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Where should I begin? (Small gyms, Corporate, or Start a Business?

by Jesse
(Tampa, FL)

I've been working out and been a health knowledge sponge for around 7 years now. Recently within the last 3 years I was turned on to Paul Chek's teachings and plan to actively pursue his certification after I get the bread & butter completed and understand the business.

I'm looking to pursue my NASM cert first, but from there I'm not exactly sure how to start.

I've read and heard from many people that renting a personal training studio is the most profitable way if you can develop the client base you need. This seems great but I honestly do not make enough money in my current career to just hope this would work in my benefit.

I've been reading about the corporate gyms on here, but haven't seen much about small private gyms? Do the smaller gyms typically take care of their PTs better although may be more exclusive and harder to get in with?


No matter what path I go in it beats the cubicle job I'm currently working with the exception of my health insurance... but all the health insurance in the world isn't going to help me if I keep coming home to my son in a miserable mood.

Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks!
- Jesse
Tampa, FL

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Renting space
by: Want2GoFit

I tried corporate gyms, and smaller gyms - the payment is almost the same and if you need to travel a lot from place to place it's wasting time and energy. I still work at a corporate gym - LA Fitness and it's OK, but I also found local gyms where I can rent a space and bring my own client. I have two available options for renting space, one charges me flat rate of $20 for every 1 hour session and the other charges 30% of what I charge the client(what is better). You need to have an Insurance and thats all. Clients don't need to buy memberships and they deal only with you. The only capital you need is your knowledge and passion about clients! Good luck!

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The Path of Least Resistance...
by: Gerome

It is always a really tough choice when you finish your qualifications and start looking at where to train people. One of the biggest things you need to think about is where your clients will come from! If you are a bit of a marketing whiz and have heaps of confidence to go out into the community and source clients then the Studio option can be very appealing. You come and go as you like and there are no "corporate rules" to follow. If on the other hand you are a great trainer but pretty nervous about the whole client getting process then the big established gyms might be the best play. They will have a large setablished client base of customers who understand the value of PT and you can help yourself. You also dont have to take on any of the risk associated with Studies.

It can be a great way to find your feet in a safe easy environment. Check ou this cool free online tool http://www.ptdirect.com/personal-training/business-planning/free-fitness-club-analyser-tool to help work out the best option for you.

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Transitioning to my own business

by Scott
(New Jersey)

I recently received my CPT license and and looking to have my own business outside of the gym within a year, as I am only working in my current gym to gain experience and build a clientele. I am confused on how to best go about this though.

First, I am not sure how to transition. Also, what facility options would I have outside of the gym?

Any advice would help.

Scott

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starting your own business
by: Anonymous

Hey first off before you start your own business there are A LOT of planning that you need to do. It sounds a lot easier then you might think. Because when I first got certified actually even before I got certified with ACE that?s all that I had wanted to do was go straight to starting my own business. Until I met with a business owner who owns his own Physical Therapy clinic. And I was amazed as to how much work it takes to run a business.

First you need to draw up a Proforma
A Proforma is a financial plan layout. How much construction is going to cost, equipments, marketing, payroll (it?s not a profitable business unless you have other ppl working for you) there is just so much

And when you are working for yourself you need to make up all your own forms, folders, exercises etc? for other trainers, there is just so MUCH!!!

What I advice is work for a gym for at least 3 months or longer find out how they run their business?DON?T TELL ANYONE that you?re planning on opening up your own gym at least not anyone that you work for. Steal as much data as you can work your way up to manger of the personal trainers if you can. Go all the way to the top then you?ll realized what all you have to do and It?ll be A LOT easier doing it on your own later.

Don?t be too quick to go into business failure sucks especially when you work really hard?so take your time learn how others that are successful do it then go for it.
Good luck

I?m opening up my own facility in Maryland now and the cost just keep sky rocketing because there is always something that you forget.

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Starting Your Own Personal Training Business
by: Anonymous

Hi,

I am starting my own business but I'm not using or building a gym. I am using the forms from this web site and from textbooks. I am simply starting out slow and planning to work out clients in their own homes using their own equipment or bringing hand weights and bands for them to use. The cost is minimal if you don't worry about having a facility. Liability Insurance is a must but not very expensive.

Machines and a gym are really not necessary to get a good work out. Many people are intimidated by gyms and prefer this and are willing to pay for it. Of course, you have to factor in the cost to travel around but you just need to stay local.

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Scared to start personal training...Help me Please

by Christopher

Hello,

I have a pretty good story behind my will to personal train. I struggled with child morbid obesity. As of 14 years old, I joined a gym with some of the most amazing people in Oklahoma to help me lose weight ( just guys around the gym, not trainers ). I soon lost weight, and my friend Ryan, ( RIP ), tried me out at weight lifting. Well between 15 and now my age of 20, am 6'1 and have been a bodybuilder for sence my 16th birthday. I pride myself in self education, I learned everything I know from the top bodybuilders, and nutritionist in northeast Oklahoma. I want to be a personal trainer for one to continue my love for health and fitness, and also to help others with their weight loss. Cause personaly, I know what its loike to be obese, and depressed and added with my knowledge of bodybuilding and supplements, and fitness. I have an entire family begging me to train others. I will be getting certified through the AFPA ( dont bother suggesting others cause this is what I want ) and plan getting my Master Level certification which includes personal training, advanced personal training, master personal training, nutrition and wellness consultant, and sports condition certifications.

