March 17, 2016

Become A Successful Personal Trainer

Your own personal trainer Advantages and disadvantages

If you love fitness, coaching others, and have the heart of a teacher, personal training can be a fantastic side job opportunity. In a private setting, trainers can start with $25/session and more once you’ve gained experience and a good reputation. I’ve personally known independent trainers who have the ability to charge $50 – $75 per session. They specialized in corporate clients, high status clients, home training, or had a unique program (other than in a gym) they’ve developed over the years no one else teaches.

Working in a health club setting will result in lower commissions – usually around $15-20 per session after the club takes their cut.  It is a good setting for beginners since the club itself attracts potential clients and can watch/learn how to market yourself, especially if you have an awesome director.  And it can be a bit of a competitive environment with other trainers as some will hover like vultures looking for opportunities to swipe other’s clients.  Use it as a stepping stone to learn then move on to an independent setting.

Keep in mind this industry is highly competitive and tough to find those willing to pay. Persistent marketing and networking will be crucial in the beginning until referrals and word of mouth takes momentum. I’ve been involved with fitness for over 25 years and have done a share of personal training myself – privately and as part of a health club staff. What I’ve learned it’s key to:

1) Absolutely know what you’re doing and can prove you can get the client results
2) Don’t do what every other trainer is doing. Develop a unique training style that differentiates you from the herd
3) Specialize – don’t try to be a trainer to everyone
4) Be genuine – it’s also good to be professional, but not to the point where it becomes a barrier that holds back your personality.  Lots of sales are completed not because of your skills or presentation, but because they made a connection  with YOU.
5) Be able to motivate others in your own style. Don’t necessarily have to be a ra-ra type!
6) Don’t be a pushy salesman. People can sniff desperation.

You can work with individuals and can provide group sessions to help save clients money (this is a good selling point to those on the fence about paying for personal training). Specialize in outdoor training, boot camps, mixture of outdoor and health club settings. Specialize in training seniors, kids, extremely obese, pregnancies, diabetics, executives, sport specific training…think up your own specialty!

Offer offsite sessions like strapping on a backpack and doing a hike.

Another source of income could be offering personalized workouts and consultations by phone and email on your website for those not needing one-on-one attention, but would like someone else to design their routines.


Get yourself or your info in front of people often without being spammy so when a person does decide they want to talk to a trainer, your name and face will come to mind.  Offering some simple free services or basic advice consistently over time without attempts to “sell” people can build your network tremendously.  Develop an image of professionalism and someone to trust when it comes to their personal fitness.  Here’s some basic ideas to get started:

1) Business cards are always a great tool to hand out and point people to your web address and working location.  You can get  low cost business cards online at VistaPrint along with other advertising products.

2) Form an alliance with chiropractors, physical therapists, weight watchers offices, doctors, and nurses.  Some apartment complexes have real nice workout rooms, offer to be their consultant as a perk for the residents.  Offer your services to retirement communities.

3) Website – having a website/blog will be your biggest marketing tool. Nothing fancy and expensive, something to post as your professional “resume” offering tips and articles on various fitness topics to help anyone out whether they become a client or not. Websites are key to help build trust and familiarity in you.  I use and like the looks of WordPress sites at StudioPress and host them with Hostgator.

  • Post videos in how to use various home equipment items like fitness balls, kettlebells, tubing, TRX trainers, Bowflexes, etc and have affiliate links to sites like Power-Systems or Amazon.  Offer a consultation service for those who have bought home equipment and would like a local expert for help instead of relying on instruction manuals and videos.
  • Can also create a free lens on Squidoo with fitness tips, videos, website link to the club you work, recommended books, videos, and websites, along with a link to your personal website.

4) If working at a health club – ask if you can post a weekly tip with your picture and bio near the door or check-in desk. Have a monthly fitness newsletter written by you for members to grab.

5) Provide free blood pressure and body fat readings without trying to sell them sessions (unless they bring it up!).

6) Develop positive relations with the sales staff.  Over time as they get to know you and how you get results for your clients, they’ll refer new members your way who express interest in PT help.

7) See if you can offer to be a fitness expert at your local paper, providing weekly articles offering advice to their readers.  That could drive mucho traffico to your website!

8) Mix up the weight equipment with outdoor activities. This provides great variety and others will crave that variety when other trainers are sticking with the usual, unimaginative, boring indoor routines.

  • One example – after a set of curls, take off on a run out the side exit (or the exit with the most stairs) take a lap around the building, do some pushups on the nicely landscaped lawn, walking lunges across the parking lot, run another lap around the building, then back inside up the same stair-studded entrance to the seated row machine.  If you were a member seeing this trainer work his clients, do you have any doubts they get results?

As a part time money maker, personal training can be perfect to meet any schedule.  You’ll definitely will need to get certified to provide credibility, here’s a few associations below with good reputations:

American Council on Exercise (ACE)

National Strength and Conditioning Assoc (NSCA)

National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)

Other sites: Fitness Forum

About Mitch Jensen

Hello! I love to learn how people make their money, whether it's out in the offline world or through various online was created to consolidate these ideas, pass them on, and provide inspiration.Hope you find some sort of inspiration here, thanks for visiting!

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