I recently received my BS in Movement Science and am currently studying for ACSM’s HFS certification exam. I feel as though I have a lot of the knowledge necessary for this field, but I have no experience in the practical application of it. I can’t afford to go to the two day seminars they provide (although I am doing the online webinars), and I’m not sure where else I could go to get experience in applying my knowledge!
How did you get your initial experience when you first started in this field? How could I approach a potential employer and sell myself without having experience where I am working directly with clients yet?
This is what I did. At the time I was working in corporate fitness and I looked for opportunities to apply all that was required to earn the credential.
I made sure I utilized the guidelines in GETP8 when I performed assessments. If someone had a clinical condition, I risk stratified the individual according to the guidelines.
If you purchase the materials that are suggested to prepare for the exam, study, and apply what you are learning you should be able to do well.
I took the workshops and even though I know they are expensive, they were very helpful to me in preparing for the exam.
Please reach out to me if you have any other questions.
To find a mentor, you should contact Fitness Managers around the area you live and let them know about what your goal is and you are interested in learning the ropes and get an idea of how other trainers train clients. Not all of them will agree, but some will have no trouble helping you and they will be happy to do so. Tell them you want to learn from the best, especially from those trainers who have been around for many years. I would contact small personal training studios as well as larger gyms, since the environment is very different between these types of businesses. You can also try you’re the rec center at your University. If they can’t help you, maybe they can provide you with some pointers towards the right direction. It’s also possible that a trainer who has his/her own Personal Training business, might be willing to let you shadow them while they train their clients or teaching classes and it could also lead to a possible employment opportunity once you receive your certification. It’s worth a try.
I hope this helps.
I would look into moonlighting a few nights a week at a local gym to gain experience. Most gyms need coverage at this time because older trainers want to go home and be with their families. During your free time, do an internet search on gyms in your area by visiting sites such as yelp, glassdoor, and ripoffreport . Create a list and rank the gyms from best to worst. Next, visit the gyms and express your interest by asking to see the manager or whoever is in charge and hand deliver a resume and cover letter. Before leaving, walk through the facility and take some mental notes.
Alternately, you can look at CF jobs. Health Fitness and Plus One are examples of large companies that might be in your area and are always looking for educated people to fill part-time positions.
I would also start working out on a regular basis to learn technique and gain confidence. Read everything fitness and don’t be afraid to hit the weights and do things that may be out of your comfort zone.