The précis of me writing this post is so that maybe just a few people can step away from reading this with a different mindset of what it takes to be a personal trainer. If you're a trainer you already know this, if you want to be a trainer hopefully this will prepare you, and if you are a client I just hope this helps you understand.
Let's start with me expressing how much I love my job. It is super rad that I get to coach people everyday to become more fit and confident that they ever thought, but this line of work isn't easy.
Some things you might not know.
We put a TON of our energy in to our clients:
As a trainer, you would think your job is to plan your clients workouts. Yes, but there's so much more to it. It's your job to make someone happy when they are sad. Talk them through their stress at work. Be their sounding voice when they have family or relationship issues. Make sure you work extra on emailing them the workouts they should do on the weekend if they as for it, and even be "on call" when they have a meltdown and need you to talk them off the ledge of eating something bad. I have many clients who message me at 11pm on both weeknights and weekends asking for my advice on things, and of course I love all my clients and reply when they need me. I'm just saying at the end of the day it can be emotionally exhausting.
Even with a degree in Exercise Science and obtaining numerous (expensive) certifications, the pay is mediocre:
Clients think that if they are paying a lot for their sessions that the trainer must be making a lot! WRONG, most trainers get less than 50% of whatever the client pays and then get taxed on that!
As I mentioned earlier it takes up a lot of your energy emotionally. It also takes up a lot of your energy physically. We stand all day, move to demonstrate exercises, and of course we force ourselves to workout before/after work.
It's not a 9-5 job, it's stressful:
My clients assume my job isn't stressful since I'm happy and truly love training. It's seriously such a fun job, but I also have so much work to do before and after I see my clients. I wake up at 5am and usually get home around 5 or 6pm, then I go to the gym, and am on email from 9-11pm. Sending calendar invites, sending numerous emails to clients, programming workouts for the week, redeeming clients sessions online, and working on our time sheets are just a few more duties we have.
It's not guaranteed $$, so most trainers have numerous jobs:
What happens when a client is traveling, sick, or can't make it? We don't get paid. There is no set amount for when you aren't training, so you truly have to hustle and get clients. I train some weekends at a bootcamp, as well as an added 10+ hours a week doing personal styling on the side to be able to afford my lifestyle. It's crazy that 75% of the trainers at my gym have more than 1 job.
We have a ton of pressure on us to look a certain way:
No one wants to train with an out of shape trainer. We love exercise, that's one main reason we do what we do. After standing all day I personally need the release is to go workout, but I totally understand that some trainers would just be super burnt out by the end of the day. We need to practice what we preach and because of this many trainers put added pressure on themselves.
Takes a toll on you when clients don't get results:
You try everything you can as a trainer to coach change, but sometimes when the client isn't putting in the work on their own it's nearly impossible. I've caught clients eating pizza and burritos directly after training them (which would be fine in they were looking for GAINZ, but they were looking to lose weight). Seeing that truly makes me feel like what we just spoke about prior was a waste of time and energy. Another example is when your client only works out the days they see you (1-2x a week) but want quick results. Rome wasn't built in a day, nor can you change your physique without putting in the seriously hard work.
Now, I want to finish with one last thing. You would think after reading this that I am on edge and ready to leave this field. Nope, I truly have passion for this job and love what I do. If I didn't love it I wouldn't be doing it. I am lucky I get to help people and get paid for it even if it isn't for a ton. If I wanted to make a butt load of money I would be working in a different field. My main goals in life don't include making tons of money. My goal is to help people, connect with individuals, and help people unveil their best selves. It's just important for me to share some of what it takes to be a trainer, and if you have a trainer just let them know that you appreciate the energy they give to you.