How to Become a Personal Trainer
There are many different paths to becoming a personal trainer. There is not a right way, or a wrong way. There are those who go to college first while others pursue their education after being hired by a fitness center. Regardless of the route taken, becoming a certified personal trainer is one of the main steps in a successful training career.
Many health clubs are requiring potential personal trainers to have certification credentials, but those who have advanced certifications may earn up to 15% more than their counterparts. (Learn more about personal trainer salaries).
If you are just beginning your research into how to become a personal trainer, here are our top five steps on how to become a personal trainer.
Look in the Mirror
This is not just about your outside appearance. Of course, you have to walk the walk and lead a healthy life, but you don't have to be a bodybuilder to be a successful personal trainer. Analyze who you are. Are you a leader? Are you disciplined, empathetic, professional, creative and likable? Are you passionate about fitness? These are all traits that a good personal trainer should have.
When choosing a certification, be sure to choose an organization that is nationally recognized and accredited. Many clubs have specific certification that they require. Be sure to call the club you have in mind and ask about their requirements. If you're unsure about working for a club or on your own, take time to research accredited organizations as many have specific focuses. For example, NFPT focuses on general fitness as opposed to only on coaching or clinical expertise. Then, be sure to ask, what it costs and how it works.
Choose a Specialty
This is not a necessity right off the bat, but if you want to separate yourself from your competition – why not start big? By becoming a specialist in a particular area of health or fitness you can focus your efforts. Becoming a specialist will give you the skills and tools to offer a more credible service, which will increase the amount of money you are able to make. Many personal trainers fail by trying to be all things to all people. Build a solid reputation in your marketplace while building a consistent client base by becoming a fitness nutrition specialist, resistance training specialist, endurance training specialist or a specialist in another area of focus.
Decide Where to Work
Getting started as a personal trainer in a health club would be best for you if you are not comfortable yet with the business aspects of personal training. Most clubs offer some sort of commission-based income. Keep in mind that should you choose to strike out on your own, most clubs have a non-competition clause in an employment agreement so you do not leave and take all of your loyal clients with you. Be sure to ask many questions during your interview process to ensure that you protect yourself for your future plans.
Market Your Business
The fifth step is more about how to become a "successful" personal trainer. First and foremost, start thinking like an entrepreneur. That means using creativity instead of money wherever possible and having a solid personal trainer marketing plan.
Market your services by using a combination of traditional advertising and online marketing. Both can help build you a solid reputation as a credible personal trainer. Spend time learning about online marketing. It can help you build your network, position you as a leader in the fitness industry and offer you an affordable marketing solution.
Above all else, it is important to remember that after you choose which path is right for you, you surround yourself with the right resources. Find strong and intelligent people to help you get to where you want to go. And, always, strive to improve your skills and expand your knowledge. Professional development and continuing your education is essential to your personal training success.
About The Author
Ron Clark, president and CEO, founded the National Federation of Professional Trainers in 1988. He established NFPT to close the gap between the ever-present ultra clinical certifications and the practically non-existent fundamental certifications of the 80s. Ron has always been motivated to equip aspiring personal trainers with comprehensive fitness knowledge that cultivates confidence in on-the-job trainer skill sets. Google+
Learn more about NFPT's accredited certification program today.