Fitness Job; It looks good from afar…
I’m often approached by people about what is required to get involved in fitness as a career. Generally the questions center around what education is necessary and what marketing tendencies might be required to maintain a successful business. The primary question though, is about how much fun and how satisfying it must be to have an easy job.
Friends, people from the online fitness community, people from my real community, and occasionally even clients, present these questions to me; often woven together by the belief that a fitness career would be a far better, far more uplifting and far more fulfilling career path than the thankless and ordinary job they are currently slaving away at for, that asshole.
I thought it would be fun this week to offer some thoughts, perhaps not otherwise entertained, to those who might be interested in fitness training as a career. These are random, possibly incomplete, and in no particular order. I may come back and write more on this topic later on in this series.
Location: Choose your demographic wisely…
Straight up, a part of my success is that I live and work in a small, isolated community with a proportionately abundant population of people who have discretionary income and plenty of spare time; we’ll refer to them as retired millionaires. I also have many working class clients with less spare time. A part of my success is that I make equal time for both, and in-turn, have been able to weave my reputation well into my community at all levels.
The “small, isolated community” part has been more central to my success than the average income per household. In a small town when you do a good job for one person, ten more people know about in a matter of days, and this can help advance the business. Conversely, do a bad job for someone in a small town, and twenty more people will know about it in a matter of minutes. My demographic has been useful, but not exclusive in the success of my business.
Passion: “Love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Mark Twain
That is absolute bullshit. I do love fitness, and I chose this career that my body always be proximate to my exercise, but a J-O-B is a J-O-B! Yes, telling attractive women that they need to arch their backs more and keep their chins high, and getting paid for it, is a rung on the ladder of success well above making sandwiches, washing dishes, and removing rats from the drains at the Bagel Deli as I did when I was 16-years old.
However, work is work and days can be long – and hard – and frustrating – and some unforgiving. There are typical business concerns that arise daily when I’m not in a client-session; invoicing, insurance, correspondence, scheduling, collecting money, and keeping my studio clean to name a few. For every hour I spend in a training session, I might spend 15 minutes addressing some combination of these.
A key part of my success is what I call the 80/20 rule. Eighty percent of the time I act as my own employee, and 20% of the time I act as the business owner. Since we all know the boss is always a prick and never works hard anyway, this rule helps me keep things in line.
Understanding the client: Most people are more fragile than they seem…
A gym can be an intimidating place. Even the most successful, best educated, and results oriented people, as well as many dedicated athletes, can be intimated when they enter a gym – whether they show it or not. It took me many years to learn this. The best way to overcome this is to foster immediate success with a client. Not falsely, but consistently reinforcing all they do well during the workout.
A confident client acts confidently in the gym and is more likely to want to return. A client broken down emotionally is more likely to stay down – I have seen it many times.
Commitment To Their Workout: You can lead a horse to water…
There must be acknowledgment from the trainer that most clients aren’t into exercise as the trainer might be. Why else would they be paying for the assistance? My clients range in age from 13 to 88 years old, all of them with unique personalities, agendas, needs, and levels of commitment to the program, but with one thing in common – if they would exercise on their own, they would exercise on their own.
The best way to get the most from a client is to find out quickly how much they are willing to give. This is done by asking them – again and again and again. Like echo-location during the workouts, continually sending out feelers about how they feel during the course of an exercise, I gather and use the information to help choose their future exercises and build their future workouts. However, when I ask those questions, the eyes usually give more information that their words.
That’s it, all I can think to share – for the moment. If anyone has thoughts of fitness as a career path, or knows someone who is considering it, I am always available to answer any questions – you know where to find me.
Please check back next week for Part-2 of this series, Dialogue; Conversations Over Crunches. Should be a fun one, wink wink, nod nod. Be well. rc
Oh, and there is this from Los Lobos — the best live band on the planet. Enjoy…