It’s 2016, fitness bloggers are the new fashion bloggers. Every Tom, Dick and Harry is now a 'certified' Personal Trainer. Hiring a Personal Trainer is so 2008. If you want to stay on top of the trend, if you want to stay ahead of the game, you’ve got to quit your 9-5, change your name from ‘Susie_00’ to ‘SusieFitness00’ enrol on a PT course and definitely start a blog.
I know this, because I did it too. I quit my job in order to ‘live the dream’ but it wasn’t an overnight decision and it wasn’t #fitfam that lead me to it. It took a good few years of mulling over, going back and forth, to reach the point where I knew it was the right decision for me. And I’m glad it took so long because before then I wasn't ready. Before then, my motives were wrong.
PSA: Enjoying your workouts and embracing a healthy diet is not a valid reason to become a Personal Trainer. Any current Personal Trainers will nod and laugh in agreement, because, well, if you know, you know.
You’re no longer number 1.
It’s no longer about your training. It’s no longer about your diet. It’s no longer about you. And if it is, well then you’re a sh*t trainer. Of course you need to practice what you preach, you need to look after yourself and you need to eat well, but your clients are the number one priority. You are no longer number one.
If you think becoming a Personal Trainer will be an easy way to stay in shape you’re having a laugh. Don’t hand in your notice yet. Just because you love working out doesn’t mean you will love training others. Your own training will now have to come second to your clients.
If you like training at a particular hour you’re going to have to get over that pretty quickly. If you want to build a profitable business, you’re going to have to get used to training at odd hours, squeezing in workouts between your clients or God forbid not training at all.
Sometimes you’re going to feel like sh*t.
And guess what? When you do get to work out you’ll probably prefer plucking out your own eyeballs. After waking up at the crack of dawn, and after spending a whole day training others, sometimes the last thing you’ll want to do is actually train yourself.
You’re probably going to have more caffeine in your body than blood.
You’re probably going to be hungry a lot.
You’ll probably never experience the beauty of a lie-in ever again because your body clock will be f*cked for life.
Personal Trainer? Businessman? Social media whore?
Sorry to break it to you but your level 3 isn’t going to teach you how to become a Personal Trainer. The level 3 is simply a tick in the box you need to legally work as Personal Trainer. Knowing what your capillaries do or your origins and insertions isn’t going to pay your bills.
And don’t think for one minute that you’re going to be handed clients. You’re not going to join a gym and be given a client base. No one is going to come up to you and ask for you to be their trainer, not at the beginning anyway. You’re going to have to talk to people. You’re going to have to sell yourself. You’re going to have to hustle. It’s uncomfortable, it’s terrifying, and you’re going to question whether it’s really worth it.
There’s a lot more to consider than those hours you spend training your clients and contrary to popular belief, PT’s don't (or shouldn’t) have tons of free time in the day to do what they please. There’s programming, researching, selling, accounts, marketing, and that’s just a few. Your qualification isn’t going to mean jack sh*t if you can’t handle the rest.
Personal Trainer? Counsellor? Entertainer? Host?
You’re going to be tired. You’re going to be fed up. Sometimes, you’re going to not want to be there but that doesn’t matter, when the session starts, so does your performance. You’re not being paid to talk about how sore you are or how hungry you are. You’re being paid to make someone else feel better. No matter how good your knowledge or how many qualifications you have, you’re not going to make it as a successful trainer unless you can keep your clients entertained.
Performing can be exhausting. And after a full day of ‘performing’ you’re not going to want to talk to anyone. You’re not going to want to see anyone. You’re not going to want to respond to text messages. You’re going to want to eat your dinner and stare at a wall.
Bye Bye Social Life!
You’re no longer working 9-5 you’re working 5-9. Your hours are unsociable. No, but really, really, unsociable. Early mornings, late nights and you might be working weekends too. Remember, your clients are going to have jobs too and you’re likely to be training them in the hours they’re not working.
And, if and when you do manage to have a day off you're probably going to be too tired anyway to ‘have fun’.
It’s not glamorous
Let’s just be clear. You’re not going to be making money in the first few years. You’re not going to be earning a lot when you first start out. A lot of PT’s don’t make it for this very reason. It's labour-intensive. You’re going to laugh at yourself. You’re going to question what the hell you’re doing with your life. Because, a ‘normal’ 9-5 is going to feel a hell of a lot easier.
If you’re thinking about going into Personal Training for the money STOP. Save yourself. 12 months into the job you’ll be so tired you won’t even care about the money. You’ll pray your client cancels on you because you'll just want to sleep.
You’re never really done with education
It shouldn't really ever stop. A good trainer will continue to further their education year after year. A good trainer will make the effort to stay ahead of the game. This takes time and money.
Just because you think Paleo is the dogs bollocks doesn’t mean all your clients are going to be happily eating steak and eggs for breakfast. Just because you can stomach eating 3 chicken breasts a day doesn't mean your vegetarian client is going to do the same. Just because you enjoy bodybuilding doesn't mean every single one of your clients will need to focus on strength and muscle gains. You’re actually going to have to do some research on methods which are different to yours. You’re going to have to be open-minded and flexible.
Is it worth it?
All it takes is one moment.
One moment, one comment, one smile, one text message to make everything I’ve listed above irrelevant. Obsolete. The early mornings, the late nights, the dire social life, the all-day caffeine jitters, 100% worth it, when you notice your client’s progress. Their mental progress, their physical progress, and above all, when your client starts to feel good.
Before you decide whether or not to become a Personal Trainer, ask yourself, "Do I genuinely care about them?" If the answer is yes, then becoming a Personal Trainer might be the dream job for you.
Stay strong, stay sassy & go live yo dream. Ban x
P.S This post is not intended to shatter dreams. Comment below if you have questions (other than those listed)
1. Should I be put off by the competition? No. There’s a lot of people out there trying to make it in Fitness. But there is a lot of sh*t out there too. The industry is booming. There will always be space for good people.
2. How easy is it to get a job after you qualify? Put simply, really easy. You’d have to be a complete moron not to secure a job somewhere. It’s sustaining the job that’s the difficult part.
3. Self-employed VS employed? Either/or. Whilst it may seem daunting being self-employed from day 1 there isn’t much difference. In both cases you still have to be on top of your game. You still have to sell yourself. You still have to develop your own business. You still have to manage your own time effectively. Paying a gym rent may seem extortionate (especially at the beginning) but the chunk your employer is going to take from your session is pretty hefty too. It pretty much works out the same.
4. Location, location, location. This, you do need to be worried about. This is one that came back to bite me in the arse. I joined a newly built innovative gym when I first started, built up a great client base, but the commute into the City every single morning nearly killed me (well it killed my vibe). Make sure your base is close to home. You’re going to be training clients in the early hours and right up until the gym closes. You’re going to be moving back and forth during the day. Save yourself the time, money, energy and sanity.