If you’re thinking of becoming a personal trainer, then it’s important to do your research. A career in fitness can be hugely enjoyable and rewarding, but it’s also hard work and doesn’t command the best pay.
Most people start by looking at certifications and the costs involved. But before you commit to a training course, it’s worth asking yourself if the career is really a good fit. Over 90% of personal trainers quit within their first year so you want to ensure that your expectations align with reality.
⇒ In this article, we look at 3 key things to consider before pursuing a fitness career, along with the main pros and cons.
#1 – Are My Expectations Realistic?
When most people think about becoming a personal trainer, their expectations are pretty high. They imagine a job where they can choose their own hours and work with people they really like. They assume that clients will follow their advice to the letter and get the results they want. But this isn’t the reality of a career in fitness, so it’s important to face this from the start.
You’ll definitely help some people, but others won’t achieve their fitness goals (no matter how much help you provide). You won’t have to work 9-5 but you will have to work around clients schedules. This usually means early mornings and evenings to fit around their work commitments. And then there’s the financial element…
A personal trainer typically earns $35,000 in the US or £20,000 in the UK. This is below the average national salaries in both countries which demonstrates the problem facing fitness professionals. After forking out a significant amount of money on your certification, you may find that you don’t earn enough to make it worthwhile. Can you make good money as a personal trainer? Absolutely. But it’s only the top 20% who earn high salaries so you’ll need to work hard to make it happen.
#2 – Will It Ruin My Passion For Fitness?
This is something that no-one ever tells you but it’s important you know from the start… Working in an industry you love can gradually diminish your passion for it. When you HAVE to do something on a daily basis, it eventually becomes a chore (no matter how much you enjoy it to begin with).
You probably think this won’t happen to you – how could you ever get bored of exercise?! But working in the fitness industry turns your hobby into your job. So, what will you do in your down time or when you want to switch off? Going for a workout or reading up on training techniques will mean your thoughts turn to work. So, it’s important to have other leisure activities that you can do in your spare time.
#3 – Am I OK With Selling?
Most personal trainers underestimate how much selling is involved in the role. They assume that training people is the most important activity and that this is enough to be successful. But unless you’re good at sales and marketing, then it’ll be impossible to land clients to work with.
For some people, this won’t be a problem. You may have developed sales skills in previous roles, in which case you’ll find it a breeze. But if it’s something that makes you uncomfortable, then you’ll definitely need to conquer that fear. Learn how to sell personal training here.
Becoming A Personal Trainer – Pros & Cons
As with any career, there plenty of pros and cons of being a personal trainer. Different people will weigh them up in different ways – something that’s a deal breaker for one won’t matter to another. So, it’s important to be honest with yourself when considering whether you’ll really enjoy this type of career. The pros of being a personal trainer include:
- You get to work in an interesting and enjoyable industry
- You’ll get job satisfaction from helping people improve their health
- You may get a free gym membership if you work for an employer
- You won’t feel trapped in an office cubicle or stuck in a 9-5 routine
For some people, the disadvantages of being a personal trainer can be:
- You have to keep learning in order to stay up-to-date with new scientific discoveries
- You’ll have to work early mornings and evenings too
- It doesn’t pay as well as other careers
- It can be frustrating when clients don’t follow your advice
Why I Quit Being A Personal Trainer
I studied Sports Science at Loughborough University followed by a Diploma in Personal Training. But after less than a year with a gym, I quit to work for a fitness equipment manufacturer. I loved fitness and was lucky to find a different career in the same industry. But being a personal trainer wasn’t what I’d expected and I’m keen to help others avoid costly mistakes. Here’s why I quit being a personal trainer…
- The gym I worked for banned induction programs for new members which jarred with my aspirations of helping people get active.
- I didn’t know how to sell and hated the idea of it, so found it hard to get clients.
- I spent most of my time cleaning gym equipment and watching the clock.
- Part-time hours meant I had to get a second job which resulted in feeling exhausted.
- The constant early mornings got me down as I couldn’t enjoy evenings out with friends.
As you can see, these are all personal reasons and shouldn’t put others off a PT career. If I’d worked for a different gym or been proactive about learning to sell, then things could have been very different. But hopefully, it helps you see what becoming a personal trainer really entails on a day-to-day basis.
Making Your Own Career Choice
There are lots of fantastic reasons to pursue a career in fitness. For many, it can be hugely satisfying and enjoyable work. But it’s important to consider your choice carefully as it’ll affect your happiness and finances for years to come. Ask yourself three key questions before jumping in…
- Are My Expectations Realistic?
- Will It Ruin My Passion For Fitness?
- Am I OK With Selling?
By thinking about these aspects, you’ll ensure that your expectations are realistic and make an informed choice on the best career path.