I feel that 5 certifications, my body, and my will to help ALL ages, ( I really want to work with obese children ) will be a pretty damn good start for a 21 year old.

My fear is how to start out without being screwed over. I refuse to be taken for a fool just cause Im young, and I refuse to have some money hungry gym owner take my hard work and dedication to my lifestyle just so he can putt it in his pocket.

I am wanting to know WHERE is the best place to start with personal training, Im going to talk to my gym owner who is only 26 when Im certified and see if he will help me out cause hes a great guy, but I also want to eventualy have my own " In home service where I can do private training for all people young and old.

Please, if you can give me any advice on where to start, whether it be at a gym, or risking starting my own business, and some advice just in general.

Thank you, god bless, and happy holidays

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Your ahead of most
by: Anonymous

It sounds like your off to a great start and you have the background. I'm 22 so I understand where you're coming from in regards to being young. I got my certifcation but decided to intern at a sports training facility for a while. I didn't get paid at all but the experience and knowledge I gained was priceless. It caused me to rethink my whole philosophy about training.

Now you obviously know quite alot about training for bodybuilding but keep in mind that most of your clients are not going to be in that category (unless you plan on working solely in that area). Not everyone wants to be a bodybuilder or train like one.

You have more of an advantage than disadvantage by being young. People may not take you as serious at first but once you get more experience then that will all change. Having your experience with obesity as a child already gives you extra credibility.

It seems like you are extremely dedicated, here are some ideas though.
-Focus on your weak areas: You know alot about BB, start learning more about other types of training. It will give you an extra edge.

-Be careful with supplements: Suggesting the use of ANY sort of supplements can be dangerous. Research all the pros, cons, & studies before even considering suggesting the use of one.

-Make connections: Who you know can take you a long way.

-Don't get discouraged: You may not do well right of the bat, you may fail a few times before you start being succesful. The diffrence between failure and success is how many times you try again.

Good luck!

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Go for it!
by: IndyPT

Your personal history gives you instant credibility, inspite of your age. Especially once you get certified, if you behave in a professional manner, this will help you overcome questions about your qualifications. Several things I've really learned working for a chain gym: at 1st I felt like my hourly rate was pathetic ($13/hr when i was training a client to start); however, i focused on a niche and focused on my clients and helping them reach their goals (word of mouth is a great way to expand your business) I accepted that i wouldn't make much the 1st year, but the experience was invaluable. It is rare that I have the opportunity to train people the way I like to train (I am bodybuilding and figure competitor). I realized and accepted this: most people are starting off at a very basic level and they see you as the example of "fit" that they aspire to. A co-worker calls this the "rockstar" aspect of the job...a definite ego booster. If you're gonna be a good trainer, however, you can't let ego affect how you interact with your clients...people buy (training or anything else) from people they like. If you make the "fat" kid or person feel comfortable and that you are not there to judge them, but to help them, chances are, you will get them as a client. The more training you sell, generally the higher your training pay will be b/c you are valuable to the club. Moral of the story... you gotta love helping people as much as you love training. You also usually have to pay your dues to move on to bigger and better gigs. Good luck!

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Find your niche
by: Anonymous

You have already stated your niche. A good way to find a niche is to remember a challenge in your life and how you overcame and go with that. Working with obese children is something close to your heart as you can feel what they feel. Children will be attracted to you because you are young and tell them your story so they can relate. Working with overweight or obese children is a very valuable and much needed service. Just go where the children are. Schools, Boys and Girls Club, hospitals, etc. Offer presentations where children are for free, let everyone know what you are doing and tell your story. You have a big job in front of you. You are young so take your time. Thank you for helping the kids and good luck. I'm routing for you.

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52 year old new trainer...loving it, but scared to leap

by Nora
(Centreville, MD)

Nora at 52

Nora at 52

Hi, all! My name is Nora. I was certified at year ago at the age of 52 (ACE) and am now going for the NASM certification. In that year I have had a wealth of experience! I am currently training a gifted athlete who hopes to compete in the 2012 Olympics (hurdle/track). She came to me with a severely torn hamstring, and only five months later, she's back and has already won major competitions and one championship. I've also worked with an 87 year old hip replacement/osteoporosis patient (who is now walking with a regular stride and pumping iron, yea!) and with several middle aged office workers.

The more I train the more I love it. My problem is...I have been a legal secretary for 30 years and have hated every single moment. The job I'm in now is more like a prison sentence and I'm eager to make the jump to training, but I have a lot to lose and I'm afraid to do it. My current salary isn't low and my bills aren't, either! And now with the economy tanking big time...well, I'd love to have your advice, please!

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Take the risk.
by: Anonymous


You have been given one life and you better make it good. You have been doing something you hate. You are probably afraid of a change but you should be more afraid of not making a change. You have already made the commitment, no turning back. You will succeed as you have passion for what you are doing. Just jump. Take the risk. You are worth it.

