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You Finally Got Your Personal Trainer Certification: Now What?

Getting your personal trainer certification is a big step toward a bright future as a fitness professional. Studying for and passing your exam and getting CPR certified demand a lot of time and effort, but certification is just the beginning. To make the most of your personal trainer certification and turn it into a sustainable career, you need to take some additional steps toward professionalism. 

Lifestyle Fitness Coaching Certification Professional holding a clipboard

5 Steps Toward Becoming a Successful Certified Fitness Professional

The following five steps will get you started on the right path toward a successful career as a Certified Personal Trainer:

  1. Get hands-on experience: Some newly certified trainers already have a background in fitness. Some have academic degrees in exercise science and related fields, and others have backgrounds in athletics or bodybuilding. Whether you have a background in fitness or not, working with clients requires additional skills. Consider enrolling in the W.I.T.S. internship program. As an intern, you gain experience working one-on-one with clients, and you get a glimpse of the fitness business from the other side of the front desk. 
  1. Purchase Liability Insurance: Physical activities of any type come with inherent risks for injury. While the benefits of fitness activities outweigh the risks, there is always the chance that something can go wrong. Even if you work in a gym or studio that provides coverage for its employees, it is wise to protect yourself with additional insurance. The good news is that liability insurance for personal trainers is remarkably inexpensive. After all, an important part of your job is to protect your clients from injury, so the risk is relatively low. Follow this link to find affordable liability insurance.
  1. Form an LLC: A legal liability corporation (LLC) is a legal entity that protects business owners and their families from lawsuits, creditors and other business liabilities that may arise. Unlike a sole proprietorship, with an LLC, only the assets of your business are at risk — your personal assets and those of your family are protected, should your business fail or fall on hard times. An LLC is easy to form and inexpensive to register. There are many online resources to help you form an LLC. 
  1. Define your niche: There is nothing wrong with taking on a broad range of clients, but narrowing your niche can help you establish a solid reputation as a fitness expert. Certain clients may be outside your scope of expertise, while focusing on a specific population can enable you to grow professionally while having a positive impact on the lives of your clients. Youth, older adults, pregnant and postpartum women, body builders and figure competitors — the list goes on and on. Choose your niche and grow a robust clientele to promote your business. 
  1. Establish your brand: Once you establish yourself as a certified fitness professional,  expand your client base and cement your expertise by branding yourself online. Professional posts on social media, a professional website and Facebook page and maybe even a YouTube channel are great ways to reach an ever-growing audience and expand your business. Use your imagination to create a solid brand image that reaches the masses. 

Find Your Niche and Build Your Fitness Career

Build your skills and knowledge and become a top personal trainer. Choose from any of our professional fitness courses for skills training and certification:

Join the W.I.T.S. family of industry leaders today, and build your career as a fitness professional on a solid foundation.

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Lifecycle of a Personal Trainer: the high cost of low skills training

At one time, personal trainers had the coolest job around, and anyone who had their own personal trainer was ranked among the beautiful people. It was also a lucrative and viable career path for fitness professionals who had enough knowledge and charisma to attract well-heeled clients and help them reach their goals. 

That all changed when gyms began to put the hammer down on freelancers and hired their own trainers at low wages, keeping the lion’s share of revenues for themselves. Over time, that business model all but destroyed personal training as a sustainable career path and caused gym owners to shoot themselves in the foot with a costly cycle of employee training and turnover. 

The below infographic illustrates the typical Lifecycle of the average personal trainer:

Lifecycle of a Personal Trainer

The High Cost of Turnover

Low conversions, low client retention rates, dissatisfied customers and high trainer turnover all cost gym owners enormous amounts of money each year.

These important metrics should be applied to evaluate the performance of any gym’s personal training program:

  • The annual turnover rate for personal trainers runs between 80-90% on average: the optimal employee turnover rate is 10% or less.
  • The minimally acceptable sales conversion rate is 40%, and the optimal rate is 70%. To calculate this metric, divide the number of conversions by the number of prospects a trainer has pitched.
  • The optimal annual client retention rate is 80-90%. Divide the number of clients lost by the number retained.

Ironically, most gym owners don’t bother to track these metrics, and many are unaware of them. For trainers, having quantitative performance metrics would empower them to self-evaluate and monitor their own job performance. Yet in most cases, trainers have no idea what good job performance looks like. 

