Congratulations! If you’re reading this, then chances are you have recently completed your fitness qualification and are looking at jumping headfirst into a brand new career in this exciting industry!
There are probably a thousand questions swarming in your head about what you should do and where you should start. Here are a couple of tips to get you on your feet and lead you to a successful career in the fitness industry.
Registration and Insurance*:
First of all, you need to ensure you have your Professional Registration and Insurance sorted so you are officially recognised as a Fitness Professional. This is generally pretty easy to organise and the process can even be started online.
There are a couple of avenues you can choose when it comes to this and it’s best you do your research to decide which option is most suitable for you. Being part of a Registration Body has some amazing benefits for fitness professionals. As a newly qualified trainer there are a number of questions you may have in regards to getting started, like where you can and can’t train your clients, potential fees involved in training on public spaces or even questions about starting your own business that you haven’t quite managed to find the right answers to.
Your registration body’s websites will generally have the answers to all of these questions and provide links or additional contact numbers that you can refer to. Plus they will keep you up to date with all the news and laws regulating our industry, and are a fantastic source of information when it comes to enrolling into Professional Development programs to keep your knowledge up to date.
Employment: Where do I want to work?
The opportunities in this industry are endless which makes this a tough decision for many newly qualified students. Chances are, throughout your career, you will more than likely sift through a variety of roles before you find the perfect role for you.
Often people choose to become a Personal Trainer to escape the daily routine of a 9-5 job or to help people achieve personal goals. Others are tired of working for someone else and want to go into running their own businesses either as a franchisee through a larger chain, or alternatively open their own personal training studios and employ their own staff. Others want to take this qualification and head overseas, working in exclusive health retreats or even training clients aboard cruise ships and sailing the Mediterranean. (*sigh*)
If you are still unsure, why not dip your toes into a variety of different roles and use the opportunity to gain experience in the industry. Some trainers prefer to get a personal perspective on each role and make their choices from there. You could be a gym instructor in the morning, instruct a freestyle group exercise class at lunch and train some personal training clients into the early hours of the evening and still have enough time to squeeze in your own workouts or collect the kids from school. The beauty of this industry is the flexibility of hours, allowing many to work around other commitments.
Whatever your reasons for becoming qualified, use them to help you identify the type of fitness environment you wish to find yourself working in and go for that!
Never Stop Learning:
Now that you are qualified and working in the industry, it’s important to ensure that you are constantly updating your knowledge and skills to keep you a step ahead of the rest. Dependant on the registration body you decide to go with, you will be required to update your knowledge with Continuing Education Credits (CECs) or Professional Development Points (PDPs) in order to keep your registration current.
CEC or PDP courses not only give some fantastic new tricks of the trade, they are also a great opportunity to meet other trainers and help you develop a network of industry professionals. The more you get your name out there the more successful your career is likely to be.
As a Personal Trainer you will be required to re-register every two years and provide evidence that you have been involved in the industry.
Choose your attitude and believe in yourself:
Finally, choose your attitude and believe in yourself. Learn from your mistakes, and use them to grow as a professional. The success of your career as a trainer will be dependent on the type of attitude you decide to sell yourself with, and the confidence you portray to your colleagues and clients. So even though you have been awake since 5am, or your last few clients have cancelled at the last minute, or perhaps your last clients reassessment wasn’t as successful as you had hoped it would be – make sure the next client standing in front of you gets your positive outlook, your professional knowledge and your winning smile.
Hopefully these tips are a useful stepping stone into the industry and help you achieve success in your fitness career.
Best of luck!
Written by Ashlee Lane, AFA Student Support Officer
* Registration bodies are Fitness Australia (http://www.fitness.org.au) and Physical Activity Australia (http://www.physicalactivityaustralia.org.au)