T Nation

Personal Trainer Business Questions


#1

Please answer any of the following questions if possible, it would be very helpful :

  1. For someone just starting out , how difficult is it to get a job working for a

commercial gym ? Is there alot of competition in the fitness training field ? Is

personal training similar to other 'skill trades' where you have the ability (or

necessity) to relocate to different areas for employment ?

  1. For you peronally ,
    -how many hours per week do you typically end up training people ?
    -On average, how many people do you train during a day ?
    -What kinds of people do you seem to get as clients most often ? (age group, gender,

fitness level, ect.)
-What is the most common fitness goal your clients have ?

  1. -Do you make at least $35k annually from personal training alone ?
    -Are there certain times during the year where you dont seem to have as much work ?

  2. Apart from paper credentials and education, how important are these 2 qualities

when looking at the 'legitness' of a personal trainer ?

A. Appearing to be in optimum physical condition
B. Currently or previously have vigorously participated in some form of competitive

athletics

  1. -Do you do some kind of functional movement testing with your clients at your

first meeting ?
- How much of your personal training involves a detailed specific program for

producing desired results and improvement with something in X amount of time vs.

simply having people do a bunch of stupid random stuff to make them 'tired and

sweaty?' (If you understand where im coming from )


#2

You'll find in general the jobs are fairly easy to get assuming you have any qualifications at all.

There's no short answer to that. Some of our trainers worked 30-40 clients a week, some worked 3

See above. Sometimes its 1 sometimes it's 15

Depends where you work. I saw a lot of middle aged professionals. They have money and usually have realized that they need to get off the couch.

Weight loss typically.

Easily unless you're a moron

Summers

For most people A is really all they care about. If you look good you must know how to make them look good (even though we know this is blatantly untrue)

It's nice but most trainers don't even know what that is.

Very little. People who hire trainers are typically fatigue seekers. Run them into the ground and they're happy.

If you want to be sucessful you need to ensure you learn about sales and marketing. Basically read any and everything but Jeffery Gitomer and learn to apply it ad you'll make a ton.

STU


#3

Thats a pretty cool avatar you got


#4

It's not hard at all to get a job at a commercial gym if you present well. I was hired on the spot and was approached by two other gyms while I was working for one. Which reminds me, compare the pay-scales of various gyms. They are not equal.

There is a lot of competition, but there's also a lot of demand. Society keep getting fatter :slight_smile:

You could train pretty much anywhere, but I'm sure it's easier in the city.

Anywhere from 10-40 hours a week with my average being 25-30.
The days varied A LOT. Some days it was 9 people, other days 3.
My clients varied a great deal. I trained grandmas, jocks, business women, reclusive nerds, etc I did find that I really liked nearly all of them. It's a good business if you like dealing one on one with people.

Yeah, it's pretty easy to make that amount. If you're good and you stick with it, you can make 3x that. The summer is usually slow.

Those are both VERY important, IMO, if you want to maximize your success. The most sought after female trainer at my gym was a bodybuilder who had her abs posted all over the place. I didn't see her make a lot of progress with most of her clients, but that didn't matter as much as the fact that she'd made progress with herself, in terms of her monetary success. The top selling people in the company where a 10 in terms of looks. Only one of them was really worth how much he was being paid.

Another thing- there tends to be a trainer hierarchy at gyms. There's one trainer who usually is considered the veteran and everyone is hoping to train with him. If you can get trained by him, it will boost your position in the gym, even if he's not the best trainer. I would recommend becoming that guy's right-hand man.

I did functional movement testing on my second meeting with my clients and spent the first getting to know them and showing them what they didn't know. I didn't train anyone the same and I also didn't find that completely wearing them out every session resulted in the most sales. You have to find the balance of exertion and put people at about an 8 on a scale of 1-10 so they feel that they both feel that they are capable and that they really accomplished something that day.


#5

It's quite easy. There's always a demand for PTs. Provided you've got the right qualifications, you're certain to be hired anywhere. It's also quite competitive. If you're good at selling and Marketing your product (you), you can easily eclipse the competition.

Will depend. 50-60 hours on a busy week, 20 hours on a quiet one.

My clients are women, men, old, young, athletes, fitness models, bankers, hookers (yes) etc...

Getting strong.

Easily.

Summers can usually be a bitch.

A is always what potential clients will look at first.

Always.

It's all about program with me. If you just want to spend an hour, twice or three times a week, running on the treadmill, or using the elliptical machine, or do some sort of swiss ball or Bosu circuit, don't contact me. I don't have time and I ain't in the mood for this kinda shit.


#6

In my current situation, i beleive the best course of action is to get an ACE or ISSA certification and simply see if i cant get a job working for a commercial gym.

I would definitely enjoy helping people acheive thier fitness goals. My slightly right lobe dominant brain will constantly turn over different useful exercises and routines to be doing with different people . The time i spend reading about strength, sports and nutrition (from reputable sources) would then become more useful and applicable to my daily life.

Keeping training logs for different people, the more clients you worked with , the more you would probably begin to see trends with how manipulating training variables would effect peoples progress in certain areas.

