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Don't quit your day job

by Andrew
(Kaiserslautern, Germany)

The worst part is working for a chain such as Bally's or 24H Fitness. They want you to sell,sell,sell! I understand that it is part of the business but they take it a little overboard.

The quality of the training is not there sometimes because it isn't how many people you help it is how many people you sell training or memberships to. They could care less if they have results as long as they sell something and exceed the bottom line. I know there are exceptions but walk into any franchise gym and you will find this is true.

I also want to warn anybody about starting a personal training job at one of these fitness centers. Don't quit your day job. I made this mistake and couldn't hack it because my sales were weak and even if you are a good salesperson it takes months or years to build up a dependable clientele. I would recommend starting part-time to see how you like it. I also think it is good to get experience as a trainer at commercial gym so you can learn more while collecting a paycheck.

Last but not least I think that working at a commercial gym can be beneficial because it teaches humility and you will always have that experience to remind you why you went into business for yourself or why you quit being a trainer!

Comments for Don't quit your day job

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Thanks
by: Anonymous

thank you so much for sharing, i was thinking of quitting my full-time job to join one of this chains full time. Now i might consider doing part time instead. Thanks!

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Sales or training?
by: Anonymous

I have had the exact same experience working with 24 hour fitness. They rarely ask if your client was able to achieve their goals, they only ask how many sales you have closed.

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SALES
by: Anonymous

I agree with your comment regarding sales. We are really sales people at 24 hour who happen to be Personal Trainers. Some of the gym members have caught on to this. What is equally appalling is that many members don't even finish their sessions for one reason or another. 24 is more than happy to let the sessions expire. Then you just get more clients.

I just started only two months ago. I got clients through the sales people. So far I have gotten several satisfied clients/comments, but few resigns. Apparently, I am performing poorly because of sales. Wow. It is a shock to realize that booking clients and servicing what people already paid for does nothing as far as my career. It is a field that has become bastardized by gym's who sees this as revenue more than a real vehicle to help people. Go off on your own if you can.

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Shock and Awe
by: Anonymous

I got into this business because I wanted to help people. It floors me that Ballys claims they are there to help people as well, yet they condone the behavior of the managers in each gym to push the "numbers" button.

The members know what is going on, they would tell me stories of what they have seen, but because their membership is "grandfathered" from Vic Tanny and Scandanavian...they only have to pay $25 a year. Where else can they join for that price? So they put up with the managers crap and don't get Training service.

There are so many people who need to get in shape, there has to be a better way to reach them and not their wallets. I figure if I do my job and help the people who need it...the money will come. And I will have my integrity.

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Totally Selling!
by: Anonymous

I work in Asia and the big chains here are Fitness First, Pure and California Fitness. 90% of being a personal trainer here involves selling and when you watch a training session, you can tell that the trainers aren't really focused on the clients health. I've seen trainers try to stretch their clients legs in a way that made me cringe, not to mention seeing the pain on their faces! If you are passionate about fitness and promoting a healthy lifestyle for your clients, stay away from the commercial gyms and go out on your own. Your client will be better off for it!

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Dont care about clients needs
by: Anonymous

I quit my day job to become a Personal Trainer Mgr @ LA Fitness... bad mistake because I had to train to sell, make money first, the train then find another client, never was able to see if clients where hitting goals or not.

Some clients even told me that they have had trainers text messaging while training them I told my manager and he just asked how many sales for the day ...I quit and now looking to start on my own.

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i agree on keeping the day job
by: Anonymous

I turned down 3 good full time job offers (not fitness related) and went full time in a corporate gym. Then they didn't want to pay me for a 40 hour week of minimum wage when i was working 60-70 hours a week. I hung in there and worked like crazy to get clientele and I did alright but at that gym no one makes any real money(partially cause its corporate and they take a huge cut, and partially because that gym was in a less affluent area and lets face it ... personal training is expensive). the best way to go is to have a full time job to pay the bills and be a trainer part time and use the corporate experience as a learning tool.

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Exactly!
by: Anonymous

This is so true. I also turned down a few jobs to work at Goodlife Fitness in Canada. There is little to no training. Your on your own kid. They feed you the B.S. that it's your 'own business' so you get the clients, you sell the personal training packages (you have to make sure you sell at least $2,500 worth, or your fitness manager will come down on you) you make 10% commission, no base pay, and are expected to put in at least 60-70 hours a week, I am now looking at other full time jobs and will work part time at another small box gym(crossfit). I would HIGHLY HIGHLY recommened you start part time at a gym. In my short time (4.5 months) I have seen almost a dozen trainers quit. The turnover is enourmous.

