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  1. #1
    Registered User teeeeeeeeeeeeee's Avatar
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    Can you make money as a personal trainer?

    Is it true that Personal trainers don't make enough without a side gig??

    If so what is the plan?

    I feel like everyone starts because they love it but then there has to be a side hustle to pay the bills. Is that what most of you have found?
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  2. #2
    Registered User Garage Rat's Avatar
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    Most don't.
    Like any business you have to put in the time and build clients.
    Usually they aren't handed to you if your on your own.
    If you work for a gym that supplies clients you get paid a modest fee and they get a amount of it.
    Hands on experience,schooling/certifications,willing to working long or interval type hours if you want to make money to live on.
    If you just want some extra income(a side gig) then training a few clients a day might be something to do but to build a business you will need to put a lot of work in and prove your worth if you want to make $50 + a session.
    Not many do.
    $20 could be an average session fee that I've seen.
    What qualifications do you have?
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  3. #3
    Relentless majj268's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by teeeeeeeeeeeeee View Post
    Is it true that Personal trainers don't make enough without a side gig??

    If so what is the plan?

    I feel like everyone starts because they love it but then there has to be a side hustle to pay the bills. Is that what most of you have found?
    In the beginning, maybe but not necessarily true. If you’re able to gain and retain clients, you’ll be well off. Find a niche, a training style, and how you’ll deliver your services and you’ll be well off.
    Train with the intent to help people rather than for the money. Be approachable and good af with sales. Look to part.
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    Registered User Darkius's Avatar
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    Different gyms have different pay rates. The better ones pay trainers about 33-66% of the $65 per hours.


    I bought a package of 12 sessions. My trainer works 30 hours per week and wants to get up to 40.

    My trainer does improve my form, but also tries to show 5 different new exercises each session, "to keep my muscles guessing." I'd rather focus on a few good ones, but maybe my trainer would get bored.

    I think it is a bit of a sales gig. Their perfect customer is someone who needs accountability, since that person is long term. People who just need to learn propper form come and go. Also, maybe many clients just want to learn different exercises, or some trainers like teaching them. Not focusing on one set of exercises avoids the client blaming the trainer for a lack of progression.
    Last edited by Darkius; 11-16-2021 at 10:10 PM.
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  5. #5
    NASM-CPT xsquid99's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Darkius View Post
    Different gyms have different pay rates. Crunch fitness pays trainers about 50% of the $65 per hours, with some variables.


    I bought a package of 12 sessions. My trainer says she works 30 hours per week and wants to get up to 40. She of couse wants to get there by having me schedule more per week and buying more packages.

    She does improve my form, but she also tries to show 5 different new exercises each session. She says it is to keep my muscles guessing, but I suspect it is so I don't notice a lack of progression on any one lift since we don't do it again. I have to put my foot down to get training on basic movements and stick to them.

    I think it is a bit of a sales gig. Their perfect customer is someone who needs accountability, since that person is long term. People who just need to learn propper form come and go.

    I definitely learned several points of better form, got caught a few times breaking those rules, learned better stretching methods, learned I was not as close to failure on sets as I thought, and learned my exercises were not optimal. I'm on a much better track now.

    But my trainer already said she knows I won't need her later. She seems to be scrambling to sell other exercises, almost putting off basic lifts as bate for later so I'll buy another 12 in order to learn that. Or I could be reading her wrong. She might just be trying to show me more exercises to choose from so I find my favorites.
    I hate reading stuff like this. "Keeping the muscles guessing" is just retarded, its not a real thing. Progressive overload is the goal, and so I keep my clients on a fixed program so I can track progress. Occasionally I will swap out an exercise but I will usually only do so if its something with an identical movement pattern. For instance, I may swap cable lat pulldowns with the assisted pull up machine, or maybe swap bent over barbell rows with some other type of row. The reason I do this is because I want the movement patterns to basically be the same, but sometimes the equipment we need is in use by another gym member or just to switch things up to keep it a little more interesting but without sabotaging trackable progress.

