A career in personal training can be extremely rewarding and lucrative if you enjoy working with people and having the freedom to choose your own working hours but like many other careers, it can be tough at times and you need to know what to expect and what routes are available. You have submitted your case studies and passed your qualification, what happens next?
A day in the life of a gym-based personal trainer
For a number of reasons, you might decide, particularly when starting out, that you want to become a gym based personal trainer. This route might offer a certain level of security or perhaps familiarity to you, which is absolutely fine.
Your day may be spent with a number of clients with differing needs that have requested personal training sessions, been recommended to you, or taken advantage of a free session that you are offering, in the hope that they will book a course with you. You have a wealth of equipment and space at your fingertips as well as colleagues around you who can offer advice, if you come across something you aren't completely sure about. Your clients might be spread out throughout the day, in which case, you might find you have time for a work out yourself in the gym while you wait. There is always the opportunity to gain new clients though, by walking around and chatting to other members in a friendly, open and helpful manner. They might value your opinion but have always been too nervous to ask for personal training before now.
Of course, a gym based personal trainer does not have the luxury of setting his or her rate generally as you will probably be subject to the gym’s own charging policy or in some gym’s will have to pay a rental fee for your using their own equipment, in which case you won’t be able to keep all that you earn.
A day in the life of a self–employed personal trainer
Perhaps you now feel confident enough to go it alone or straight from the off, you have that entrepreneurial spirit which makes you want to be a self-employed personal trainer.
First things first, you need some clients. You might find yourself handing out flyers at train stations or posting others through doors. No doubt you have listed yourself on REPs and other websites that charge subscriptions to carry personal trainer details. There may also have been opportunities to get your advertisement into some local doctors’ surgeries. Your flyer would most likely offer an initial health check for free in order for your potential client to feel comfortable with you first. Once you have a client base, however small, word of mouth is a great advertiser to get more clients!
So, now you have some clients you need to establish how and where you are going to train them. If they want to be trained at home, you will need equipment. You don’t need to break the bank buying an excessive amount to start with, you can improvise and exercise bands are particularly versatile. You will also need to prepare for training outside and adapt accordingly; tree stumps can be a great substitute for a step for example and a bench can be used for tricep dips. Be creative! If a client would rather train in a gym, you will need to establish an arrangement with a local facility whereby they will allow you and your client to use the equipment without it eating into your hourly rate too much.
Sometimes clients call you at the last minute and say they cannot make the session, in which case you have to be strict and enforce a cancellation fee. At the beginning, this is hard but it establishes a level of professionalism from your side, it’s not as though you could have trained anyone else given that amount of notice so you still deserve to get paid.
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