5 steps to become a personal trainer (Part 2)

My last post went thoroughly through the first 3 steps in becoming a personal trainer.

  • Step 1 - Understand what makes a successful personal trainer 
  • Step 2 - Get a Certification
  • Step 3 - Get a Job

The last 2 of the 5 steps that I’m offering are more detailed and not as exciting, but very necessary in describing if you really want to do this. Here we go…


Step 4: Establish a niche/focus/expertise

OK, you are certified and you have a place to hang your hat or TRX ; ), now what? As a personal trainer, you need to understand who your ideal client is. It’s more than saying, “I can train anyone!” Although that may be true, people like to feel they are matched with the best trainer for them.

Here are a few areas of focus:

  • Athletics – you can help athletes improve their balance, speed, agility and performance.
  • Weight Loss and Management – understand or relate to the struggles of weight gain and coach people through healthy weight management.
  • Rehab – knee pain, back pain, foot pain, be a pro at rehabilitation.
  • Working with Special Populations – pregnancy, special needs, elderly, young, find a population to get comfortable and confident to work with.
  • Nutrition – although all trainers should be comfortable with food advice, you can also become niched in meal planning and even meal prepping.
  • Online / Social Media – all trainers should be doing this at some level, but you can sole focus on virtual training or developing an online version of your philosophy.

Step 5: Start your business and market yourself

Alright, now it’s time to become a personal trainer who actually can make money. Up to this point, you have just made fitness a legitimate hobby. Step 5 is where personal trainers step over the line to become the career they sought out for.

The bare essentials:

  • Fitness uniform. People like their trainer to look the part and appear professional. Live a little and purchase fitness clothing that you can be proud of and take professional headshots in. I personally like lululemon and Rhone.
  • Dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells
  • Resistance Bands
  • A weight bench or step
  • Exercise balls, a BOSU or other balance and stability equipment
  • A TRX or suspension trainer
  • Website or landing-page, business cards, and car magnet
  •  Liability insurance and possibly health coverage
  • Get a speaker to play music, a water dispenser, towel, and other things that can improve a customer’s experience


This can be an entire blog post on its own. Think of it this way, you can have the most fabulous product in the world, but if no one knows about it (even if it cures cancer) it does nothing. More applicable, you can be the best trainer in the U.S. with 20+ certifications, but if you don’t have a following, you don’t exist. Here are some key areas to consider:

  • A website/Landing Page – This can be as simple as getting a domain name, signing up for WordPress or Squarespace and making your own site, but you need something. Consider it as a digital resume.
  • Business cards -  Overnightprints.com or Vistaprint.com are my go-to’s.
  • Social media - LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are a necessity if you want to build a credible following and presence.
  • Seminars - Offering free seminars, locally or online, about exercise, health, diet, etc. are often a great way to meet potential new clients.
  • Networking - Do some research locally to find out if you can join the Chamber of Commerce, BNI, or other well-known groups. You can also find groups through Meetup and Facebook.

So, as much as I want to say, “That’s it! I gave you gold, now make it happen.” Realistically, that’s not the case. Hopefully you are more educated and aware of what it takes to be a personal trainer. Once you get here, it’s now about surviving. Make it your life-long career. Stick with it. Here are a few tips in what that means:

  • Keep in touch with your clients.
  • Never forget to listen to your clients.
  • Get awesome at assessments.
  • Always offer more and more to your clients.
  • Stay smart and stay educated.
  • Have a strong referral program

You are the future young grasshopper. This industry needs great trainers. Be just that.

If you are interested in learning more or want to join the Gym Studios team, please reach out anytime.