    If my client is getting really good at their program and not needing as much instruction then I may add extra sets or an exercise to the session, but not at the expense of leaving something else out completely.

    I also tell my clients that my goal is to get them to the point that they don't need a trainer anymore and can continue working out without me. Most of them are well on their way within 3-4 weeks, and for me its like seeing them graduate and take that next step into fitness on their own. Nothing makes me more happy than seeing my former clients in the gym killing it all by themselves.

    To OP's question though, unless you have a huge client base it would be hard to work solely as a personal trainer. I have a regular day job and I only train part time after work because I like it, but there's no way it could support me if it was my only job.
    All it takes is consistency, effort, proper nutrition, good programming, and TIME.
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    Registered User Rsurf72's Avatar
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    Look the part plays a huge role.

    People will pay you to help them look like you.
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    Train hard play harder Tommy W.'s Avatar
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    So much of the trainers success depends on how they look. You could be the best, most informed, the most educated trainer in the world and if you carry any body fat or look less than perfect you will lose clients to a person that genetically superior and doesn’t know anything about training and fitness but people just want to look like that person I’ve seen it it’s sucks but it’s just reality And no to answer your question there’s no money in it
    If you don't get what you want you didn't want it bad enough
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    Registered User zReegz's Avatar
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    Luckily I’m employed by a gym but as a Pt so I receive a fixed salary
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    Subscribe to my YouTube! getbigordie18's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by teeeeeeeeeeeeee View Post
    Is it true that Personal trainers don't make enough without a side gig??

    If so what is the plan?

    I feel like everyone starts because they love it but then there has to be a side hustle to pay the bills. Is that what most of you have found?
    Personally I like to do personal training as my side job/hustle while working another full time job. However, if you want to make personal training a full time job, you have to hustle to get clients and once you get them its pretty easy to keep them if you are a good trainer. Referals are by word of mouth or online advertising. Loads of free info online about training like youtube in general. However, you get what you put in simply put.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94fe6xvYbVY
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  10. #10
    Registered User Darkius's Avatar
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    I'll tell you a tale of 2 trainers or sales styles.

    Trainer A asked if he could give me a free training session. I knew I'd feel pressured to pay even if he said it is free. I told him I had my routine, and then scurried off, feeling awkward around him after that. I felt bad for treating him that way since he seemed like a good person, but I did not want to waste his time, and did not want a buff guy pushing me to lift barbells with my bad wrist.



    The orientation manager, another male, told me his records say I was not given a full tour of the gym yet and had only had a brief one. He said everyone gets the full one so they know what equipment is available. I agreed.

    He asked me what my goals were. I told him "full body high rep light weight and some cardio."
    He then asked why those are my goals. I told about my injuries, and that I had found these exercises to be the only ones that don't hurt.
    He asked a few more questions about what doctors have told me, and I told him my sports doctor said I'll never run again but that I need to start squating or I'll need surgery.
    He then told me he has trainers who know just how to treat those injuries, and that I should follow my sports doctor's advice so I avoid surgery. He told me the downsides of artificial knees. He gave he his own diagnosis of my condition based on the type of pain I described and what he said it ruled out. He offered me a training package, and added that I have 30 days to cancel unused sessions, and asked if I want to be free of joint pain.

    So, I signed the contract for 36 sessions, read it over, and saw the 30 day cancelation option for unused sessions.
    He asked if I had a male or female trainer preference, and I told him I wanted whoever is most qualified to train injured people, and prefered him since he had made several diagnosis based on my pain descriptions. He said he is paid hourly by the gym and does not train, but would find me someone good.

    Five days later, before my first session was scheduled, and after asking people if I really need a trainer, I returned with a written cancelation in hand, telling the orientation manager I had made an impulse decision, and eventually after he probed, saying I did not want to be locked into 36 sessions or 3 per week, since what if I get too sore before a scheduled session.
    He responded with an offer to drop it to 12 sessions with the other 24 suspended till I decide later, cancelable at that time, and said I could use them at my own rate.
    I agreed.

