My fitness career began after formal education stints in Business Management, Culinary Arts, and years of trying out jobs in other industries. I chose to pursue a certification with Canadian Fitness Professionals, got myself a personal coach to help me work on some areas of improvement and began training part-time with 360 Fitness in Sherwood Park. I was nervous, uncomfortable, and scared, but I was reminded along the way that growth is meant to be uncomfortable.
I also spent free time studying – furthering my knowledge on the sports side of nutrition to pair with my culinary background; I took Precision Nutrition. I became a brand ambassador with locally owned, Flatout Apparel; exposing me to another channel in the fitness industry and allowing me to meet other like-minded individuals. I expressed my interest in a training position with ATHX Performance– their whole approach really resonated with me – it paid off and I began pursuing a training career there soon after.
Be confident and effectively communicate. Learn. Apply it. Keep learning. Stay curious. A growth mindset will get you far; the fitness industry is ever changing. You will never know everything there is to know. Find a mentor. Network with other professionals. Find an area of interest. If it’s something out of your scope of practice ALWAYS refer out. It’s better to admit you are unsure or that it’s out of your scope than to cause more harm if it can be prevented.
Even if you have some imposter syndrome – continue to be passionate, learn, and grow. Listen to podcasts and read articles /journals by some of the industries’ leaders.
There is no template to success for anyone to follow. But what has helped me down my career was graduating from the NAIT PFT program in 2011, then hired by a company that could provide me with a steady clientele base, while I focused on developing my skills and finding a niche.
Throughout the years I have focused on providing safe, effective and fun sessions, but always making my personal training services a true, personal, experience by building and nurturing client relationships and genuinely caring about clients as people. This might sound trivial, but it’s called personal training after all. Sometimes that can be forgotten.
When I was ready to start my own business, I made sure to align with a company that would allow me 100% control of my own services and businesses while operating through their space.
One thing I would say I have learned from is to not wait too long to make a shift. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t, and to advocate for yourself early on if you see a contract is only holding one party accountable.
Going forward I would tell new personal trainers that when life throws a curve ball, place precedence on the work and the client. There will be a lot of things that will happen unexpectedly and remain out of your control. But one thing that will always be in your control is the level of client experience you can provide.
My journey into the industry has taught me a lot of big lessons and those experiences have taken me a long way in a short amount of time.
If it means a lot to you to be a personal trainer, you really need to understand what motivates you. What is your why? This is an industry where we are always going to be giving a lot of ourselves to other people. Every chance you get, go above and beyond for people. If you can offer a lending hand to someone you admire, drop everything and do it. They’ll remember the kind of person you are.
Remove your expectations. It’s important to remember that personal training is about other people, and their lives and schedules and not about ourselves. It’s really discouraging to enter into the industry if you expect everything to go as planned, or to fit into your ideal life. At the same time, take care of yourself. Sleep, eat well, spend time with people that fill your cup. Make sure you are surrounded by people you look up to.
Be out in the community. Be creative. Collaborate with other professionals. Go for coffee, volunteer, join in on some group fitness or if you choose a side hustle that supports your career – find one that compliments it or gets you out in the public and exposed to different kinds of people.
Continuing education can’t be emphasized enough. It’s important to really assess what direction you want to go with your career because there are so many certifications and seminars available. Do lots of research and ask your mentors and peers why they choose the continuing education they choose.
Good luck and I’m confident I will see you out there!