“Why should I become a personal trainer?”
Becoming a personal trainer is an exciting and rewarding career. I worked in the City of London for nearly ten years as a PT, and in this article, I am going to explain just a few of the reasons why I became a personal trainer.
So, if you are wondering what makes people decide to start working in this role, by the end of reading this post you should have a pretty good idea of why they do it.
It may even convince you to give it a go yourself!
Man, I loved being a personal trainer!
I only stopped it due to an illness that I had, but I can guarantee you that I would be writing this article sitting in a gym café in between clients if I hadn’t needed to leave the industry.
Today I’m going to go through some of the main reasons why to become a personal trainer, and why I loved it so much!
Why Did You became a personal trainer?
Well, let me outline some of the main reasons I decided to become a PT.
- I loved the atmosphere in gyms
- I loved teaching my friends about fitness
- I’m a “people” person
- I wanted to make a decent income
- I wanted to be my own boss
- I wanted to make a difference
- I got paid to train!
- I was around “like-minded” people
- I could eat tons of food and not get fat!
- I got to be an expert!
- Is being a personal trainer rewarding?
1. I loved the atmosphere in gyms
It’s really difficult to ever feel down or lethargic if you are walking around a gym.
It’s full of energetic, lively people with loud energizing music, the whole place is about high energy levels!
I’d worked in offices and even a call center (it wasn’t as bad as you’d think), and I quickly found that an office-based environment just wasn’t for me. There was too much grey and too much cheap green carpet.
I get bored really easily, so sitting at a desk waiting for a phone to ring or staring at a spreadsheet wasn’t ever going to keep me entertained. In a gym, if you feel a little bored or like you’re starting to feel a bit tired, you can go and do some pull-ups or sprint on a treadmill, that’ll wake you up!
I think working in a place where everyone is full of boundless energy and shouting at the top of their lungs is probably a lot of people’s worst nightmare, but I knew I’d love it, and I wasn’t wrong.
2. I loved teaching my friends about fitness
Once my friends had learned that I was teaching myself about exercise and nutrition and that I had even been on a few courses, I started to get loads of requests to help them with their own fitness.
I was lucky enough to have a gym in my parent’s garden shed, so I would invite my friends over to give them training sessions. I didn’t charge them, it was more a way for me to help my friends and get a bit of experience at the same time, which worked really well.
Soon enough I had regular training sessions booked in with both friends and family, which was great because I learned loads about how to train people effectively and how to fill in the awkward 1-minute gaps between sets with small talk.
The more excited about exercise my friends got, the more excited I got, and I wanted to make sure I could teach them as much as possible. After only a few weeks of regular sessions, my “clients” started seeing some great results from the training sessions.
Seeing how happy they were with what they had achieved and how much they appreciated what I had done for them was a clear signal to me that I should be doing this as a profession.
3. I’m a “people” person
You know those people that say they can’t stand having to make small talk and have conversations with people? Well, I’m really not like those guys.
One reason why I liked being a personal trainer, was that I always loved finding out about peoples’ lives and understanding more about them as a person. I knew from the training sessions with my friends that those breaks between sets were the perfect time to ask questions where you can really get to know a person.
I ended up finding out more about my friends during our 1-hour sessions than I had for our entire friendship. It’s amazing what people will tell you to fill a single minute’s worth of rest period.
The real reason this is so important to me is that as a trainer, you are far more than just someone that explains how to do an exercise correctly and how much mashed potato they are allowed to eat a week. As a trainer, you get to really know someone deep down and learn all about their history. The trust that you establish between yourself and your clients was one of the main things I loved about being a trainer and helped me realize I could do this day in day out as a job.
4. I wanted to make a decent income
I knew that working in a job where I am given a salary of £23,000 a year, would be fine, but what if I wanted to make more? What if I wanted to go on an expensive holiday or buy a new TV or car?
In a regular 9-5 job where I am employed by a company, I will have to work really hard, hope I get noticed, and essentially beg for more money if I want to try to get a pay rise.
Instead, I knew that if I worked as a self-employed trainer in the city, I could easily charge £50-60 per hour for my sessions and if I needed to make more, I could just take on more clients and complete more weekly sessions.
I’m not one for begging, and I really need to feel like I am in control of my life, so for me to be able to take complete control over my financial situation and choose how hard I needed to work was a huge benefit to me.
I am not sure I would feel as confident being self-employed in any other role, but I had a passion for exercise, a lot of knowledge, and a whole lot of enthusiasm!
I knew I could make it work as a career!
5. I wanted to be my own boss
You can probably tell from my way of thinking that answering to a boss and being told what to do all day wasn’t really going to work for me.
I wanted a job where I could decide what time I needed to wake up and what time I would be getting home each night. This is rare in the regular 9-5 world, in fact, it probably hardly exists at all, but with personal training, you are your own boss, it’s your business and you can do pretty much whatever you want.
Now, some people much prefer to be able to go to work, know what they need to do each day, and be happy with that, that’s fine, but I needed a little unpredictability in my life. If I decided that I no longer wanted to work Fridays, I could just decide that, there and then ( and I did, I didn’t work a single Friday for a whole year, and it was glorious).
The tricky part with this comes that you also need to make sure you are covering all your bills and that you remember to actually take holidays once in a while. You’d be surprised how easy it is to forget to do that when you are booking in clients week after week.
6. I wanted to make a difference
Easily the most cliché thing you are going to hear in this post is me saying that I wanted to become a PT so that I could “make a difference“.
It’s true though, I had worked in insurance where nothing you do makes any difference (as far as you can see as an employee), I had worked in a school as a cleaner (oh the glamour) and I had worked in a garden center. Nothing I had done made even the slightest bit of difference to anyone’s lives unless my customers were particularly moved by the conifer tree I had sold them.
I wanted to have a job where I made a direct and powerful difference to a persons’ happiness, and in personal training, I knew I could do that.
Trust me, when you have a client that starts their journey with you wanting to lose weight, and after six months of training with you they are down to their perfect size, you cannot help but feel just as pleased as they do.
You are not just filling boxes with numbers on a spreadsheet each day and then going home (not that there’s anything wrong with that), you are literally changing a person’s life.
That’s a pretty big deal, definitely something I knew I would be proud to do for a living.
7. I got paid to train!
If you really enjoy going to a gym as I do, the only thing better would be to be able to get paid to be there.
And yes, I will admit that training your clients isn’t quite the same as trying to get your deadlift PB, but still, I was exercising with my clients a lot of the time, so I considered myself to be getting paid to train and hang out with my friends all day (your clients quickly become your friends once you’ve got to know them).
There are relatively few careers that I can think of where you get to directly benefit at the same time as your client.
The reason it feels so good to get paid to do this job is that it really doesn’t feel like a job at all. As I said, all my clients ended up being my friends.
I was getting paid to train my friends!
8. I was around “like-minded” people
When you work a standard 9-5 job, you meet people from all walks of life with lots of different values and opinions. Now, this is actually a fantastic thing, because working with a diverse group of people can make a workplace far more interesting, and actually teaches you a lot about how different people think too.
However, one of the benefits of working with like-minded people is that you can learn so much from each other.
Reading books, blogs, and industry magazines is great of course, but if you hang around with people who are into the same things as you (in this case fitness) they will tell you all sorts of things that they have researched and discovered that you would never even think to look into yourself.
The speed of your learning is ridiculous when you are around people like this, and it doesn’t stop with learning. If you are lacking in confidence when just starting, or are looking for tips on how to get your conversion rates up to pick up more clients, I guarantee the people around you will be able to help.
They will have had the same issues you are currently going through and will more than likely be very happy to help you out. It’s a very healthy environment to be in for both new and seasoned trainers.
9. I could eat tons of food and not get fat!
I’m a massive, MASSIVE foodie!
I love cooking and more importantly, I love eating, and curries are my thing, the richer the better. I also discovered that putting butter in pretty much any food makes it ten to fifteen times more delicious, however, you sure do pack on the pounds eating like this if you’re sitting down all day.
I’m not saying that I ate like this every day when I was training people, if I did I would still end up getting pretty chunky, but the point was that you are doing so much exercise from constantly walking and demonstrating exercise that you really don’t put on a lot of weight. It really helps if you are dieting because you don’t feel nearly as guilty for having a cheat meal once in a while.
In fact, when I was trying to put weight on, I had to account for the number of steps I was doing all day, otherwise, it would be impossible for me to gain any muscle.
10. I got to be an expert!
I’m a complete perfectionist, and that’s something people usually say when they are asked what their biggest weakness is when they are in an interview, but in my case, it’s really true.
If I feel like I don’t know everything there is to know about a subject, I feel as if I know nothing!
Being surrounded by nothing but fitness and exercise discussions all day helped me learn a lot of new information, and when I got home I would research what I had been discussing so I could learn even more. In a very short period of time, I knew far more about the topics than most trainers in my area, so I quickly became an expert.
This helped my confidence because having the knowledge that you could answer the vast majority of questions coming your way from members without any prior notice makes you not only sound like an expert but really feel like one too.
I think most people get a little bit of “imposter syndrome” when they first start a career, you might feel a bit silly or a bit of a fraud for not knowing an answer to a question when your client is paying you to be their exercise mentor, but you can’t know everything, so don’t worry about this.
All traces of imposter syndrome will quickly fade away once you have had a few weeks of training and discussion with other trainers. You’ll quickly become an expert and most things related to exercise, and if you niche down into a specific training style, it’ll happen even faster!
Is being a personal trainer rewarding?
Oh yeah, it really is.
I can assure you that all the long days and early starts combined with months of uncertain income are totally worthwhile once things start to settle down and you get yourself a solid client base.
There are very few jobs where you get to make a direct impact on people’s lives, not only physically but psychologically too. Whilst working as a PT or coach, you aren’t just showing people how to exercise, you’re also being an agony aunt and helping them with major problems in their life.
Seeing a client who stared off several stones overweight and miserable earning the body they deserve and becoming more happy and confident along the way is just about as rewarding a career as you can get.
In an office environment, you can work and work, putting out important reports and never really seeing the difference any of it makes to the company as it all goes to the higher-ups. When working as a trainer, you are in charge of all your company, you are the CEO and so you get to see all the progress your clients make as a direct result of your training and teaching.
It’s really fantastic!
These were just ten of the reasons that I decided that personal training was the right career for me. I am sure if you asked ten people, you’d get ten different answers, but being able to be your own boss, deciding how much you get paid and how often you take holidays are pretty positive points that I think most people would agree were big deciding factors on them starting the career.
Don’t get me wrong, being a personal trainer is in no way shape, or form an “easy” job, but that didn’t stop it from being one of the most fun ones I’ve ever had.
If you’re thinking of starting a career in the biz, maybe give it a try and see how you like it. I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Go get ’em!
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