T Nation

Pursuing Career in Fitness Field


I'm not going to go into a lot of detail, or create some magnificent story about how it came to me in a midnight vision, but I will give a little back story.

Basically, my day revolves around going to the gym. Sure, I have class, work (2 jobs and starting my own business), a gf (yes xen has a ball and chain)... but none of that matters.

Just mma, wrestling, and moving iron.

Everyone wants to train with me, or have me train them... people I dont even know ask.

So what kind of careers are available in the fitness industry that are at least somewhat lucrative.

To sum it up, I want to be able to be in the gym all day and still have enough money left over to buy protien powder.

so what career is that? occupational therapy?

I'd LOVE to have my own training center and train athletes... and I'm willing to bust my ass... hell I'm doing that now...

So shoot some ideas at me T-mag I'm desperate and the current business degree I'm working on I like and I'm good at (i'm good at everything (cocky me))

But damn if i can't do what I live for...... Moving heavy shit.


General Ideas:

Join a camp
Start a camp

You should ask Alwyn because he comes from a similar background.


Here's just a thought, but why not open up your own gym? Maybe a chain gym if they allow you to change it up enough to suit your likes (I know of some good Powerhouse gyms and some bad ones, many of which have a completely different 'theme').

You can run the gym, hire someone to watch the register/door and do a little personal training on the side.

Or maybe hire some personal trainers and you can run some classes that interest you like "mma, wrestling, and moving iron" type classes.

You can have a powerlifting section, an olympic lifting area, an mma/wrestling padded room where classes and sparring/training is held (maybe downstairs/upstairs from the gym) another machine/fitness type area just for added business for those who still prefer to use machines.

You can mold the gym to whatever you like. It would be your ideal gym setup, you own it, workout in it, train others in it and make a decent income off of it.

That's something that I would love to do, but I have no buiness experience or degree and no funds to get any of that started (yet).


I don't know if this is applicable to you, but I'd personally LOVE to just work at my gym. Front desk or something, just so I can be there all day and pick the brains of the 2 good coaches there, along with the BBers and oly lifters that come in there and hang out for a bit before and after. I think that would be a fun job.


Years ago , I use to work at a YMCA.At the time , I thought it was a great after school job. I d work at the front desk as well as the fitness area.

I spent most of my shift picking up other peoples weights ,cleaning up dirty needles( in the locker room) listing to people complaining about the lack of parking space( during peak time ,I might add),dealing w/ late registration payments and the racquette ball players were always complaining about the courts either being too hot or too cold.

Even worst , i d have to listen to the know it alls. Im getting off topic here , but this was this one guy who was fat. Not functional fat ,just fat and big boned. Of course he thought he was destined for the olympia. He use to go around telling powerlifters that they were fat. He didnt consider himself fat , he use to claim he was in his bulking stage. He was in this stage for about 5 years. As much as I love the gym it has its share of misfits.


No way! You used to work out with Fat T Man?


No way! You used to work out with Fat T Man?[/quote]

Well , I dont think we are talking about the same guy.
One time there was a rumor going around that this guy was on roids.Of course everyone knew it was a lie.So one guy decided to see who started it. After a little detective work , we came to the conclusion that he ( fat and big boned guy)started it about himself.He went around asking if people had heard this rumor and who had started it. He was so proud of himself , but somehow thought, that others may have not believed that his physical accomplishments were natural.Its like he wanted to tell people he was natural.
I use to know this other idiot. Whenever he did hammer curls , hed always smile to the person closest to him and say something like" what does this remind you of? hahahaha"
If he saw others doing hammer curls , he say something along the same lines.
If he saw women doing hammer curls ,he say something like" did your boy friend tell you to do that exercise.Do you know why he wants you to do it..hahahaha"
One day , the gym got these 1 kilo dumbells. Before you know it, he was shoving a dumbell in the crotch of his spandex ( it was in the late 80)and walking around with this dumbell in his crotch.
He was laughing away , saying" I am so happy so see everyone.hahahahha"


How could you not love working in a place like that? Stuff like that just doesn't happen anywhere else. Look at the great stories you get to keep.


I meant career... not after school job.

Like opening up my own place like Joe DeFranco


Go get certified...because if you will work for someone they will want either a cert or a degree. I think most certs are garbage but, it's that paper that counts.

Or start your own gym/dojo if you can get the money up.

I kind of got lucky...after not finding anything for years, I found something I love (in addition to my teaching career).

Network!! I had a coach at Rutgers tell me that getting a job is so much about who you know, because by the time you see a job posted on a website (like NSCA or NASM) it's alreayd been filled. "Stranger danger" he called it.


What are the "best" certification programs that represent the T-Nation way of thinking/lifting? Are there any decent online programs?


Online programs are junk for fitness training. You really need to be out in the trenches practicing out routines, methodologies, techniques etc.

The best training certifications i know of are charles poliquin's one and paul chek's one.


You might want to contact Mark Bartley over at Elite FTS. I believe I read in their staff section that he has degrees in finance and economics and owns his own gym in South Carolina. Not bad on top of being of the top 3 275ers in the world.

Maybe he can tell you the path he took.



"What are the "best" certification programs that represent the T-Nation way of thinking/lifting? Are there any decent online programs?

Poliquin's would certianly be the most valuable..but it is expensive.

NSCA and NASM are pretty well respected and, while costly, aren't going to break the bank.

USAW has a few good programs if you are into O-lifting.

All in all, answer the test the way they want it answered and then go do your thing.



Anything you pursue in life will take time to master and is usually preceded by a learning curve.

If you want to continue learning and eventually start coaching others then do it. There is no manual for pursuing your dreams, its just a matter of not listening to others fears and following your own instincts. If you fail, learn from it and try again. But try and get started as soon as possible because time is one vehicle that has no reverse.


Your missing the point
After school job or career , really whats the difference?
No job or career is going to be all fun and games

Id bet that Joe DeFranco has to bet up with the same stuff. Id guess that he instructs all walks of like .
Charles Staley- As long as the money is green , I dont care who you are or where you come. You dont have to be a pro to train with me.Charles Staley


Yo, Xen, what is your level of education? Just curious cause that might effect what direction you take this in. Also, how much do you know about business/finances?

I think "starting your own gym" might be a bit too ambitious. I might try working at a franchise for a while, and kissing enough ass to get up to a management position. That way you could get a lot of experience interacting with clients, deciding what works what doesn't, watching the cash flow, and building up a client base [hairdressers do the same thing] etc before you go out on a limb with your own money.


I would recommend the Cooper Institute in Dallas Tx for a trainer certification. I got the trainer cert. as well as the biomech. of res. training cert. Since then, I have had NO trouble getting on with various gyms for training as it is a world renown institution. Courses are relatively expensive but I payed them off quickly once training began. Or you could opt for some cheapass online course.

Good luck with whatever you decide



1st step is becoming qualified to teach people. Then it's up to you.

I just started working as a personal trainer. I'm at this daggy gym in the suburbs. The guy there seems pretty good though. I'm going to try to learn from him how to operate a studio, and try to get the money up to open my own.

When I get to that point, owning all my own stuff and a mini-'facility' I'll reassess. But right now that's looking pretty good to me.

It's not all roses training the general population, but it sure beats the other jobs I've had. I know very thoroughly that I'm not cut out to be behind a desk or doing something completely menial. I tried them both too many times! Running my own set up is gonna be great.


Master these subjects:

a. Injuries (prevention/recovery)
b. Nutrition
c. Weight Training for Athletics/Bodybuilding

I think you mentioned above that you're a business student. I'm sure that will help in many ways.

I'm sure you have what it takes. Write those goals down and reach them.