I’ve had a passion for fitness since I was a teenager. My life has revolved around fitness and music. When I was out supporting my family playing music there were always weights under the bus. I visited gyms in many cities across the world. I always had a blast “training” my band mates and friends. Once I stopped touring I jumped at the chance to become a personal trainer. I am currently the manager and level 3 trainer at a privately owned personal training studio called Elite Training (EliteTrainingTulsa.com) in Tulsa, OK. Typically its not even work for me because I love doing it so much. One of the biggest honors for me is when a friend or follower share that I have influenced them to become a trainer. Some of you may be throwing around the idea of become a trainer and don’t know where to start. The secret in short is be a good trainer and have multiple streams of income. Here I want to share how to become a great trainer and how to make a good living doing it.
1. Get Certified: You may have been exercising for many years and know a lot, but to get a job at any reputable gym or studio you will want to be certified. There are many certifications out there. Most of them are online courses that can be taken over a 6 month period. They are not cheap, but they do offer payment plans. I recommend either NASM or ISSA. I am personally with ISSA, but a lot of my trainers are with NASM. You can’t really go wrong with either of them. Once you become certified keep your standing current.
2. Get Additional Certifications: Make yourself more valuable and more importantly be able to help people to a greater degree with more knowledge. Once you are certified as a Personal Trainer I recommend taking a course on “Corrective Exercise” or “Exercise Therapy”. Learn how to help people with knee, shoulder, lower back, etc issues. After that look into Nutrition and other specialties. My advice is to take a new course yearly.
3. Have a Passion: Like any other job if you have a true passion for fitness and training you are going to excel. Do what you love. Hopefully this passion means you are always trying to learn more.
4. Be a Good Employee: You would think this is a given, but by being a dependable and trust worthy employee you will stand out and excel. Show up early before your clients, engage with your clients, no texting while training, keep your schedule updated, clean up your work areas, don’t reschedule clients unless its a real emergency. Look and dress sharp. Use proper hygiene (smell right lol). Be honest and trust worthy. Do more than is asked of you.
5. Open Availability: If you are new to training and want to be busy right away have a open schedule. Prime time for trainers are 5-9am and 4-7pm. At the beginning take what you can because you never know when you will have new clients or when current ones will quit. As you build your client base you can tailor your schedule more so.
6. Engage with Clients: A good trainer learns how to get the best out of people. Because people are unique you have to learn to adapt to different personalities. Your goal is to motivate and help inspire the individual to not only get their best workout, but to alter their mindset for success out of the gym. Be vocal as you are training. Count their reps. Offer encouragement and correction. Be their cheerleader.
7. Get Into Sales: Some people are naturally good at sales and others shy away from it. If you want to be really successful in the fitness industry learn to communicate with confidence. Most gyms or studios will give you a commission upon signing up new clients. It’s worth your while to learn this skill and sign people up. You don’t have to necessarily become a “sales” guy or gal, but learning the art of signing up new clients will get you a nice commission, get you more personal clients, and make you more valuable to your employer. This is where I personally excel.
8. Additional Sales: Most gyms have additional things you can sell to clients to earn extra commission such as supplements, apparel, or meal management bags. The extra effort selling these items earns you more commission and helps your clients.
9. Get Social: Put a set amount of time daily building up your social pages such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Youtube, etc. Post quality images and good content. Help educate, motivate, and inspire people. Consistency is key.
10. Multiple Streams of Income: In addition to making the most of being a trainer at a gym or studio (1-9 above) to make enough to support a family branch out and build multiple streams of income. Here are a few ways I make extra income as a trainer:
A. Online Programs: I design custom workout programs and nutrition plans for people all over the world. There are lots of ways to do this. I had to experiment a bit with my format and pricing. You will want to have a personal website set up for this. Email me for a solid website designer referral if you need. View my Custom Program page HERE.
B. E-Book Programs: Write up a solid 4-8 week program for weight loss, muscle building, or whatever and sell it as a PDF. I recommend making these informative, but also simple to follow. Once you find a format you like you can model all future e-books off that template. You will want a solid graphic designer to take your program and make it look nice. Sell the PDF version on your website, but also get it in the Kindle ebook store for additional sales. Visit my e-book landing page HERE. Publish e-books to Kindle HERE.
C. Supplements: The gym you work at may have supplements for you to sell to clients. Typically you will get a commission for that. I personally am always ethical when it comes to this and only sell what I think is safe and will actually help my client. I have also spend a lot of time on my #9 above (building my social pages and motivating people) that I was able to get sponsorship with Kaged Muscle supplements. Besides saving me money on my own personal supplements I can make money through sales I help generate. A lot of the big supplement companies have affiliate or ambassadorship programs where you can get a hook up, free product, and/or earn money. Only go with companies you truly believe in and take yourself. Remember you are recommending products that can affect the health of the clients who trust you. Check out my article on Tips To Secure Athlete Sponsorships.
D. Sponsorships: There are many opportunities in the fitness industry to partner up with great companies if you take the time to build your social following and are a good communicator. You do not have to be a championship competitor or even compete at all although it doesn’t hurt. Again only go with companies of products you already buy and love. These partnerships can help you in a number of ways including saving you money on products you already buy, the potential to get paid or at least earn a commission when clients buy the products, and exposure which helps all aspects of your business. I am a sponsored Athlete with the following companies: Kaged Muscle, Ryderwear, SwoleO’Clock, and 6 Pack Bags.
11. Look Fit, Be Fit: How you look and live your life is your biggest marketing tool as a personal trainer. Lead by example.
If you have any additional questions feel free to reach out to me Michael@WittigWorks.com.
-Wittig, ISSA CPT
Kaged Muscle Athlete