I just got NCSF certified and am trying to figure out where to go from here. I have a fair amount of personal experience (extremely physically active and in sports since early childhood, been doing personal training as a client for a little more than a year, been instructing some people on techniques in Judo and archery) but I don’t yet have much confidence as my ability as a trainer. I’m afraid that I’ll get a client and won’t know how to help them; what they need or what exercises to do with them.
I understand the only way to have experience is to jump in and get experience but I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions/ advice on how to do that, a good course of action from here, advice in general, etc..
Another thing I thought about this morning for you is this.
No matter how much you know, how long you train, how many people you teach, there will be things you don’t know. It’s natural to feel a little insecure when you’re new. The key, IMO, is how you channel that insecurity. When I get a question that I don’t know the answer to, I say, “That’s a really great question. I only know a bit about it (share that info if you have any), but I have several resources and can find out for you. I can answer you next session or if you need it before that, I’ll email you what I find out.”
I also remember the feelings of insecurity I had when I was new and started personal training. I wanted to do a great job with clients but sometimes it was hard to know where to start. The good thing is you will, in time, become confident and know your strengths in different areas of training.
One thing I would suggest is to try and find a mentor and/or someone to shadow when they train. Going through an actual session will help you feel more comfortable when you start training. Plus, you will have a resource for questions that come up.
One of the things that helped me feel more comfortable with training clients is to really make a personal connection with each client and understand their goals and limitations. Find out their likes and dislikes about physical exercise, what their daily lives are like with regard to time, and go from there. From there you can make a plan and go through it together.
In time you will feel more comfortable.
Plus, you will learn as you go…. I learn something new almost every day when training and it is an amazing journey to take.
Good luck to you and welcome to the fitness industry!
Do you have a mentor? Shadowing other trainers helps a lot. As others have said, starting out at gyms and fitness centers, while not particularly lucrative, will give you a bunch of experience with different types of clients.
IMO, your best bet is to find one or two trainers whose style you particularly like, and shadow them. Or find work at a club whose regular staff meetings include co-education (i.e. we take turns at one gym sharing what we learned with our peers when we attend trainings).
I like Amy’s recommendations.
Working at a gym is not the most lucrative position but it gives you experience with people who are looking for exercise recommendations. You can also observe how trainers interact with clients and take from it both what you like and what you do not want to do yourself.
In many gyms, new members are offered a session or two with a trainer. For the most part, those new members are put on a standard program which is designed not to do any harm. Those sessions will give you an opportunity to listen to what they have to say about themselves, problems that they have and previous experiences. It will also give you a first opportunity to customize programs when you need to deviate from the canned version to accommodate special requests.
Over time, you will get more confidence in your own abilities. It takes a little time. Be willing to listen, and never stop learning.
Wishing you the best.
Welcome to the team of personal trainers!
I know how intimidating it can be when you are first starting out as a personal trainer. I was at that point 3 years ago. What helped me was working with other trainers at the gym I worked at and asking a lot of questions. I also trained some of my friends for free just to become comfortable working with them one on one. You seem to have an impressive background and that can help you with programming. Perhaps you may want to focus on training young athletes since you have experienced what is involved with athletic training. At our local Y, one of our personal trainers was a 3 sport athlete and he uses his knowledge and background to train young athletes in a small group setting.
It is going to take some time until you find your niche so just be patient and don’t be afraid to explore new methods along the way. Find a style of training that fits your personality. This will help you to be more comfortable and clients will be attracted to your comfortable demeanor. Offering small group trainings may also help if you would be comfortable with small groups.
Remember – it’s not how much you know but how you interact with your clients.
I wish you the best!