Personal training

Should I Switch my Career to Personal Training if I Have a Passion for Health and Fitness?

By Joe Talarico on Feb 5, 2021 11:35:00 AM
4 Minutes Reading Time


The health and fitness industry, especially now with Instagram, can sometimes come off as one of those easily lucrative businesses. A lot of people think just because they workout, maybe had some of their own success, that they could crush it as a personal trainer. The reality is there’s a little more nuance to it than most people thinking,

What Personal Training Requires

I have other articles going into the details of how to become a trainer, and what to do to be the best trainer, so for the scope of this article I’m going to focus more on the general day to day aspects if you are someone that has recently come into this interest and wanting to know more. 

Personal training is NOT for people who are in it just for the money and the “flexible hours”. I can tell you right now the hours aren’t that flexible (if you truly plan on building a successful business). You will spend a LOT of hours upfront learning how to build up your clientele, and getting them to stick with you past their initial introductory sessions. You have to provide enough value to provide them with results, but also the personality that allows them to envision sticking with you for at least a year.

Another thing to note is it is exhausting. A typical 9-5 job you are working by yourself for most of the time. When you are a fully booked trainer, you are spending every hour having to be ON with each client. You can’t be in a sluggish mood as each hour passes and a new client comes in. This can be hard, because you will have difficult clients. Clients who had a bad day themselves, clients who LOVE to talk the entire time, clients who complain the entire time, etc. You need the ability to adapt to every personality at any given hour.

They say 30 hours is considered a full work week for a trainer. That’s how much energy it takes to be on all the time. Your schedule is always changing with cancellations and rescheduling. Most trainers work an early morning block and then a later afternoon block as people get off from work. So you may be driving to and from clients houses a lot, all over town, or going back and forth to the same gym. 

Enjoying The Behavioral Component of Working With People

The number one thing I would say is that you need to have a deep love for helping people. I find any customer facing industry you enter, above the job itself, you have to enjoy spending time around people. That may sound obvious, but I think when it comes to personal training, beginners think all their clients are just going to respond and listen right away to what you tell them to do. The sad truth is more often than not, your client’s won’t follow most of your directions. Keep that in mind. Do you have the temperament to deal with constantly keeping them motivated? 

A typical session more than anything else is like a therapy session. I’ve had clients tell me some of their deepest secrets, and issues going on in their lives. I didn’t mind it, because I loved interacting with people and being a mini psychologist while also providing them with the workout they’re paying for.

What Would You Do If You Didn’t Need to Work

I’ve found in life in general, when you put it out there that you take on a job because you so desperately NEED it, it never works out long term. So much pressure gets put on that job. In personal training, that’s a bad sign because it will show against your clients. They need to know you are there to help them reach their goals, not hit a monthly quota to make your paycheck. 

Instead think of it as a WANT. I WANT to be a personal trainer because I love being around people and helping them shift their lives. I found myself spending all my off time, continually still reading up on the latest research, listening to podcasts, and texting my clients on updates and checking in on them.

Try This: The real question you should be asking yourself is - If I wasn’t getting paid, would I still be interested in becoming a personal trainer? If your answer to that is still yes, then I would recommend exploring it further. If it’s a no, then maybe dig deeper as to why it is you think you want to become one.

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Joe Talarico

Joe is a certified Precision Nutrition and strength & conditioning coach. He assisted the UCLA Women’s Tennis team in winning their 2014 NCAA Championship Title, as well as study under the great strength coaches at Pepperdine University. He was a collegiate rower at the University of Rhode Island (where he got his Kinesiology degree) as well as an amateur physique competitor. He is currently the master trainer at Upgrade Labs in Santa Monica where he is combining his years of training clients in the gym with newer technology to optimize their performance and recovery. He also cohosts The RelationSH*T Show Podcast with his fiancée where they discuss all relationship topics unfiltered from who pays on dates, to open relationships.

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