Is being a personal trainer a dream job? For some of you that are ‘fitness people’, being a personal trainer may just sound awesome.
- Lets face it, you:
- Like to go to the gym
- Like to workout
- Get great results for yourself
- Like to help people
What wouldn’t be great about being a personal trainer? But seriously, what IS it like to BE a personal trainer?!!
Well, I will get to the truth in a minute, but let me give you a little background on this post. Years ago I thought I wanted to be a firefighter. And everyone I knew told me how great and fun it was, but I wanted to hear the dirty and nasty part of the job.
Then I met a firefighter named Mike from Louisiana. I asked him that question and he told me about being a firefighter when Katrina hit. He told me about fires and how your gear melts to you and how your decision to go right or left will often times be whether someone lives or dies.
Whoa! Like holy sh!t!!
And that was the end of my firefighter career before it even started! Thank God for Mike for giving me the honest truth.
And that is what I am about today.
Recently I had a client that lost a ton of weight and was getting really fit. To the point that I told her that she should consider getting certified as a personal trainer. She was a nurse and working a few jobs, but was really stepping up in fitness.
A few days ago I connected with her and she was working part time at a local gym. Not as a trainer, but in the customer service department. I asked her if she was getting serious and considering becoming a personal trainer. After all, she was one of the first people to ask me, what is it like to be a personal trainer?!
Then she said…it looks like work! The trainers here work really hard!!
Ahhhhh! My moment of zen! Someone who appreciates what we do!! Because when you are a personal trainer, there will be some people that think you just hang out at the gym and wear shorts and a tank top and life is good. That’s like saying what do you do….hang out at the office water cooler all day?!
A Day In The Life Of A Personal Trainer
When I started out as a personal trainer my availability was completely open.
I was available:
- 6am to 6pm Monday through Friday
- 6 am to Noon on Saturday
That is a lot of hours to be open. You have to think of yourself like a business; open and available to serve your clients.
Now that doesn’t mean you are training all the hours of the day, but you are available. In the beginning you may train 4 hours in a 12 hour period. But that’s OK, its just part of the business.
Once you build up your business and start to get a consistent book of business you can shorten up your availability. For me, as an independent trainer, I work Monday through Friday.
My available times are as follows:
- 6 am to 8 pm on Monday
- Noon to 6 pm on Tuesday and Thursday
- 6 am to 1 pm on Wednesday and Friday
With that I keep my schedule tight, and business full! However, I did start with the open schedule and had to work hard to get my schedule on track.
That is just me! I have met trainers that work 8 am to 4 pm Monday though Friday and some that work 4 12’s and take Friday through Sunday off, and some work weekends. It all depends on you and the clientele you develop.
Whichever way you decide, it all starts with an open schedule. And that is the skewed part of the personal trainer salary. You can make a great living being a personal trainer, but you always start at zero and work your way up.
A lot of trainers get certified as a group trainer and that is a great way to keep a steady business. And for those trainers, their schedules go in blocks:
- 6-9 am 1 on 1 personal training
- 11-2 Teach Spin Class and Beauty Barre
- 4-6 pm 1 on 1 personal training
With this schedule you will have a full day, but it will be spread over 12 hours. Not your typical 9-5 job.
Aside From Schedule, What Is It Like To Be A Personal Trainer?
OK, everyone always ask me about my schedule, but lets talk about the job! Personal Training can be one of the most rewarding careers today, but it can also be exhausting!
There is the physical aspect, mental aspect, and business aspect.
Physically, the job is very demanding. You have early morning, mid afternoon, and evening sessions. Some people work 6 days a week and it all depends on the demands of your clients. You are on your feet all day, lifting weights for your clients, and exercising to offer instruction.
When I worked at the big box gym, I was tracking 24k steps a day on an average 6 session workday.
Mentally, you are involved with every client. Some more than others, but you know what is going on in their life, kids life, and family and that is for your entire clientele. That is the personal part of personal training and the more you are involved with the betterment of their life, you will have a lasting relationship (and business).
For a lot of trainers, not all, but many move into group fitness. You can still deliver results, and you spend more time pushing people and less time talking during rest periods.
The business aspect is interesting. From my experience this is very much a feast or famine business. You will find a few trainers with a full book of business, and a lot of trainers building their business. Almost like the Real Estate Agent model.
To grow your business it takes time and an endless pursuit of success. I heard a quote once that 97% of people quit before they succeed. Don’t let that be you!
Wow, that’s almost the same percentage of clients hitting their goals! If you are coaching them to never give up, get uncomfortable, and move forward, you can do the same with your business.
The Truth Behind The Talk
What is it like to be a personal trainer? One word….Awesome! In what other business can you earn a full time wage on part time hours and help people feel great about themselves.
It all starts with getting certified as a personal trainer, and then the sky is the limit. You can be a 1 on 1 trainer, sports and conditioning trainer, group trainer, or help older adults stay healthy for their retirement. The list of fitness specialties is endless!
Find out what you want and pursue your goal!