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.
I agree with all that Harris says.
I just want to add that you these things might not be mutually exclusive. The thing about working at some sort of fitness center is that you will get real world experience. It is really helpful to see how much of what you have read and studied you can bring up on the spot for the person in front of you, and how comfortable you can be modifying and individualizing on the spot. I think this is particularly helpful when dealing with an older clientele. There are more conditions, more medications, more combinations of modifications needed.
And of course, there is no reason you cannot be studying the course materials for your next ‘book learning’ at the same time.
Given that you want to work exclusively with an older population looking for opportunities outside of a standard gym might be more helpful. A lot of towns have senior centers, and they often operate on a shoestring. You might be able to volunteer there, and even if it is not specifically fitness related it would give you a window into how such programs are implemented and run, and let you start to make some contacts. At our local senior center the fitness classes are run by the Y, who send instructors to the center. So if you approach you local Y you could inquire as to whether there are specialty programs like that.