Why I Lasted One Week as a Personal Trainer

Many moons ago (or about two years ago) I started this blog with the primary goal of using it to get clients. I wasn't certain what my 'dream job' entailed but I knew my main goal: I wanted to help make people happy & healthy. Workout

With my background in psychology I started to add additional education in that I figured would help me reach my goal. I became a certified intuitive eating counselor and a certified personal trainer through the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM.) I went with ACSM after doing a lot of online research and asking friends who were personal trainers which certificate to go with. ACSM and NASM seemed to be the two most recommended and I went with the cheaper of the two.

In my mind I envisioned taking a multidimensional approach in working with clients. I wanted to help women repair their negative relationships with food, learn how to exercise, and act as an overall cheerleader for health. When I was approached about a year ago by a gym opening up in town to come on as a personal trainer I was thrilled! The owners and I got along great and I was excited to get some experience in the field.

I lasted all of one week. Here's why.

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The Pay Sucks.

At the gym I started on at the pay was 50% of whatever the client paid to workout with you for 30 or 60 minutes. So, if the client bought a one hour session for $30 you got $15. Not bad! Once you brought in a certain amount of income monthly you started getting more of a cut. For example; after you bring in $1,000 a month you'll get 60% of the cut instead of 50%.

While the hourly money seems decent for a job that only require no college education and a certificate that can be earned in a few weeks you typically don't start out with any clients. So, you  have to 'work the floor' walking around, selling yourself, and trying to build up a client base. If you are not very extroverted this can be difficult. I have no problem talking to people but I do have a problem wasting time. When I first signed on to work with the gym they were going to have me do the free equipment/gym orientations & mini personal training sessions. Since they were scheduled based on the clients needs that meant I could have one at 5 a.m.and one at 3 p.m. We talked about having me stay on the clock in between sessions helping out in the office, assisting with marketing, etc. Once the gym actually opened they told me after my first day they hired someone fulltime to do all that type of work so I wouldn't be needed. That was the main reason why I quit. I just couldn't afford driving an hour round trip for working one hour at a time!

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Most People Want Miracles.

The other main reason why I quit was that I quickly realized people wanted their personal trainer to be a miracle worker. At least half of the people I interacted with had the most unrealistic expectations in terms of weight loss. One woman told me her husband was coming back from deployment in one month and she had to lose 40 pounds by then. Really?

Lady - do you think if I had any idea how to make that happen I'd be working here? Hell no. I'd be selling my book/miracle pills on the Dr. Oz show.

I get that part of my job as a trainer would be to educate people on how to realistically, and safely, lose weight and get in shape. It just seemed like almost every conversation I had revolved around losing weight as quickly as possible, or discussing the best supplements to get results sooner. I don't use performance supplements and I don't believe in losing weight quickly, so I just felt like my approach wouldn't be most people were looking for.

Unilateral Approach to Health.

I feel very strongly that the best way to making lasting positive changes is through overhauling multiple parts of your life, not just one. I didn't feel like I would be able to do what I wanted to with clients to help them reach their goals if all I had the time to do was assist them working out. I really wanted to get to know the clients. I wanted to educate them more on nutrition (I really think that 80% of weight loss/maintenance is in proper diet!) I know some gym's have 'health coaches' that do spend more time covering things aside from just fitness and if I ever return to the gym world I hope it would be in that capacity.Workout7

So, those are the three main reasons why I didn't feel like working as a personal trainer was right for me at that time. Clearly I have virtually no real knowledge of the field since I spent a whole week in it, so if you've worked as a trainer for a while I would love to hear from you in the comments!

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Have you ever wanted to work as a personal trainer? For those who are, what are your favorite/least favorite parts of the job?