I’m 50, a personal trainer, group-ex instructor, MELT instructor, yoga instructor, reformer pilates instructor…. I started teaching April Fool’s day, 1991, after 4 months of training and mentoring. So we’ve been in the industry about the same length of time.
Go where the young instructor can’t go. The big box gyms that cater to young members and new instructors may not be the best, or most satisfying, place for you to work. With over 25 years of experience, you may be trained to work with populations a brand new instructor with a freshly minted license to teach one format isn’t qualified to teach. What special knowledge do you have?
Boutique fitness facilities often pay for knowledge and experience, as opposed to youth. The places that hire me tend to be small, specialized facilities that pay me well for my extensive education.
Offer yourself as a problem solver, rather than a personal trainer. Emphasize the depth and breadth of your experience. When I walk into a client’s home, I bring all of my brains (joke). I tell new clients that I have a group-ex brain, a PT brain, a yoga brain, and a MELT brain, and that I’m going to use all of those brains to come up with a program or solution that suits them uniquely.
I am a 57 year old personal trainer who has worked in the fitness industry for 17 years. You may be losing out to your younger counterparts in a larger gym setting, but are very valuable in a smaller personal training studio or boutique, where you will find clients who prefer an experienced trainer over a younger one because they can relate to you better. Many aging adults prefer the privacy these type of facilities have to offer, and will have the disposable income to invest in themselves at this stage in their lives.
After 15 years of training in the gym and small studio setting, I am now enjoying in-home training. A favorite of all ages is working with the TRX. I include Yoga in everyone’s routines, even if it is only as a warm-up/cool-down. This summer I started incorporating aqua workouts for a 54 year old client with a pool who expressed interest. Definitely something for you to look into. We have enjoyed the healing effect of water on our joints, a low-impact way to do Tabatas, and getting our heart rates up during challenging aerobic sessions. After a summer in the pool, I can see how valuable aqua exercise can be for both active adults and those suffering from arthritis, back/knee pain, or fibromyalgia. Home training has been a rewarding experience for me and very much appreciated by my clients who thank me over and over again for coming to their homes so they don’t have to travel to the gym. Good luck to you Katherine!
After retiring from my career as an educator, I went back to school and got my certification as a personal trainer and group exercise instructor at the age of 51. It was slow going at first, but when I started training at our local YMCA, I started getting more clients. Something else that has helped me is teaching classes that appeal to older clientele. I teach a healthy back class which has recently garnered three new clients. During my classes I give participants little nuggets of information to keep them coming back for more….such as proper form, breathing, a new stretch, etc.
I recently heard the following quote: “Don’t change your act, change your audience.” (Lisa Sasevich) Since aging is an unavoidable part of life, do what you love with the people with whom you are most likely to connect.