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Commercial Gym was a real learning Experience
by: Anonymous

I had my first experience working for Bally. As a new trainer I thought I would learn how to train clients. Instead I was let go b/c I was p/t and did not have any clients after being there for a few months. It was more about selling to clients than training them. So now I am on my own. Lesson learned.

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I SO AGREE
by: girltimefitness

That is so crazy... i have had the same experience. It is all about selling not helping people. Working for a commercial gym, I had so many clients I was working 50 hours a week but that was not good enough. It does not matter how many you have, they want more, more, more. I feel your pain!!

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Had exactly the same experience here in UK!
by: Rob

I can`t believe how many of you have had the same experience as me! I come from an IT background but wanted a career change, after completing a personal trainer qualification I went working in a JJB gym as a personal trainer, it was an experience not to be forgotten! I worked through a company called fitness agents who wanted £500 a month, thats more than some peoples mortgages! It was all about selling but luckily I kept my full time job and only started doing this during a holiday, the management tried to force me to quit my IT job, when I tried to reason with them, they were very unhelpful and only interested in getting their fees.In the end I just quit!To top all this off, these personal trainers in commercial gyms cannot possibly be giving the client a service they deserve because they are under tremendous pressure to sell.Now I am going to startup on my own and provide an excellent service around my full time job to begin with.I hope everyone here does the same and is a complete success! Rob.

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don't fear the corporation
by: Moving on2 Freedom

I work in New York at one of the many New York Sports Clubs in the area about 40 hrs weekly and my pay is a pittance but I have medical insurance (which I've made good use of) and I am eligible for 401k if I wish (I don't, the program is a joke as are most 401k's). I went there because I used to be a member, I wanted to change careers and I knew I needed experience. I needed to learn how to be Personal Trainer. I made the mistake of quitting my day job but I'm not regretting that really. I was able to achieve my goal of learning to be a PT. It's been a year. I'm certified, experienced, confident and able to branch out and become the entrepreneur I intended to be this entire time thank's to the corporation. It was a good start and I am grateful for that. I would advise that all newbies without experience start at your local corporate gym part time, get your certs at a discount, learn, learn, learn, treat it like a stepping-stone...then move on.

ps...don't quit your day job! :)

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24 Hour and turnover
by: Anonymous

I regret ever trying to become a personal trainer. Put your energies into becoming a physical therapists or assistant. There really is no money in training. The only way is if you are willing to get up at 5 am everday and work late evenings. You will seldom get clients during the afternoon. Also, gyms like 24 Hour take most of your earnings. You only make money if you can sell big packages. Few do. This is why turnover is so high. Most trainer get frustrated or fired for lack of sales. They also treat you like a kid. Sometimes will even audit your files to see what you write down to make sure you don't fake sessions and such. Beware of 24 hour.

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I Totally Agree, "Don't Quit Your Day Job"
by: Anonymous

I agree. I say it all the time, "Don't Quit Your Day Job". Most don't have what it takes to be a true professional in the fitness industry.

I have been in the fitness industry for over 22 years, I have made over 6 figures for each the past 10 years as a personal trainer. It is ALL about selling. If you have the ability to help people change their lives, you NEED to have the ability to sell it. You can be the BEST technical trainer in the world, but if you have no ability to let anyone know about it (selling) you re worthless to yourself (to make money), clients (if they don't know who you are they can not learn from you nor get the results you can offer) and the business you work for (they have an overhead, supply you will equipment, space and potential clients, they deserve a BIG % of price of the session). The problem is exactly what ALL these posts state. Most people think being a personal trainer is easy money. It is a profession and should be looked at as such. Unfortunately there is a VERY low barrier of entry and ANYONE can call themselves a personal trainer, even MOST of the certifications are a joke. In NO true profession is it EASY for most people to make a lot of money. Not unlike a real estate agent, it is easy to find you first client, but after that well of referrals runs dry, you have to prospect and sell to people you now do not know (selling). If you are at a club like Bally's or 24 Hour Fitness and are unable to have a full book 24/7, you should find another profession. Getting clients in a facility like that is like shooting fish in a barrel. The people who have posted before me obviously don't have enough confidence in their ability or the selling process would just be telling people about what they do and the passion would sell the sessions. It amazes me that a trainer in a facility like this couldn't get enough clients, all your potential clients are placed in front of them by the facility. Find another profession and let the real professionals make the real money in this industry.

As a life long professional in the fitness industry, now with my own personal training studio teaching those who want to be professionals in our industry how to succeed, I am glad that the people who posted before me are now out of the industry that I have a passion for and I truly Love.

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quality over quantity
by: Anonymous

This in regards to Mr. or Mrs. "I totally agree" towards the bottom of the page.

