Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day of your life. Confucius
This quotation illustrates the importance of feeling at ease, accomplished and fulfilled in our professional undertakings. Fitness training, whether in-home coaching, leading group fitness classes in a gym, or being a personal trainer in a fitness club, is not exempt from that ancient Chinese master's philosophy. Do you want to become a certified personal trainer but pragmatic concerns keep you from taking that leap? Do you have leadership capabilities? Are you able to motivate people; to accompany them on their journey to fitness and work to improve the physical condition of future clients? In this article, we will explain why you can and should join the ranks of those who dare to live their passion through work!
Marrying the Functional to the Pleasurable
One could hardly call the profession of personal training drudge work. Indeed, you will find many more disgruntled in people working in offices and shops; even in hospitals! When you work in an office, each day yields the same: you sit in front of your screen. You carry out more or less the same routine tasks, day after day, without hardly seeing the sunshine or smelling fresh air. By contrast, a personal trainer's days are punctuated by students who are each unique, with all having different needs, desires and physical conditions. You even have the choice of working indoors or outside: imagine being free to run through the park, or even conduct an invigorating yoga session on the lawn! If you have a strong desire to engage in personal fitness training, you already possess the most important asset every fitness instructor needs: you are motivated! Your passion for sport and maintaining a toned physique makes you the perfect candidate to pass on your knowledge of a healthy lifestyle to the greatest number of health and fitness hopefuls. However,... Trainer, beware! Your excitement at propagating wellness could lead you to idealise the profession of fitness training, causing you to see only its positive aspects. The important thing when contemplating a career as a personal fitness trainer is to stay grounded; to view the fitness industry objectively. Talking with seasoned personal trainers could help you understand some of the less visible – less desirable aspects of the fitness professional's experience.
Overcoming Your Mental Roadblocks
You have competently led Zumba and cardio classes, group training in a gym, one on one resistance training, stretching, or designed a workout targeted to muscle toning and sculpting. It is thus clear that your hesitation at obtaining your personal trainer certification is not related to your athletic prowess or skills. Are you worried about being your own boss? This major difficulty has caused more than one potential fitness trainer in London (or elsewhere) to give up the idea of going independent.
Autonomy is a state that most people crave, yet revile.
To sort that conflict out, you should ask yourself – or, should you have little practical experience in such matters, discuss with a mentor:
- How will you secure clients?
- What legalities are there in starting a personal training business?
- What about time management?
Finding answers to these questions (and many others) will reassure you that, at the end of the day, going independent is not as insurmountable as first thought. You may want to enrol in a marketing course to learn ways to attract clients and advertise your services. You may also enquire at the BCC in your city to discover all of the legalities and formalities of running a personal training business. Find the latest online teaching jobs here.
Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone
Not every personal trainer was born mad for sports. In fact, quite a few discovered this thriving business later in life, after dissatisfaction with a traditional job, or even as a result of retraining after their old firm went bust. Most likely, those people carried on a flirtation with fitness for many years, and when the opportunity presented itself, they jumped aboard their fascination train. Earning your fitness certification is your first step towards discovering autonomy. Embracing autonomy is in itself a challenge, especially if your entire career so far consisted of being an employee. Isn't the idea of living unshackled pretty nice, though? You should know that every personal trainer leading Pilates (and other) classes in every gym across the country is required to hold at least Level 2 certification. If you endeavour to teach personal training, in gyms, one to one at home or online, you must maintain Level 3 certification. Find out how you can make a difference as a personal trainer... Naturally, you could take your education to the next level by taking continuing classes to attain even higher levels of certification! Oh, wait: we're getting ahead of ourselves... Suffice to say that upheavals in your professional life are emotionally and mentally traumatic. Thus it is essential to prepare well for your future change of career. One of the best ways to do so is to earn your personal training certification. Another way is to ask your family and friends to submit to one of your personal training sessions. Solicit their feedback; ask them to critique your methods and quiz your knowledge of exercise science. With their support and help, you can refine your training methods even before you work with any paying clients!
