So, you want to get into the ever so coveted, glamorous life that is the fitness industry?
Nowadays fitness professionals are leading the health and wellness industry by creating a name for themselves, establishing strong brands, working with even stronger brands, and redefining what a career in fitness can look like.
While there are many, many ways to get into the fitness industry we’re going to go through three main ones that every future fit-pro should consider:
#1: Get a certification
This is by far the number one overlooked non-negotiable within the industry. Whether you want to become a personal trainer or a group exercise instructor you should do yourself, your potential employer, and future clients a favor and take the time to get a nationally accredited certification. If you’re getting into the fitness industry to help others, then you absolutely, 100%, no doubt about it, need the proper education in order to do so.
The gold star standard for group exercise certifications can vary as often times more popular and high-end boutique studios require a general fitness certification in conjunction with their own in-house certifications that cover their technique, skill requirements, mic presence, and program development.
When it comes to what’s most highly recognized and considered a personal training standard it varies slightly. Though NASM-CPT, NSCA-CPT, and ACE-CPT are some of the most popular certifications out there.
#2. Be a Sponge
Once you’ve received your fitness certification you should do everything in your power to soak up as much information as you can. Learning the science and physiology behind the industry is one thing (a major thing), but learning how and why you’re applying those skills is another. If you want to teach group exercise, then go to as many group exercise classes as possible, ask an instructor if you can pick their brain, shadow them and learn how and why they got into the fitness industry. If you’re more interested in personal training, hire a personal trainer. See how he or she engages with you from the very beginning: how they communicate their offerings, their pricing structure, their expertise and how they explain what your one-on-one session will entail. While working with your personal trainer ask them about the certifications they have received, what their continuing education looks like, and be sure to pay attention to their coaching patterns and what exercises they’re taking you through. Once you’re able to identify how and why they program their workouts the way they do, be sure to ask about their communication patterns with their clients both during the session and after the session.
#3. Determine Your Goals Within the Industry
Once you’ve had an opportunity to test out many, many, fitness classes, shadow personal trainers, and chat with other fit-pros in real life, take some time to determine what is is that you want out of the fitness industry. As previously mentioned, you have to be in it for the right reasons in order to set attainable and achievable results – not only for yourself but for your clients as well.
When it comes to setting personal goals, it’s best that you determine exactly what you want out of the fitness industry and how you envision this playing out in your life.
Ask yourself a few questions below and then work on reverse engineering how you’ll get to your end goal:
- Do you want to be a full-time or part-time fitness professional?
- Do you want to teach classes to a large number of participants or do you want to work with individuals in a one-on-one setting?
- Do you want to work for yourself, a company, or both?
- Do you want to work in one specific location or bounce around to multiple locations?
- Do you want to work for one studio exclusively (perhaps because you like their brand), or would you rather work for multiple studios/gyms?
- Do you want to be on the talent side (teaching/instructing) or the management side?
No matter how you’ve answered the questions above you’ll need to focus your efforts on getting to your end goal. Set a plan for how you’re going to reach your goals and understand that it won’t happen over night. Celebrate your first victory but keep going in order to see lasting results.
#4. Community (BONUS)**
The fitness industry is known for its key foundations of culture and community. When you get into the fitness industry for the right reasons, you’ll soon find out that building and fostering relationships is yet another *major* key within the business. Taking new classes, and working with new people is just one piece of the puzzle, you have to be willing to step outside of your comfort zone and leave your ego at the door in order to cultivate genuine and authentic relationships. Yes, your main objective is to build yourself and your business, but in order to do that wholeheartedly you need to be able to support, encourage, motivate and inspire other fitness professionals within the industry. Don’t just go to someone else’s class, invite them to coffee afterwards, send them a DM introducing yourself and what you do, and acknowledge when someone else is doing the damn thing!
There’s no sugarcoating it, fitness can be a tough field to be in, a tough business to run, and a tough career choice to explain to others. But here’s the thing: it’s so damn worth it.