Diary of a Personal Trainer
In most cases, every 8 weeks produces another batch of aspiring and enthusiastic personal trainers across the world.
This career path that once was regarded as somewhat of a fantasy is now highly saturated and extremely competitive.
It can be a very rewarding and lucrative industry to work in for those that work hard and commit to their long term goals. Unfortunately for many, it is a very real struggle and on many occasions, the struggles cause them to reassess their career ambitions.
As a current working personal trainer, I have experienced the highs and lows of this industry. Having spent over 13 years in construction, it was a massive risk to commit to a full-time career as a personal trainer. I went from earning a good consistent wage to what could only be described as initial “dribs and drabs” of payments from clients.
The early days are often the hardest and one thing that they don’t teach you in your courses is that you may go weeks without a single client, or a paying one at that. These are the hardest of times to stay motivated - and motivation is key in this industry.
I am fortunate enough now to have a number of regular and loyal clients who have embraced the culture I am building and the style of training I provide, but it wasn’t always like that. When I made the jump from construction to fitness I didn’t have a backup plan; it was all or nothing and I honestly thought it would be easier than it was. It took couple of weeks before I picked up my first paying client. I committed to this client and gave quality service each and every session, and sometimes even beyond the session to ensure they received value for money and kept coming back.
However, one paying client does not pay the bills and before too long, motivation was a struggle. Knowing I had a family to support and overheads to cover, the small amount of money I was earning was not covering anywhere near what I needed it too.
I had to ensure I remained motivated and committed to my new career and with the support of the gym I was working in and my family I continued to provide great service to the clients I had.
Every day I would turn up to the gym committed to my role. Not only would I train the clients I had scheduled, but I would ensure I was a presence that people could approach and talk too. I wanted gym members to know who I was by name and by training style. I would often spend time on the gym floor cleaning, putting back equipment and even training myself. The more I was seen the more I became familiar to the members and the more approachable I became.
Through strategic marketing and referrals, another client would come along, then another, and then another, and before long my income had increased as had my client base which, in turn, spurred me on to keep going and building my business.
The Challenges and the Payoff
Each day would present new challenges, and with the common inconsistency of this type of income, budgeting and maintaining a cash flow was imperative.
School holidays would then come along and many of my clients, whom are parents, would go on holidays; this would impact that week’s cash flow dramatically. Yet, I continued to push forward even through these obstacles creating group events, specials, a Facebook forum and a newsletter.
I found that constant communication and content was a great motivator. I wanted to ensure that all clients were kept informed of updates and changes but also hints, tips and advice for each of their fitness journeys.
I wanted to provide a secure environment for them all to ask questions without feeling intimidated. This approach proved to be very successful.
From success in the gym, I also built a small boot camp, developed successful Fitness Adventures around the local area and built the foundations of a strong 6-week online challenge.
I have since become a fitness teacher as well, educating the next breed of personal trainers entering the industry and thus passing on my own experiences, knowledge and education.
While I still have improvements to make regarding my own branding and market placement and how I deliver my services, in my mind success is still pending. I have room for new clients but I am now fortunate to be a little bit more selective, meaning I am open to helping anyone but only for those that want the help.
The success and failures of a personal trainer all depend on each individual and how committed they are to stand apart and build their business based on their own goals and beliefs. It is not easy and will only get harder with the influx of new trainers to the marketplace each couple of months; however, if you truly believe in what you are doing and want to help others. then success will come.