Have you ever wanted to be a personal trainer or wondered what the job is like? Being a personal trainer is a popular career choice and has many positive aspects, but there are also some negative or unique parts. If you are curious about what life is like for a personal trainer, keep reading:
1. You Are in a Highly Competitive Industry
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists 373,700 jobs for personal trainers in America. Although this may seem like a high number, the actual amount of job openings can vary greatly from time to time. The industry is flooded with trainers vying for clients, so building a client base can take time.
Being in a highly competitive industry can make it harder for you to find work. You have to figure out how to stand out from other trainers and what makes you unique.
2. You Need Some Book Knowledge
A love for fitness is not the only thing you need to become a successful personal trainer. While it is not mandatory, education, licensing and reputable certifications will add to your credibility.
A degree in exercise science, kinesiology, or similar is certainly a bonus (and can give you an edge over the competition) but a formal degree is not usually required. Certification on the other hand, is probably more important. There are many to choose but one that is essential for aspiring personal trainers is the ACSM certification. Getting certified does not require passing a physical test but a theoretical one. Luckily, there are plenty of ACSM practice tests and study guides to prepare you.
Besides exercise science education and certifications, other knowledge you need is a good understanding of nutrition and anatomy. Many personal trainers take courses to learn more about the human body, so they can do their jobs better. Some get additional licenses or degrees to prepare them for work.
3. You Will Hate Working With Some of Your Clients
Similar to how difficult it is to find the right personal trainer, it can be hard to find the right clients. The perfect client does not exist. Some of your clients may be difficult, obnoxious and uncooperative. You will have to learn how to manage the working relationship and know when to call it quits if the relationship does not improve.
Understanding different personality types can help you do your job. You will be able to communicate better with clients and learn how to help them. By recognizing other people’s strengths and weaknesses, you can find ways to cooperate. You can figure out how to keep a client engaged and motivated. Of course, you can also see if the client is the right fit for you at all.
4. Temptation is All Around You
Working as a personal trainer means you are likely to spend many hours a day around some attractive people. It can be tempting. You need to maintain a professional relationship with clients at all times and not cross any lines.
You may encounter people who are interested in you. Some clients may even fantasize about having a relationship with a personal trainer. It is crucial to stay level-headed and not start any romantic relationships with clients. You do not want to tarnish your reputation as a personal trainer or give clients the wrong idea.
5. There Will Be Days You Will Feel Like a Therapist
Some clients can be chatty and offload their personal problems on you during their training sessions. They may feel a bond with you, so they become comfortable sharing too much information. It can be difficult to navigate these situations.
First, if you are worried the client is going to harm themselves or someone else, you should contact the police and emergency services. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can help you and your client. They have resources that can assist you and point the client in the right direction.
Second, if the client is simply looking for advice and is not suicidal, you should consider recommending they seek therapy. A professional therapist who is trained in mental health issues is the only one who should help the client. You cannot replace them as a personal trainer. You want to avoid trying to fix your client’s personal problems.
6. You Will Be Doing a Lot of Laundry!
You may go through more than one sweaty workout outfit in a day, and that means a lot of laundry daily. You should be prepared to have a full wardrobe of workout clothes for all seasons. Make sure to stock up on socks and other essentials as well since laundry can be hard to do after an exhausting day of work.
Try to set a specific day and time for laundry every week, so it feels less overwhelming. Another option is to have your partner help out by doing laundry in turns. If that is not possible and other housework is also hard to finish, consider hiring help.
Being a personal trainer can be a fun and fulfilling career. However, there are aspects of the job that are less appealing. Every career has positive and negative sides you should consider before pursuing it.
*Photos by Mikhail Nilov