T Nation

PT's, How'd You Get Your First Job?


Would love to hear from the various personal trainers on this site on how they went about landing their first job in the industry.

I appreciate you taking the time to share your story.


I got huge lol. nobody wants a trainer that looks like a toothpick

first get certified
make business cards
build your portfolio ( by getting recommendation letters from coaches and ppl youve taught how to lift before)
go to a mall and hand those business cards out (actually keep them on you at all times)

you might have to start off at one of those gyms that do free training before you can actually do it on your own. its a good idea, this way you can get experience and decide if its really what you want.

when I first got my cert, I bought a radio ad lol. my phone blew up with calls I made alot of cash that summer but i kinda already had some cash to risk with the ad

your best bet tho would be to

make sure you look the part
know how to persuade ppl
build that portfolio
land a job as a staff trainer at one of those gms with hourly trainers- until ur confident enough to get your own clients

pm me if you have any questions


you say you're 305lbs at 5'10.

do you "look the part"?

i'd be curious to see what that looks like. my brother at 170lbs 'looks' the part to be a PT.

most clients tend to shun the football / strongman type looking people.


hats why I give them a demo session where I lift with them and show off ya kno? Giving them the thought that " if i stick with this dude i'll be ripping shit in no time"

ya get me...



I don't get you.

do you "rip shit"? or are you just a fat dude?


not a fat dude, how would I get ppl to agree to sign contracts if i was out of shape?

realize the "years training" it says 15. I'm 20 now I have sick mass on me.

and yes i'm rippin shit every time i'm in the gym


pics or it didn't happen.


It all started when I was training my friends when I would be training for an upcoming meet or grappling event.

Manger comes up and says " hey bud you can't train people here unless you work here" I said "hire me" he said "ok". I then proceeded to get my first certification and started to train people part time and it grew from there.

Better yet what is your story and background ? What kind of fitness expirience do you have ?
what kind of clients do you want to work with and go to the gym thas has types of people.



Ct. Rock- aren't you the guy that had yourself as the avatar doing cable flyes when you first joined here saying how you would drink vodka and lift? If so, you look no where near 300 lbs.

To the OP- I got my start at a gym in the next county as a PT and fitness staff. Out of college I still worked for them, then got into management and still a PT as well. Not much to it really


Worked at the gyms front desk, eventually they noticed I was one of the few people that worked there that lifted, they asked me if I would be willing to train people.


b/c like most everything you've ever said, including your stats, is made up.

sorry to call you out man, but i think it's long overdue.

i think you're full of shit.


Lets get a Ct. Rock call out thread.

I'm sure it would be more then entertaining.


Who talks like this?


People who lives in sick darkness..


Most PTs get their first jobs after many years of school and training... oh, wait, you meant personal trainers. PT is an official thing for physical therapist, like MD or DDS for medical doctors and dentists.

Be sure not to put that on your business card.


I'm not a personal trainer(yet) although I am certified..

The director of trainers at my gym took note of the hard work I put in every time I show up. We got to talking, and I explained how I am certified, but am still trying to work on ME..she asked if I would like to 'shadow,' her and the other trainers. Of course I said YES! :slight_smile:

So hopefully when the time comes and there is an opening available, I can jump right in..the training people part, I know I could do..it's the selling aspect and persuading people that they need you part that I am still nervous about!


First off, thanks to everyone who replied. And sorry for the confusion with the terminology. Yes, I was referring to Personal Training, not Physical Therapy.

I'm happy to give a little background on myself. I'm 36 years old. I'd been working a corporate job the last 15 years. Though I've been 'going to the gym' since I was in High School, in the past 5-6 years I've become a real fitness nut/gym rat. Besides reading everything I can on training/nutrition/supplementation I also transformed my own physique in that time. Going from a real dougy 255, down to a skinny-fat 198, and now I am at a pretty muscular (by most standards) 230lbs at 6'2" at what I would guess is 9% body fat (yes, I have hawt abz!!).

I am currently certified by ACE. I have a couple of clients I train privately. I do get asked a lot of lifting/nutrition questions both at the gym and out in the 'real world'.

The reason I'm asking is, even though I have gotten good results for the few clients I do have and I look the part, my resume does not set me apart at all. ACE certified and the ability to get myself and few clients into shape is not really getting me a ton of second looks.

To be fair, I've only really started hitting the pavement looking for facility jobs the last couple of weeks, so I am not discouraged yet. I just thought it might be helpful to hear how other personal trainers went about it when they were first starting out.


In my opinion, "looking the part", is only a percentage of the equasion.

knowing how to speak to people and make them comfortable, then be able to sell yourself on top of that, I think would be more important than appearance. The average person who's new to training, is going to be intimidated to some degree, to a big guy.

If you're good with people, then that should bring you clients, but producing results, allows you to keep your clients and word of mouth will bring you more. The people you train are walking advertisements, that can either help or hurt your business.


Completely agree with all of this. I actually think being a bigger guy may work against me a bit. May not be that 'relatable' especially to female clients.

I'm actually pretty good at talking to people and that was a part of my previous career. I can't say that I'm really great at the 'hard sell'. I've always found it a turn-off in gyms when trainers walk up and really try to push themselves on you like they are the proverbial 'used car salesmen'.

And, yes, there will be no better advertisement than clients who have had good experiences and have gotten results. I was just wondering how successful Personal Trainers got their start, because as confident as I am in being able to get good results for my clients, building up a client base in the beginning is a challenge. As is getting affiliated with a facility when my resume is not ripe with experience.

Again, I believe all this can be overcome, I was just interested in how others approach their career's out of the gate.


Obviously someone didnt sleep through ethics.
Add in seminars and certifications on your resume.

When I started I photoshopped pics of people for
before and after photos and made up testimonials haha
Fake it till you make it.