T Nation

Help Wanted: Personal Trainers

For those who don't quite know me I'll give a little recap. I've been here for a little over 4 years and living the life that we all seem to embrace here for probably around 6-7 years. 

I began lifting at 14-15 when I grew very tall in a short peroid of time (I had some major growth spurts coupled with EBV). I was was extremely into mixed martial arts from around the age of 10 and had been very active in it for some time till the growth spurt left me a good foot taller then most of the kids in my classes. So I started lifting as to not get my dick knocked in the dirt as much when I began sparring in the adult classes.

Immediately I knew that this would forever be a part of my life. I began reading every single thing I could get my hands on and still to this day remember the first issue of the only decent magazine I had ever read. MM2k also known as Muscle Media 2000 wich for those who are new here or just dont’ know was such a great magazine for the same reason T-Nation is such a great magazine. But now I’m getting off topic LOL.

After reading MM2k I started considering a career as a chiropractor. My old man has been an athelete and a wildman his entire life and consequently has two cracked vertebrea (which have since fused) and was always going to the chiropractor. As I grew a bit older I decided that physical therapy was even more interesting and chose that as a major.

Well life doesn’t always work the way we plan and, some years later I have a degree in psychology and am doing plumbing work. The money is quite good and I happen to have been doing it for some years as my old man is a local #9 plumber. Still not my cup of tea, although I do love the old saying “One man’s shit is another man’s bread and butter” Funny shit Dad!!

Now that we’re all up to date and hopefully I’ve managed to lose the recent flock of fuckfaces that seem to have been migrating to some of my less then stellar posts I’ll get to the point. Who here makes $60- 100,000 a year or more on being a personal trainer and/or supplementing their regular job with working as a trainer/dietician ect?

Next question is what certification/s should I bother getting? I like the looks of the ISSA but some people say just get the ACE cert and start working immediately then build from there.

Thanks in advance for all those who help and since I haven’t shown my love to T-mag in awhile THANK YOU as well.

Search for certification that are accredited by the NCCA

Here is one company that is: http://www.nsca-cc.org/nsca-cpt/about.html

I too actually have the same question… though im about to finish college. I have a garunteed job, in geological consulting…good money, its decent, i dont hate it, and im an environmental activist (not a tree hugger though). However, my true passion is taekwondo and weight training…though i didnt know of exc science or physical therapy degrees when i came to college, and now im almost done with my degree.

Thus i was thinking of branching out into the personal training/teach martial arts alongside it route. Just wondering how viable this is to do fulltime asap or if i should establish myself in my other career first.

Thank You Ty.

Of course that one has no testing centers in NJ! I imagine that there has to be one place that does though?

Don’t be a PT if you only want to make a lot of money.

Do it if you really want to help people workout. If you’re just thinking of the cash, you’ll burn out in a year or two.

And a LOT (by far the majority) of PTs scrape by on less than 40 grand a year.

[quote]Sxio wrote:
Don’t be a PT if you only want to make a lot of money.

Do it if you really want to help people workout. If you’re just thinking of the cash, you’ll burn out in a year or two.

And a LOT (by far the majority) of PTs scrape by on less than 40 grand a year. [/quote]

I completely agree with Sxio. The money can’t be the reason why you get into the field, you need to actually love training people (and yourself). If you are not absolutely passionate about training, then I wouldn’t suggest becoming a trainer.

You also need to realize that there are certainly areas where being a full time trainer is a lot more feasible than others. For instance in LA, Miami, basically anywhere there is a year round beach culture and warm weather, training is a huge industry. People are much more conscious of their body and there is a lot more opportunity.

That’s not to say that you can’t be a full time trainer in areas that don’t have as much opportunity. But, it’s certainly easier. In less opportune areas you need to really have something that separates you from the crowd. Something that will draw people to you and keep people coming to you.

Or be willing to be a lot more flexible, meaning traveling to different gyms/areas, possibly doing home training, and being willing to train people of all ages, sexes, and physical abilities.

As far as certifications, I’d suggest ACSM, NSCA, ACE, AFAA, ISSA, or any of the other widely known and accepted organizations.

Good luck and good training,

Sentoguy

To add to Sxio and Sentoguys great points…

I don’t know any trainers that walked into a gym and started making cash like that. It takes a while to develop a GOOD client base and a GOOD reputation. Those two things will make you pretty damn good money but depending on where you are, it will take some time getting there.

Personally, where I am located now, it took me 3 years to get a solid clientelle where I consider myself to make decent money.

What will you do to prep for the test?

I’m a mechanical engineer who would like to get certified through NSCA within the next 6-8 months. I’m wondering how difficult the test is for someone who’s been lifting for several years, but doesn’t have any exercise schooling.

