Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Trainers & Scratch-off Tickets

I often wonder what happened to the adage that helped build this country when most of our immigrants ancestors came over. It was ingrained in me at an early age--from my Italian immigrant parents and grandparents--that hard work is the guaranteed passage to success.

Work hard, get smart, and plan ahead....these are 3 things that I still keep in mind as I get older. It seems to me that in the end, these 3 simple...yes, simple pieces of advice never stray away from what is true.

Here is a story...Lately, I have been using Craiglist to look for some group exercise instructors. Although, my ad describes my search for a group exercise instructor who teaches a some sort of "step, kick-boxing, or pilates"...I tend to get personal trainers responding. I don't get it. The ad title says "Looking for Group Exercise Instructor". So, I like to entertain myself, but asking them to come in and discussing with me what they can bring to the table. I always like to meet new trainers and get my name out there to help them along with their career. If anything, we can establish a network.

After talking to literally, 6 trainers in 2 weeks, they all seem to have something in common: they have been in the profession less than a year and want to open their own business. I constantly hear:

"I want to open my own studio."

"I want to open my own gym."

"I want to start my own in-home training business."

Why don't I ever hear:

"I'm just starting out, so I need to learn more."

"I want to attend some seminars and learn more about biomechanics."

"I want to pursue a specialized certification."

It seems that there is this belief that personal training can lead to millions, simply by ENTERING the field. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of successful trainers out there, but they have something in common: they are actually good and have been doing it for quite some time. Lately, entrepreneurs market wild "dreams" to new trainers promising financial success if the new trainer follows a specific blue print of on-line marketing and sales tactics. When was it that simply entering the field of personal training guaranteed you a big paycheck? I hate to break this to all the trainers out there, but:

...its not that easy and not that quick.

Why not invest in your own betterment so that you may be able to serve people more effectively and diversely--rather than invest your first few dollars earned on marketing instruction? To me, it resembles those people that constantly purchase scratch-off tickets at the local convenience store and race to the car to get a penny. With hardened gaze and aggressive scratching, they wince at their non-winning ticket. As they throw away their $3 ticket in the waste basket, another glimpse of hope is lost.

How many of those scratch tickets could have not been purchased and the money saved or put into other priorities?

Again, how many dollars can be saved or put into other investments instead of spending $99 on some "Get Rich Wearing Your Gym Clothes and Working with Just 2 Clients a Month!"program.

Work hard...get smart...and plan ahead. Be patient. If you follow those simple rules, the money will come. I can assure you.


  1. Let me give you another perspective. Some of us beginner trainers are located in places where the gyms have little to no free weights or other equipment besides machines. The trainers in those globo-gyms do nothing other than sell supplements, hand out towels, and wipe off equipment. So some of us are looking to capitalize on that weakness by offering an alternative.

    As you've said elsewhere, working at globo-gym allows you to observe mistakes people make but I've been doing that for 20 years already. I had a stack of Muscle and Fitness, too. :)

    The Crossfit/microgym model now allows trainers to open their own place that is dedicated to "doing it right" from the start (right being subjective naturally.)

    The main problem with new Crossfit gym owners and new trainers is marketing, something few of us understand. So we fall prey to the get-rich-quick trainer celebrities because we don't know who else to turn to. Thing is, those marketing celebrities seem to be peddling the same type of garbage as the globo-gyms so I would hope more new trainers would see through that mess.

    Anyway, good post.

  2. I started training in 2007 when I passed the ACSM-CPT exam. Only recently have I realized and accepted that there is still much for me to learn.

    My next major project is to sit for the CSCS exam. I enjoy strength and conditioning and find myself using those techniques and methods frequently in my programs.

    So will earning the CSCS credential qualify me to operate my own facility? Probably not. But I think it's a good step in the right direction.

    You spoke of specialization in your post. What credentials do you hope to obtain in the future?

  3. Thanks for the comments. Derek: my next specialization certification will be the NASM-CES. I work primarily with the general population, and I have a terrible knack for spotting the "wrongs" more so, than the "rights" when it comes to posture and how it translates to exercise (form). as for specialization in training....I tend to address everyone on a "what will make your body work better?" apporach. When I can get their body to "work better", it will respond better to fat loss, sports enhancement, etc, etc.



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