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 do not see where you are located, but have one other thing you might consider. Is there a Y near you? Because of the model of the Y it is easier to get hired there as a first timer, and a place where you could get a feel for fitness. Even if you were able to staff the front desk or the fitness room one or two evenings a week, you would have access to the equipment, and there is a wide variety of free training to employees. The Y training, it is true, does not translate well outside of the Y world (in other words doing the Y principles of exercise would be less likely to be accepted over the NASM at another gym), but again, free training, a chance to experience this world, and to get to know others in the community. And you could continue working toward your national certification and internship, and all those other things.
Don’t worry about your age. There are a lot of people who have stayed in fitness into their 50s, and many others who enter it as a second career. It is good for the brain to keep trying new things.