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Begin Personal Training Career In A Gym Or Independent?

Hi Dr. Bell, I’m seriously considering becoming a Personal Trainer and was looking for some advice. As I’m beginning my personal training career, would you recommend going freelance and opening my own studio, or should I start working at a local gym chain? What is the ideal career progression for a personal trainer? Thank you so much for the input, Martha.

I recommend everyone start their personal training career working for a gym. Even though the IFPA Personal Trainer Certification provides you everything you need to know to be safe and effective training clients….however, your IFPA Certification does not come along with a “Book of Clients!” Working in a gym does provide you a wonderful opportunity to recruit many, many clients! This can lead you to rapid success.

Equally important, starting in a gym eliminates a huge investment on your part in building and equipment. It also eliminates a huge distraction in government laws, regulations, licensing and taxation that you do not need to bother when you are just starting out.

Some trainers will complain they “absolutely hate giving the gym a huge portion of the fees their clients pay for a personal training session!”

I understand how they feel, I used to feel the exact same way; right-up to the point that I ran my own gym and had to pay half of my employees Social Security fees, and all their Disability Insurance, Unemployment Insurance, Medicare fees, Property Taxes and Insurance, Utility fees and taxes, telecommunications fees and taxes, advertising and marketing expenses, paid holidays, maintenance fees, repairs, electric, water, air-conditioning and heating…the list goes on and on and don’t you dare forget to pay a tax or forget to get new fire extinguishers before they expire because the bureaucrats love to fine you and the fines are always over $1000.

Get your personal training career established before you decide to take the giant step forward to starting your own business. Work hard, get good…really good! Focus on becoming a Master of your craft. You will find that you are your own corporation. When you excel, you will be rewarded, either by loyalty and support of your clients or promotion from the company you work for. These skills you master will enable you to become your own boss, own your own business and become master of your own destiny.

Please remember that “Mediocrity is as common as sand. Excellence is as rare as gold!

I have paid many unfair fines to parasitical bureaucrats in my time, but I did it with grace knowing that they will always be sand. You have a choice to achieve a level of excellence that can propel you to heights of success that can provide you more joy in one day than the bureaucrat will see in their lifetime. I want you to build success by helping people live longer, healthier and happier lives. The IFPA will be with you all along the way to provide you the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to take you to whatever level of achievement you desire.

I and all of us at the IFPA wish you all the best in all your endeavors!