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Q and A: How Do I Become a Personal Trainer/Fitness Instructor?

Posted Feb 02 2009 10:53pm

Married To The Sea

I´d like to know how you can get into being a personal trainer or how to give fitness classes (i love yoga and kickboxing, for example). I´m aware most gyms will require you get a certification and I´ve looked up some online courses (as i do not live in the US and apparently we don´t have many here) but I was wondering what else you need, like… how do you create a good class or stuff like that. Any ideas?


To find out how I became a personal trainer, head to the FAQS page.

ACE offers a lot of certifications, like Group Fitness Instructor and Yoga instructor. Other national certifications (NFPT, ISSA, ASCM, etc) offer the same variations of these, too.

I don’t know much about group fitness instructors, so anyone that is/was one, please pipe up.

As a personal trainer, there a few ways you can go:

Self Employed, In-Home Personal Trainer: This means you work for you, and only you. You train clients eityher in your home, their home, or very rarely, a studio you rent. This allows you to make the most money, as you can charge whatever you want, and keep it all. Its the most work though, because you have to either travel to your clients, or keep a really clean house (not for me), find and keep your clients which is way harder than it sounds (marketting, invoices, policies, waivers, random schedule, as you have to work around their’s) and you have to have insurance in case someone gets hurt. Insurance isn’t very expensive (I think ACE’s is 275 a year for 1 million coverage- don’t quote me on that though) and whatever company you are certified through usually offers it through them. Its a lot of work, but you have the freedom to run your business the way you want.

Independent contractor, but in a gym: Some gyms will let you train in their facility, but for yourself. Its exactly like training in-home except you use a gym. Gym’s are usually willing to do this because the client signs up for a membership with the gym, but you have to draw up an iron-clad contract, handle all the taxes, still have your own insurance, and in most cases pay a fee to the gym- kind of like rent.

Train for a gym: You can can be a trainer through a gym ( 24 hour fitness, etc.) and technically be an employee. A big part of this is meeting quotas and selling memberships and sessions- most of it is sales. You get paid commission so in order to make good money you have to keep bringing in more clients, which doesn’t leave much room to actually get to know and program for your clients.

Train for a studio: This is what I do. i work for Fitness Together, which is a private one-on-one training studio. Im an employee, so pretty much as far as training goes, i show up, and I train. the clients are handed to you, there is no sales (unless you want to, which I don’t.) You really get to know your clients this way, and work is guarenteed- you show up for your shift and whatever clients are scheduled during that block of time you train. You don’t have to follow your clients around, or schedule around when they can come in.

Different strokes for different folks, but I like my gig best.

Anyone have any advice for a group instructor? I have no experience with it, so I don’t know how you go about setting up a class, or getting in with a gym, or if you are their employee or a private contractor. Little help?

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Every Gym’s Nightmare, fitness, health, yoga, pilates, strength training, personal trainer, cardiovascular, cardio, exercise, wellness, weight loss, blog, blogging, fitness blog, weightloss blog,

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