Factors Contributing to Trainer Turnover

Many people pursue a personal training career because they have a true passion for fitness and want to share it with others. Yet the actual demands of the job can quickly erode a new trainer’s enthusiasm, especially if they don’t feel valued or get the necessary training and support to succeed. 

Factors that contribute to high trainer turnover include:

  • Inadequate job training and poorly defined performance criteria
  • Erratic scheduling, with long hours and split shifts
  • Low pay, with minimal opportunities for advancement
  • Pressure to sell with inadequate sales training and support
  • Burnout from overtraining

The Importance of Skills Training

Most new trainers are hired based on academic credentials, or on a particular brand of certification. Yet during the screening and hiring process, critical skills training and experience is often overlooked. 

This problem partially stems from an antiquated business model that is still applied today. In the early days of fitness clubs, back in the 1970s, very few employees came to the table with any type of credentials or experience, and skills training took place on the job. In most cases, senior employees were responsible for training new hires. Then, as now, gym employee turnover was high.

The old-school model no longer works for several reasons: 

  • Personal training was not offered as a service by most gyms until the early 2000s, but the business model was never updated to include this new employee demographic
  • The job of Personal Trainer demands much higher levels of knowledge and skills than the fitness advisor of old
  • Personal training is a substantial revenue generator, and demands more attention from management to reach its potential
  • Asking a senior trainer to help on-board a new hire imposes an inherent conflict of interest, since trainers often compete for new clients

 

It makes sense to hire new trainers who already possess knowledge, skills and experience. Doing so will increase conversions, elevate client retention rates and reduce costly employee turnover, resulting in higher profits. 

Skills Training for Personal Trainers

If you are serious about building a successful and sustainable fitness career, don’t cut corners on your certification. Get the support, knowledge and hands-on experience you need to succeed with a fitness certification from W.I.T.S.

Advantages of a W.I.T.S. certification include: 

  • Fully NCCA accredited: The only practical skills competency exam in the industry, along with our written exam.
  • Recognized by employers nation-wide: Graduates that perform!
  • Available in colleges, universities and online.
  • Taught by qualified and experienced industry professionals.
  • Internship program available to cement your skills.
  • Friendly customer service and support.
  • Online continuing education at your fingertips.

Find Your Niche and Build Your Fitness Career

Build your skills and knowledge and become a top trainer. Choose from any of our professional fitness course for skills training and certification:

Join the W.I.T.S. family of industry leaders today, and build your fitness career on a solid foundation.

 

 

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Why NOW is the Best Time Ever to Become a Personal Trainer!

The profession of Personal Trainer evolved out of the aerobics movement of the late 20th Century, and it quickly became one of the hottest career fields of the new Millennium. In the early 2000s, having a trainer was the epitome of coolness, and clients came in droves to ramp up their street cred. In its early years, personal training attracted mostly healthy young-to-middle aged adults who wanted to drop a few pounds and sculpt a fit physique. 

The Changing PT Market

Fast forward to today, where digital options have flooded the fitness market with online classes and “personal” training that can be done anytime and anywhere, at the client’s leisure. But digital fitness is not and cannot be truly personal, and there is a growing demand for trainers to work one-on-one with an ever-growing client base. 

Clients who need one-on-one personal training include;

  • Older adults seeking to maintain their independence and achieve a better quality of life
  • Prenatal and postpartum moms who want a healthy birth and recovery
  • Obese youth and adults who need personal attention and support to meet their goals
  • Adults who are new to exercise and need to learn the fundamentals
  • Niche populations with condition-specific needs including autism, Parkinson’s, dementia, and multiple other neurological disorders
  • Average people who want to improve their overall health
  • Athletes who want to gain a competitive edge
  • The list goes on and on!

No longer a trend for the well-heeled and beautiful, personal training has become a necessary health care option for people of all ages who want to increase strength and mobility, reduce their risk of metabolic disease, and achieve their best possible quality of life. 

Characteristics of Successful Personal Trainers

While personal trainers are a diverse group that encompasses all ages and ethnicities, most of us share certain attributes. 

