It’s a pretty long road to being a personal trainer but you’ve studied hard, perfected your technique and have qualified. Unfortunately though, most graduates are met with an highly saturated employment market and subsequently struggle to find their ideal job.
So what do you do? What’s next? It is a competitive market and gyms can take a significant hosting fee so maybe you should consider specialising? But just how do you specialise? Fear not, as Cindy Croucher from St Mary’s University outlines five specialisms you could consider:
1. Be Sport Specific
Can you market your services to a specific sport? Do you know the best core exercise for netballers? Does a triathlete need to cross-train when they already train for three disciplines? What is the best flexibility exercise for a golfer? How can you help a recreational runner increase their endurance to complete a marathon? Do your research. Can you link to a local club or team? What can you offer them that another PT can’t? Can you explain how each exercise will benefit your client in their particular sport?
2. Physical Activity for Older Adults
According to the Office of National Statistics, 16% of the population are over 65 with 50% of these considering themselves to be in good or very good health. Do you know how to create an exercise plan for this “special population”? Age UK have resources for health and wellbeing programmes for the older population called “Fit as a Fiddle” promoting physical activity for this age group. Age UK recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity throughout the week. Think about your schedule as retired people can exercise throughout the day whilst most people are at work. What could you offer? Nordic walking? Aqua aerobics? You will need to ensure that you are knowledgeable about common medical conditions and ensure that you health-screen your clients appropriately.
3. Exercise for the Obese and Overweight
According to the NHS, 26% of adults in England are obese. The NHS recommend adults exercise at moderate intensity for 150 minutes throughout the week, however a report led by the University of Bristol study found 80% of adults failed to meet these exercise targets. Could you offer one-to-one sessions? How would you make these sessions attractive to someone who is self-conscious or embarrassed about their size? Gyms can be intimidating; could you train someone at their home? Can you use every day items such as tin cans or water bottles and kit that is easy to transport like bands so you can fit into your clients front room? Do you know about diet and nutrition? Could you attend a short course to up-skill? Are you approachable?
4. Be female friendly
Just over half the population of the UK are female. Do you appeal to women? I don’t mean are you attractive, I mean are your training plans female-friendly? There are a variety of options such as buggy-fit allowing clients to workout with their pushchairs and hula-hoop classes. These classes are not exclusively for women but are certainly popular. Testosterone fuelled lifting areas can be intimidating so think about your client, type of workout and location. What time of day are women available? Mums may prefer training whilst their children are at school, those with young children may want to bring them with them. Can you come up with a mum and toddler concept? Make yourself more affordable and train a group of mum’s together. Offer a free personal training session to your local school fete for some free publicity and take a look at websites aimed at parents.
5. Strength and Conditioning
So, do you know the difference between strength training and conditioning? Are you confident on lifting techniques? How can your client’s benefit from strength training? Are body weight exercises as effective as lifting weights? Can you be creative and develop a whole strength workout in your local park without the need for any gym equipment? Can you adapt a strength plan for different age-groups and different goals or do you get you clients all to do different amounts of the same thing?
As a personal trainer you need to be knowledgeable, flexible, reliable and personable. As a professional it is important to continuously develop through CPD courses but also to be innovative and creative in what you can offer your clients. Remember that one size does not fit all, listen to your clients and create bespoke packages/training plans just for them. The best advertisement is word-of-mouth so find your niche and be great at it!
This article was put together by Cindy Croucher-Wright. Cindy is a keen marathon runner and also heads-up the Centre for Short Courses & CPD at St Mary’s University College, who offer personal training courses as well as sports massage training.