My interpersonal skills could possibly be suspect , mainly a lack of eye contact when talking to people, partially because i am thinking about what i am saying , though i have good eye contact when listening. I am pretty good with one on one situations, as well as sometimes enjoying an audience if i have good skills with something to display .

Taking several Myers Briggs tests have indicated i am an ESFP Maestro. 'Personal trainer' actually happens to be one of the preferred professions for this personality type.

Outwardly i appear to look like i am in good shape, though i am definitely not a big , imposing looking type of person. Depending on the clients , this could be of benefit.

When i was a senior in highschool doing weight training as well as helping teach a karate class several days per week i had decided i was going to be a fitness trainer , but then my parents coaxed my into 'going for more money' and completing a 2 year program with Industrial instrumentation, i ended up working as a maintenance mechanic at some window factory a couple hundred miles from home but i got fired after 2 years. My troubleshooting and mechnical skills were decent but i definitely have trouble with protocol and routine stuff like that as well as the lack of emphasis on physical fitness which kind of conflicted with the stuff that i was doing outside of work.

I feel like im kind of back where i stared now , on one hand you could say the 2 years was a waste of time , but then it also showed me an occupation that i SHOULDNT work in . Helping to better understand myself.


#7

First off, fuck your parents, they mean well, but aren't going to get it until you are successful as a trainer, and even then they may not. If you understand yourself better, there is no way it was a waste of time, most people never make progress in self awareness, they just come up with better lies to tell themselves. Most people succeed despite themselves, not because of what they did.

Your personality type matters not if you are enthusiastic. Knowing your weak points as you do means you can attack it head on. Very few clients care how big you are, most people define fit by bodyfat levels and ability to perform exercises with good form. The type of clients who care how much you lift or your muscle mass are possibly the worst type, they will take credit for their success and blame you for your failure. Most female clients will listen more to fit thin guy than a big guy and most males don't care.

Assessment is important because it will allow you target exercise routines to attack weaknesses. Here is a good site: http://graycookmovement.com

The next most important thing is cuing the client to perform the exercise properly. Most trainers couldn't do this if their life depended on it. The key here is to be able to adjust to each person and note how they are deviating from correct form. This is something that takes a while, both to teach a client and to learn how to teach it, so be patient. Being patient also makes you look like you know more. The whole less is more thing. This extends to exercise too.

Waterbury's PLP got me thinking, between that and a dumbbell shoulder press, dumbbell row, and dumbbell or kettlebell swing workout, perhaps a couple ab exercises and hip extensions, and sprints and walking, you can actually can deliver more results to over 80% of potential clients than all the wiz-bang cute programming out there. That is around 10 exercises you need to know how to coach well. It is also easy to do these with groups, this lowers your client's costs and provides a support group and increases your marketing base.

Finally, checkout these articles if you haven't already:
http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance_interviews/so_you_want_to_be_a_fitness_professional
http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance_interviews/straight_talk_about_the_fitness_biz

In addition to the good advice you have gotten from others above, these articles should help you. Also, don't worry about only making money from training at first. If you have to take a day job to get by at first, that is fine, most clients will want to train mornings, evenings, or weekends anyway as they too have jobs. You can always leave that job once it gets in the way of your training business. Also consider something like Berardi's Precision Nutrition or come up with something similar yourself, nutrition is something that will help your clients succeed, but it is even more important than training to have a flexible system that you can apply in a manner that supports the clients' changes and goals.

Don't worry about optimal or perfect, it doesn't exist. Do your best and focus on getting better, I promise you will be better than you think. Practice your delivery of coaching cues and exercise explanations and watch carefully how others do so in vids here (quite a few with Thibaudeau on the top bar there) and on youtube.


#8

Thank you. Very informative.


#9

So i got a certification and have been starting to look around for work but im starting to suffer from a certain type of doubt that ive had in the past :

If someone REALLY wants to do something , they are going to do it with or without help, and actively seek out the knowledge they need to succeed.

Why do you need a trainer if you can just read a couple books and watch youtube videos and just learn the stuff yourself ?

Its almost certain that your job is going to mainly be helping stupid people that lack motivation. Does that sound good or no ..?


#10

-Anybody can push someone to sweat. Even most regular gym goers can "fix up" how an exercise looks. True skill is the ability to assess and know exactly what is happening, and having a REASON for every change made to an exercise. Just because it "looks good or better" doesn't mean it's an improvement.


#11

You're doubting your ability to provide a service to other people, but what is that service exactly? The clients I get don't have the time to be studying up and researching everything there is to know about exercise and even the ones who have tried programs on their own burnt out and didn't know what to do next. Training isn't in their top 5 priorities most of the time so they just come in to have someone walk them through it and to be accountable.

One thing that took me awhile to really get a good grasp on was that everything I know about fitness and seems very basic and common sense is a whole other world to people not in the loop.

If you're going into this field realize the power you have and work towards getting people results as fast as possible and never belittle your ability to do so.


#12

LONG AS THEY ARE TIRED AT THE END UNLESS THEY ARE SEMI FIT AND WANT A CHALLENGE.


#13

If you can, work with kids.
It's awesome.