I find this a little absurd that a gym would require someone to have their university degree. Maybe the States is different. But from what I understand it’s only the CSCS designation that reguires you to first have your degree before taking their program.
That said - ACE - the base standard training book is just a start. From there a trainer (with no degree or kinesiology background)should look to further their knowledge - continuously. One place to start is Human Kinetics.com who have an online learning centre. But there are tons and tons more.
The truth is that some of the best trained personal trainers are shit. And some of the poorest trained trainers are quite good. I think it comes down to who the person is and why they do the job.
- You don’t make a fortune being a PT (trust me, I do it day in and day out)
Sure it’s says $50 an hour. But it’s not really an hour. It’s an hour and half. 15 mins before and after each session are used up organizing for each client and writing notes about their progress.
And don’t forget the hour it took to build them a great program for them to follow. That was an hour of your time they didn’t pay for. So if you work 8 hours you get 5 clients a day. If you work for a gym, that’s $125gross a day at most! You’re taking home $90 after taxes. That’s $1980 a month. And that’s if you’re decently good at what you do and can retain clients and get them results. See why below.
Unless you’re older and have the financial standing - you’re best to start in a gym where they take half of what client is paying (add that up, it’s not much). If you can afford to have your own studio or own your own business - Car, extra training equipment, licensing costs, insurance for your car, biz and liability, costs of renewing memberships and don’t forget costs of continued education all eat at your bottome line.
Being a PT (of other working people) means you work the hours they don’t - Early mornings, late evenings and every weekend. You don’t pick and choose your hours if you expect to make any money at it. Expect 12 hour days of running back and forth to the gym, 4 hour lulls between clients, where you try to get home to do errands and such.
Try keeping a girlfriend with those hours! That’s work on it’s own.
Your clients (if in a gym environment) will not be bodybuilders. 80% of the time, they’re not even fit people. They’re overweight, lack energy, have little strength. People with hurting backs, sore knees and banged up shoulders.
On average I’d say 2-10 people that come to you will be in a decent condition. 1 in 50 will be in great condition.
There is a mentality that once you reach an intermediate stage in your training that you don’t require such help and could not benefit from it.
- Personal training (IMO) is a done because you love to do it. In reality it’s quite an easy job. It’s not a desk job. You’re not sitting for 40 hours a week. At the same time you’re not labouring your body. Doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its challenges.
You don’t get “off” days in your mood. You don’t get to not be cheery and happy and social and motivating to be around. You don’t get to be late ever! You don’t get to be mad when clients cancel on you and you can’t fill their spot. You don’t get to turn off they’re chatting about their bad day.
- Because of liability issues you are not allowed to recommend ANY supplement (not even a multivitamin) to your clients. You can’t tell them what to eat either. You can sorta tell them what to eat based on government food pryamids.
But if they ask you “hey, should I be taking protein powder or a meal replacement powder before and after my workout?” and you respond with “yes, it would be advisable to take in some protein and carbohydrates, such as Biotest’s Surge drink” and they have ANY adverse reaction to it (or the chinese food they ate 5 hours before) they can turn around and sue you for advising such a product to them.
Only dieticians (university) can truly recommend supplements (and none of them do). That and doctors. Even nutritionists can only recommmend meal plans designed around government food pryamids. And most government food pryamids stop at 75g of protein per day.
There are ways to sorta get around this (by directing them to information sites, such as this one, and have them make their own decisions…disclaimers, disclaimers, disclaimers!).
If the 21 year old still sees all these “challenges” and is still AS excited to be a personal trainer, to help other achieve their goals (not him achieve is own get rich, easy work goal) then I’d say he’s for real and you should support his choice.
Oh, and FYI, most PT’s eventually move out of the business. Move on to managing or owning gyms, change careers entirely, move on to teaching other soon to be trainers, etc.
In the future I plan to go to massage therapy school (a 3 year, full-time, $30,000 course) with the mindset that I will still PT on the side.
Thanks man, I think u summed it all up. Reading your points made me realize that I made the right choice in quitting when I did an joining the military. I am gonna cut and paste these posts for my cousin and e-mail it to him. I think that most people though dont think its that bad until they do it and have 5 clients in a row and your 2nd and 4th cancel on u and u get to sit on ur own time and not get paid for it. U used to hate that. The worst yet was setting up an early morning fit(where u give free measurements and bodyfat calcs) and five min before it starts u call them and they are still in bed and say “sorry man I’m just too tired to come in”. Most clients have no regard that this is ur job and this is how u pay ur bills. I do agree that PT is a great side job and actually know quite a few guys who are firemen, policemen, or fit models who rent out spaces at private gyms and do very well. I made my most money when I trained the same group of people at their apt gyms in a 3 hour back to back span charging $25 an hour. Then again i didnt have insurance. They all eventually dropped me after one got married, one bought a sports car, and the other lost 15 pounds and 8% BF and decided she could do it on her own. She called me later and said she stopped going the week after she dropped me and gained it all back.