    He paired me with Trainer B, who I later learned is an expert at yoga and stretches. He told her my sistuation, and she researched physical therapy exercises on YouTube, having me think for a while that she knew them off hand. She also know a lot of upper body exercises and form but clearly never built upper body strength, as I later learned she had difficulty flat pressing 30 pound dumbbells.

    Her exercises got me squating without knee pain, which is why I continued several sessions. We disagreed on upper body, with me wanting to do full body and her wanting me to do advanced high set workouts on individual muscle groups. So we compromised and now just do lower body and core, with me doing my own upper body later.

    My knee kept getting better, as did other lifts, especially my deadlifts.

    So, I decided that rather than assume I can improve my knee the rest of the way, I'll continue the rest of the way. Her wanting me to work with her 3x a week instead of 2 likely contributed to my not experienting as much whether I could copy her workout on my own. Also, her saving heavy deadlifts till recently got me thinking I'd rather have her watching my posture me as I deadlift heavier weights.

    She also researched ways I can improve my posture, and keeps an eye on that during all my lifts.


    The reason I stayed with this trainer has been highly targetted, no pressure sales, and highly individualized training aimed at the needs I stated. She affirmed to me several times not to do anything that was painful to my joints, and always asked how I felt after each set.




    Trainer B works 30 client hours per week and says she is working on getting more. I see her with clients often.


    Trainer A is usually seen pushing a mop. I feel sorry for him. The day before I added the 24 sessions, I finally told him the story of why I'm with trainer B, and that I just was afraid what lifts he would have me do. He replied, "You are with the correct trainer."
    I don't know if he really thought she is more qualified than him, or if he just said that out of professionalism so as to not hurt her chances of getting 12 more sessions.
    Last edited by Darkius; 11-16-2021 at 10:13 PM.
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  11. #11
    Mr. Humble Ronin4help's Avatar
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    To most, personal training IS their side gig.
    To succeed at doing what you love, you often must do many things you hate.
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  12. #12
    Registered User Darkius's Avatar
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    I only see 2 personal trainers with clients at my gym, both women. My trainer seems to be with a different client every hour, and the other one seems half as successful.
    All the seniors train with the one who buzzed the hair on the sides of her head and wears baggy athletic pants.
    All the young women hire the one who has long hair and wears yoga pants. I'm probably her only male client.
    None of the young men seem to want to hire a trainer. They all think they don't need one. So did I until I decided that 36 sessions costs less than 1/3 the max out of pocket for knee surgery.

    I have seen males with Trainer shirts on. One walked up to me and told me I was doing an exercise wrong. After the correction, that was the end of the discussion. I can't tell if the others are body builders who push mops in exchange for free membership, or if they are trainers. Maybe I saw one of them with a client once, but that was a long time ago.
    Last edited by Darkius; 11-16-2021 at 10:14 PM.
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  13. #13
    Registered User Darkius's Avatar
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    I asked several guys at my gym what they think of personal trainers. Every I asked said they are a rip off, they don't know any more than what they saw on YouTube before the session. They recommended I just watch YouTube.

    My brother told me good form is so critical that I should not lift anything heavy or close to failure till I learn proper form. But he said I should just watch YouTube and video tape myself till I get it down right.

    A skinny, close friend of mine told me he took a weights class, and that since his weights instructor had his attention divided among 30 students, he did not spot my friend's bad form. My friend thought he was doing it right and instead got injured. He told me to get a trainer.

    My 3 bodybuilder friends looked at my size and told me if I need a trainer to get me in the gym, then pay for that. They did not think of form.



