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How to Break Into the Fitness Industry

Fitness professional

Education and hands-on experience are two big keys to getting started. Education goes without saying—it’s empowering to learn and understand. I took advantage of any opportunity to learn from other instructors and trainers, and, years later, journalists—shadowing, observing and then putting it into practice myself. I spent endless hours doing things for free or just getting educated to better my skills. I always say LUCK is preparation meeting opportunity!
—Chris Freytag, ACE PT, GFI, HC 

Follow Chris on Twitter at @chrisfreytag!


My best advice for breaking into the industry is don’t go at it alone—whatever that means to you, find a great network with which to surround yourself. Think about a mentor who is doing what you want to do, veterans that have been in the business for a while, people that are willing to share their missteps with you to help lead you in the right direction. Our industry operates in silos, which hampers innovation and growth. Find a great group with which to surround yourself and you can accomplish just about anything!
—Shannon Fable, ACE PT, GFI, HC

Follow Shannon on Twitter at @sfable!


It can take a while to develop a clientele as a trainer, so it’s a good idea to have another job and start training part-time. Many club companies allow managers to train clients part-time, and if being a trainer is your ultimate goal, it can be helpful to use your experience from outside of fitness by starting in a full-time management position. As you develop a clientele and improve your skills, you can make the transition to a full-time trainer. That’s how I did it when I got into the industry. I had a job in a different field, but wanted to learn about fitness so I started at the front desk part-time. From there I became assistant manager and then general manager. Along the way, I trained clients and took every opportunity to learn from other trainers and continuing education events in my area. Once I had a critical mass of clients I transitioned, into a full-time trainer role. 
—Pete McCall, ACE PT

Follow Pete on Twitter at @fitexpertpete!


Two answers:

1. If you are fairly clear on what path in fitness you want to take (trainer, group fitness instructor, hybrid trainer) and where you want to work (large gym, studio, fully independent, etc.), then get certified and get started. There’s nothing that can replace experience. And if you know the location and type of training you are most drawn

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