by Tyler Valencia, MS
In part one of this blog, we highlighted some standard items that will benefit any entry-level personal trainer. Getting your first certification is a major accomplishment when entering the health & fitness industry. And, acquiring a personal training position can be the start of a very fruitful career. It’s important to remember that getting your first personal training certification is just the start. Seeking further education is part of the job, and constantly looking to improve your craft is what makes you a skilled professional. The health & fitness industry is full of individuals with minimal qualifications, and attaining new qualifications betters the industry while making your more marketable.
In this blog post, we will continue to focus on items that will help you start your first personal training position on the right note. Each gym has slightly different sets of rules, and it’s important remember to educate yourself on the policies and procedures.
1. Do I need to get another certification to get hired?
As stated in part one, education is important, but when starting your first personal training position you will most likely not need another certification. Does it help? It sure does, but learning the essentials of being a personal trainer (setting up your training session, how to sell your training, creating leads, gym etiquette, etc.) will help get you started faster.
An added perk is that some gyms will help pay for additional certifications, and even have programs in place that help you get paid more for acquiring more education. Most commercial gyms understand that investing in education for their trainers helps them market their staff, and also provides them with a more qualified staff. In the meantime, waiting to get your next certification can keep your bank account a little higher while you are building your client list.
2. Create your network early.
Knowing more people in the gym is never a bad thing. When members are looking for a personal trainer they will often ask their favorite employee, the front desk staff or even the group exercise instructors from their favorite class. An easy way to create your network in a new gym is to introduce yourself to everyone. If you see someone wearing the same work attire, introduce yourself. It takes minimal time and can pay off tremendously.
It’s important to note that introducing yourself is not limited to fellow trainers and the front desk staff. Don’t forget the cleaning staff, kid’s club staff, restaurant or smoothie bar staff, and all the other jobs inside the gym. All these people will have day-to-day interactions with members and one recommendation is all you need. If you were to get one recommendation from each of the different positions within the gym you could easily have a full training schedule.
3. Being a contractor is not a negative.
If you’re just starting in the industry, you might not know what an independent contractor is but this employment status is not a negative. Being a contractor for a gym or studio means that you are not an employee, and therefore the way you are legally treated by the gym and how you sell personal training will vary. As a contractor you are typically paying a percentage of your personal training session rate to the gym, and are essentially a small business within a gym. Some contractors run their own personal training business and use one or several gyms to train their clients.
With this employment status you can often write off more when tax time comes along, and create your own pricing.
4. Your manager is your best asset.
When you start at your first position, there’s no other person in the gym who wants you to succeed more than your manager. If you succeed as a personal trainer, they will look great to upper management. Visiting with your manager every time you’re at the gym will show them that you’re dedicated to growing your client list, and make them want to give you more clients.
You do not want to appear inaccessible or occupied with other items that cause your manager to turn to other trainers. Often during the hiring process the interviewers will want to know that your schedule is open to fill with new clients during peak hours. As stated in part one, this is not a 9-5 job. The majority of clients train before work and after work.
5. Buy more gym attire.
Buy more clothes? Yes.
Typical gym attire is typically the same as your required work attire. Starting at your new job there is typically a required color of shorts/pants, and if you only have 2-3 options in your wardrobe then you will either be doing laundry more frequently or getting on the bad side of your manager. Investing in some clothes that are work dedicated can keep you looking professional, and keep you out of a bind.
As mentioned in the introduction, there are always exceptions to the situation and each gym has slightly different ways of doing things. Bring an attitude that shows you are willing to learn and is professional to your new colleagues. You do not want to be the new trainer on staff that acts like a know-it-all, and gets a bad reputation from other trainers. This blog post emphasizes utilizing the staff at your new facility because they all have different perspectives and the ability to help you grow your client list. Use these tips and let us know if you have more to share!
Tyler Valencia is the President of KIPS. While working for a Southern California online education company he started his first business, Time 2 Train Fitness which specialized in bootcamp and personal training. Time 2 Train Fitness went on to receive the distinction of 3X Best Bootcamp and 2X Best Personal Trainer with the Long Beach Press Telegram. Before founding KIPS, Tyler was the Vice President of the National Council for Certified Personal Trainers (NCCPT) & Smart Fitness.