You Want to Personal Trainer!
HERE'S A SIMPLE SEVEN-WEEK PLAN ON HOW TO PAINLESSLY MAKE THE TRANSITION FROM GROUP FITNESS INSTRUCTOR TO PERSONAL FITNESS TRAINER.
By Chalene Johnson
hrough hard work and perseverance, you have obtained the education and certifications to teach several kinds of group fitness classes. Over the years, you have stayed upto-date with group fitness guidelines and industry trends. Your impetus for all this, besides loving what you do, was to stay marketable in a competitive group fitness environment. Now you are looking for new ways to earn money and advance your career. Where do you go from here? If your goal is career progression and financial security, you should consider adding personal training to your repertoire of skills. And now is the perfect time, since group fitness classes have stabilized, while personal training is on the rise. In fact, according to the 2000 IDEA Fitness Programs & Equipment Survey, the personal training industry grew 21 percent in the period from 1996 to 2000.
April 2001 IDEA HEALTH & FITNESS SOURCE
"The idea of teaching just one [exercise] format is really obsolete for those looking to make fitness a full-time career," advises Skip Jennings, a group fitness instructor and personal trainer in Laguna Beach, California. "In order to make a living doing what I love, I found I had to have my hands in a few different pots." Many industry experts agree that personal training is the most lucrative option. Maybe you have toyed with the idea of becoming a personal fitness trainer in the past. Perhaps you even investigated different certifications but decided the process was too costly or time-consuming. It may have been you were not sure how to set up a personal training business or you assumed there was no need for one in your community. Whatever your reasons, now is the time to reconsider. By interviewing other personal trainers and drawing on my own experience, I have developed a sevenweek timeline that simplifies the steps necessary to start your own personal training business. By following this plan, you will be able to launch your own career in this ever-expanding field.
BEFORE YOU START: Get the Word Out! Tell everyone within earshot that you are studying to obtain your personal training certification. If you make public your intention to expand your career skills, you will be more likely to follow through on your plans; in the process, you may even generate some potential clients. Remember that your best source of new business is word of mouth. Of course, your optimum source of referrals is the loyal legion of regular participants in your group fitness classes! Take full advantage of the cross-promotion opportunities they provide, but be certain to check first with management concerning the club's policy in this regard. Create a temporary business card on your computer, and offer one to everyone you know (more on formal marketing later!). Now is also the perfect time to gain practical exposure to the personal training field by finding a mentor. Approach an experienced trainer in your area and ask if you can "shadow" him or her for a set time to learn firsthand the practicalities of dealing with clients. Pay special attention to how the mentor structures ses-
sions and interacts with clients, and notice which equipment is used when. But don't expect your mentor to divulge proprietary business or financial trade secrets. After all, you do represent future competition! If you cannot find a mentor, consider signing up for some training sessions with a respected trainer in your area. WEEK ONE: Select a Certifying Body Because no one certification is right for everyone making the transition from group exercise to personal training, you should plan on devoting an entire week to deciding which credential to pursue. With literally dozens of options to choose from, the benefits, difficulty and credibility of each are as varied as snowflakes. Cost also varies greatly and can be as high as $2,500. On average, expect to spend between $250 and $450 on the certification process, including study materials. In some cases, a future employer may provide an in-house certification. To determine which certifying body best suits your needs, consider the following questions:
© 2001 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.