Hello everyone. I stumbled upon your forum and am impressed by the knowledgeable and respectful sharing of information. So much so that I joined just to ask a few questions. I’m a guy in his 50s who’s physically active and who enjoys trying out different workout regimens. I have no formal education in exercise science or physiology. I’ve been told I’m a natural teacher in that I like helping other people learn new things and am good at explaining unfamiliar concepts; it’s a role I fell into in all of my day jobs. I just empathize with people when they’re unclear on a concept. Putting this all together, I’m thinking that I would like to explore being a fitness trainer. I’m most interested in working with people my age and older who are trying to regain or maintain fitness. After perusing various certification programs and lots of online forums, I’m leaning toward the NASM certificate. OK, here are the questions: NASM offers a program that promises to place newly minted trainers in a non-paid eight-week internship with a gym somewhere within a 25-mile radius. This program adds significantly to the NASM cost. Do you think this is a wise investment? I’m thinking that hands-on work is where I’ll get my real-world education, but I’m wondering if it would be easier/cheaper to just find a gym and start volunteering. Or is that done? Next question: Even though I work out regularly, I’ve never been much of a gym-goer. Except for a stint in CrossFit and several years studying martial arts, I’ve done all my workouts at home by myself. Do you think that is a liability for an aspiring trainer? Thanks for your help … and for reading this long-winded post!
I am also an advocate for NASM. They have a very comprehensive program, and if you ever contemplate to add one of their specialty certifications, you will encounter the same philosophy based on the OPT model.
I do not know of anybody who has gone through their internship program and would second Nancy’s advice to call NASM to discuss it.
The fact that you are not a gym-goer is not a liability but it can put you at a disadvantage when you have clients who are asking for a workout which they can do at their gym. It helps to be familiar with the current gym equipment so you can discuss the pros and cons of them for a client. I have never heard of a volunteer program at commercial gyms. It may raise liability issues, and they are usually not set up for it. You could always join a gym, if only for a few months, to make yourself familiar with the who atmosphere.
You also do not need to make the assumption that gyms are the only place where you can work. Many trainers go to people’s homes, and your expertise with in-home equipment may be quite valuable there.
Whatever you decide, I wish you best of luck.