Senior Fitness is Job Security for Personal Trainers

Bill McGinnis

Bill McGinnis is an NFPT-certified Master Fitness Trainer, and trains exclusively at the University of Texas Medical Branch Alumni Field House on Galveston Island, TX. He has over 25 years in the Fitness Industry, including work as the Men’s Fitness Trainer at the Betty Ford Center and as a Fitness Manager in Southern California. He currently specializes in training older clients for balance, strength, endurance, golf, tennis and an improved quality of life. He can be contacted at mastertrainer.tx@gmail.com.

Over the past 25 years in the Fitness profession, I’ve seen 95% of trainers not only have no older clients but also NEVER speak to older folks in gyms all over America. I have to ask, “Why?” These are some of the many lame excuses I’ve heard from Trainers who worked for me:

“I have nothing in common with older people.”

“I can’t help that old dude. He’s way past gone.”

“I’m too cool.” and so on.

I feel the need to pass on some items that may actually help a few of you who are struggling and are still looking for the money to start falling from heaven now that you have some certification. I may not know what I’m talking about, but some 4,500 clients later, being a published fitness writer, having a six-figure income and being selected to the NFPT SME panel tell me otherwise.

Seniors Are Job Security

First point is to speak to someone with gray hair at your gym today. Although you’re bulletproof in your twenties and thirties, you may live long enough to have gray hair also. Maybe 2% of all the clients I’ve ever worked with actually walked up to me in the early years.  That has changed as I became more specialized and attained advanced certifications. Over the past three years I’ve had an “ongoing” waiting list of people willing to come and train with me on short notice! This happened after I developed a website, vehicle signs and by word of mouth in my local gym and community. Of course it didn’t hurt that I wrote a Sunday fitness column for the county newspaper reaching over 75,000 subscribers!

Next, get some advanced certifications. Study your butt off and have some creativity. Dozens of times my clients have told me, “You’re so different from any trainer I’ve ever known.” That, my friend, is THE ultimate compliment I could ever hope for. Why? Because 95% of trainers I’ve seen do the same exercises, same reps and basically the same weights with every client every day! If you can’t create enthusiasm, motivate, customize and keep your clients challenged, they’ll find someone like me that will.

My last tidbit is that the vast majority of the “expendable income” in America is in the hands of those of us over 55! If you didn’t know this, let me inform you that we trainers are in a service industry. Why then wouldn’t I want to endear myself to my clients and become the only trainer they’d ever use? For the record, this is the case with me. I never worry that a client will go somewhere else once we get acquainted.

Maybe this will be of some good service for trainers that want to develop as Fitness Professionals.  That’s my hope.



4 thoughts on “Senior Fitness is Job Security for Personal Trainers

  1. Nice article Bill.
    I think the problem comes from novice trainers not having the confidence to relate to the ‘grey set’.
    Being a grey headed PT myself, some older gym members find it easier to relate to me than to the young PTs. I know this because they tell me this. They feel more comfortable talking to a trainer closer to their age.
    I agree with you that up-skilling is essential to be successful. I see too many PT graduates thinking they know it all when they start out, and not realising they need to continually study and do courses to be a great PT.
    Thanks for the article…I will give it to some guys I know need to read it!!!

  2. Thanks Fiona for you reply, your comments and for passing your encouragement along.
    My best wishes for your continued success!

  3. Being a novice trainer myself, my question is, how would I begin to work with senior populations. My main goal is to specialize in senior citizen training but I don’t know where to begin? Senior Rec centers? Retirement communities?

  4. Thanks for taking the time to read the blog and ask questions! From my experience with people over 50, is “they’ll pay for quality and sincerity.”

    Get your certifications, and confidence, to a place that you actually separate yourself from your peers. The best money I ever invested in “continuing education” was acquiring the NFPT, Master Fitness Trainer credential. There are very good trainers in American carrying this credential.

    It’s not an easy process with three different certifications tests involved. Few good things in my life have been easy though. For my monetary investments in education, I figure I’ve been repaid 20 times over in business.

    My business began to sky rocket with new cards, t-shirts and vehicle signs as an MFT. I was sought out to speak, write and participate professionally in ways I’d never dreamed of before. That in itself sent my confidence upward quickly!

    Doctors in my home gym began referring their patients to me as they themselves saw I knew what I doing and was a professional in my filed. I’ve actually trained several doctors who all complimented me on my skill set and are long-time clients.

    If I endorse only one point it is definitely “be the highest certified, and educated, trainer you can be!” Study all you can find about fitness for older folks and speak to everyone you can.

    Welcome to the world of becoming a Fitness Professional. The process never stops.