Stand Out from the Crowds!
Now you are convinced that health fitness is your next career path. You have finally taken steps to legitimise your business. Now, you should investigate all possibilities and niches of program design to find which one interests you the most. Of all the avenues to pursue in helping people attain their fitness goals, the most important consideration is: what are you most/best suited for? Do you wish to focus your services on the physical preparation of a high-level, professional athlete? Or would you rather help combat our nation's obesity statistics by designing weight loss exercise programs, and/or targeting youth fitness? Do you want to work 1 on 1 with each client, or would you prefer being a group fitness instructor in one or more fitness clubs? Are you more inclined towards resistance training, using free weights, kettlebells and assorted gym equipment, or is corrective exercise and functional training more your calling? Could you see yourself leading senior fitness programs? The answers to all of these questions depend on your training techniques and perception of need – yours and your clients'. Offering specific advice or ancillary services such as counselling on diet and nutrition could bring significant value to your proposed workouts.
Let Your Enthusiasm be Contagious!
Any exercise program is not just a matter of physical performance: a faster run, a gain/loss of pounds or a heightened endurance. Keep in mind that you are not just a master of exercise physiology but an equaliser. It will be your job to educate your clients how to put their mind on par with their bodies; what is called the mind body connection.
The practice of sport is intimately linked to the practitioner's lifestyle.
The best coaches convey something broader than a proper approach to sport. Indeed, it will be your job to pass on skills and knowledge that will serve your students far beyond the hour or so they spend in your company, working out. The discipline and rigour you demonstrate in private training is actually motivation for your clients! What could be more rewarding to find that a client under your guidance has developed a much more confident, committed and positive mentality, thanks to you?
A fitness coach conveys so much more than proper form and heightened performance: never lose sight of that fact.
Seasoned veterans of sports conditioning can offer inspiring testimonials to anyone still wary of becoming a personal trainer. Take, for instance, Angela, who always had the soul of an athlete. In her early thirties, she began her career as a fitness specialist by teaching group exercise classes to tone legs, bums and tums. To guarantee a steady flow of customers, Angela registered for a Level 3 certification program, which entitles her to work in gyms and health clubs everywhere in the UK. The choice of levels is complementary to your proven skill in athletics. After all, anyone can demonstrate flexibility, but not everyone can prove they understand the kinesiology behind it! Here we advocate for continuing education, in spite of the fact that doing so may result in having an overall knowledge of many aspects of fitness, but lack expertise in any one field or branch. Such was the case for 37-year old Hugo, former small business manager. He had long been a fan of distance running and in fact conducted fitness workshops in his home for 2 years, firmly believing that certifying was only for those who actually work in the field of fitness education. He finally sat his Level 3 certification exams. Now, he lives his passion for running and living healthier, teaching others to do the same. As with any fledgling enterprise, any coach just starting his/her personal training program will most likely reach and teach acquaintances, friends and family first, but will soon discover that client base expand to include their friends and colleagues. The key to growing your business is to market yourself and your services effectively, avoiding making phenomenal claims of prowess, performance or endurance. Looking back, Hugo believes that many of his fears and misgivings about starting his fitness business came down to uncertainty about leaving his familiar job and changing his life around.
The Final Blow
- Design and instruction of any fitness program require far more skills than just the physical ones.
- Being passionate about fitness is a good start, but you will need education on how to manage a career as a fitness professional.
- And even to get over the fear of changing careers!
- Still, you should not let your passion to train override common sense or realism: consider all aspects of helping others in their fitness programs.
- While you may well be an avid sports fanatic, it takes knowledge of marketing to package your services as a fitness trainer, and finding ways to relate to prospective clients.
If you are ready to master – or feel you have already mastered all of these aspects of a personal fitness business, it only remains for us to wish you the best in your endeavour. We welcome you into the rarefied stratum of those who've chucked it all to live their passion! Now discover more reasons to dive into personal training...
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