When it comes to personal training, there many types of trainers. You have in-person either employed or independent contractor or online training, which is very popular right now and seems to be growing. In this article, I will be discussing what to expect while working for a gym, and later, I will add a second part series to this piece with my experience as an independent contractor. Lastly, I will speak on my time working with clients online. All three types of personal training are promising in their way, and what I don't want to do during this 2-3 part series is leave my opinion on what someone should do but for the trainer to make that decision on his/or own.
When I first started working for a big box gym, I was excited. Here I am, a newly certified trainer waiting to train clients. I'm not thinking about the money and what I am worth. It was fun to have people looking at me for help with their fitness goals. You feel good inside because it's a new journey, so you don't think about the whole picture. Here's my experience.
The environment is excellent because gym members will get to know you even if you both don't speak. They will watch you when you train your clients to see if they might want to work with you or possibly get some new ideas for exercises. You become a celebrity, and overtime more people get to see you in action, which is great because people will sign up already knowing your worth. Most of the time, with personal training, you have to sell, but when the members know you, it's like a line of people waiting to work with you.
The team of trainers at your gym becomes family if it's that kind of environment. If you are lucky, you'll have times where everyone works out together and talk about fitness. Bounce ideas off of each other and possibly do favors for each other and bring someone in on something exciting and new starting up, like a new fitness app they use with clients or more ways to make money outside of the gym. All of these are great reasons to work for big-box gyms. Also, you'll either get clients from your manager or you'll have to talk to people, as I stated it's easier because people will see your workout and train clients so they will kind of know you already.
Another aspect is that your taxes are taken out for you already. Most gyms handle this part of the business for you. Some freelance trainers are employed and still have to take out their taxes from the gym owner that pays them. So, in other words, they are independent but don't get paid directly from the clients that they train. Taxes can be tricky, and you don't want to find yourself in trouble with the IRS, so the fact that the gyms calculate this for you is fantastic. You can still come across issues, but it's less likely because you, on your own without any help, would probably make it worse. Trainers that pay their taxes do it quarterly or at the end of the year.
When you work for big box gyms, you have a work schedule that you have to follow and a boss that will be on your case if you don't follow it. You might have given a schedule that says your open to training on the weekends, but three months later, you start another job, and now you can't, but your manager is asking you to train someone at that time. Situations like that can occur, even if you inform your manager about your second job, you'll have an issue because most gyms ask for a certain amount of hours weekly. I like to think after some time you can work around it, but most gyms are so strict that they will let you go if you don't stick to the hours. That's something that I came across when working for two gyms at once, but luckily I didn't have to consider leaving.
The last part about training for big box gyms is the new member free personal training session. Whenever new members join, they get a free training session, which the trainer usually gets paid to do even though the member isn't a paying client. The goal is clearly to get the member to sign up, but this system is excellent because it helps the trainer get clients. In gyms, there is always someone signing up, and with that comes questions about fitness, which brings a trainer to help. The method has been around for years, and it's what makes personal training work so well. After a while of working with a trainer, that person sees the value and doesn't want to stop. For the ones that do, they'll have a difficult time exercising alone and sometimes come back if they can afford it.
Lastly, Working for a big box gym has it's pros and cons and tons of learning if you're in the right gyms that look out for trainers. I believe a strong community of professionals that enjoy sharing helps a ton. In my next article, I will discuss working as an independent trainer and the pros and cons that come with that. I hope that this article brought some insight if you are a new trainer looking for information. Becoming a certified personal trainer is an exciting time because you are now an expert that can help people along their fitness journey to live a happier and healthier lifestyle.
NASM CERTIFIED PERSONAL TRAINER
NASM FITNESS NUTRITION SPECIALIST
NASM FAT LOSS SPECIALIST
Christopher Gilbert is a Personal Trainer based in New York City and is known for his effective nutrition and workout programs along with his intense training sessions.