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How to be a successful Personal Trainer (Part 1)

February 24, 2020
3 minute read

The Fitness Industry is quite unique in that the career pathway usually looks something like this

Student completes a 3 month course in Fitness which teaches them just enough to get started in the industry.

The student is then left on their own to run a successful fitness business.

No other industry in the world works like this.

Me personally, my background is in Exercise Physiology.

To become an Exercise Physiologist I had to;

  1. Complete a 4 year degree in Exercise Science
  2. Complete 500 hours of work placement under the supervision of an Exercise Physiologist

And at the end of that, I wasn't expected to know how to run a business. That was just enough to get my foot in the door working for someone else.

And that's not just me. My best friend was a mechanic. He had to do something like a 4 year apprenticeship. Which consisted of full time work / study load.

I remember doing the Math with him and we worked out he would have been more money working at McDonalds.

So in any other industry it's a given that you're going to need 3-4 years of experience (both working AND studying) before you start earning a decent income from it.

So that's the first thing you need if you want to be a successful trainer.

Accept that for the next 3-4 years, You need to be doing two things;

  1. Working for experience
  2. Completing Continuing Education Courses (CECs)

Don't even think about it, Just accept it!

Think of it as your apprenticeship.

Now there's obviously things you can do to speed up the process

Experience: Work as much as you can early on! This is going to be different for everyone.. But let's simplify it

Trainer A and Trainer B both finish their Certificate III and IV in Fitness at the same time.

To gain experience.

Trainer A keeps their full time job and trains 2-3 clients a week after hours

Trainer B quits their full time job and gets a job working on a gym floor for significantly less than their old job.

After 12 months, Trainer B is going to be in a WAY better position than Trainer A!

Trainer B has completed over 2000 hours in the Fitness Industry.

Trainer A has completed 100 hours, maybe 150 hours.

Yeah, Trainer B had to take a bit of a pay cut.

But moving forwards, Trainer B is going to have a successful career in the fitness industry because they did their apprenticeship.

Trainer A will never be successful in the Fitness Industry. They'll always just be training 2 or 3 clients on the side and think there's no money in the Fitness Industry.

Upskill as quick as you can!

The current Fitness Australia requirement is to complete 20CECs every 2 years.

Trainer A and Trainer B both finish their Certificate III and IV in Fitness at the same time.

Two years later

Trainer A had completed their 20CECs. They did a 1 x Kettlebell CEC course (10CECs) and 1 x Bootcamp CEC course (10CECs).

Trainer B had completed 40CECs. They did 1 x Kettlebell CEC course (10CECs), 1 x Bootcamp CEC course (10CECs), 2 x Business CEC courses (20CECs).

Trainer B is going to be 100 times more successful than Trainer A

Yes, Trainer B may have had to invest a few hundred dollars into a few extra courses but they are going to make it back pretty quickly because they are going to be running a successful fitness business!

Trainer A, may have saved a few dollars by not investing in extra courses but really they're probably the ones losing because if they had just invested in those few extra courses, they would be doing a lot better financially!

Anyways, to summarise, If you've just started in the industry.. Do these two things for the next 3-4 years.

  1. Get experience
  2. Upskill

The above blog is obviously a simplified version!

My recommendation join the Fitness Education Online Facebook Group to learn more!

Blue Side BG

Fitness Education Online are one of the leading providers in the world when it comes to the professional development of Personal Trainers. We have over 30 registered AUSactive CEC courses.  Click here to check them out!


About The Author: Jono Petrohilos
Online Course Creator I 2020 Fitness Australia Educator of the Year

Jono is the co-founder and director at Fitness Education Online. Fitness Education Online is one of the leading providers in the world when it comes to delivering online education to Fitness Professionals, providing over 30 registered CEC courses.

Fitness Education Online is also the admins of the largest Facebook Group in Australia / New Zealand for Fitness Professionals (Fitness Education Online Community Facebook Group).

Jono is also a qualified Exercise Physiologist, best selling author (The Bootcamp Blueprint), and the host of the successful podcast “Fitness Education Online Podcast”.

Jono is the current 2020 Fitness Educator of the Year (awarded by Fitness Australia)

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