January 6, 2017

Fitness Trainer Apprenticeship Program

It takes more than just getting a certification to be a good personal trainer. Did you know that 76-98% of personal trainers do not survive the first 2 years of their careers? There are many reasons for this but it all boils down to the fact that as a trainer, you aren’t guaranteed 8 hours of clients, back to back with a guaranteed paycheck. You are not even guaranteed one client a day. Even as a gym trainer, you must treat the job as a business’ not like a job where you show up and your work is handed to you. Most of the time, you have to go out and find your own clients, then maintain a solid friendship with them so that they trust you and your expertise to stay loyal to you, all awhile, getting the results they are paying you for.

Personal training is that rare job where you are getting paid to make someone do something they do not want to do, but need to do, but won’t see immediate results… and most people are instant-results-addicted. We live in an instant-gratification, magic pill shopping, shortcut seeking society. And somehow as a personal trainer, you have to  educate your clients and motivate them to be patient for results.

With 14 years of experience, I have learned that the best way to learn how to be an effective and successful personal trainer is to learn from other successful personal trainers.  I personally consider myself 1% of each trainer I have worked with or aside in my 14 years of training; everything I know is from other trainers! A successful trainer is good at the actual training, getting results, maintaining a loyal base of clients while having a pipeline full of hopefuls waiting to be trained, as well as the “back office” work; billing, advertising/marketing, networking, continuing education, etc… pretty much what you need to do to make any business succeed. Even as a gym employee trainer, you will still need to do all this (minus the billing aspect) but with many gym jobs, you have a quota to meet. As an independent trainer, your quota is simply the amount of money you need to survive. Most gyms in Las Vegas will only give you some of your clients; you have to go out and earn the rest. That is why most trainers who are good at getting their own clients, prefer to be independent trainers. As an independent trainer, you call your own price, and you only have to pay the right to train at a gym (referred to as “rent”). A employee trainer settles for a percentage of what the gym charges the client (on average 20-60%) and if you are an experienced trainer working for a gym, most of the time you are getting paid the same as someone brand new with no experience. Most gym’s base their commission structure off how many sessions you have sold and are training per week; not how good you are. You are essentially a salesperson for your own services. And most gyms do not respect the craft of personal training; all they see is dollar signs.

Unfortunately, most trainers would never offer to help a newbie or offer an apprenticeship because it’s a lot of work teaching a newbie and because once you learn the ropes… you are now the competition. Well, at least that is what they think.

Most personal trainers certifications will teach you the basics of exercise and a basic strategy on how to progress via the exercises, but not how to deal with your clients, how to get them, the various modalities of exercise nor how different each client will be, nor how to spot abnormalities in movement patterns or how to elicit the creative processes of the mind so that you can create an effective workout with just about any equipment you have access to. There is also an intuition component to personal training that is never addressed. Also… who actually remembers everything they read in textbooks and after they test out?

With this apprenticeship program, there is theory (exercise science, psychology and mindset) & practice to consider. Various modalities will be covered and opportunities to put your knowledge to practice through actual training clients and/or other trainers. You will learn how to network to get new clients, how to incorporate nutrition and supplements into your business (multiple streams of income). You may commit to the apprenticeship program for as long as you feel but I recommend 3-6 months.

There are two avenues to consider for payment; direct payment or a proxy program that will allow you to build an asset that will supplement your income for as long as you build the asset. The price will be dependent upon you and your ambition level! The proxy program is about $450+ a month but includes supplies that can be sold for retail to recoup cost (if you wish), plus a percentage of any clients you are given (you keep the funds from any clients you bring in yourself). You will also be given clients to practice on and paid a percentage of the hourly rate that client is paying.

This apprenticeship program is not a scholastic style system; it’s more like an actual master/apprentice program where we go by feel. There is no classroom component. There is no sit and be taught to. Your education on fitness & exercise theory will come from your personal trainer certification textbook which you will be reading as homework.  Everything else is OJT! Expect to dedicate 3-12 months of an apprenticeship to truly become the gifted personal trainer you were meant to be.

Your alternative is go out and do it on your own, which is what most trainers do.