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Scared to start

by Bonnie

I got my cert. about 1 year ago through AFPA but I do not feel as if I could actually go out and train someone. I'm feeling like I am missing a part of the schooling. Is this normal when you have not trained someone. My other problem is a work with someone who is the best of the best for trainers, so when I work with her I feel very dumb. I know that sounds bad but I don't know if she is extremely smart or is that how every trainer really is? Does anyone have the same worriers or do I just need to start all over?

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starting out
by: Anonymous

I agree that getting the certification does not necessarily mean you are ready to train. What made me feel ready was that I had BEEN TRAINED by different trainers before I got my certification. I took the knowledge I got from them combined with what I learned in my certification classes and felt pretty ready to get started. I just started this year and so far it's going well.

Don't be afraid!
by: Anonymous

May be she's extremely smart but most likely, she's been doing what she does for a long while and she makes it look easy. You're not dumb! You're certified and this means you can read, comprehend, and learn the "personal training" materials. Just go out and do it! Don't be afraid! The first time of anything is always hard for anybody regardless how smart one is. There's one thing though, and that is you need to be honest with your client. If you're not sure of something and/or don't know about certain things, tell your client that you'll look and research into the subject and will get back with them. Don't BS your way out of a tough question! It's perfectly ok not to know everything about personal training. Good luck!

Re: scared to start
by: Stace


I was the same way. The fact of the matter, is that you have to allow yourself to make some mistakes before you can really succeed. The first real training session I did, I put together what I thought was an easy, well put together program. My client couldn't do 80% of what I programed. I had to regress every exercise. I felt terrible and thought I probably look stupid. I was able to recover, learn from the mistakes, and now my client and I are on our third month training together making great progress and I am able to confidently work with new clients. Some good pointers: go have a trainer train you and ask questions, train some friends and family members to get the feel for it, continue to study and just go out there and take the chance, when in doubt use basic exercises and be careful.

All the best,


Dive In
by: Anonymous

Doctors have to start somewhere. Lawyers do. And so do we. You can start by trailing another trainer to help build confidence or by working in a gym for a while. I also think that three types of senses are important for being good at most jobs: book sense, business sense, and commonsense. You must invest in your education. Get daily emails on diet and exercise sent to you from sparkpeople, etc. Buy exercise books and subscribe to magazines. I have books on everything from functional training for seniors to pilates to body sculpting for women to jump rope training to balance and flexibility. I watch exercise videos a lot, and I do understand biomechanical concepts, functional anatomy, and physiological adaptations to exercise. However, I knew little about any of it a year ago. It's my job to know it now. Clients keep me honest. Business sense is important when it comes to getting and keeping clients. Learn some marketing and advertising. Be creative. Furthermore, use commonsense. Don't ask a 60 year old woman who has never lifted a weight in her life to bench press with 25lb dumbbells. Do not operate without liability insurance. Clients only take responsibility for ordinary risk--not for our negligence or malpractice

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First job as personal trainer question

by Ashley

I just took my personal trainer certification exam and feel confident that I passed, and I am getting ready to dive into searching for a job. Someone I know who is certified just got a job as a floor tech at a local gym, but besides training he is also responsible for some housekeeping work, such as cleaning whirlpools, checking for toilet paper, etc (about 2-3 hours a day is put into this). His pay is also minimum wage and he works with maybe 1 client a week if he's lucky. Is this normal for a starting job? I'm curious as to what other people's experiences were like.

Also, will they help train me or will they start me out with the "easier" clients? I am still a little nervous about working with clients.


Comments for First job as personal trainer question

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by: Derrick

Could you help me prepare for mine my email is

Your First Personal Training Job- Starting off Right
by: Candace Harrison

Your first job as a personal trainer should be just that, a personal trainer. Have you ever heard of a doctor's first job as cleaning lab rooms. Probably Not.

If you are looking for your first personal training job with no experience, you could start with an established gym that offers training packages to their clients. More than likely you will work off commission plus get an hourly pay. This will give you the experience you need in selling training sessions, working in a gym, and dealing with clients. Also, seek out a personal trainer that is seasoned to talk to, they make great mentors.

There's really no such thing as an easy client. Each one is just different and have different needs. Your training should always be the best you have to give to each one.

If you are working for a place that has you cleaning, doing dishes,seeing only 1 client and making minimum wage. I would suggest you keep looking for the right job. That's not personal training and it will get you know where fast in the fitness industry. You'll find yourself discouraged about your new found venture.

Once you learn the ropes, there's a lot of money that can be made in fitness. So getting off to the right start is very important!

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Underqualified Personal Trainer

by T

I just received my personal training certification and feel under-qualified for all of the positions that are available. What is the best way to obtain the experience needed to qualify for said positions? Any help/advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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New-B Fitness Trainer
by: Ken Karnack

Hey, I would just keep learning and get a few people to train at a very low cost or for free and post results.

Everyone had to start somewhere. Man if I could start all over. wow

Gaining Experience
by: Mark

Start by at the very least doing exercise sessions with friends and family. It will give you great experience in getting the hang of creating workout sessions and confidence in talking with and directing clients.

You will probably gain initial experience with a chain gym. Also try other gyms asking if you can intern with them. While interning you will most likely shadow a trainer and get a good feel on how a gym training staff works.

Keep an eye on craigslist under spas/fitness and also use which pulls job postings from many sources.


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Training for new Trainers? How did you get your job?

(Dallas, TX)

Do you know of any studios or companies helping new Personal Trainers in their first weeks? I'm afraid I won't get a job, because I have just the NASM Certificate and no experience so far.

What was your first job? How did you start? How did you get the job?????
Thanks a lot!

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My first job...
by: Anonymous

I have a small studio in my home. I put it out to friends that I am now certified (NASM by the way!). One signed up with me, and then others, and it builds. I plan to work in some local gyms as well and continue studying and going for other certifications.

Hope this helps.

My first PT job was result of patience
by: Yehuda

Nearly a year earlier a woman who happened to be sharing the same email professional network posted a request for a personal trainer for her mother. We spoke on the phone, but then months went by and no callback.

After nearly a year, after the mother had finally been convinced that it was a good idea to have some exercise at home, the daughter called to ask whether I was still interested. Of course, I said.
The mother is 82 years old. It's been nearly three months since we began, twice weekly, and she is very pleased with her progress. Her goal is to go fishing in Alaska with her son again. And, since she plays bridge, she has recommended me to other elderly woman in her group, 85+ in age.

by: Anonymous

You need someone to take you under their wing and teach you. It'll cost you, but you'll be much better off, than just going to your local gym and get laughed at because you won't have an idea of what you are doing.

If you can find an independent = AWESOME!

If not, you just gotta take your chances and try the gym. You'll at least get your feet wet

Confidence is key
by: Anonymous

I have found that gyms pay very little to their trainers as opposed to what they make. Most of the time, they are very willing to take in newbies because experienced Personal Trainers know they can make more. I just spoke with a woman who owns a small local gym and I was surprised at how thrilled she was to meet with me even after I told her I had never trained anyone before. I say go in there with confidence and pretend you have been training for years. If you have passed the test and received a cert, you know enough to get you through your first session. Every PT has strengths and trains in a different way, so who's to say you are doing it wrong.

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Personal Trainer - Finding a Mentor

by Christine
(Kenosha, WI)

I received my ISSA PT certification recently. I have worked out in the gym many times in my life but I have never taught anyone. Every job I've worked at (administrative, insurance, etc), I received OJT (on the job training). Why should this PT field be any different? It is sooo difficult to find someone who would be willing to be a mentor. I don't have the money to pay someone; I am completely penniless literally and am a stay at home mother (31 yrs old) of 2 young children (and husband).

How can a certified PT get OJT? I am someone who has to be on the floor watching and listening (and writing notes) to what is going on. Even though I got ISSA certified through an at home course, I am no expert and do not feel that I can just jump out and start training people.

Do other PTs ever volunteer to mentor their fellow novice PTs? Again, I do not have money to spend paying a PT to do this. Is there a website that lists these people (if any) that are available in my area (southeast Wisconsin - Kenosha county). Even people who teach bootcamps who would like to do a volunteer mentorship would be very helpful...

Thank you.

Desperately trying to find a PT mentor,


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Finding Mentor
by: Leanne

I feel like I'm in the same boat, I would love to find a mentor to or a trainer to shadow. I do know someone in town that is a trainer too, but feel awkward about asking. Afraid that they might not want to, might think that I would be in competition for clients. So if there was a place to find one that would be great.

Trainer mentorship
by: Jan

I'm working on my certification thru NASM and recently attended a workshop and at the end the instructor gave us info on a 2 day mentorship at his gym in California. 2 days cost right around $900 not to mention hotel and airfare. Like you I can't afford that right now. So I just approached the guy that owned the gym where I'm a member and asked if he or if he knew another trainer would mind me observing their sessions with a client. He was very nice and said I could any time and recommended another trainer to ask also. I was a bit uncomfortable approaching the other guy since I'd never talked to him before but he was also really cool about it. So now I have two trainers to shadow for free. So it never hurts to ask the worst thing that could happen is for them to say no. Just remember these people have been where you are right now and chances are good that they want to see you succeed as well!

Never Hurts to Ask
by: Anonymous

People generally like to help others. A Personal Trainer especially.Dont be afraid to ask to shadow them. The worst they can say is no.If they do say no and view you as competition then you wouldnt want to shadow a trainer with that mindset any way. A trainer should view you as another person in need of a problem that needs solved. As a trainer try to view a person as someone who can open up a new world guided by their personal views.That way,you help them,they help you. you cant lose that way.

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by Bonnie

I am a new trainer, I have a few clients and helped a few friends and I love it but what I think I would like to do is have a business out of my home and to clients homes. My question is how do you get over the fear? My biggest obstacle is the fear of hurting someone. Is there extra material I can study to ease my fears? I got cert. from AFPA and I just don't feel as confident as I would like to be. Any thoughts or past experience would be wonderful.

Comments for Confidence

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by: Jeff Moore

Always dig into their exercise and health history. Do assessments, health history questionarres, and PAR-q forms. If needed get a doctors clearance form. If you go on your own have liability insurance. It's a case by case basis on prescribing safe exercise plans. Use your best judgement and what you have learned. And trust yourself! Most of the time you can tell what people are capable of as soon as you do an assessment. I always ask about bone or joint problems and previous injuries and how they happened. Ask questions a lot of questions.

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Shadowing a trainer

by phil
(Huntington beach california USA )

Are there any trainers who offer a program whereby you get to shadow them and learn techniques.I have been ISSA certified and live in Huntington Beach California,have had 2 interviews at 24 hr fitness and never hear back.I'm still a little uncertain how to get started in this business

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do not bother with 24 hour fitness
by: Anonymous

i would not bother with 24 hour, everyone whom i know and who attempted to work there had terrible experience.

shadowing someone
by: Anonymous

I just need a place to start

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Just passed my PT test but Feel Scared

by Marcia

I am very excited that I passed my PT TEST (NASM)- what now? I have a few people that said when I get my PT cert. that they want to hire me at their homes. I know these people well - I am feeling like I don't know where to start. I am new at this PT stuff (I have been a cert. fitness instructor for quite awhile).

I also have the opportunity to be an employee at a big chain and train or they will hire me as a independent contractor. I feel like if someone says they want to hire me that I don't know where to start. It is just scary. I am a perfectionist and that is part of the problem.

Thank you for any help.

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Professional Help here
by: Old School Fitness


I am a veterian trainer in DAllas, TX and I would be able to help you if needed. I can help with clients and anything else you may need.

send me an email and we will get off on the right track/

Ken Karnack
Weight Loss Specialist
Certified Nutrition Specialist

I am also a new trainer
by: Anonymous

I also need some help. I am a new trainer. What do I do now. I am afraid no one will hire me.

by: Anonymous

I am a new trainer as well, I found it great to start working for an alredy established gym, they have it all down to a science. they let me trail one of the other trainers a couple of times to see how they did things and now I feel right at home. it has been a great experience.
good luck!
Virginia beach

by: katie

don't be afraid - go for it and if you don't feel you can do it on your own - work for an established trainer who deeds help and they will show you the ropes - i have helped many people get started and it is rewarding

Are you a mover & shaker
by: Decade Plus Veteran

There are 2 kinds of trainers: mover&shakers, and everyone else. Not as simple as getting that piece of paper, huh? Everyone wants to be a trainer because they know something about exercise or whatever. "All you do is exercise and hang out in gym all day. Your job is easy."

BS to that. I bust my butt developing my training philosophy and training manuals, so I can get the fastest possible result for my clients. I stay on their butts too, about consistency and commitment. There are no excuses and tomorrow never gets here. You must set up time to train, time to educate yourself, time to develop your business.

Do you know how to get a client? Here's what you need to consider. You are now an expert, but that does not make you perfect. Clients don't expect perfection, that expect results. Do you know how you got your physique? Do you actually train yourself? Have you developed a program for yourself that you have been pleased with the result? Yes? Then use that as basic starting point. If you aren't comfortable training a client, find them another trainer ... you will do them and yourself a great service. You aren't supposed to train everyone.

Once you understand the level of commit needed to get results, then you need to communicate that with potential clients in realistic terms. Be polite, but be firm and tough. Clients don't respect nice as much as a direct and result oriented trainer.

STAY OUT OF THE TRAINERS OFFICE...IT IS THE PATH TO FINDING A NEW JOB. You must have what I call "floor magic"...a personality that sets you apart from other trainers. You have to make your self shine above all others. You must be on the floor, energetic and accessible. You must be willing to get out of that comfort zone and talk to people about there fitness goals. This does not happen over night and no certification I am aware of teaches you marketing, customer service, people skills, and can give you a personality. You do those on your own, or you find an office job. Some people won't train with you because you are too tall/short/cute/handsome/drive the wrong color care/play ping pong/whatever. Who cares? Forget them and concentrate on yourself, your clients, and getting your next client. That is how to be successful. Forget about the other trainers too.


Hope this helps
by: Scott Wojtas

I have a few tips that may lead you in the right direction:

1. Start training with friends and family, even if you do it for free. The more practice and experience you have the more confident you will be in your services.

2. In the meantime, figure out what it is you exactly want to do in personal training. Do you want to work for a club? Run your own business? These are two different paths. Ask yourself a lot of questions regarding the career you want to pursue (a business plan guide may help).

3. Try doing volunteer work or get work experience in different fields (on a youth sports team, at the YMCA, at a private studio, health club etc.) You may find your niche by doing that.

4. Don't give up!

Please feel free to contact me for any more advice.

Scott Wojtas, NASM CPT
Destination Fit

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How to Find a Trainer to Shadow

I can really relate to the gal who said...ok I'm now certified but scared as to how to get started and get experience. Even before reading your step 3 about shadowing, I had determined that would be a great way. But my local gym is a 24hr fitness and I doubt they will let me shadow someone. How can I find someone to shadow? And should I offer to pay them? Or offer to work for them for free for a month after several shadowing sessions? Your thoughts?

Robin in Dallas

p.s. Thanks Katie. Your website has been of tremendous help.

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shadowing trainers
by: Anonymous

for me i think the best way to learn is to teach yourself...I just train my friends by going to the gym with them and telling them what to do what they're doing wrong like they’re my clients. Because it's hard finding someone to shadow because they will see you as eventually becoming competition. I'm in the process of opening my own gym it's located in Maryland i let other trainers shadow me but i never found someone that allowed me to shadow them.

Job Shadowing
by: Jodie

I have recently completed my personal training course and was feling the same way. I researched different personal trainers in my area and found someone who shared the target market ideals as I was looking for. I initially signed up with her class and let her know I was looking for a mentor and I would work for free if she would mentor me. She does personal training and some gruop classes as well and welcomed the extra help and input. I am now teaching some classes on my own and she is there for support and direction. In exchange I can attend her classes for free, which is very helpful to study her technique. Her format for her personal one on one clients is very similar and she has guide me through that as well.
I am from Canada and our provincial certification association also offers a mentorship program, so other associations may as well.
I think finding a good mentor has really helped my confidance, and it may even turn into a partnership.
I hope that helps

Train friends and family
by: Micki

I have not gotten my cert. yet but I have been a work out freak for about 5 years solid now with playing sports for 10 years before and from personal expereince I have decided to get my cert. I have been working out with ladies I work with and friends in my apt complex. They just love it and it will prepare me for the real world and strangers taking my fitness classes or working with me one on one. Get as much advice as you can from your friends and family while you work out with them :) Have fun and good luck

Trainer to Shadow
by: Anonymous

I agree with anonymous's technique. I, too, am certified but I am not ready/able to give up my day job to do personal training for a living. However, to stay sharp and to use the techniques and knowledge I have learned through certification I train my friends (still need liability insurance to be safe). Most of these people were instrumental in persuading me to get certified when they first asked me to teach them how to workout and train. They help me sharpen my techniques and give me feed back. In return they know that I do have to experiment sometimes when I have new ideas and they will be the subjects. It is a great working relationship for the time being. It helps us both. They get healthy and I get better at training.

Job Shadowing
by: Anonymous

Jodie, I am from Canada as well & would like to do some job shadowing. What organization in Canada offers that & can you get it in any city in Canada?



by: Cj

I also have been searching like crazy for a trainer to shadow here in Salt Lake City,Utah,so if anyone knows anyone that would be willing to help,please pass the info. along. Thank you

idea other than technically shadowing a trainer
by: Anonymous

Before I started to study for my certification I hired a trainer to become familiar with what exactly I would be doing. I found my sessions tremendously helpful in choosing to become a trainer AND for learning some techniques I now employ with my friends and clients.If you are finding it difficult to find a trainer to shadow I don't think its a bad idea to hire one to train you. whether or not you mention you are looking to become a trainer yourself I guess depends on the person. I mentioned I was thinking about it after about a month of sessions, his reaction was supportive and encouraging but I can see how some people may feel like you are competition.

expand your search
by: Anonymous

Don't limit your shadowing opportunities to your local area. I was successful finding a trainer to shadow by driving an hour or so away. It's not convenient, but he knows I'm not going to set up shop next door to him, or try to woo his clients away. Consequently, he was very supportive and very helpful

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