If you Google ‘health and fitness’ you will get over 3 billion search results. As a personal trainer are you expected to know everything that is written on all of those pages? Well, no, of course not. I have been working in the industry for over 20 years. I’ve worked as a sport scientist for a professional football club, I have a sports science degree, and I’m currently finishing up my master’s in strength and conditioning and I still learn something new every day. In fact, I often re-learn something I have forgotten too. So what should a personal trainer know?
Generalise then specialise
Personally, I think it is a good idea to generalise before you specialise. Learn a little about a lot of things first because this will help you identify what excites you the most and what you are really good at. Then once you have a good idea about who you can help best and who you want to help then you can focus all your time and energy on getting really good at that. Ideally, you want to figure this out before you start building your fitness business.
When I first qualified in 1999 I did every course and qualification I could and read everything I could get my hands on that was related to health and fitness. I trained anyone that wanted me and had a bash at teaching any class I was asked to cover. Now it’s important that I clarify that this is not the best way to build a successful business and make loads of money but it was a great journey into self-development. I spent quite a few years learning what I liked and what I didn’t like, what I excelled at, and what I was useless at.
After a few years, I realised my biggest interest was exercise referral and cardiac rehabilitation. So I began to focus my studies and my skills in this area. I found it really rewarding working in this field and I liked the challenge of learning about all the different medical conditions. This is really when my career started to take off because I was no longer a ‘jack of all trades, master at none’. The rest is history as they say.
My advice to anyone starting out as a personal trainer is to spend however long you need identifying what you like and who you can help and to then focus on getting really good at helping those individuals. This will not only make you an authority in the industry but it will feel great because you will become brilliant at helping a specific audience and change a lot of lives for the better.