Starting My Fitness Career

Starting My Fitness Career

Find your niche as you start your career!

Starting my FITNESS CAREER as a rookie trainer. After 20 years as a health and exercise professional, I look back on my early years and sometimes marvel at how I made it. In an effort to help you arrive at a more comfortable place in your fitness career more quickly, here are three things I wish I’d known at the beginning of my Personnel training career.

1. Selling is not such a big deal

One of the hardest parts about being a rookie trainer is getting comfortable selling yourself. Although the industry has changed since I first put myself out there, the principal factors still apply. “Can you control the price of the training? No. Stop putting your discomfort on others and give the price and allow them to decide for themselves if it is too high. All we can do is offer the best service and increase our value.” What helped me with getting over the idea of selling my services was to notice how willing people are to pay a premium for something once they want it badly enough. The key for me was to switch from an inner feeling of apologetically asking to set up training sessions to one of developing a higher perceived value before even asking for the sale. This simple shift took most prospective clients to the point of “Where do I sign up?” Getting them excited about the journey made the difference. Rather than focusing on “what” the training would do for them, I would find out “why” it mattered for them and then speak to that in discussing the value of practice, and thus leading to establishing my fitness career.

2. Social Contagion Theory

When leading change, we have to examine the social, familial, and professional networks with which our clients interact. In 2007, researchers found that people were up to 57% more likely to become obese if a friend or family member also became obese during a specific period. It’s a bit like peer pressure, but more insidious since the influence is passive rather than active. And the closer our relationship is to an individual, the stronger the impact of his or her behaviors on ours. At the beginning of starting my fitness career, I didn’t investigate the support network at home, the office environment (e.g., availability of junk foods) and what types of activities clients shared with their friends (e.g., hiking vs. drinking). These are all tremendously influential factors in behavior change, and we need to investigate them with clients to help them take steps to overcome challenging circumstances.

3. Fitness isn’t just about the workout or the instructor.

Without a marketing plan, a place to do business and someone keeping the area clean, we can’t have fitness success. As the health and exercise professional, you are the focal point during a class or training session, but all of the other aspects of the experience that clients have in the business matter as well. As Steve Weinberg, creator of Speedball Fitness says, “I wish I had understood the politics behind the fitness industry earlier on. If I knew all the fitness dynamics at the beginning of my career, this would’ve made many things much easier in my progression as a professional fitness trainer aspiring to establish starting a fitness career. As you start your new career, You should find out exactly where you fit. Within the industry, you will find personal trainers and exercise scientists, and then there are the talent-based performers and class commanders.” In other words, it will take more than highly qualified health and exercise professional to deliver an exceptional and practical experience for the client, so make sure you’re familiar with all aspects of the industry. I found that being a constant professional and having my unique style made it possible for me to grow and advance within the industry at a pace I was comfortable with and most importantly gave me the confidence to acquire clients that I still have today. Most importantly, their referrals have been the backbone for my success.

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