    So, that is the market base you have to win over somehow. I can't even get one of my friends to sign up for the gym. He says he is happy with his thin body how it is and cares only about longevity. Meanwhile, he smokes and walks much slower than me, making hiking with him unfulfilling for me.
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  14. #14
    Registered User Darkius's Avatar
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    As an example of what others said, that if you are really good, you can keep many clients:


    1. My knee is much better now,
    2. My trainer had me stand on a boingy platform to do 1 legged squats and tap my other heal on the floor. My form was not good. She tried to verbally correct it, but we finished 3 sets in not good form. The next session, she had me stand on a solid, lower platform. I asked if we should use the boingy one I liked. She told me no, that I should build up from this. After each set with each leg, she asked if I wanted her to stack it a few inches higher.
    She could easily have given me the boingy platform I liked and left me struggling. Instead she built me up and taught me how to approach challenges.


    I bet she saw the boingy exercise on youtube 4 days ago, decided it looked good, and did not know what to do about my form the first day. I bet she went back online and found the other versions. A $150/hr physical therapist would have immediately known how to adjust the exercise, but more than twice the price.
    Last edited by Darkius; 11-16-2021 at 08:22 PM.
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    Registered User Darkius's Avatar
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    My trainer now has a young male client. His girlfriend even came by to watch his progress. I bet she is the one who referred him. She is likely a former or current client.

    Do a good job, and you get referrals, even if the original client graduates.




    ...



    Maybe younger and middle age males get trained late at night and early morning, and women choose mid day more. But I do see many younger women hiring trainers. I have not seen many middle aged women hiring trainers.

    I've also not yet seen a male trainer with a client, but I go mid day, 9am-6pm.
    Last edited by Darkius; 11-04-2021 at 04:51 PM.
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    Registered User Darkius's Avatar
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    You'll definitely get more repeat business and referrals if your client trusts you. That not only means not saying inaccuracies, but also knowing about myths and controversies and acknowledging them proactively if you suspect your client is getting educated elsewhere too.
    Last edited by Darkius; 11-20-2021 at 09:45 PM. Reason: A bit too off topic
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    Registered User Darkius's Avatar
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    I found out my gym does have at least 2 male trainers. Maybe they just train eslewhere, which is why I did not see them training even though I was told they were with clients then.




    As for money made, some clients will cluelessly text you about the workout outside of paid session hours. You may have to drop increasingly more obvious hints that you prefer to only work when paid, or set the rules outright.

    It is hard to tell if trainers are under financial pressure to keep clients or not, or if they bottle up their feelings just out of their own personal politeness standards.

    Some will turn away clients if the client just wants form checks and the trainer wants to decide much more. So some are in it for fun, and for them that means doing everything their way.



    ...
    Also, my trainer incorporates sports drills from his favorite sports as his warmup routine.

    I also for the first time saw him with another client, a young woman. So I guess male trainers are not too discriminated against.
    Last edited by Darkius; 11-20-2021 at 09:46 PM.
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    Registered User Darkius's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Tommy W. View Post
    So much of the trainers success depends on how they look. You could be the best, most informed, the most educated trainer in the world and if you carry any body fat or look less than perfect you will lose clients to a person that genetically superior and doesn’t know anything about training and fitness but people just want to look like that person I’ve seen it it’s sucks but it’s just reality And no to answer your question there’s no money in it
    Originally Posted by Rsurf72 View Post
    Look the part plays a huge role.

    People will pay you to help them look like you.



    I'm switching into the looks camp, as a client. When people insist they are more deserving to train clients because they know their stuff and think but simply lack the body, I wonder if they really know their their stuff.


    I've been told some incorrect things by certified trainers, such as that doing a standing horizontal press of a dumbbell will work the chest, when I know it would only work the front deltoids.

    I've also heard some disagreement in the body building community about what principles are correct, and would like to see that someone can sculpt their own body before I trust them. It would at least indicate they have lots of practice with movements rather than them trying to reproduce what they saw in a book but never felt.

    I would not pick based on ideal body, but would want to see evidence of accomplishments.
    Last edited by Darkius; 11-20-2021 at 09:53 PM.
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