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PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2016 10:33 am 
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Hey guys, I have been lifting for years now and I am finally ready to take the plunge into a career as a personal trainer. I have been reading on this forum for years but have never really participated until now. I know a lot of members here are personal trainers so I thought this would be a great place to ask. Through the research I have done I have only come up with the more questions about how to get started. How did you guys get started? Did you shadow a personal trainer? The more I research on the available certifications, the more confused I get. My personal training for myself is very bodybuilding centric. Is there a certification that matches well with the knowledge that I already know? Are there any tips that you have for beginners but you wish that you knew when you get started? I am a complete beginner to this. Any help would be great, I love this forum and have learned so much from this community already!


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2016 5:02 pm 
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I'm not a trainer but I have looked into it. What country are you in, and do you have any related education?

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Let thy food be thy medicine, and thy medicine be thy food.~Hippocrates
Strength is the adaptation that leads to all other adaptations that you really care about - Charles Staley
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2016 4:55 pm 
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I am in the United States. In California that matters. I have a few kinesiology courses under my belt I took in college but nothing more. Are you planning on getting certified as a trainer in the future?


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2016 5:01 pm 
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I'm not but I was considering it as a retirement option. My son got part way through kinesiology. We both took some training through the YMCA. If you can finish your degree, then CSCS is the way to go. I believe our Jason Nunn and Kenny Croxdale have that qualification. I'm in Canada so I'm not too famililiar with the other American cerifications. Maybe Kenny will drop by.

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Let thy food be thy medicine, and thy medicine be thy food.~Hippocrates
Strength is the adaptation that leads to all other adaptations that you really care about - Charles Staley
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2016 6:24 pm 
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Hey Steward, thank you for the quick reply. I do not think I can take the CSCS because I did not have a degree in health related field. I have been doing research on various certifications and I am getting more confused more research I do haha. If you can shoot your friend Kenny a line, that would be greatly appreciated. Talk to you soon


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2016 7:20 am 
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Powerlifting Ninja
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tylerpc73 wrote:
Hey Steward, thank you for the quick reply. I do not think I can take the CSCS because I did not have a degree in health related field. I have been doing research on various certifications and I am getting more confused more research I do haha. If you can shoot your friend Kenny a line, that would be greatly appreciated. Talk to you soon


CSCS

As Stu stated, I am a CSCS with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. I obtain it in 1998.

I think Jason Nun is a CSCS, as well, like Stu said. Nun's a smart guy.

With that said, so is Stu and the majority of individual who post on this sight are quite knowledgeable.

Education

I have a college minor (18 hours) in Physical Education. That's what it was termed back in the dark ages.

I went back to learn more for my Powerlifting Training and picked up another 21 hours in physiology, kinesiology, nutrition, etc.

I decided to change job fields, took and passed the CSCS. Approximately, 70% pass the test.

CSCS Requirements

When I took the exam, the requirement was that you needed a Bachelor's Degree, it did not specify what it needed to be in.

The same requirement may still apply for taking the CSCS, only needing a college degree.

You can call or email the NSCA about that, since I am out of the loop on it,

NSCA-CPT

If you're unable to take the CSCS, the NSCA has a Certified Personal Training Certification.

Job

I worked as a Part Time Personal Trainer for Gold Gym for a few years.

I migrated into Fitness Equipment Sales. I work in Commercial Fitness Equipment Sales.

I cover most of New Mexico, Eastern Arizona, and Southern Colorado. I make personal calls to those areas.

My CSCS is used in dealing with High School Coaches, Physical Therapist, Gyms, etc. I speak their language.

I also host a Non-Profit Strength Clinic each year sanctioned with the NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association and the NASM (National Academy of Sport Medicine).

Personal Training Organizations

I'd rate the NSCA and ASCM as the top two organizations.

Which one is #1? Flip a coin.

1) National Strength and Conditioning Association: This is one of the top organizations. It focus is geared toward athletes. Many Strength Coaches have this certification.

2) American College of Sport Medicine: This is another one of the top organizations. It's focus is more toward heath.

If I did not have the CSCS, this would be my next choice.

I'd rate the following in the next tier. They are in no particular order.

3) American Council on Exercise

4) International Sports Science Association

5) National Academy of Sports Medicine

Other Personal Training Organizations

The above "Top 5" have a good overall reputation.

There are some obscure Other Personal Training Organizations that sell you a piece of paper.

Which Organization Is Right For You?