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[quote]krimsonstaned wrote:
What will you do to prep for the test?

I’m a mechanical engineer who would like to get certified through NSCA within the next 6-8 months. I’m wondering how difficult the test is for someone who’s been lifting for several years, but doesn’t have any exercise schooling.[/quote]

I’m in similar situation and have checked out many of the associations websites. Google “personal trainer certification” and check them out. Several have sample exams, all of which I passed with nothing more than a few years of T-Nation under my belt.

I’m planning to do some training part-time (to help pay for supps mostly ;-). My training philosophy will be one of education. Yup, my goal will be to make the client independent of me in as short a time as possible, then dump me and use the knowledge to continue advancing by themselves. Altruistic, ain’t it?

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[quote]bushidobadboy wrote:

Hahaha! Not knocking your philosophy, but this was exactly my plan of action prior to getting into PT.

Educate my clients so that they can become independant…

Unfortunately, it very rarely works out this way, even with the most motivated and educated of clients.

Good luck.

Bushy[/quote]

Damn the luck… I’ll just have to take their money I guess. Definitely a good point though. I have attempted to bring a few people at my gym up to speed and invariably get the “deer in the headlights” look. It’s strange, but I really can’t imagine not wanting to know everything possible about a subject that’s so important to me.

Especially since our bodies are essentially our own personal experimental labs. I advance myself physically, mentally and emotionally by challenging myself with the iron. A cookie-cutter approach would never… well, cut it.

Hey Wide guy,

I am a little concerned about some of the post’s I have read so far.

I am not sure what people consider good money so let me break down for you what I made last year.

Last year I had my best year ever in regards to total number of training sessions. I did 1965 one hour sessions and was paid $39 a session by my company, New York sports clubs.
Now granted that is an excessive number of sessions (at least to me it is), but we have some losers who work for my company who work almost every day of the year (working 7 days a week) and produce much more than I do.

The company also gave some of us a $1000 cash bonus (prorated from $1400) for producing a lot of sessions.
Do the math and you can see that even without a book deal, articles in magazines or papers, seminars, or “information products”, we don’t all do too badly.

This year I took a promotion and now I make $47 a session, however I am not planning on working nearly as much as last year since I consider that number to be excessive and it kind of burned me out. Even so, if I do 1700 to 1800 sessions this year (my projected number), I will make a decent amount.

As mentioned before, it does take time to build a client base, even for a good trainer, because it is going to take time for people to get to know you and what you are all about. More importantly, they need to know that they aren’t going to buy $2000 worth of training and you are going to leave to become a country and western star (it has happened in my gym before).

This is a very transient field so you have to take some time to build up a following. Now I work in Princeton New Jersey which, while it has money, doesn’t exactly have a very health first mentality. Plus, Princeton people tend to have a lot of money because they don’t spend a lot of money so while the potential is there it is not always an easy sale.

I would say a decent trainer would need at least a year to build up a good base even in a town like mine, the better a salesman you are you might be able to do in 6 months. It will probably take you about 2 years to get established and have a consistent clientele however that is also dependent upon how much you make yourself known in the community.

I don’t want this post to go on forever, so if you find what I said useful, let me know and I will post more.

I would just like to conclude that as far as your career development is concerned, you have to keep and open mind while at the same time being very cautious. A couple things that have helped me:

  1. Read 1 book per week on average, try to mix up the subjects with one half of the books being about fitness and the other half about things like history, art, politics, and business so that you have something to discuss with your clients while you train in addition to improving your knowledge base about work.

A good magazine to get is Mental Floss since it contains a ton of interesting tad bits which really lends to some interesting between sets discussions.

  1. To give you an idea about seminars and stuff, here is my schedule for the new few months:

Attending Joe DeFrancos seminar in New Jersey in July (even though he trains athletes you would be amazed at the amount of stuff you can get for the general population from this guy. Just listen to what he says and think of ways that you can adapt some of it to your clients). His template system completely changed the way I train.

Attending Mike Boyle’s 4 day internship probably in October. I like this one because Mike understands the concept of Walking in another man’s shoes and won’t go on and on about topics that don’t relate to what a trainer goes through.

In 2008 I am starting the stretch to win seminar series out in Arizona. There are three parts to it so I will have to see how many I can get in.

Sorry this went on so long, like I said if it helps I will put more in it is just that my hands are getting tired from typing.

Thanks,
Mike

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Mike and Bushy (and anyone else who was helpful) don’t ever worry about “going on too long” or rambling in one of my posts. Your advice and feelings on the subject are always welcome. Thanks boys.