I said "don't quit your day job" because I think people should test the waters before selling their souls to a commercial fitness club. Google "24 Hour Fitness law suits" or Bally's and you will see their shady practices.

I know that sales is an important part of it. I only sell things I can believe in and fitness is one of them. Selling countless unregulated, biased, and unproven supplements is not my thing. Most people know business is business but I personally have a problem taking someones money for low quality service or products. I had a manager who had criticized me for me for not closing the deal on a potential client.

This client mowed lawns for a living and his wife didn't speak any english. Now tell me why they should spend over $500 on six PT sessions?

At another club our management expected us to sell everyone weight lifting belts to everyone regardless of their needs. I was asked why I told a 63 yar old woman that "she doesn't need a belt"
I quit that job too.

I work in a Clinical Wellness Center now and don't have to sell a damn thing. I also sleep well at night. I am a professional trainer, with a BS in Health and Fitness, an ACSM-HFS, ISSA-CFT, etc. I still help people out but I keep my integrity and principles.

I am happy things worked out for you, but don't tell me that I don't have what it takes when it comes to sales. I like having a private life and not being avoided by friends and family because I am always trying to sell something.

To each his own.

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that's good to see
by: Anonymous

It's easy to only think about the upside. I'm not to great at the hard sell, don't know if I'd fit in at a corporate gym. I'd like to train out of a jiu-jitsu gym if thats possible...

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Most likely keep your day job
by: Anonymous

As a "personal training salesperson" no don't quit your day job if you can't con or influence people in any way. If a job includes personal training as one of your general duties excluding sales - good luck getting hired at that facility. If you willing to strike out on your own be really prepared with all the challenges and headaches you will have at first.

Gyms - corporate or not tend to be horrible anyway. "Welcome to McFitness what training packages would you like? Would you like to supersize your membership to membership plus and childminding services? Go to the next sales rep and he/she'll process your order with start-up fees with your mug shot on a card. Thank you for coming to McFitness see you again soon. Remember smiles are free - have a nice day!"


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My 24Hr experience
by: Matt

...as a member, not a trainer, has given me the idea that not all things that happen at 24Hr happens at ALL 24Hr locations. I've been going for a few years to one particular 24Hr in the north Dallas area and there are a number of trainers who have been there since my wife and I have been going. To be honest, I seldom ever see anybody in the supplement shop. There's a Smoothie Bar right next door that also sells supplements and I think they do much better business than 24Hr yet I'm still seeing the same trainers. Doesn't appear they are losing their jobs unless they have a handful of clients that handle their quota for them.

I'm now pursuing certification via NASM and will also add ACE, hopefully by the end of this year. I have a degree in Exercise Science but have been working in another industry for the past 20 years. Now I'm ready to get back to what I went to school for and I'm willing to roll the die on at least a part-time gig with 24Hr to get some experience. Could be a mistake. I guess we'll see.

This is a very good website by the way. Enjoying what I'm reading and learning so far.

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Keep Your Full Time Stable Job.. Avoid Big Box Gyms like California Family Fitness !!!
by: Anonymous

If you have a Stable Full Time Job with Benefits, by all means keep it !!! And if you hate Sales like I do, it would be wise to find another job career or try and keeping Personal Training on the Part Time side... A full time job as a Personal Trainer is not a stable career and you will suffer financially unless you are really good at Selling !!!

I work Part Time as a Trainer at California Family Fitness, and 80% of the time is dedicated heavily towards On-Track Assessment Fit consultations aka "Sales Consultations" with potential clients and using aggressive predatory sales tactics to get them to buy training packages that are ridiculously overpriced !!!

80 Fifty Minute Sessions at $3,899.99 ( Paid in Full )
40 Fifty Minute Sessions at $2,000.00 or $400 per month installment for 5 months
40 Twenty Five Minute Sessions at $1,000.00 or $200 per month installment for 5 months
20 Session "Results Package" at $1,050.00 ( Paid in Full )
10 Session "Intro to Motivation Package" at $585.00 ( Paid in Full )

The only thing Fitness Managers value is new business and resigns! They don't really care how you train your clients nor if they are getting results or not, because at the end of each workday it's all about the Numbers "Numbers Game" !!!

We have Trainer Meetings Monthly and at each meeting, expect to get singled out and receiving the wrath of hell from your Fitness Manager if your not selling enough and doing your part! They tell us that each trainer has the potential to make a Six Figure Income which is just totally laughable in my opinion and complete BS !!! In addition they say that if a gym member can afford a $39.99 per month membership, they should be able to afford $200.00 per month of Personal Training which again is Complete BS as most gym members have other financial obligations such as paying the bills and supporting their families!

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