These organizations all have personality types.

I choose the NSCA because it caters more to athletes, which fits who I am...my interest.

My suggestion is find the one that fits your interest.

Questions?

If you have additional questions, let me know.

Kenny Croxdale

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2016 3:15 pm 
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Hey thanks for the great response Kenny! I am definitely going to check out both NSCA and CSCS to see what they both have to offer me. I have been doing a lot of research on certifications lately in both of those seem like excellent choices. Good to hear that you do not need a health related degree in order to go for the CSCS. All six of those certifications seem very highly rated from the research I've done so far. I'm going to do some research and I might have more questions if you do not mind answering them for me. Sorry I have not been on this form since last week but thank you so much for the great reply. Hope to talk to you more soon!


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2016 7:06 pm 
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Deific Wizard of Sagacity
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I got the NASM cert and I've been a trainer for 6 years now. My advice would be look at all the places you would potentially work and see what certs they want.

A trainer cert is like passing your driving test - you start really learning after you've passed the test. All the cert really does is teach you how to learn, and I think the biggest mistake new trainers make is not continuing to learn afterwards.

I also started training people part time, at nights and weekends, and built up a decent client base before quitting my day job. I'd recommend that if you can. It's safer and it's also like a test - if you don't enjoy doing it after already working all day, then you probably won't enjoy it full time. I always thought it would be easier when i finally quit my job, but it's much harder - I love it and i'm not complaining, i've just seen quite a lot of trainers fail because they found out they didn't enjoy training other people as much as they enjoyed training themselves.

I work in a small warehouse gym, and self employed. I don't own the gym, just pay rent. It's perfect for me. I started in a commercial gym, though, and this is generally whats recommended for a new trainer. You get instant exposure to a wide array of potential clients, and get thrown into the gym world. I found the experience invaluable but you can still make it starting in a small warehouse gym too, a couple of our trainers started here and are doing really well, you just need to rely on social media and other marketing methods to get clients (word of mouth should take over, though). There's pro's and cons, in a commercial gym the leads are all around you. In a warehouse gym you need to go get them. However, leads you bring in yourself and into a warehous gym tend to be better quality, so you need less anyway.

In short, think about where you would be working :)

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2016 5:20 pm 
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Thanks for the response KPj! NASM has been one of the certifications that I have been looking at more in depth. I do agree with you that experience and practices more important than certification, but unfortunately I still need to get one. The gym I will work for recommends certifications that are accredited by the NCCA. So that makes ISSA out of the question. I'm still working part-time in my current job and will definitely not quit until I have built up enough clients to fully set for myself with my new career as a personal trainer. I have also heard that commercial gyms take way too much money away from personal trainers. It is cool to hear that you are working for the gym and just paying rent. I bet you Make a lot more money than a place like 24 hour fitness. I am planning on making some social media pages as well just like you recommended as well as some business cards to hand out to various people in my town. Likely the gym does have a personal training salesperson so that I can hopefully build up clients little bit faster. I do not think of myself as a sales person and I know that it would be difficult to get clients completely on my own.

In terms of the certifications, I have been doing a lot more research of last 24 hours. Since I need to get a certification that is accredited by the NCCA I decided to start looking there. I found a website that talks about the top 10 personal training certifications this year. I would like some input from you guys so let me know if you feel the same or differently about his opinion. http://www.ptpioneer.com/best-personal-trainer-certification-guide/. Based off of other peoples opinions as well as this website I have narrowed it down to NASM, ACE, NSCA or ACSM. It seems like NASM and ACSM are more focused around corrective exercise training, NSCA is more powerlifting and strength training based and ACE is just an all around good certification for beginners but does not really specialize in one area or another. NSCA does like like it is more up my alley in terms of the curriculum but people say that the study materials are not quite up to par with that of NASM or ACE. What do you think about this?

The second question I have is one for people that are earning a living as a personal trainer. What kind of money can I expect to make as a personal trainer if I was working part-time or even full-time? Do any of you work completely for yourselves in your own studio or even at your own home? According to the same website, they say that you could make up to $100,000 per year as a personal trainer in the United States. http://www.ptpioneer.com/personal-trainer-salary-how-much-do-personal-trainers-make/ For some reason this seems extremely high for me. I was shooting for around $50,000 per year at the Max but it is really excited if that is truly a possibility to make that much money. How much money you gave me I don't mind asking and how many clients you think you take to potentially make 50,000 to $100,000 in one year? More than anything though, I am extremely excited to get started working as a personal trainer! I have already started studying some anatomy textbooks my friend lent to me so I could study the musculoskeletal system. Any advice would be great thank you for all the responses so far!