You might be a successful personal trainer candidate if you:

  • love physical activity 
  • see fitness as a lifestyle choice
  • believe in the health benefits of fitness
  • empathize with other people and enjoy helping them
  • love learning about fitness and nutrition
  • enjoy a flexible work environment
  • want a gratifying career
  • enjoy being a role model
  • want a career that can open doors of opportunity

Qualifications and How to Become Certified

Personal training is one of the few health professions that does not require an undergraduate or higher degree. You can successfully pass the certification exam with a high school diploma, but you should be prepared for a challenge. Good study skills are a must, and you will have to learn core science principles and be able to apply them. 

While there are many certification programs out there, you should look for one that prepares you to enter the profession with little need for additional training.  W.I.T.S Certified Personal Trainers come from all walks of life, and range from teens to octogenarians. 

W.I.T.S. offers one of the most comprehensive certification programs in the field. Our key features include:

  • NCCA accredited
  • Detailed lectures with qualified instructors, live or online
  • Practical skills training that prepares you to work with clients
  • Internship programs for hands-on experience

When you become W.I.T.S. certified, clients and prospective employers alike know that you have the knowledge and experience to help clients reach their goals, safely and effectively. 

Get Started Today!

If you are ready to join one of the best and most in-demand health professions, look no further than W.I.T.S. Our top-notch instructors, friendly support staff and comprehensive curriculum will provide you with everything you need to succeed as a personal trainer. 

But it doesn’t stop there. We offer continuing education and a variety of supplemental certifications, to keep you growing and learning as you build your career. Apply for our easy payment terms and get started today. With W.I.T.S., your new career as a Certified Personal Trainer is only weeks away!

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Special Populations: What they are and why you need them

Most personal trainers enter the fitness industry to build a career they love, and to help others realize their potential to lead a fit and healthy lifestyle. Yet many get stuck in the mire of low-paying gym or studio jobs that just don’t cut it in terms of financial rewards and sustainable growth. Oftentimes, the pool of available clients is split among multiple trainers, and new clients are assigned on an “ups” system so that everyone gets a fair shot.

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Top 5 Myths — and Facts — About Fitness Training for Older Adults

The over-50 age group is the largest growing demographic in the fitness market, and the demand for personal training among older adults is high. Most older adults have the time and money to hire a trainer, and want the reassurance of safe and effective exercise to achieve and maintain optimal health. Yet many personal  trainers are reluctant to take on older clients, especially those in their 70s and beyond.

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5 Key Steps to Launching Your Personal Training Career

If you love to work out and admit to being a bit of a gym rat, you may have considered pursuing a career as a personal trainer. The idea of wearing comfy clothes to work, hanging out in the gym and talking to people all day while listening to upbeat music has enormous appeal. Not to mention the gratification of helping people improve their quality of life on a personal level.

Become a Personal Trainer

Every year, thousands of aspiring trainers become certified, with intentions of switching from a boring desk job or soul crushing sales position to the high energy world of fitness. Yet for many, launching a fitness career can be a daunting task. Where to begin? How to find clients? Will I be able to pay my bills?

Getting Off to a Successful Start

It goes without saying that completing your Personal Trainer Certification is an important first step to building you career and establishing yourself as a fitness professional. But once the ink dries on your certificate and it is framed and hanging on your ego wall, it will take a lot more effort on your part to get your business up and running.

Here are five important steps you should take to get your career as a personal trainer off to a successful start: 

  1. Define your goals: Certified personal trainers can be found in a broad range of venues, including fitness clubs, physical therapy clinics, schools, retirement communities, small studios, and as independent contractors working from home. Do you want the security of working for someone else in a gym or studio, or do you plan to start your own business? Will personal training be your full-time career, or just a side gig? Will you open your own studio, or take it on the road with in-home personal training? Clearly defined short-term and long-term goals are key to laying a successful foundation for your fitness career.
  1. Create a budget: Starting a new business or career can have short-term financial consequences. If you are accustomed to the steady paycheck provided by your 9-to-5 along with other perks like health care and a retirement account, launching a business or working for a company with fewer benefits is a tough decision. Begin with the minimum monthly income you need to make ends meet and work backward. How much will you need to charge per session, and how many sessions per week will you need to stay afloat? Be realistic, and don’t forget to deduct expenses.
  1. Identify your niche: Personal training clients are as diverse as the population at large, and some are easier to train than others. Defining your niche and becoming an expert in serving that population will help you market yourself and build a solid reputation. Your niche may be as general as women, men, or teens, or as narrow as older adults, bodybuilders or people with disabilities. You may choose to work with bariatric patients, or pregnant and postpartum moms. Specializing makes you special, and it is a great way to build your client base.
  1. Start strong: You chose a fitness career for a reason, and even if you have never trained a client before, your W.I.T.S. Personal Trainer Certification has equipped you with all the knowledge you need to help your first client reach their goals. One of the best ways to get the word out about your business and build your client base is to transform someone’s life through fitness and lifestyle changes. Word of mouth from a satisfied client is a powerful form of marketing and advertising that money cannot buy.
  1. Learn, learn, learn! Fitness is a rapidly evolving field, with volumes of new research emerging daily. Keep on top of the latest trends, stay informed about new studies and most of all, pursue continuing education on a consistent basis. Consider boosting your credentials with a second certification in your niche, like older adult or youth fitness. Learn to market yourself on social media, and add to your business toolbox with courses geared specifically to the fitness industry, like those offered through the W.I.T.S. Online Business Management Success Series.

Let W.I.T.S. Help Launch Your Fitness Career

If you are switching from another career field, W.I.T.S. gives you a leg up with our unique internship program. Work with real clients, make valuable industry connections, and gain important credentials and experience to flesh out your fitness resume. Many of our interns even get hired by the hosting internship site, making an easy transition from student to Certified Personal Trainer.

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Fuel Deficiency: Nutrition and Older Adults

Food for Thought
For older adults, healthy balanced nutrition can be a major factor in determining overall quality of life. Yet for many older adults, getting all the necessary nutrients for optimal health can be a challenge. According to the National Resource Center on Nutrition, Physical Activity and Aging, malnutrition in older adults is highly prevalent amongst older adults living in their own homes, in long-term care facilities, and in hospitals. A 2013 study published in “Osteoporosis International” found malnutrition, especially inadequate protein, to be a major contributing factor to muscle wasting, and loss of strength. As fitness professionals, we need to be aware of the nutritional obstacles faced by our older adult clients so that we can help them achieve peak health and optimal daily function.

wits oa grumpy
Physical Factors
Many physical changes take place as a direct consequence of aging that can affect nutritional choices. Dental problems can make chewing difficult, causing older adults to steer clear of foods like meat and raw produce. Diminished senses of taste and smell can make food seem less appetizing. Poor prostate and bladder function, combined with reduced ambulatory function, can be a deterrent to staying hydrated, as every trip to the bathroom becomes a challenge. Reduced strength and diminished reaction time can make cooking and food preparation a chore.

wits oa medicine
Environmental Factors
In addition to natural physical changes, many other factors can keep older adults from eating well. Medications can affect the taste and smell of foods, making them seem unappetizing. Chemicals and preservatives in processed convenience foods can interfere with digestion and vital organ function, and microwave ovens can deplete nutrients. Antibiotics in animal products and medications can disrupt digestive intestinal flora, causing upset stomach, constipation and diarrhea. Poverty among older adults is also a critical component of malnutrition.

organic eggs
Simple Solutions
Despite the many obstacles faced by older adults, getting essential nutrients can be simple. A daily smoothie made from whole ingredients like bananas, berries, greens and organic Greek yogurt can provide a wide range of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and protein. Ingredients can be prepared and frozen in meal-sized portions, ready to be blended. Organic peanut butter on whole grain bread can provide protein and healthy fat. Organic free-range hard boiled eggs are a rich source of protein and nutrients. The yolks contain lutein for eye health, and egg yolks are a rich source of vitamins A, B and D. Plain organic yogurt is an excellent source of protein and digestive enzymes. A probiotic supplement may help improve digestion.

smoothie
Resources
Understanding the needs and physical limitations of older adults is important for trainers who wish to tap into this lucrative and growing market. As always, W.I.T.S. is on the cutting edge, providing quality education to help you grow as a fitness professional. To learn more about training older adults, explore our Older Adult Fitness Specialist, Older Adult Fitness Foundations, and Able Bodies Balance Training courses, all available online.
References and Credits
International Journal of Nurse Practitioners: Why are elderly individuals at risk of nutritional deficiency?
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16529597

National Resource Center on Nutrition, Physical Activity and Aging: Malnutrition and Older Americans
http://nutritionandaging.fiu.edu/aging_network/malfact2.asp

Osteoporosis International: Impact of nutrition on muscle mass, strength, and performance in older adults.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23247327

*Images courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net.