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Be Patient
by: Anonymous

Hello there,

I am in a very similar position, the difference is I am still studying to take the ACE exam. My job pays VERY well, but I hate many aspects of it, and the fact that I have to work for somebody else is one of them.

I think I do understand where you are coming from and your impatience to make the leap and go be your own boss! (if this is what you want).

However, if I were in a position of having to make the decision right now- I would try to be very patient and wait, while continuing to train part-time and BUILDING THE CLIENTELLE until I could see that I NEED to go full time to be able to handle all those clients that can sustain me on a monthly basis!

You said it yourself: you have bills to pay. So I believe that making the transition slowly would be a smart thing to do. Think of your full time job you hate as just a temporary stepping stone and one of the Multiple Profit Centers that you have, and can continue to create, to ensure that you have income coming in. Until you know you ARE ready to spread your wings and be free and fly!

When you regard your hated job as such-it will lose the grip it has on you!

This is what I do. It does help me. Take care!


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So what have you decided?
by: Anonymous

What have you decided, Nora?
How is training others going?

I am from MD also and wanted to say hello.
Cheers

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Work to Learn how to Run a PT Business

I worked at two gyms for a total of four years before going independent. I poked my nose in everywhere I could to learn how the business operates. When I was ready I already had good contacts to buy equipment and software. And my referral network was very strong. Since my clients were loyal to me and not my gym, they were happy to move with me.

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Personal Training Success


(Rego Park, NY)

I have been a personal trainer for about 4 months now at a neighborhood gym and I love it!! It's the best thing I have ever done for myself. It takes a lot of patience and you must be willing to never stop learning and always come up with new and interesting exercises for your clients.

It takes a while to build up clients and I definitely agree that once you are really good at it and have built up a great network, you are better off training privately! (make your own hours and better pay)

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Learn on the job first
by: Anonymous

I started with an in home training company and now I am 80% private. The company I worked for was great at teaching me the business end and allowed me to take private clients that I got on my own and just work for them for supplemental income.

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Thanks
by: Ryan LEase

Thanks for your inspirations

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SHOULD I TAKE A RISK!?

by DAVE
(IRELAND)

i currently work as a supervisor/ instructor/ personal trainer with a guaranteed salary. i work in a subsidiary centre as a consultant, pro bono. i've got some pt work there. this club employs no staff as it has a small client base. in today's economic climate who thinks i should take a risk and run this club, no salary, just payment for classes, pt and increasing the customer base. someone please encourage me to go for it! i have a family but am financially stable at the moment.

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in due time
by: steven

you should stay with the part time gig for a year slowly building clients in.watch client base through out the seasons if it stays firm and seems like its trying to progress then by all means go for it.But by all means stay with full time job for that year because times are very uncertin right know just look around you.my name is steven acsm-hfs certified issa and associate in applied science,iv been a trainer for 13 years take my advise.

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Corporate Training Info

by Mandy
(Tennessee)

Hey guys! I have recently become a personal trainer (about 5 weeks ago) and am working at a Snap Fitness (24 Hour Fitness) location in Tennessee. I have several clients and am enjoying it, but recently found out about a corporation in my city that built a gym on property but don't have a trainer. I have heard that corporate personal trainers make good money and I want to contact the company to pitch a proposal about hiring me as a trainer for their employees. However, I don't know much about that type of job to make the sales pitch and was wondering if anyone could help. I just need to know the basics like how much money to ask for, what hours I should be there, do the employees pay me or the corporation itself, do I offer group classes at a certain time or just whenever an employee wants to train... etc. I would like to keep my job where I am now, just add this as a second job. Any help? Thanks!

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Corporate Training
by: Patsy

Hey Mandy,

Do you know anyone within the corporation who may be able to get you in the door? I offered my services to a local architectural firm...asked if they might allow me to put some signs up that I was available to train anyone in their corporate fitness center. I was given permission, and the company never asked me for anything....not even to see my certification. Guess that's what knowing someone inside can do for you!
On my sign, I list my certs, and offer to train before work, during lunch hours, or after work. I have several clients...who all pay me on their own. It's been worth it for me, so good luck!

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My Two Cents

by Steve
(Columbus, Ohio)

I was a personal trainer and fitness enthusiast for over 30 years. I attained my first certification in 1998 from I.S.S.A. After earning several other personal trainer certifications, and working for several other "big name" gyms, I started my own fitness business.

For anyone contemplating this field, I highly recommend staying away from the larger franchise gyms and starting your own business.
Being a professional Fitness Instructor was the best decision that I have ever made. Good luck to all! -Steve

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Stepping out alone
by: Anonymous

Steve,
Thank you for comment about training for franchises. My small gym that I was the manager at but I am also a trainer was bought out by a franchise. It has been a pretty depressing day since I just found out I won't be working there anymore. I have been trying to decide what to do with my cert. I am just afraid I don't have the experience behind me. How do you know when it is time because I am really scared to make that step. I must say I lack in the experience I allowed my management position rule my life for the last 2 years and am now trying to figure out what is next without my gym that was just like a family to me!

Thank You,
Bonnie

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