For the average person sticking to weight-loss regimes, training programs, meal plans, and attaining fitness goals is no easy feat. And having to balance their career and personal life alongside staying fit can become burdensome for many. This is why the rise of personal trainers and fitness instructors has been growing considerably over the past few years, as more and more people emphasize caring for their overall health.
However, not everyone can take up the mantle of a personal trainer, and there is a distinct line that distinguishes a good fitness coach over a mediocre one. To guide you in your journey as a professional fitness instructor, we will be going in-depth on how you can advance and develop your career. So don’t forget to take notes and find out the ingredients you’ve been missing out!
Getting General Certification
Aside from a high school diploma, the very first step in your career as a fitness trainer is getting an appropriate certification that tells your clients that you’re educated and qualified in the realm of fitness. In the fitness industry, this is called the general CPT (Certified Personal Trainer). Most study packages come with reading materials, webinars, lessons, and a final exam that you will need to pass. Your choices include the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA), the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), American Council on Exercise (ACE), and more.
- Accredited Agency: Before taking a random pick among the many certification programs available online, ensure that your choice is accredited. It will ensure your certification follows the fitness field standard through the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA accredited) or Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC accredited).
- Staying Certified: If you’re already a certified personal trainer, you must understand that these certifications only remain valid for two years. This means you also need to work on staying certified, so make sure to review how you can qualify to keep your certification. Re-certification can vary from institution ranging from 20-hour credits to 45-hour credits.
There are plenty of institutions that offer fully-online certification programs, so do your research diligently and don’t skip this essential first step.
As with any career, generalization puts you up against many fierce competitors, whereas specialization places you a tier above everyone else. So instead of sticking with only your general certification, we suggest that you consider specializing in a particular fitness field. The specialization will entice more specific clients to seek your help and guidance, opening up more opportunities to advance your career. And while it will require you to take another certification exam, you can expect to reap many benefits.
- Strength and Conditioning: One of the most sought after fitness specialists are strength and conditioning coaches. And since they are knowledgeable in strength training and athletic conditioning, their opportunities can start from college varsities to professional sports teams.
- Senior Fitness: People often get the misconception that fitness is for a younger audience when, in fact, fitness is for all, including the elderly. And if you have a knack for being patient and taking a step-by-step approach, you should consider senior fitness. You’ll be either working one-on-one or in group sessions with an older audience to maintain their overall health and well-being.
- Corrective Exercise: Injuries are common, and in the fitness world, they can severely diminish anyone’s progress. By becoming a corrective exercise specialist, you will help clients maintain good fitness while staying injury-free. You will also be working closely with those who struggle at specific exercises and give them an alternative to achieve their fitness goals.
As mentioned above, these specializations are but the tip of the iceberg, and there are many more you can choose to explore. You should also consider learning injury treatment and prevention for sports alongside necessary first-aid skills.
Communicate With Clients Online
Last but not least, don’t forget to communicate with your clients online and build a professional relationship with them. In doing so, this will help you network with more potential clients and help establish your credibility as an excellent fitness instructor.
- Active Social Media Profiles: A great way to establish yourself as a personal trainer is by setting up active social media profiles. This will put your name out there and get you connected with more people. It will also serve as a benchmark for potential customers as they come across your programs and progress.
- Build a Portfolio: Aside from social media profiles, you should also consider building a portfolio of all your clients. Ensure that you get their consent and have this set up on an easy-to-access website for other people to find.
Enjoy The Journey
Overall, while pursuing a career as a personal trainer might seem challenging at first, if you put in the right amount of effort in the right places, then you are guaranteed to find success. And as the market for fitness instructors continues to grow, you can expect many opportunities to trickle down your way.
Above all, though, don’t forget to reinvest back into yourself and enjoy your journey!