By: Jonathan FitPro
Hey everyone, in this article I’ll give you everything you need to become a personal trainer. You may love the gym and working yourself out, but if you want long-term success, you have to get the right education and experience.Let’s talk about how to get what you need.
Step #1: Get Certified
The number one question I get revolves around education. Here in the United States, it’s both a blessing and a curse that the barrier to entry is low for personal training. On a positive note, it gives you an opportunity to throw yourself into an industry without debt from college courses. On the negative side, there are tons of certifications aren’t worth getting.
You don’t need to major in exercise science to become a personal trainer, the education is valuable, but isn’t necessary. If I could’ve done things differently, I would’ve majored in education and taken a few business courses. An education degree can get you into the school system so you can teach gym class or coach. A personal training certification is something you can study for and try to attain over the summer if you’re a college student. If you’re working full time, there’s no need to quit your job, you just need to dedicate an extra hour per day to learning the material provided in your self-study packets.
There are a lot of certifications out there and a good rule of thumb is to go with a certification that is NCCA certified but if I had to recommend on certification to any looking to become a personal trainer. It would be NASM.
NASM – National Academy of Sports Medicine
• Unlike most personal training certifications that require you to pay hundreds of dollars at once to start your journey, this offers a great payment plan
• Probably the most recognized certification in the US gym scene
• Offers an OPT model that is really easy to implement when you’re training your first clients
• The exam is totally passable if you know how to study the material correctly. For my NASM CPT review watch this video.
Step #2: Get experience
You need to work with as many people as possible and no other scenario gives you that opportunity as readily as working in a big box gym. If you haven’t been training for at the very least a full year, you’re not ready to start your own business. You will benefit from working with more experienced trainers around you. There’s a lot more than knowing exercises and programming in personal training. You have to be very good with people, which is why I suggest you take step 3 very seriously.
Once you get your job at a gym, make sure to read this article on how to dominate sales in your gym.
Step #3 Get good with people!
Personal training requires you to be a good salesman. The only reason it doesn’t suck as much as working at the Gap, or the bank is that you’re selling something you actually believe.
There’s one resource I’m going to point you toward and that’s Zig Ziglar. If you haven’t heard about him, he is an excellent public speaker and has sold millions of copies of books and audiobooks on personal success and selling. You don’t have to manipulate people to sell them a product or service, you just have to know how to properly transfer your energy. I would highly, highly recommend his audiobook on selling. I put it on in my car and it was some of the most valuable education I ever received. I’m positive it will help you.
You’re also going have to learn to be VERY patient with people. You’re going to have to figure out a way to get clients work as hard as they can while in session, and to eat healthily even though you’re not there watching. It’s a very delicate balance of being tough and being loving when you’re a personal trainer and constant yelling will only work a small percentage of the population out there.
My advice would be to invest in some quality books on how to deal with people. Two of the best development books you can read are How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie and the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. (I personally suggest the CD) Read them from front to back, over and over. May people wonder why so much of this blog is dedicated to dealing with clients on a personal levels, 6 months into the industry you’ll understand why.
So I’ve given you what you need to get started, check out the certifications and definitely get those books. And if you have any questions, comment below! Also make sure to sign up for my newsletter so you don’t miss out on my free course on how to sell personal training! I have hundreds of hours of information on life as a personal trainer on my youtube channel, for more info click on this video: