September 29, 2009

H's Guest Post - Personal Training 101

I have noticed recently that a lot of bloggers are either thinking about pursuing a career in personal training or else they are currently studying for the exam. My wonderful H runs a pretty successful personal training business and was kind enough to share a bit of his story with anyone who would like to know what a career in personal training is like. Please feel free to share this post with anyone you know who may be looking into personal training as a career.

Hello blogland, this is H. Recently, Stace asked me to post about my experiences in the world of personal training and I am more than happy to share what I know with her loyal readers. I was certified with ACE (American Council on Exercise) about five years ago. ACE is one of the top names in the personal training industry and so it was a pretty easy decision for me to go with them. There are plenty of other certifications out there but it is very important to have a certification that holds some weight. The ACE test is difficult and doesn't necessarily cover things that you would use on a daily basis as a personal trainer but id does cover a lot of the science behind exercise which is important to know.

I started my personal training career at a well established gym but I quickly realized that it is hard to make money in this industry when the big man has his hand in your pocket. It is typical for personal trainers to give as much as half of their hourly rate to to the gym they are working with and sometimes it is even more. There are a few perks to working for an established gym such as having your taxes taken care of, liability insurance and existing clients, however, these perks come with a large decrease in your overall salary. I took a huge, courageous step and decided to start my own personal training business. I began to rent space out of a small gym and then went looking for clients. I spent the next year talking to everyone I met about personal training and how I could help them. I slowly began to build my clientele but the process was very stressful and required a lot of patience. I started training people in their homes and also offered a variety of options to fit my client's schedules. One of the most popular aspects of my training is a hard core 15 minute ab session. I started offering these short ab sessions and was booked solid before I knew it. In order to build my business, I had to ask myself what I had to offer that other trainers were not offering. I have worked very hard to have chiseled abs and so this was an area that I felt comfortable in. Creativity in this business is key because you have to grab your client's attention and then keep them excited about coming back for more.

My typical work week is Monday through Friday from 4:30 am to 7:30 pm which is a tough schedule to keep. I usually have a couple of hours each day when I am not booked with a client and I use those hours to get my work out in and work on paperwork, scheduling and other business related responsibilities. I know for a fact that I could not keep this schedule if it wasn't for all of Stacy's support. She works crazy long hours as well and so we are able to make this schedule work but most wives would not want to put up with the early wake up calls and eating dinner after 8:00 pm every night. There is a lot of pressure when you own your own business because there are no sick days and all of the problems and issues are on your shoulders. In addition to all of that, you have to bring it every day, for every client because they will expect you to be a motivator as well as a teacher, friend, drill sergeant, counselor and more. As a personal trainer, you wear many hats!
One of the absolute best parts of being a personal trainer is helping people to transform their lives. Not all of your clients will get results but when they do it is like watching your child graduate. It is awesome to see people change and to feel as if you had an impact on someones life. I have watched my clients lose hundreds of pounds, finish marathons, win competitions, exceed their goals and pursue things that they once only dreamed of. My clients are what make me passionate about my business and they are why I pour my heart and soul into being the best trainer I possibly can be. You must have a passion for this trade and compassion for the people you are working with.

Good luck to all of you guys who are considering a career in training. Let me know if you have any questions. I'm out!


  1. Great post! Thanks for giving us an insider's view. It's giving me a lot to consider in my career choices.

    I'd love some ab tips!

  2. Thank you thank you thank you! I am taking my ACE exam on October 10 and I'm a little nervous. But I'm currently training 2 clients, and it is cementing my resolve this is the right path for me. I love watching them increase in strength, and one client lost 6 lbs since we started...the look on her face was worth it! I decided to do this because of an awesome trainer I worked with..she was such an inspiration, I hope I can be that for others. Thanks for all the insight..this was a very helpful post!!
    Adventures in Tri-ing

  3. Keep pushing towards your dreams,soon they willbe in grasp & they will be a reality.then it's time for another dream this will cyle & the beauty will continue on & on.Never doubt youirself & if you don't succeed then it is not a failure,it's a new oportunity for never know unless you tri.So reach for the stars & encourage your clients to do the same.Stace was one of my dreams (Proof they do come true) So DREAM ON......

  4. great post! it sounds like you are an awesome trainer--want a long-distance client? haha. Never realized everything that goes in (the hours, getting screwed by a gym...), mad props!

  5. Wow! Great post. It was great to hear about all the hard work that goes into it. You and Stacey seem like a great pair who work so well together. Thanks for the look into your lives. Amy

  6. Amazing post! I enjoyed it and have been wondering about your hard working. Thanks a lot.