Health and fitness is currently one of the fastest growing industries in the world. With healthy eating and alternative lifestyles designed around principles of wellness on the rise, we are moving into a more health conscious society.
If you live and breathe the health and fitness culture, it’s possible that you’ve considered becoming a personal trainer.
As more and more people get on board with the idea of improving themselves, it makes sense that they may be unsure about their eating and living habits, or wish to dedicate some time to improving their body, making the services of a personal trainer a useful commodity.
On top of this demand, there’s a lot of other great reasons to consider becoming a personal trainer. The personal fulfillment that can be enjoyed is definitely almost at the top of the list, followed closely by the high rate of pay for a well-established trainer.
However, like anything that seems too good to be true, becoming a personal trainer has its own pitfalls and possible roadblocks to becoming an enjoyable new career.
So, what are the advantages of becoming a personal trainer? Whether you are simply entertaining a passive interest in the field, or are actively working on getting a qualification or certificate that you hope will get you started on this path, let’s have a look at some of the pro’s and con’s of being a personal trainer after covering the liability areas.
Liability and Legal Issues
One major con to consider right off the bat if you are considering going for the self-employed route. You will have a lot of the usual paperwork that this entails in other fields of work.
If you don’t have a financial advisor, accountant or somebody who can assist you with legal issues, you will have a lot to worry about outside of your job.
Paying self-employment taxes, liability, contracts, agreements and the general lack of a support system to aid you with any issues you may have with the aforementioned aspects of self-employment.
Another aspect of the legal issues will be any potential accidents. Even though you will do everything in your power to avoid it, it is still possible that they will happen. When something like this happens to your client, it will put a dent in your optimism and confidence for the job.
It is good to have a solid insurance set up if you are working independently or do not have anything put in pace to deal with these issues with the gym or club you work with.
Is it worth it to become a personal trainer?
The Pros and Advantages of Personal Training
There are many reasons why a choice of career within personal training may be the best course for you. Hopefully these will help to convince you that it may be the right choice for your career!
Separating Yourself From the Rest of the Pack
There’s plenty of other personal trainers out there. Whether you are seeking to work in a fitness club/gym or work independently, you’ll have a lot of competition to separate yourself from.
This might be especially difficult if you are trying to find work as a personal trainer in a well established club or gym.
Other than having the appropriate level of fitness and qualification in a relevant field, a good way to further negate this issue is to get yourself an accreditation from the appropriate organizations, such as American Council on Exercise (ACE), the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), or International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA).
Getting an accreditation from one of these institutions will go a long way in distinguishing you to an employer. Employers and clients will always have a preference for trainers that are correctly qualified and certified.
You can decide your own hours
Depending on whether or not you are working for a gym, you will be afforded the luxurious position of being able to decide your own hours. To a certain extent, at least.
If you are working independently as most personal trainers do, then for the most part you will be able to decide how often, how long and on which days you want to work.
The number of clients you have and where they would prefer to train together will frequently change, so the hours you work may fluctuate from week to week.
Unfortunately, this means that it may require some give and take to piece together your schedule with all of your potential clients. It will still be a lot more flexible than having to adhere to a rigid timetable set out by a gym or an employer, though.
Being able to decide your own hours has its benefits. If you are looking to do this self-employed and are one of those people that prefer a more orderly approach to their life, this can be a detriment.
Since a lot of the clients you have will have their own jobs and their own lives, that often means that you’ll be getting slotted in to theirs at all manner of odd hours. In the beginning, this is something that you’ll just have to accept.
You’ll lose weekends and find yourself juggling a strange schedule of early mornings and evenings with nothing in between. Thankfully you’ll have a fair bit of spare time to balance out the chaotic schedule.
If nothing else, this con will help to teach you some useful time management skills, as you’ll be figuring out ways to squeeze in activities between training sessions.
Help others feel good about themselves or improve their life
Though some people that look for a trainer may only need somebody to make sure that they stay on the right track or are performing efficiently from a technical standpoint, there will be many that are seeking to improve their health.
This will end up leading to them beginning to feeling more self-confident in themselves and raising their self-esteem. If you have an area that you are specialized in, such as assisting in recovery from injuries and physical trauma, then this will go doubly so.
You’ll get to know your clients, seeing them develop and grow. It can’t be stated enough how fulfilling this aspect of the work will be. Whether it’s seeing somebody transform into their ideal selves, or simply assisting them to reach their goals, you’ll be doing fulfilling work.
If you have qualifications Sports Science/Sports Medicine, then the work you do could literally be life-changing for some people. Having any accreditation in these fields will give you an easier job netting you clients who are going through various stages of recovery, along with giving you the feel-good factor of being able to assist them.
Some people will be significantly less easy to work with
When you’re getting started and are less able to be picky when it comes to the kind of client that you want to take on, you are unfortunately going to end up running in to a variety of different issues.
Apart from any possible clashes in personality, one of the biggest problems you’ll run in to are people who just simply not committed enough. You only have a certain amount of time to spend with each client, what they do in their own time and how well they can maintain discipline when you aren’t around is still entirely up to them.
If they are unable to show restraint or fall back in to bad habits, they won’t see the results that they want. More often than not, they will put the blame for this at your door.
You’ll have to exercise patience with people like this, for every client that you get to see reap the benefits of their hard work, you will have someone that gives you nothing but hassle.
The most difficult thing about it will be making sure that it doesn’t demotivate you. Simply move on and stay focused on the people that are willing to put the work in.
Another potential interpersonal irritant of the job will be people who flake on your appointments, cutting away the already all too valuable chunks of your time.
