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A post by

Kara Glasco, MS, RCEP, HFS

Once you have decided that the health and fitness field is for you, there are other factors to consider when trying to build your client base.  A successful trainer must find their target audience, create their own niche, and determine how to best motivate their clients.  I also feel that the best trainers must master their trade and find where their skills fit best.

Master Your Trade

It may seem like a no-brainer but certifications can drastically set you apart from the crowd.  Most of our clients won’t know the difference between any of the acronyms following your name. We all know that personal training certifications are not created equal.  Heck, I’ve seen training certifications advertised for sale on discount websites!  Your client’s may not know the difference but your employers will.  Better certifications will allow you to work for higher quality gyms, which in turn gives you higher paying clients.

Once you’ve gotten your certifications, keeping those certifications can be very time consuming and expensive.  The trick is to find certification points that can advance your training skills and net you a higher training rate.  It is easy enough to take the online quizzes and get a few points every quarter, but it is unlikely that those quiz points will help you raise your training rate.  I find online webinars and conferences to be the best use of my time, money, and certification points.  Often, I am able to use the skills I learn from conferences to improve my current clients as well as seek out new clients that might benefit from my newly learned skill.  I always search for webinars and conferences that take me outside of my comfort zone or teach me a brand new skill.  More skills usually means more clients.  Another way I like to master my trade is to sign up for daily emails from reputable websites and trainers.  Following reputable trainers, physical therapist, and nutritionist not only teach me new tips but reminds me of all those little tidbits I’ve forgotten along the way.  Daily emails also help keep you up to date on new research or trending health and fitness topics that your clients will most likely be asking you about.   

Where Do You Fit In

Finding where you fit into the health and wellness field can often be difficult with so many different types of facilities to choose from.  The only options used to be commercial fitness, corporate fitness, or starting your own training business.  These days there seems to be a studio on every corner for CrossFit, yoga, kettlebells, and barre just to name a few.  With more and more training studios opening every day it can be a task to determine where you fit in.  In college, I had a professor require us to use four different types of fitness facilities and report our opinions on each.  I found this very insightful because a private fitness studio and a large commercial gym couldn’t be more different. 
I suggest taking the membership tour of a facility you are interested in to see if meets your standards.   I have even called facilities to ask how much they charge for personal training and how many trainers they have on staff. They don’t need to know that you are a trainer.  Too many or too few trainers can be problematic for your livelihood depending on how many clients you like to handle at one time.  Some commercial gyms may require their trainers to maintain a certain sales rate in order to have higher hourly wages. When determining where you fit into the fitness spectrum, it is important to master your trade while developing your own unique training style.   

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