If you’re wondering how to become a personal trainer – and a successful one, at that – it’s likely because you’re ready to be your own boss and follow your passions. Being your own boss is one of the top benefits of pursuing a career in personal training. If you have a passion for fitness, becoming a fitness entrepreneur such as a personal trainer is a fantastic career move.
Personal training is a very rewarding career, as you’re making a difference in people’s lives and integrating your passion for fitness into your work. It’s a career that allows you to work your own hours, build your own business, and thrive as an entrepreneur.
Below are some crucial steps involved to become a personal trainer:
How to Become a Personal Trainer by Getting Your CPT
In order to become a personal trainer and pursue a career as a fitness professional, you’ll need to get your certification. In North America, you must get your CPT and legally become a Certified Personal Trainer to conduct one-on-one exercise personal training sessions with clients.
Most certifications also require you to complete Continued Education Units (CEU’s) every 1-2 years to maintain a valid certification.
So, how long does it take to become a Certified Personal Trainer? Acquiring a recognized CPT qualification normally takes 3-6 months of full-time study from start to finish. There are generally no educational prerequisites to becoming a CPT, which means anyone with a passion for fitness could get this certificate and become a personal trainer. Many organizations throughout North America provide CPT courses at schools or online. Make sure your certification is recognized in your location before onboarding clients.
Where Can You Train Your Clients? Location Leasing Options
To work for yourself as a fitness entrepreneur and personal trainer, you must find an independently owned and operated gym that allows you to lease space. Many independently owned personal training studios lease space to independent personal trainers.
Try to scout locations that have a lot of foot traffic, a dense local population, a healthy-living community, nearby public transportation, and adequate parking nearby.
Another option is to offer a mobile personal training service where you travel to your client. In this scenario, you might use the gym in your client’s apartment building. Whichever you decide, you must ensure your liability insurance states the business name you are working out of.
How Can You Find New Clients? Marketing Strategies
You can’t master how to become a personal trainer with a thriving career, without first mastering the marketing side of things. To help your career as a personal trainer strategize for growth in an organized way, and to generate leads and onboard new clients, you must create an intelligent marketing plan. Your marketing strategy will help you get clear on the target market and assist in establishing sales goals, as well as sales techniques.
Some personal trainers decide it’s worth the investment to hire help in the marketing department. For example, they might hire a marketing manager, or a social media marketing assistant.
Other personal trainers decide to become self-taught marketing experts, which is certainly possible. There are plenty of free YouTube videos and articles about digital marketing.
You’ll first need to define your target customer. This includes identifying the key demographics of your target market, such as their age, sex, income, habits, and goals, to help you establish how you will communicate with them and onboard them as new clients.
Social Media is an excellent way to get new clients. Fitness professionals use Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and/or TikTok to promote their services.
Your social media content should build trust, promote equality and inclusivity, and include videos of yourself providing tips and tricks within your fitness expertise. It is essential to showcase social proof, as it will build the most trust with your audience. Social proof includes social media engagement (likes, follows, comments) as well as before and after images of your clients’ fitness journeys (with their permission), exercise progression videos, and client testimonials.
Short-form video content on social media, such as Instagram reels, TikTok videos, and YouTube shorts, can help you demonstrate your services. For example, by uploading a video of you training a client (with their permission) or a video of yourself demonstrating 3 great glute exercises.
Other marketing techniques include referral programs (to incentivize existing clients to tell their friends about you), harnessing the power of SEO through fitness-related blog posts, and hosting a fitness event for networking opportunities in your community.
From a marketing perspective, you should have a well-designed logo, clever business name, a nicely designed website, and social media accounts for business purposes.
Any potential new client who is interested in perhaps hiring you as their personal trainer will likely agree to a consultation.
Various important factors will affect how your consultation will play out.
Building rapport with your potential client is the foundation of the consultation process. If done well, your interpersonal approach will allow you to connect more authentically and bring ease to your prospect. It is human nature for people to work with those whom they know, like, and trust. If your potential client decides they like you as a person, they’re more likely to want to choose you as their trainer.
An excellent way to build rapport is to ask questions that show you are genuinely interested in them. Find common ground or something to relate to them. Remember to be sincerely interested in what they say, listen more than you speak, and make sure you pick up on cues during the conversation.
During the beginning of the consultation, you should discover as much as you can about your potential client and their “why” (as in, why they want to get fit or lose weight) in order to prepare for the presentation part of the consultation. The more information you discover about them, the easier it will be for you to show in your presentation that their problems can be solved with your solutions.
To support the consultation process, it is crucial to have a visual presentation (on a screen such as your laptop) that your potential client can follow with you as you incorporate their needs into your service. Your presentation should include the following slides:
1. Introduce your brand and philosophy. This is an opportunity for you to discuss your experience and expertise in more detail, highlight your achievements as a fitness professional, and showcase your brand.
2. Outline goal setting. This is where you will reiterate why your potential client seeks your help, and how you can help them reach their goals.
3. Explain your fitness assessment/introduction. Starting your onboarding with a fitness assessment is a great way to acquire your new client, as your service’s price and time may be a shock initially. Make sure to share the price for the assessment, specific details of what it will look like, and how it will help create their customized and personalized fitness program.
4. Cover your type of workout program. Explain the how behind the what. Discuss your approach, what the physical workout program will consist of, and any added elements of your service to get your clients to their goals.
5. Provide social proof. Showcase past client results with before and after pictures and briefly describe their goals and achievements. This is how you show you have been successful in the past, and build a higher level of trust. If you don’t have before or after pictures, you can still provide social proof, such as testimonials from satisfied clients, and reviews.
6. Explain the pricing. Discuss the different pricing options and why they may or may not opt for different types of commitments. It’s always good to discuss how different commitments will affect the results they’ll see. Use past clients as examples. The focus is not on signing them up for your long-term plans yet. Close them on the fitness assessment, and let them know they can decide on the commitment after the assessment.
Staying Organized: Client Management Software
If you’re wondering how to become a personal trainer, you must also learn how to effectively manage, track, and monitor your client’s progress. You should use client management software to maintain organization of clientele, documents, payments, etc, and to increase longevity of your clients and their overall success.
Software also can help you track individual client progress, store data such as client measurements, program individual exercise routines, manage payments, manage scheduling, and more. We highly recommend investing in a software program to manage and grow your business.
When it comes to software, there are many systems to choose from. Find out what other fitness professionals who are using these systems are saying. There will be reviews online that might answer some of your questions.
Tracking the progress of your clients is essential. It’s a significant part of what they’re paying you for, and they’ll be expecting you to do so. The software you invest in should be able to record their weight, body fat, measurements, and other statistics. Some software enables your clients to have a social profile within your fitness business community where they can compete with other clients and share their achievements. Keeping relevant client documents in one place is also good practice. Your software should allow you to securely store information such as your Waiver and Par-Q, doctor’s notes, medical files, and anything regarding your legal responsibility to your client.
Exercise programming is a feature to look for in gym management software programs. When programming for your client, it makes a much more user-friendly experience for them to access their workout program through an app where they can see the exercises in real-time when training alone. Some software provides workout libraries with computer-generated or pre-filmed activities. Be aware of the length of your videos when applying them to your client’s program, as they will benefit from quick and direct instructions.
How to Become a Personal Trainer: Final Thoughts
There are a lot of steps involved in the journey toward becoming a successful personal trainer. Now you know about some of the most important steps involved on that journey, and the more you learn about becoming a personal trainer, the more confident you’ll feel pursuing this exciting and rewarding career.