An individual who is passionate about personal fitness and helping others will find that a position as a personal trainer can be incredibly rewarding. In order to do this, you need to look at how to become a personal trainer. The truth is that most professional gyms will not hire you to fill this position if you don’t have the education and certification that this role requires. So if you want to find out how to work in fitness industry, then you need to go through a few essential steps.
Decide On the Right Certification for Your Chosen Career Path
As you look at how to become a personal trainer, you’ll note that certifications are essential. While some only require you have a high school diploma, or a GED, others may require you take some college coursework to obtain them.
Different gyms will also require you to obtain different certifications. That means in order to work at one gym, you might need one certification, while another may require a certification. Most professional gyms recognize the five main certifying bodies in the United States. They are:
- Association Curacao Fitness – ACF (the only one that provides online courses)
- International Sports Sciences Association – ISSA
- American Council on Exercise – ACE
- American College of Sports Medicine – ACSM
- National Strength and Conditioning Association – NSCA
- National Academy of Sports Medicine – NASM
Each program they offer is essential to consider when you are exploring just how to work in fitness industry. Since the goal is to become a personal trainer, you may want to consider checking with several gyms you’d be interested in working in and determine if there are any certifications that will work for each of them.
Determine Your Area of Expertise
As you continue to explore how to become a personal trainer, it is critical that you go beyond just a generic title. Yes, you can be a “personal trainer” but clients will want to work with a person who has an area of expertise that appeals to them. This means if you want to succeed in the fitness industry, you need to explore how you can take things to the next level. One of the best ways to do that is to find an area of expertise that excites you.
Some of the options you have for this include:
- Core/Balance Training
- Fitness for Beginners
- General Health and Fitness
- Olympic Lifting
- Weight Loss
Of course, there are other areas you can also consider. As you look at how to become a personal trainer, you can consider all these areas and more as part of the process.
Enroll In Your Certification Program
Now that you are ready to take the next step before you learn how to work in fitness industry, you need to actually earn your certification. This is the next logical step as you do learn how to become a personal trainer. Online and at most colleges, you can find a program that will help you to go through the core education process. Typically, there are textbooks, portals, tests, and other essentials you’ll progress through so you have a complete understanding of what will be expected of you.
Once you’ve completed the course, you’ll go through the official testing through the certification agency. They will then award you with your certification. It is important to note that in many areas, you must have a certification to legally work in the fitness industry. This certification ensures you have a basic understanding of personal training so you can safely train your clients and avoid a situation where you can bring them harm.
Find That Dream Gym to Work In
Now that you’ve obtained your certification, you can continue working towards your dream position. The next step in how to become a personal trainer is finding a gym to work with. You will have two main options as you begin and build a client base.
The first is to work for a franchise. Most of the major gyms like 24 Hour Fitness, LA Fitness, Gold’s Gym, and others are hiring for professional personal trainers. They are good place to begin this career, as they will often give you some additional on the job training that you can use before you branch out.
If you are comfortable enough doing it and you have a solid understanding of the process, you can choose to be a personal training contractor. While the commercial gyms will help to connect you with clients who come in and sign up for personal training, an independent venture will require you to find people on your own.
There are people who will tell you that you don’t need insurance. However, it protects you from liability and any of the claims someone can bring against you if they are injured. While the gym will provide liability coverage for their equipment, they will often not include it for you. Most certifying bodies will give you a chance to purchase this insurance from them at a discounted price. It’s a good idea to consult with them and ensure that you have this before you begin your exciting new career.
Keep Active and Up to Date on New Techniques
Once you have your job, it doesn’t mean that you are finished. Make sure you take the time to keep up to date with the latest trends and techniques that come out. While there is nothing wrong with taking a tried and true approach to personal training, some of the new exercise programs can be incredibly useful to your clients.
Finally, make sure you keep up with your own fitness levels. You are more likely to maintain a good reputation with your clients if you look like you belong in the role of a personal trainer. If you are out of shape and are holding a Snicker’s bar, it is unlikely that they will trust your insight into their own personal fitness. As you can see, there is a lot that goes into the process as you learn how to become a personal trainer. But once you’ve managed to get the position of your dreams, the entire journey will be worth it.
Mark Ruben is an expert
personal trainer since
2004. He worked for
several federations and
now is the Head Trainer
at LA Fitness