How Old is Too Old to Become a Personal Trainer?

“Am I too old to be a personal trainer?” You’re never too old to start an exercise program and the same is true when it comes to being a personal trainer. NFPT has an active and certified 82 year old trainer, so I’d say there really is no limit!

People of all ages are seeking fitness and many of those people want a personal trainer that can really understand them. Someone who’s been through similar life experiences and overcome the challenges that arise as we age.

In fact, 40% of NFPT-certified trainers are between the ages of 42 and 60, with a few being in their 70’s and 80’s as well!

Whether you’re retired or close to it, a personal training career and/or hobby may be a possibility for you. Here’s some inspiration and information for you to consider.

 

Thoughts from NFPT’s “seasoned” trainers

Here’s what people who are truly practicing what they preach live an active lifestyle and inspire others to do so.

Beverly Geier

Beverly, who is NFPT certified and 82 years old instructs group exercise classes for a clientele of people she refers to as “seasoned citizens” at a community parks and recreation complex. Part of why she does this is to “maintain my own strength and stamina and to present an encouraging and suitable example to those with whom I interact.” She loves it when people learn to stop doubting their abilities and embrace and expand on them.

She jokes, “Because I am “one of them” I can tell the people in my class that some mornings when my feet get out of bed I have to wait for the rest of me to catch up… Occasionally laughing at ourselves is a prerequisite to keep the party going.” There are no excuses when you’re in class with an 82 year old!

Frank Manganela

Frank Manganella has been certified with NFPT for 23 years and is 63 years young (his words). He gives this piece of advice to people who are retired and considering a career in fitness. “Be sure you are passionate about fitness. Because our population is aging, I feel you have an advantage in that there is a good possibility that you will be working with clients 55years of age and older and it’s very likely that you have experienced the aches and pains that they are dealing with. My clients enjoy the fact that I can relate to their issues. It’s an exciting and rewarding field.”

Frank believes that there is nothing more valuable than experience. He’s a trainer, coach and has also written a book about fitness.

You don’t have to officially personal train to enjoy the fitness industry. Cal Hartman is a 78 year old NFPT trainer who obtained this credential mostly for his own education. He is now a role model at the gym he works out at in Palm Springs, CA – setting the example for men who’s wives have coaxed them into a membership. He often sits down with people his age and even younger to offer them inspiration and simple tips for fitness.

Cal isn’t interested in having a committed schedule full of clients and doesn’t need the income, so he has found his own way to contribute to the health of others in his community.

What is old anyhow?

John RutnickJohn Rutnik, a 55 year old NFPT certified Personal Trainer says, “Old age is always 15 years older than you are right now. Think about it; a 20 year old thinks 35 is old, a 35 year old thinks 50 is old, a 50 year old thinks 65 is old. This continues on up till you get to 100.  At 100 you think Willard Scott needs to shut up before you smack that Smucker’s eat grin off his face.”

Rutnik also points out that “With silver sneakers, retirement communities and senior centers a person could literally work up until death due us part.”

Some people consider a fitness job to be their ideal retirement situation. And they often are more popular than some of their younger colleagues! Maybe because there is less pressure to earn a living. Or perhaps because personal trainers who have been at it for decades have ways to get results that are time tested.

While age isn’t an issue for most older personal trainers, it crosses the minds of others and stops some in their tracks, leaving a dream unfulfilled. Like with anything – you can start at anytime and find success if you have passion and time.

Staying active is trending for both trainers and clients

The reasons this 40s-to-60s demographic is getting, and staying, involved in the fitness industry are diverse. As they approach retirement, some people are looking for a way to pull in extra income. Their love for fitness and keeping active make personal training a good choice, and the new venture simply segues into a new career.

In addition, Beverly points out the growing trend of financial support for older adult fitness programs. “Recent offerings from several insurers in our community make gym, fitness center, health club and YMCA memberships more affordable for those who are 60-65 and older have increased our senior demographic.”

fitness

Some want-to-be personal trainers aren’t looking or a second income; they’re looking for a new first income. Burned out with their full-time job, they find renewed purpose in helping others achieve or maintain fitness goals.

In addition, there are benefits to being a personal trainer in your 40s, 50s, 60s, and beyond, that many people don’t think about. In some situations, there is a kind of reverse age discrimination, because:

  1. Not every client wants a bombshell or a buff 21-year-old training them at the gym. Some prefer a trainer that they find more like themselves and, thus, relatable.
  2. Trainers with more life experience can sometimes right off the bat be given more credibility based on their age. There is the feeling that they actually have something worthwhile to teach.
  3. Older personal trainers come with a maturity that clients translate as professionalism, experience, and know-how…even though that personal trainer may be just starting out. How’s that for a welcome!

 

There really are no excuses not to. Beverly (82) says, “Attitude can make all the difference — might we hurt a bit sometimes, might we tire a little more quickly than we used to — probably, but that doesn’t mean we should become sedentary, doing nothing to help ourselves remain healthy.”

If you’re ready to get started on your own journey to becoming a fitness professional Beverly also says, “GO FOR IT (that comment being applicable to persons of any age)!!! No one else has the exact gift that you possess to interact with and encourage others.”

Well, I’m motivated and out of excuses, what about you? Look here for information on getting certified, we’d love to help you with your mission!

About the Author:

Beverly Hosford, MA teaches anatomy and body awareness using a unique method that involves a skeleton named Andy, balloons, play-doh, ribbons, guided visualizations, and corrective exercises. She is an instructor, author, the NFPT blog editor, and a business coach for fitness professionals. Learn more about how to align your business with her coaching guide, Fitness Career Freedom and your body with her Fundamentals of Anatomy Course.