T Nation

Training Career Questions

I’ve been lurking for quite a while and normally don’t have much to say, however I’d like to get some thoughts from strength coaches/personal trainers out there.

Recently I’ve been thinking about where I’d like my career to go and I’m really questioning if S&C and fitness is still what I want work in. I’ve been out of college for a couple years and have worked in 2 sports training centers, 1 large chain gym as a trainer, and even a season with a pro team. I’m wondering if it’s just me or are some of these issues common for people who work in the industry. I guess I’m trying to figure out if these things are just issues I’ll have to deal with, or if I should get into another field.

Personal Training: Trainers who have people doing what is “IN”, rather than what is best for their clients, but get more clients because their training looks more fun.

Youth Sports Training: Training centers that charge hundreds of dollars to train kids who should be playing on the playground.

If you work as a trainer, and have things that you don’t like in the industry, what do you do?

Well, I think the biggest thing is first to focus on what you can control, which in training would be your clients, your workouts and their results. Sure there are a lot of poor trainers out there just like there are bad lawyers and bad doctors as well. It can be frustrating to be next to someone who is charging about the same amount as you and you know that person probably isn’t going to get the results they want BUT ultimately you have to stop worrying about it. First, and I try to apply this litmus test to myself, it is very high and mighty to judge something when you don’t have all of the info and even if you can make a good judgement it doesn’t help much. So instead I would focus on yourself, if your clients continue to sign up with you and give you referrals and if you still enjoy the job outside of watching people with different philosophies, then it still might be the job for you. If not, then you might move on to something new. If you are in a situation where you have to follow a philosophy that you don’t believe in (like some boss says everybody has to train a certain way) then move to another center that gives you more control of what you do. Hope that helps.

That does help, I guess my biggest thing is feeling like I had to “prostitute” myself to get clients. Like running around the floor trying to help people with the sole purpose of selling them training.

That can be frustrating. I think the bottomline is that most people in general, and it seems you in specific, need to believe in what they are selling. If you honestly believe that the person will be much better off training with you and spending money on your services, then it doesn’t feel quite so much like being a “prostitute” and instead you are making yourself available to help someone. I have found that even clients spending many thousands of dollars, they are very happy with how things worked out and would readily do it again.

But if you don’t believe in the services that you are offering, and there is no shame in admitting that, then you should either consider moving on or working on whatever is missing so that you do believe in it.