found a position working in a gym located within a resort. I soon requested and, after quite a bit of back and forth, got a promotion, to a leadership position, essentially making me the manager of the fitness center.

While I was at my original gym job, I wrote articles on a monthly basis for a local magazine (this happened initially because they wanted to do a piece on our boot camp), so when I moved to Orlando I found Examiner.com and began writing for that web site. That allowed me to get my foot in the door at a Boxing Gym and Yoga studio where I currently have one-on-one clients and teach classes in addition to my work at the resort.

Bottom line, if you want to be a trainer you need to either be REALLY good at one thing (think bodybuilding competition, or college/professional athletes) or pretty good at a lot of things (teach classes, do one-on-one, write, speak to groups, bounce around between different facilities). I took the latter approach, but both are valid.

Also, no amount of studying can substitute for experience, and no amount of experience will substitute for studying. What I mean is that you have to constantly educate yourself and put your knowledge to the test with yourself and your clients. It is definitely not an easy job and you may fluctuate between investing too much and too little with your clients. Just like any other relationship, you can't MAKE them change and trying to do that, or thinking that you really can do that is a sure fire way to burn out.

The best advice that I can offer is know your stuff (exercise science, diet, behavior modification) and to the best job that YOU can do. If you see a client reneging on their commitment, it is better to let them go or call them out. Otherwise, you will spend your time running after people who don't want to help themselves. Be selective with your clients (which is really hard at first when you literally don't have any) and look for people who want to change, who are dedicated/committed, and give them the tools and create the environment that lets them make it happen for themselves.

Good luck with your endeavors and feel free to contact me anytime if you have other questions!

E4b14e23024642b553a224d284d11422

(153)

on July 09, 2011
at 04:06 PM

Thanks for the quick reply. Really helpful to hear someone elses experiences, and i can see that it won't be easy to just fly through a course and be an expert straight away (i definately didn't expect that) but it will give me some solid building blocks to work from. More answers like this would be excellent - exactly what i was looking for thanks

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