3 truths about being a personal trainer

Learn about the 3 truths about being a personal trainer.

Most personal trainers that I’ve met over the past 15 years have two motivations in why they want to become a personal trainer (you can also be a blend of these, I am):

  1. They have an incredible story that has changed their life perspective. An example of this would be major weight-loss, battling a significant illness, or a family loss.
  2. They have an entrepreneur spirit and happen to be passionate about health and fitness.

If this is you, you are in for an incredible journey. When I decided to dedicate my life to be a fitness professional, there are a few things I wished someone told me. This is what inspired me to write this blog post.

3 Personal Training Highs and Lows

I was pre-med for 2 years at the University of Texas here in Austin. One day at the library I was studying the exciting science of organic chemistry and I shut my book, saying out-loud, “I can’t do this sh__.” Now I was grumpy and probably depressed from studying something for two years that I had no interest in, so forgive my language. What I really meant was, “I really don’t want to do this anymore.”

I went straight to the academic counseling center. As I was waiting in the lobby, I fiddled through the single-page handouts that were organized by major. For reasons beyond myself, I grabbed a “Kinesiology” handout out. As I read this list, I shouted in my head, “YES! What is this? It’s perfect!”

I finally got called in to see the counselor, changed my major, and the rest is history.

So, you may be asking, what did that sheet say? Well, I don’t remember, lol. However, I have an idea and it is part of the “high” list.

The 3 highs of being a personal trainer:

  1. It’s personal – if you have a loving heart, if you love to serve, if you genuinely care for people, this industry is perfect for you.
  2. The return on investment – there are not many opportunities in this world where you can directly be part of someone’s life change, improving their way of living in ways you would have never imagined. It’s incredible what a simple relationship can do for someone
  3. Freedom and Independence – Although your clients will always be your boss, you make your schedule, you decide on how much money you make, and you do what you want to do.

Now, before you ask “I’m in! Where do I sign? What’s step 1?” it’s important to have a grounded understanding. Every job has pros and cons. Being a personal trainer isn’t any different. Understanding the lows of personal training is more valuable than the highs. Most people can imagine why being a personal trainer sounds cool and rewarding, but not many people understand the risks or the hardships that come along.

The lows come from experience, making mistakes, and learning how to adapt. Understanding and embracing these things are what makes a personal trainer build a career out of just an initial desire to be in the fitness industry.

Here are the 3 lows of being a personal trainer:

  1. It’s a hustle – honestly, the famous philosopher Rick Ross, said it well, “everyday I’m hustlin’”. This industry isn’t for everyone. Whether you are an amazing trainer or a skilled sales person, there is a grind to this career. It’s a journey of resilience and steadfastness.
  2. You are in sales – not that this is a “low” per say, but I do feel it’s worth listing to address the misconception that trainers are not in sales. You are responsible for how much money you make or don’t make. In whatever environment you choose to be a personal trainer, you have to take full ownership in how you perform or don’t perform.
  3. Your client’s are your boss – I know this sounds contradictory because I listed in the highs, “freedom and independence”, but again, this is to address the misconception that a personal trainer can do whatever they want and have a life long career. At the end of the day, yes, you make your own hours, but it’s within reason of what your client’s availability and preferences are. If you don’t consider their comforts before yours, you are not going to make it as a personal trainer for very long.

Being a personal trainer is incredible. You are in a unique position of service that changes lives for the better, but there is another side to personal training that is misunderstood. This side is mainly considering the business management of things. You can be the most amazing trainer in the world, 10 certifications, and you look the part… but if you don’t respect the business and salesmanship of this career path, you are doomed.

We do a fantastic job at Gym Studios in being a resource for our trainers. We allow all the freedom and independence they want, but we provide the resources that allow them to have a grounded business perspective. You need both.

If you have any questions about personal training careers, please reach out. We love the topic. Subscribe to our newsletter if you enjoyed this read. Coming soon, “5 steps to become a personal trainer.”