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!
Before I invested in the extra money to have NASM set you up with an internship, I would check out a few gyms nearby to see if they or any of the local trainers would be interested in allowing you to shadow a few workouts. It would give you two things for you to consider when answering your first question. First, how much do you think you will get out of a mentoring/intern program? And second, are there gyms/trainers nearby that might allow you to intern there without NASM. NASM is a very good certification, but it is also one of the more costly programs.
And your second question can also be easily be overcome as well. It is helpful to spend time in the gym environment. You can’t really get that experience in a book or on a video. While all gyms are slightly different (some are very different) from each other, all tend to have cardio areas, resistance machine areas, free weight areas, and even class areas. When you are training in a gym (as an exerciser or personal trainer), you can’t always get to each thing you want to use. You need to know how to adjust your plan as things come up. And you need to experience working in an enviroment where other people are also working out. To learn how to flow throught the gym. And some other nuances of a gym environment can only be gained in that setting.
I recommend joining a local gym and getting familiar with all the various areas, equipment, activities, etc. This will also come in handy as you learn the NASM materials. You could even try to find a workout buddy to role play as you learn.
These are just a few ideas for you to consider. I do teach a complete course for prospective personal trainers in Hawaii. It is more expensive that just buying materials from a cert organization, but it is also much more indepth. There may be a personal trainer school near where you live as well. Good luck.