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Does a New Personal Trainer *Have* to Start Out at a Place Like Gold's or 24-Hr?

by Heidi

After reading the comments about the low salaries, poor standards, overly demanding management, etc., at fitness chains like Gold's Gym and 24-Hour Fitness, I'm a little discouraged. Can a newbie start at other types of places?

I am 46, and beginning the process of becoming a personal trainer. The path I'm following, even though I know there are shorter paths, is to get a certificate in Exercise Science (I already have a B.A. degree in something completely unrelated), and take the ACE or ASCM certification test.

I am doing it this way for three reasons:

A) I can only get financial aid if I'm taking a degree/certificate program (I'm broke because I was laid off recently),

B)I want to have an adequate background in hands-on training and safety issues, and I wouldn't have enough experience with those things if I just studied for the certification test, and

C) I am very interested in exercise physiology, and may end up going further with it.

Would the Exercise Science/Exercise Physiology training open up other opportunities, or is it a given that I'd have to start at a chain like Gold's?

It's not that I don't want to pay my dues in the field...I just have to pay my bills, too. :-)

Comments for Does a New Personal Trainer *Have* to Start Out at a Place Like Gold's or 24-Hr?

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Working on your own is great
by: Anonymous

Heidi you are going through two great programs that will help you become trained and knowledgable for being a great personal trainer. Another certification is NASM and ISSA.

No, you don't have to use Gold's or 24-Hr, but it wouldn't hurt to shadow a trainer to get the feel of what goes on and to build your confidence.

Certain people, you will learn are there for you tell them what to do. You will meet many types of people, so go deep into his/her head to learn why this person wants to get into shape. Look beyond the general answers you will receive "loose weight, get toned" the real reason is much deeper and your intuitive inquiries will bring them out of their "too embarrassed to say" shell.

When I first started training while living in Phoenix, I checked into a non-franchise gym to rent space. This was in 2003 and rent at that time was around $300-400 a month, and you can use the equipment and bring some of your own.
Another option, if you have a garage, convert this into your training center. Which is what I'm looking into. In Phoenix, I ended up opting to work out of Life Fitness, and you work as a contract trainer. I was paid $6 for 1/2 hour clients and I would receive a commission if the client bought more sessions. I loved what I did and I was asked many times if I would train them out of the gym.

When I moved back to Colorado 2003, I checked with 24hr fitness which was same small hourly and commission paid for higher paid elite training programs. Bally offered the same type of setup. But when you get a good clientele base, that client will most likely want to pay you *all the money* rather than pay you then the club.

Look into your own space, some trainers have a setup place in their home, or they go to a clients house, and age range is wide along with body health history.

Be very educated about health issues and the human body. Know how to train a client that has a "said" health issue, i.e hypertension or osteoporosis and now pregnancy (they didn't have this in 77 when I was pregnant) Each condition has levels of training to help the client complete the session, and not let him/her pass out and feel worse.

This is one step of several The second being nutrition and the third commitment, and the fourth its a life-long behavioral change, and well worth the benefits.

The greatest reward is watching your client enjoy the workout you have coached them through. They will leave feeling happy, accomplished and motivated. And, so will you.
I’ve been out of training clients for a few years, and I went back to doing computer tech support work and now I’m ready to switch back to doing personal training work. It’s very rewarding

I hope this helps and encourages you to move forward.


Other Sources for PT Employment
by: Anonymous


If you are looking to take your certification farther I would consider taking the ACSM ceritification over ACE.

As the previous entry states there are many differnt options. You could try looking at local YMCAs, hospitals that have fitness/wellness programs, smaller studio gyms, weight loss centers, apartment communities, and/or starting your own. I am not sure what certifiate program you took, but if you ever feel like you need additional hands on experiece I would suggest shadowing a successful personal trainer you know.

I completed the NPTI certification 6 months ago and later obtained my CPT from NSCA. I was able to score an awesome positon as a part-time practical instructor at the same personal training school I graduated from. So if you are partly turned off from the large national chain gyms look into other areas. All in all I would say an experience at a national chain gym would not least you get to learn about your competition if you deceide to venture off on your won.

Ditch the corporate drag.
by: Tiffanie

The Best way to get into training is to start at a private club. Look for an up scale locally owned club with really good ratings. Then go to them tell them what you want to acheive and then ask how they can help you get there. Most likely these clubs will require a degree in the feild or at least a cert. and 2 years experience, BUT these gyms usually can get you a job somewhere else in the club, like membership sales and they will help you get certified. I started out selling memberships, then got a group fitness cert. (which is really cheap, maybe a hundred dollars), then I started subbing classes before long I had a good prospective client base got my CPT and had ten clients from my group fitness classes as my first training clients. Also people that have memberships at these clubs tend to be pretty well off so they are never hard sells.

Gold Gym
by: Jess

try all gyms and don't limit yourself, when I was 18 and not certified I still got hired at Golds ;)

by: Anonymous

No. I went to college and receive my associates and I took all the science and math classes required for training then I took my nasm. I'm working as a sales manager at a ladies fitness center and I get paid hourly and for every sell I make. I do not push sells on people they just seem to respond well to me. Its a private owned gym with all the luxuries though. I'm going to get group certified and teach classes soon but its always best to start off in the sales part so you get familiar with the people that come through the door.

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