Friday, September 23, 2016

Love Fitness? Make It A Profitable Career!

Are you hooked on working out?

Do you get a high every time you hit the weights, do bodyweight training or cardio?

Are you the type that loves the “pump” in your muscles? That feeling you get after endorphins kick in that gives you a second wind, and makes you feel like you could just keep going forever?

Do you love the feeling of winning a game? Perhaps that weekend-warrior success you still feel every time you run with a ball, shoot a basket, kick a goal, hit a home run, or make that touchdown?

Do you get an adrenaline rush just thinking of working out?


Maybe it’s time you lead by example and help other people achieve their goals and dreams by passing on your valuable experience and natural abilities to inspire others to get in the best shape of their lives.

Perhaps the greatest job in the world is getting to do what you love and get paid to do it!

After all, you know what they say:

“Do work that you love and you’ll never have to work another day in your life!”

That seems like great advice, but you better know what you are doing if you are attempting to make a career out of fitness.

For most people, a career in fitness has a couple of predictable paths. It usually means becoming a personal trainer, group fitness instructor, yoga, pilates, CrossFit coach, aerobics, Zumba, dance fitness, or some other related job. However, in today’s economy, it is such a commodity, that getting one of these jobs has become increasingly prevalent, and yet watered down in terms of pay and benefits.

In fact, those looking to get a job in this arena have new hurdles to jump that never even existed even a few years ago.

Here are the real facts about what you have to overcome if you want a career in fitness:


Certifications are more expensive and diverse than ever before.

Not only are there more choices, but the prices have been increasing, due not only to inflation, but to the fact that there are more fitness certifications for every niche business function or job that you can imagine, and many gyms require specializations now that require many different certifications. Of course, you don’t strictly need these certs, but since there are more people trying to get the same job, you won’t be able to compete if you don’t have them and another trainer does.

If you want to work in a hospital or physical therapy or even a corporate setting, chances are you will need at least one of the beefier certifications and possibly a 4-year degree before anyone will take you seriously.

Fewer employers are offering benefits of any kind.

Most companies can no longer afford insurance for their employees, much less other benefits, and fitness tends to be a part-time job, which means you don’t even qualify for most full-time benefits mandated by law.

If you are self-employed, you are on your own in this department. One way or another you are you going to be paying for yourself.

One tip you should look into:

If you are on your own, you can find deals on health insurance by contacting your certification or other fitness professional association and at least get some discount from their group buying power. However, don’t expect to be wowed by what you find. It is just a little better than if you are totally independent when doing your search. Still, it’s better than nothing.

Going out on your own has become more difficult.

In the United States at least, the taxes have steadily increased and many hidden taxes have been imposed on the self-employed. Since you are likely not going to be big enough of a company to be incorporated (or at least not be producing enough to justify the cost), you are most likely going to be a sole proprietor, and LLC, or a Sub-S corporation being taxed as a pass-through entity (check with your accountant for advice, I am not giving it here).

You are going to be subject to self-employment tax, B&O tax, you’ll have to collect sales tax for the government (so you are forced to be a tax collector), income tax, as well as other little sneaky fees and taxes that will wiggle their way in and surprise you after you think you already paid what you owe. Sadly, this often makes it more worthwhile to be an employee rather than an owner, but overall it is still better to have your own business if you are truly serious about long term financial success in the fitness industry.

Most Trainers Quit Within The First 2 Years

The statistics are still pretty gruesome. Most personal trainers or group fitness instructors quickly become disillusioned and decide to exit the industry within the first two years. This is likely due to unrealistic expectations to begin with, many of which are propagated by the certification companies, who are notoriously blowhards and want to sell more certification programs to fitness enthusiasts. The difficulty of achieving success without a proven business plan is also a contributor to attrition.

I am not a naysayer at heart. I am a glass is half full kind of guy by nature.

I just believe that you need to have the facts before you jump into something.

So, with all that being said, I still think there is a great and very profitable career to be had in fitness, provided that you have the right mindset going in.

After all, unless you are brand spankin’ new, you probably know a trainer or fitness instructor who makes a little money on the side, but who isn’t considered a real professional. The professionals are the ones that don’t need two other jobs. Sadly, most trainers are simply part-time and part-heart. They make very little income when it all boils down.

If you really do love fitness and want to make it a profitable career, you need to do a little thinking and a little homework before you start your journey so that you can start on the best path for you.

Here are a few things you need to keep in mind if you want to get on track to having a profitable fitness career, whether you want to be a personal trainer, a group fitness instructor, or own a fitness business.


Look for potential clients before you even have a gym to work at or a certification.
  • Most people think I am crazy when I mention this. The reason I say this is that if you are in shape, and you are enthusiastic about fitness, and you really want to help people, it shouldn’t be difficult for you to talk to people you know and find someone that wants to at least try out working out with you. This is a very good sign that others would be attracted to your energy as well. If you can’t get anyone interested at all, you need to seriously look at yourself and evaluate yourself and determine if you even want to go down this road.
  • If you can find someone to train before you even get a job, then it is a great sign that it is going to be a good direction to pursue.


Interview other trainers and/or job shadow a few places first.

  • Get to know the lay of the land and investigate opportunities before you jump in. Some gyms are wonderful places to work and some are terrible. This business is hard enough, so why waste lots of time and effort working in a terrible environment where you only get negative experiences?
  • Wisdom gleaned from people who have been there and done that can help speed up your time to success dramatically. Always be seeking wisdom.


Once you get a job or start a business, focus on the important things:

  1. Determine which activities get you paid, versus all the things that just keep you busy. Usually, talking to people and being a good communicator are the number one things that get you paid, because they lead to conversations around how you can help them which leads to sales. Most other stuff is a waste of time compared to that in terms of bringing money in so you can self-sustain as quickly as possible.
  2. Don’t spend all your money. Once you start making money, save some for taxes (at least 15%), and then save some for investing. Survive off the rest. Pay yourself first! Invest conservatively and quit trying to think you need to open up a huge gym right away and go into debt!
  3. Make lots of friends and try never to burn bridges. You never know who will help you on your journey. The people you are meeting now on the way up tend to be the same people you run into on the way down. This business is about networking.
  4. Work harder than all the other trainers around you. Perhaps the biggest indicator of success is hard work, determination, and persistence. If you “wow” your customers every time, you will never have to worry about begin employed, since they will give you referrals and everyone around you will be attracted to your energy. Bring the enthusiasm and bust butt.
  5. Keep learning. There is always more to learn, not only in this field but as a business owner… Because whether you are an employee or you are self-employed, you are only successful if you attain an entrepreneurial mindset. The only way to succeed is to be ahead of the game and you can only get ahead by learning continuously. Look for the trends that are coming and don’t just ride the coattails of someone else. If you study what is going on around you, you will eventually see opportunities before anyone else, and that can make you rich.



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