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In your quest to choose a specialty, you need to ask yourself a few questions:


�         What are you naturally good at?

�         What will yield a fairly large clientele?

�         What specialties will you be able to carry further into different areas as your career expands?


You don�t need to be the best in the world at your specialty; you aren�t trying to reach a global market with millions of customers. You just need to create an image of excellence and trust in your particular market and situation. For that reason, you aren�t limited at all and have the freedom to do what you want; just think about the work that will be simultaneously the most fun and profitable for you to tackle. This could fall into many different areas:


�         Sports you enjoy

�         Modes of exercise you engage in

�         Special populations you have an interest in

�         Your own specific skills

�         Your own particular fitness goals


Here are some examples of potential specialties for you to chose from:

Senior Citizens

If you are looking for a very non-demanding client group, you have specialized work or education credentials or just have a love for older people, specializing in training seniors may be good for you. For those that find this population a good fit, there are many potential benefits:

�         They have a lot of free time to devote to their training.

�         Many are looking to train for the rest of their lives.

�         Many have lots of money.

�         They aren�t too demanding for results, just looking for an improved quality of life.


If being around senior citizens is meaningful to you, this could prove to be an excellent niche that can easily grow to be a highly lucrative career path. The aging baby boomer population and the increased life expectancies through medical science will make this a very large market that will only continue to grow. And if you can properly explain the value of your expertise and credentials, you should also be able to charge higher rates than traditional trainers. Just make sure that you seek the affluent segments of the elderly population as the focus for your market.



On the opposite end of the age spectrum are children, which are unfortunately the fastest growing part of the obese population. Many of us just find it rewarding to work with children; they�re fun to be around and it feels good to know you�re making a difference in a person�s future. They are also very easy to work with from a training design standpoint � the only thing that matters to them is lots of fun and activity. And your market is assured; if there�s one thing that parents are willing to spend money on, it�s their children.

            If your practice is designed around weight loss for kids, you�ll have to keep an eye on results. In this type of practice, the results may actually be more dependent on your coaching of the parents in choosing the right foods for the child and encouraging them to participate in sports. This greater contact with the parent is also important because, for all purposes, the parent is your real client � keeping them happy is the key.

            With children, another major but entirely different market for training is sports performance. Parents are very competitive when it comes to the performance of their children at sports. In general, small-group training and camps centered around making children faster, stronger and more competent in their sports is an area with room for tremendous growth. The national training chain CATS is built around this area, and it has numerous successful private training facilities, such as The Fitness Edge in Colombus, Ohio, and Philbin�s Family Fitness in Gaithersburg, Maryland. On a smaller scale, this is a strong basis to begin a personal training practice as well. The child training market is huge and, at this point, still largely untapped. Of all the training markets, this one has the most potential for growth.



This is the specialty of Personal Trainer David Kirsch in New York. How�s that for loving your work? As an exercise, let�s consider how you would you go about making this your specialty. The truth is, if you made this your specialty, people would simply believe you; they�d have no reason not to. You could just put this information on all of your materials � whenever you sought a joint venture with another business or told people about what you do, you could tell them improving the bodies of the already naturally gifted was what you specialized.

You would certainly have to spend a little time to in the beginning to think about the goals and needs of this market and probably have to develop systems and assemble principles around which to achieve them. But does this sound conceivable? Of course it does � that�s the beauty of this profession.


The list of potential specialties is endless. Although we talked about how a decision is the only barrier to entry, it�s true that some of them do require some specialized knowledge and skills, and it may take a little time for the new trainer to build these areas. Many new trainers may not have even completely thought out what their particular skills or interests really are. That�s fine, as long as you make this a priority that you seek to achieve as your career continues to grow.

            Until then, my specialty is one that every trainer can relate to and use for themselves. As you�ll remember, my training specialty is providing intense training with an eye on results. This is probably the most popular reason why most people seek personal training in the first place, so feel free to borrow mine until you fully explore your interests and craft your own.

            But remember: This is the cornerstone of every trainer success story. Look at Gunnar Peterson and his reputation of creating Hollywood Bodies, Jason Ferrugia and improving the performance of Mixed Martial Artists or Cynthia Conde and her Bridal Bootcamp; all of these were possible because they don�t try to cater to everyone. It�s just that for the small portion of people they have decided to service, they are now the go-to choice.

Even if you�re a trainer at a health club right now, choosing a specialty and letting your fitness director and fellow trainers know about it will make a huge difference in your client load. When your director encounters the type of clients that fall into your niche, you�re the first person that�ll come to mind. Your fellow trainers will do the same as well � why shouldn�t they? You�ll be sending them all the clients that you can�t accept because they don�t fall into your specialty.

            And if you�re on your own or have a facility, it�s a decision you can�t live without, and that�s why you won�t see any major independent trainers or training facilities succeed without one.


So have fun choosing your specialty; if you already had one, redefine or refine it, if it isn�t serving you perfectly. This will be one of the most rewarding things you ever do and will make a huge difference in your career right now and in the future � it�ll be the difference you can ride straight to the top!

Kaiser Serajuddin is the owner and head trainer of GoHard Fitness Inc. in New York City. He holds a degree in biology from Long Island University and is certified by the AFAA, IFPA and Spinning. His consulting company, Top-Level Trainer, delivers a superior practice model to trainers along with branding and marketing services. Kaiser also writes and maintains Super-Trainer, a blog delivering some of the most insightful news, training tactics and profiles of other top trainers in the country. For more information, visit www.topleveltrainer.com, www.gohardfitness.com or www.super-trainer.com; you can reach him at kaiser@gohardfitness.com.


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