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Thursday, February 12, 2015

THE BUSINESS OF PERSONAL TRAINING: Where To Ply Your Trade

One of the most important decisions you have to make as a professional personal trainer is where to work.  You have numerous options.  Which option you choose is entirely up to you.  There is no right or wrong answer for every trainer out there, but there is a right answer for you and the type of client you want to work with.

Here are some common options for personal trainers, and some positive and negative characteristics of each location.

CrossFit Gym:
I began doing CrossFit workouts as a way to challenge myself.  While doing this type of training I realized it is the best program to achieve a high level of overall fitness.  If you want to be competent at everything life may throw at you, CrossFit is the training methodology for you.  If you plan to use this methodology with your clients then training in a CrossFit gym is the place to be.  Training clients in a CrossFit gym also gives you great freedom to train other types of programs.  You can train a client for power lifting, Olympic lifting, Gymnastics, sport specific training, and much more.  Training at a CrossFit gym gives you the freedom to use many different methodologies to train your clients.

There are a couple negatives when personal training in a CrossFit gym.  CrossFit gyms are loud.  When a WOD is being done in a class, the music gets turned up and barbells get dropped.  This can make it hard to communicate with a client at times.  If your client wants to incorporate something like yoga into their training program, a loud CrossFit gym is not ideal.  CrossFit gyms are very crowded, especially in the late afternoon.  Making proper space for your client can be a challenge at times.

Overall, a CrossFit gym is a great place to work as a personal trainer.  You have a great deal of freedom to train your clients how you want.

Private Personal Training Studio:
A private studio will give you great freedom.  You can set it up so you have only one client in your space at a time.  Many clients love this type of privacy.  You also have the freedom to train your clients any way you see fit.  It's your personal space, you can do whatever you want.  You choose the music that plays, you choose the decor, you even choose the equipment that is available.

The downside to running your own personal training studio, is you have to wear many hats.  You are not just a personal trainer; you are now a business owner, a maintenance man, an accountant, and a janitor.  If the toilet is clogged, it's your responsibility.  I once talked to a man (who I assume was in his 60's) that told me "I ran a personal training studio for 20 years.  You can't be a personal trainer your entire life.  You will burn out."  I have no doubt that running a personal training studio for an extended amount of time will burn you out.  I truly believe if you want to be a great trainer, the majority of your day should be dedicated to that trade.

"Globo" Gym:
The best thing about working at a globo gym is the high amount of new people coming through the door.  You have many opportunities to get new clients.  The negative side to this is you will spend a lot of time with people who have no interest in working with a personal trainer.  If you calculate the number of hours spent trying to get new clients vs the amount of income you receive from paying clients, the ratio is not in your favor.  That being said, a globo gym can be a great place for a trainer who is just starting out.  I began my career at a health club (which is a slightly "better" version of a globo gym).  Working in this environment put me in front of many great people, many of which I still work with today.

Generally, globo gyms do not have the best personal trainers.  Some of these gyms have their own certification programs.  Some only require that you have a certification.  If you did not know, getting a personal trainer certification is very easy.  You can easily obtain one online.  You need no formal education or experience to call yourself a personal trainer.  If you are a good trainer but are working along side less competent trainers, then their incompetence is going to harm your reputation.  You are also limited on how you can train your clients at a globo gym.  Most globo gyms do not have a place to perform the Olympic lifts.  If you are training an athlete and need to increase their power, you are very limited on what you can do for that client.

Where you ply your trade can be a very important decision.  I began my career at a health club.  I leaned a lot from working in that environment, both what to do and what not to do.  Now I work at CrossFit Syracuse.  I have great freedom to train my clients in a way that will give them the best results.  I also work along side other great trainers and coaches.  The best thing you can do as a personal trainer is put yourself in an environment where you can continually learn and grow.

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