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2016 8:52 am 
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tylerpc73 wrote:
I do agree with you that experience and practices more important than certification, but unfortunately I still need to get one.


Certification

I wouldn't quite go so far to state that experience and practice trumps a certification.

A certification basically states basically have scientific knowledge on the principles of training and how to employ them into a program; which provides a synergistic effect when compounded with particle experience.

Neanderthals

Gym a full of neanderthals with years if not decades of experience and practice.

The irony is they most of their practical experience is incorrect.

They then perpetuate incorrect method and ideas to other..."Garbage in garbage out".

Screening Personal Trainers

A certification with a reputable organization ensure the health club is hiring an individual that has demonstrated knowledge in the field.

Quote:
I have also heard that commercial gyms take way too much money away from personal trainers.


Yes, their pay scale is very low. It's hard to make a living.

Thus, the reason for the high turnover rate.

With that said, it a good place to "Earn while you learn".

Quote:
Likely the gym does have a personal training salesperson so that I can hopefully build up clients little bit faster. I do not think of myself as a sales person and I know that it would be difficult to get clients completely on my own.


Salesperson

Most don't. They require you to sell your own training sessions.

Selling is part of the process. If you go out on your own like KPj, you going to need to develop some sales skills.

Quote:
I found a website that talks about the top 10 personal training certifications this year. I would like some input from you guys so let me know if you feel the same or differently about his opinion. http://www.ptpioneer.com/best-personal-trainer-certification-guide/.


Top 5

I provide you a list of the Top 5.

Pioneer's Top 10 List contains organizations that are sub par.

Quote:
NSCA does like like it is more up my alley in terms of the curriculum but people say that the study materials are not quite up to par with that of NASM or ACE. What do you think about this?


Whoever provide you with that information is clueless.

Quote:
According to the same website, they say that you could make up to $100,000 per year as a personal trainer in the United States. http://www.ptpioneer.com/personal-trainer-salary-how-much-do-personal-trainers-make/ For some reason this seems extremely high for me.


Pioneer

This website misinformed you about the Top Personal Training Organizations.

They are now misleading your on the amount of money you can make.

The percentage of Personal Trainer's making $100,000 a year is very low. Perhaps 1-2% of Personal Trainer make that much.

If they do, they live in affluent areas where the cost of living is quite high.

As an example, the cost of living in Southern California (I live there for 5 years) is 40% more than in Texas.

Breaking That Down

A Personal Trainer making $72,000 in Texas would need to make $100,800 ($72,000 X 140%) to maintain the same Life Style.

That one of the things people overlook.

Quote:
I was shooting for around $50,000 per year at the Max but it is really excited if that is truly a possibility to make that much money.


That's reasonable but will take years for you to get there.

Quote:
how many clients you think you take to potentially make 50,000 to $100,000 in one year?


Business Skills

You need to develop some business skills. One of the biggest reason Personal Trainer's fail is they don't understand the business/marketing side of it.

With that said, let do some...

Simple Math

1) Making $50,000 A Year: $50,000 divided by 52 weeks (if you work non-stop a year) = $961.54 per week.

$1923.08 divide by 40 hour week = $24.03 per hour.

2 Making $100,000 A Year: $100,000 divided by 52 weeks (if you work non-stop a year) = $1923.08 per week.

$1923.08 divide by 40 hour week = $48.07 per hour.

The Problem

1) The going rate appears to be $50 per hour, dependent on where you live. So, the $50,000 breakdown is not real.

2) Your not going to have 8 hour for 52 weeks per year.

People quite, take off for vacations/being sick, there a slow season in the summer, etc.

2) You need to find affluent people who can spend more like $400 plus each month.

"Plan Your Work, Work Your Plan"

KPj provide you with some good information on it.

Kenny Croxdale

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Thanks TimD.


Last edited by Kenny Croxdale on Thu Apr 07, 2016 4:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2016 12:54 pm 
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wow thank you for the very in-depth reply! You guys have helped me so much so far and I am excited to get started. I know that a good certification is very important especially for the screening process that you talked about. I am lucky because the gym that I want to work for actually does have a dedicated personal training salesman. But I also agree with you that I definitely need to get some sales skills under my belt especially if I want to go out and work on my own. Maybe I can pick up a good book on sales and start studying that at the same time as my certification. I think the gym I will work for is a good starting place to get a lot of experience. I will not be getting paid as low as a commercial gym. They said I will get about half of what the client pays instead of a third for most commercial gyms like 24 hour fitness.

