Working as a fitness trainer is extremely rewarding – just ask anyone who has helped a client lose a significant amount of fat or reach his or her fitness goals. If you would like to know how to become a fitness trainer, the following information is for you.
Seek Personal Fitness Certification
When people ask how to become a fitness trainer, the first step we always recommend is certification. Ideally, any certification course you take will be accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), often considered the “gold standard” for certifying health and fitness programs. Some programs that meet this criteria include:
- The American Council on Exercise (ACE)
- American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
- National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)
- National Exercise and Sports Trainers Association (NESTA)
- National Federation of Professional Trainers (NFPT)
It is important to compare the different programs, as each one offers different benefits. The length of certifications vary, as do the requirements for recertification. All of these things must be considered carefully as it takes more than just initial certification to be a successful fitness trainer.
It’s not enough to just graduate from an approved program – you must also know how to become a fitness trainer once you complete a course. You must first attract clients, which you can do in a number of ways:
- By frequenting gyms and health clubs
- Advertising on community bulletin boards
- Through the use of social media
- Using online personal trainer directories
- Offering a contest, providing the winner with a few free sessions
- Teaching a fitness class at a local church for free to get the word out
You may want to specialize in a particular type of fitness training, in which case you will need to tailor your marketing accordingly. Some specialty areas you may want to consider include:
- Pre or post-natal
- Fitness competitors
- Physically impaired
- Senior citizens
- Diabetic/severely obese
As a fitness trainer, you are actually operating your own business. As such, it is important to become organized. Before you start serving your very first client, you must implement a system for keeping track of appointments, tracking payments and expenses, and following up on leads. The Institute of Personal Trainers recommends writing a business plan, and even provides a template for helping you do so.
You wouldn’t be asking how to become a fitness trainer unless you were also interested in the job outlook. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job outlook for fitness trainers and instructors is expected to grow by around 8% by the year 2024, which is about as fast as average among all occupations. In 2015, the median pay for a fitness trainer was $36,160, which amounted to around $17.39 per hour. The median pay is the number at which half of all workers in that occupation make more and the other half make less.
This information on how to become a fitness trainer should prove very useful if you are considering this career. By becoming a fitness trainer, not only can you help others enjoy better health, but you will also have plenty of motivation for staying in great shape yourself.