Hi everyone. Early this year I made the unlikely decision to become a personal trainer. I say “unlikely,” because I didn’t think of myself as the ideal candidate for the job: I’m in my 50s, I don’t like gyms, and I’ve never been a competitive athlete. But I’ve been a regular exerciser my whole life, have tried lots of different fitness methods, and have enjoyed experimenting with different movement disciplines. As I looked around, I noticed a lot of people my age and older who seemed to have given up on their physical health, and I thought it would be worthwhile to try to help some of them get back into functionality. I decided my target market would be people like me: boomer adults who may not be gym goers.
Last week I completed the first step: I passed my NASM exam. But I’m uncertain what’s the next best move. As I want to work with older adults, I was thinking about taking NASM’s course for senior clients. I’m also very interested in NASM’s Corrective Exercise certification.
But I’m wondering if I should stop with the “book learning” for now and just start getting some practical experience under my belt. I’ve done only a few assessments as part of my studies, and I’m pretty far from feeling competent/confident in performing them. I was thinking of approaching some gyms like the local Y and the JCC to see about volunteering there, but again, my interest is in not working in a gym. (Or should that matter at this point?)
Any thoughts, insights, suggestions? Thanks everyone.
First, it’s never too late to get into this field. Our industry keeps evolving everyday so never feel like you are not ready to do this job. Older population in our country is growing and the need for trainers to help them becomes larger each year.
Getting all of the above certifications (by the way you have chosen wisely) is the first step to the right direction but you will need practical experience to get your feet “wet” in this industry. Training people is the best way not only to learn how to train, but most importantly to learn how to talk and interact with them. I can’t tell you how many trainers I know who are book smart but have no idea how to talk to clients/members. Yes, the more people you can train the more you will learn of how to incorporate progressions and modified exercises. Also all that book information will make more sense to you.
Starting at a local Y or a Community Center is an excellent idea. They are not in the business of pushing aggressive sales or trying to hit a certain $$ number each month, so starting in places like these will help you learn the basics first and selling second. When the sales stress level is not there, you can concentrate in learning how to train and interact with people which is the most important part of our job. Another option for you would be to volunteer in Senior Living Communities. There you will be exposed to large number of seniors, but keep in mind of knowing their medical history and any other issues they might have as well. You can ask their activities directors if you can participate in any of their classes so you can also learn form their fitness instructors.
I hope this gives you some direction or new ideas. I wish you the best.