It's clear that personal training is a career, but does everyone view it that way? I'm not sure, because at least from my experience, the career progression for a trainer in the fitness industry wasn't always obvious to me.

Sure, in other careers, you can just sit back and hope to "climb up the corporate ladder". In personal training, that ladder isn't as evident. But that’s one of the things I love about the training industry: The number of places you can take it are unlimited. The only problem is that finding this career track can be a cause of frustration and confusion for trainers. For that reason, let's get into the subject right now.

A career in the fitness industry all starts with a passion for fitness. If you're starting from that position of doing what you're passionate about, you already have a tremendous upper hand on anyone getting into the workforce today - you were born with what it takes to succeed.

The next step is gaining initial experience. If you want to command top dollar for your services as a trainer, you first have to know what you're doing. You gain this experience either in a health club setting or through something as simple as simulating training sessions with friends and family members.

Once you've learned the ropes, it's time to get out on your own and go solo. This will force you learn a number of things on the fly. You'll learn to market and attract training clients, how to close sales as well as how to make deals with other businesses in order to hold your training sessions out of their facilities. Consider it your business education, one that you're getting paid to learn in the process.

After you've become comfortable as an independent trainer, what you want to do next is totally up to you. You can open a training studio, start your own boot camp business or further specialize your independent training practice so that it's paying the highest possible rates for the time you put into it. One more growing option for trainers today is using the Internet; every single personal trainer should have at least part of their business online. (See my August column.)

And guess what? That's still not the end. The training career truly has no limits. You can further grow your business, look to automate it, penetrate new markets or even look to pursue other business opportunities once you've become established. But let's not get ahead of ourselves just yet. Whatever stage you're at in your career, keep pushing to master it, and then look forward to your next move.
It's true personal training is a career, but it has no glass ceiling!

Kaiser Serajuddin writes one of the web's most visited online fitness marketing blog,, where you can get a free comprehensive course on starting an online fitness business. He is also a private consultant for some of the world's top trainers. Kaiser can be reached with questions or comments at


How much of your time would you estimate you spend growing your business?