Often in the fitness industry, a new trainer or a student will ask me “how do I get into the fitness industry?” Is it a “what you know” or a “who you know” type of industry?
Hopefully this helps shed some light on this question.
When I was attempting to get into the industry (many moons ago now) I was finding that personal training jobs were hard to come by. After all, I was a 20 year old kid, straight out of university, with zero work experience, and personal training was something only celebrities could afford. It had not yet become mainstream for the everyday Jo gym-goer. It was those few words that kept coming back to ‘haunt’ me “zero work experience!” So whilst a lot of other graduates from my degree (Human Movements) were seeking employment in different fields, I was determined to make it in the fitness industry.
After yet another rejection, I thought best to fight fire with fire and I approached a small, family operated gym and offered to work for free. I figured that if they would not pay me for the experience, I would pay myself. Funnily enough, the gym agreed and I was officially an (unpaid ) staff member. I figured I was getting a free gym membership, so my annual salary was approx $1K. Every Tuesday and Thursday night I would work in this gym, and do all the tasks of a personal trainer, without the pay at the end of it.
About 4 months went by and out of the blue, the manager called me into the office. I wasn’t sure why, I figured they could not fire me if they were not paying me, so I was a little curious. What he said next was probably what forged my career: “We notice you have come in every week, without pay, and without a moan or problem. You have never once asked for money and have showed you love this place. The qualities you have cannot be taught and you are exactly what we are looking for to move this gym forward.” With that he offered me the Gym Managers position. I had gone from volunteer to manager overnight, and you could not wipe the smile off my face.
During the next decade I was very blessed, working for some of the biggest gym brands in the world and running a very profitable and successful personal training business.
I guess I could go on with more detail, but that is for a later date. These days personal training jobs are a bit easier to come by, however, if (like me) you feel experience may be your downfall, don’t be afraid to put your hand up for some volunteer work. Who knows, it may just pay off for you like it did for me!!!
Until then, keep training hard!