You enjoy fitness and are thinking about making your career.
The first step would be to ascertain whether you are a good fit for both the industry and what the job entails.
Just because you enjoy being fit and healthy, this doesn’t mean you will make a great fitness professional.
The first step to working in the fitness industry is to become a gym instructor.
What makes a good gym instructor?
Good listening skills are an excellent trait of a gym instructor, when talking with clients you really need to listen and understand them. This goes hand in hand with being supportive, many people that come to the gym are frustrated as they are unsure of what to do.
It is your job to safely show them the ropes and make them feel comfortable whilst ensuring they are taking on board your instructions.
Having good organisation traits is key as you will be hosting a multitude of classes as well as dealing with several 1:1 clients, therefore ensuring your paperwork is in order and you know where you are with each client is crucial.
You need to be very driven, as a gym instructor you are starting at the bottom. You are there to ‘earn your stripes’ so to speak. You will need to take as many gym inductions as you can, speak to as many club members as possible and taking every opportunity you can to learn.
You need have a thirst for knowledge; you can become a gym instructor and stay as a gym instructor no problem. Things are always adapting and evolving so it is your responsibility as a health and fitness provider to keep abreast of industry news.
Qualifications – where and how much?
These are usually the first questions we are asked.
There are so many different providers at different price points so you really have to do your homework.
- Have a call with them and also go in and take a look. You have to know that wherever you choose is a good fit for you. You are there to learn and are paying them so you’re the customer here.
- Get referrals – it is important to ask who has been where and whether they would recommend someone. I would also use a recommendation from someone that has been through the programme rather than someone just ‘bigging’ up their friend!
- Use a reputable company which provides you with a recognised qualification
- Cost can play a big part in which course you go for. Usually the most costly ones are the best and provide after care and a more in-depth course. Although this isn’t always the case. I would say you learn more once you have left, a lot like driving. When you are putting what you have learned into practice is really where it sinks in.
Are you going to go full time or part time?
One of the great things about becoming a gym instructor is you can still work another job at the same time.
A lot of clients will want sessions before work, in their lunch hour and after work – this is when you should hopefully have some time. It will be tough at the start with but you cannot fill all your slots as soon as you begin.
The wage for a gym instructor isn’t always great, so building up your client list whilst having the security of another job can work well.
If you are just leaving school then its an ideal job to get into whilst you are still living at home. You can go full time and put all your focus on building your client list.
It is a personal preference and what is available to you at the time.
So you’re qualified and you’ve got a job.
Now you need to gain some experience. If you have a job in a good gym they will have provided you with a ‘buddy’ or ‘veteran’ type trainer. The idea is you shadow them and learn from them.
This is the missing part for a lot of trainers and gyms and can be the missing part of the puzzle for many. Some trainers worry about their clients leaving them or the fact it’s too competitive so they are not willing to help the new trainer.
Don’t worry if sadly this is the case you can still learn. Watch other trainers, see how they interact with clients. You will find a method that works for you, and remember practice makes perfect.
It won’t be easy to start off with, but that’s the point.
As you become more confident you will gain more clients and take on more classes. Hopefully you are in a gym where they have a community feeling and you can really learn from those around you.
It really does make for a better experience for the club member as well as all the people that work there
Your clients will probably be aware you are new to training. So use it to your advantage. Get feedback from them in regular intervals.
What are you doing that they love?
What are you doing that are they not so keen on?
Don’t be a needy girlfriend and ask them at every session.
Sit them down after a few weeks to reflect, it will be a good opportunity for you to really bond with your client and will give you an opportunity to re-evaluate their goals and see their progress.
When you become a gym instructor there are 4 main pathways
- Gym based exercise
- Exercise to music
- Water based exercise
- Physical Activity with children
Now you have gained more experience it would be a good time to enrol in specialist courses to develop yourself further.
Completing the level 3 course is your next step. These are:
- Level 3 Diploma in Fitness Instructing and Personal Training
- Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training.
Once you have completed your Level 3 you are able to utilise these specialised courses to help people further as well as increasing your earnings.
Here are some specialist courses you can enrol in:
- Level 3 Diploma in Exercise Referral
- Level 4 Certificate in Exercise for the Management of Low Back Pain
- Level 4 Certificate in Exercise and Nutritional Interventions for Obesity and Diabetes
- Level 4 Certificate in Weight Management for Individuals with Obesity, Diabetes Mellitus and/or Metabolic Syndrome.
There are other ways you can increase your knowledge and become a better fitness professional.
Attending industry seminars and events are a great way to keep motivated and learn from people who inspire you.
Take home points
Just because you love fitness, doesn’t mean you will make a good gym instructor.
In order to earn well as a fitness professional, you need to be very self-motivated, driven and hardworking.
Surround yourself with people that have experience as well as doing your own learning.
If you are worried about how to market yourself as a gym instructor check out Fitness Profit Ladder. It is rammed with advice to help you go from zero to hero in your local area.
5 top tips to market yourself in a gym
- Take every class & gym induction willingly & wow potential clients
- Make contact with everyone on the gym floor, be friendly, approachable, ask questions & listen
- Become friendly with the marketing team, buy them the occasional coffee they will refer more new gym members to you.
- Offer to help management by giving free talks for gym members
- Make sure your about me board is actually about how you help clients achieve their goals & not a list of your qualifications. People want to know how you help them, all about you.
If you would like some support with your launch or where to start with your planning you can join our Fitness Profit Ladder group, which is jam-packed, full of awesome content and inspiring individuals to help you get from where you are now to where you want to be.
If you want clarity, support, and guidance for your new fitness business venture, come and join 100+ other fitpros in the Fitness Profit Ladder.Karen RuffleJoin The Fitness Profit Ladder!