I didn't think that the pay scale from that website was completely correct. If I can make up to $50,000 a year that would be fantastic for me and would easily pay for all of my costs of living. I am definitely going to go with one of the top five certifications provided by you guys. I am really leaning more towards NSCA because the more people I talked to the more it is recommended as the best one. Especially for the type of training that I will be doing. On top of my sales skills that I want to develop I am also going to look at this as a personal business ( even though I will be working for someone at the beginning) and need to develop a marketing plan for myself! I am extremely excited to say of the least! Thanks again for all of the help and for pointing me in the right direction. Now it's time to commit to a certification and get to studying! :)


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2016 4:19 pm 
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Powerlifting Ninja
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tylerpc73 wrote:
Maybe I can pick up a good book on sales and start studying that at the same time as my certification.


S.P.I.N. Selling
http://trainings.altpere.com/downloads/ ... elling.pdf

This above is a copy of one of the best book on sales.

S.P.I.N. stand for Situation, Problems, Implications, and Needs-Pay Off.

The essence of the book is similar to a doctor.

1) Find out their problem...what making them sick.

2) Prescribe the "medication" (training program in this case) that will make them well.

The book is more about finding out if someone has a problem that you can help them solve.

Quote:
On top of my sales skills that I want to develop I am also going to look at this as a personal business ( even though I will be working for someone at the beginning) and need to develop a marketing plan for myself!


The 22 Immutable Rules of Mareting
http://credu.bookzip.co.kr/resource/eng ... h30044.pdf

The above is a copy of the book.

Kenny Croxdale

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2016 7:45 am 
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Tyler--are you aware of trainer who do small group training? In short, a trainer trains a group of 3-5 clients at the same time. I've seen it in action in a friend's facility, and it works well. When the client is new the trainer needs to spend 1 on 1 time with them, assessing, teaching basic exercises, etc., but once they are established they train in groups. I think some trainers attempt to form groups of people with similar abilities and interests, but my friend doesn't. Groups include men and women, all ages. Some may be doing the same exercises, and may pair up for those exercises. Groups may include friends, couples, a parent and their teenage child, etc. The owner (or his other trainers) move around the group, correcting technique mistakes, encouraging, demonstrating, etc. Sometimes he'll just call out a cue, sometimes he'll talk to the client for a few minutes. Not everyone would be good at this, but he does it very well. He does all his programming in advance, and has a good system worked out for planning, and printing out sheets of each client's program, which he has on a clipboard during the session. That allows him to know exactly what each client will do each day, without having to do any planning on the fly. With growth of his gym, he lets the groups grow until they are big enough to need 2 trainers working at once, and then schedules 2 trainers.

The cost per client is much less than they would pay for 1 on 1 training from someone of my friend's caliber (he has a Masters, and is CSCS), but his earnings per hour are considerably higher than they would be with just one client. My guess is that he could probably get $75/hr 1 on 1. But training 5 clients at $25/hr each gives him $125. I don't know what he makes, but I have a good feel for his approach to business. He started in small, cramped space, but had room outside, and could use some space of adjacent businesses when they were closed. He bought his equipment from garage sales and Craig's list. A couple of years ago he moved into larger, but still simple space. He added more equipment, but I'm pretty sure most, if not all of it was used. I don't believe he's ever borrowed money for his business.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2016 9:34 am 
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Thanks for the the advice on the marketing and sales information Kenny! I will be studying those at the same time as my cert. I think I am going to make the plunge and purchase NSCA this weekend and get started.

That sounds very interesting and profitable Jungledoc! I will look more into small group training. It might take double the sales skills but I can see how that would be very fun for the clients. I actually see a trainer around my gym that primarily does small group training between 3-8 people maybe. It looks fun! Obviously depends on the individual goals of each client but if they have similar goals I can see this working quite well! Thanks for the tip!


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2016 10:59 pm 
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With my friend's gym, since every client can be doing something different, it doesn't matter if they have similar goals or not.

What I really liked is the positive, encouraging atmosphere that has developed there. If someone accomplishes something that is new or significant to them, everybody cheers. It may be a small teenage girl deadlifting 100lb for the first time, or a 35 year old firefighter pulling 400, the reaction is the same.

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