The Benefits of Working as a Personal Trainer in a Gym
Being employed or contracted by a gym is an arrangement that will have many benefits for you as a personal trainer. Not only will you have full access to the entirety of equipment and facilities that you require to help your clients, you’ll also have access to it in your personal time.
Not only will being able to spend so much time at the gym be useful for you in your own fitness goals, you’ll be in an environment that will help you to cultivate more working relationships and scope out new job opportunities.
Depending on the gym or health club that you are working for, you’ll also be spared the headache of dealing with a lot of the administration of being a personal trainer.
You won’t need to worry so much about complications like scheduling, advertising, or going through the sometimes convoluted procedure of dealing with contracts.
Viewing the Other Side of Working in a Gym
Even though you won’t need to worry about any of the above, you’ll still be doing a lot of the leg work when it comes to getting your clients. This means keeping your minimum work above a certain threshold to maintain your hourly pay from your employer.
Also, if you previously been self-employed as a personal trainer, you may have some friction with certain gyms or clubs, which may be worried about you potentially attempting to steal away clients.
Work That will Stay Fresh
Because of the wide variety of clients mentioned earlier, one day will often be completely different from the last. You’ll be tailoring regimes according to the progress that your clients are making and traveling to wherever they are most comfortable doing their routine.
This means that the job will constantly evolving, what is optimal today will be completely different in a week. While specific ideas and principles will remain the same, there will be a degree of fluidity that will keep the job fresh and interesting at all times.
Whether you have interests outside of health and fitness, or simply have goals that lie beyond being a personal trainer, your clients you deal with in your job will be from all walks of life.
If you do your job well, you will not only be improving the life of your client but potentially opening doors for any higher aspirations.
Inside the world of fitness, you’ll be paving the way to explore plenty of new opportunities seeing as how you are likely to cross paths with other trainers, sportspeople and professionals involved to varying degrees in sports or fitness world.
Perhaps you simply enjoy meeting new, different types of people. If you enjoy the social aspect, the one-to-one nature is great for building relationships with new and interesting people. Even if you aren’t the most outgoing person in the world, you’ll still be able to make connections with new people.
A lot of the success you have in forging new links, both for clients and friends in this field, will rely on your ability to pick out the right type of person that is suitable for your personal style.
Enjoying a Job in a Healthy Environment
Your job as a personal trainer isn’t just a job. If you want to be a personal trainer, then health and fitness will be a lifestyle for you, not a job. Not only will you be getting paid to do something you like, you will get to enjoy further contributing to a culture that encourages the people you work with and those around you to live their healthiest lives.
Even more than that, if you are already deeply invested in the health and fitness world, the job will not only be a good earner, it will be fun. You will not be stuck in an office cubicle in a normal 9 to 5 job.
Almost all of the places you are working will have a positive, high-energy atmosphere. This kind of environment will not only be infectious to your clients, but to you as well, hopefully providing you with the kind of boost in energy that you will need to perform your job well.
High Ceiling on Potential Earnings
After you have managed to net yourself a suite of clients you will start to see some significant amounts of money coming your way. Some clients will naturally pay more than others and accompanying a good reputation will be the ability to truly decide how much you value your own time.
Although this will take a while to build up, having the patience to slowly build up your name and generate plenty of positive results from your clients at the beginning of your career will pay dividends in the future. Just remember to temper your expectations at the beginning, it may start slow.
The Cons or Disadvantages of Personal Training
There are cons in addition to the advantages which you should know ahead of time, just as with many other careers there can be some flaws in this as your career.
Unstable Beginning and Fluctuating Client Base
Even though there are highs with regards to pay, as mentioned above, there are also extreme lows. If you haven’t already built up a base of clients before striking out on your own, your biggest struggle will be fleshing out a customer base. To make matters worse, it won’t be as easy as you think to keep clients – in the beginning, at least.
There’s a whole world of reasons that will make people stop going to the gym and the same reasons apply to keeping you hired. Clients will seemingly drop off the map at random, leaving you uncertain about where your income for the next month will be coming from.
To make matters worse, if you are self-employed then anything that cuts in to any of those much needed client-trainer hours will be gouging money and possibly clients from you. Forget about taking a vacation in the beginning, you will need to give it all the attention you have.
Many personal trainers report that they feel stressed. Considering some of the pros and cons on this list, it makes sense. You will constantly be dealing with other people, constantly looking for more work in the beginning and will be shouldering a lot of worry for the clients that you do manage to find.
Maintaining a delicate balance between the amount of clients, your own time and recovery in the early days will be difficult. If you are independent or self-employed, this stress will be doubled.
Is It Worth it to Become a Personal Trainer?
Most of the con’s here on this list won’t do much deter someone from their path if they are already set on becoming a personal trainer. Many of them are more of a bump in the road, rather than a barrier.
In contrast, the pro’s are incredibly seductive and the pay lucrative. If this is your dream job and you are wondering if it is worth it, then the answer is almost certainly yes.
Once you can get through the early days of uncertainty and lower pay, you’ll be enjoying a lifestyle rich in health, interesting people and fantastic pay. Even better than that, you will have direct access to a world of possibilities in multiple different fields that require personal trainers.
Final Thoughts on Personal Training
The choice to become a personal trainer needs to come from your heart as it is a job of service, you will not always be training the next bodybuilding competition winner in many cases it will be the overweight dad or mom.
Many have the life of celebrity trainers in their heads when they choose to pick this profession and it isn’t how the story goes for almost all personal trainers.
In addition you are opening yourself to always being judges based on your body, while this may sound normal it may drive you nuts as you go through life and any change in your appearance will be noted by everyone.
Learn more about gaining certifications below:
- American Council on Exercise (ACE)
- National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)
- International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA)
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