When considering whether to become a Personal Trainer it’s important to do your research to find out if personal training is the right career path for you.
In this blog post, special guest author FitPro interviews its Head of Training Aaron Barnett and asks him key questions about becoming a Personal Trainer. This Q&A will highlight what to expect for a career in personal training and help to you to decide whether or not personal training is the right profession for you.
FitPro: Do you have to be an active person to become a Personal Trainer (PT)?
Aaron: A Personal Trainer should strive to be a role model and live the lifestyle that is expected of their clients. By living the lifestyle, a PT will understand the good times and the bad and be able to communicate their training principles with authenticity and conviction. Role modelling drives leadership which in turn builds trust, rapport and long-lasting successful relationships with clients.
Also, personal training is a physically demanding profession. Personal Trainers must be robust and conditioned to being on their feet and energetic both physically and socially all day. Demonstrations require repetition, effort and strong technique. This requires practice and therefore resilience from a Personal Trainer, especially if they have their own training goals to meet.
An active background doesn’t mean that you have to have spent countless hours in the gym before embarking on your PT qualification. However, by having experienced the journey yourself, you’ll have the ability and skill set needed to help others do the same.
FitPro: Do you need to be extraverted to be a Personal Trainer?
Aaron: There are some great Personal Trainers that are naturally introverted. To be successful Personal Trainers should invest time into their knowledge, programming skills and be authentic to the type of trainer that they want to become.
I myself am an introverted person, however my top tip for enjoying the personal time with clients is having enough understanding of the training principles that you employ so that you are able to communicate them clearly and effectively. I overcome my shyness by looking at sessions as an opportunity to teach clients about their training programmes and their own bodies. It’s a great icebreaker, builds trust and over time the more personal and friendly conversations will flourish.
FitPro: We imagine that one size doesn’t fit all clients. Is this something that an aspiring Personal Trainer should prepare for?
Aaron: Every client is different. Each client has their own specific goals, barriers and challenges to overcome and most importantly their own personalities and perceived ideas of personal training.
Therefore, to become a Personal Trainer you have to want to work with each and every person in their own unique and bespoke way.
Being creative and engaged with education and programming you will start to build a stronger sense of navigation for each client journey. Personal Trainers must be able to dedicate time to keep up with the latest fitness trends as well as research-based publications.
FitPro: What is the typical work life balance of a Personal Trainer?
Aaron: With early starts and late finishes Personal Training is a lifestyle choice. 5 clients in a day doesn’t mean 5 hours at the gym. Personal Trainers will often have gaps between clients and even with the best possible scheduling, it’s not uncommon to find that delivering 25 hours of personal training often means spending 50 hours at the gym. However, the smart Personal Trainers use their downtime well. They perform their admin and client programming and spend time on their own fitness and development, so that when they arrive home the work doesn’t have to come with them.
FitPro: Do Personal Trainers have to be business-minded?
Aaron: You certainly have to learn. A killer smile will only get you so far.
It would be easy to think that after achieving a personal training qualification, potential clients will be queuing up for your expert services, however it is important to remember that you are building a business from scratch. When I began as a Personal Trainer I had a limited business plan and I found it hard to market myself in a way that was authentic and yet enticing to those I wanted to work with.
For those that have limited experience in self-employment it is highly recommended that they attend a business workshop or course. Simple sales and marketing techniques, plus administration skills are so valuable when you start out.
FitPro: Any final thoughts that you like to share?
Aaron: Many people enjoy using the gym. But there is a big difference between using gym to train and fostering positive feelings of self-belonging and development and being on the “other side of the mirrors”.
If you are thinking of entering the fitness industry the key attributes I believe make a successful Personal Trainer are:
- Planning and timekeeping skills
- Administration and marketing skills
- Empathy, honesty and listening skills
- A healthy lifestyle
- A willingness to continually learn and an open-minded approach to fitness understanding.
Read more in the blog series
This blog post is part one of a series of posts where FitPro will be exploring personal training as a career path. If part one has fuelled your fire for personal training, then make sure that you check out part two (released October 2021) where FitPro will be uncovering the different types of Personal Trainer that live in the industry today, so that you can begin to think about the path that is most authentic to you. If you liked this post you may also be interested in FitPro’s blog.
This blog was authored by FitPro – the largest resource in the UK for fitness professionals offering insurance, education and support.