From talking to hundreds of people in this industry, we all have a different story about how we got started in it. That's because personal training today doesn't have the same set career path as most other professional careers. But that isn't just for when you're getting started; it also goes for once you're in this career as well.

And one of the major decisions you have to make as a trainer is where you're going to stand in this business. Are you going to be one of the trainers at the bottom, scratching for whatever clients they can find at whatever rates those clients are willing to pay? Or will you be one of the top-level trainers that pretty much has their pick of both?

There is no certification, degree or business model that will make this decision for you -- you'll have to do it yourself.

Until you start thinking like a top-level trainer, you’ll never ascend to the type of career you want and the type of lifestyle you want. You’ll be drowned in work, mired in uncertainty and may even find yourself out of this business in a few years.

The one mindset that will get you into the upper level is your concept of giving value to your customers and the industry. Become a value-giver. If you want success and all of the material things that come with it, there's nothing wrong with that. But you can be sure you’re going to have to contribute a lot of value to the world and really make a lot of people’s lives better to get it.

By “value,” I mean bringing more to the table in every session and in your training experience that customers are willing to pay for. This makes you desired by a higher level of clientele, enables you to charge higher prices, allows you to be selective about who you take on as a client and will bring you many more referrals, thus lowering your marketing costs.

The other option is training more clients at lower rates per client. Sure, that's also a model to earn money, but you’ll also be spending much more time in the business (even if your employees are doing all of the training for you) and undergoing much more stress in the process. You'll also have to spend more on marketing to attract all of those clients, cutting into your bottom line.

Remember that exciting lifestyle you dreamed of? It’s out the window. You now have a high-stress and high-pressure job that I consider the opposite of the personal training lifestyle.

Until you adopt the mindset to give more to get more, you’ll never really get what it takes to jump to the next level as a trainer. The thrilling but also scary part is: The decision is all yours.

Kaiser Serajuddin is the writer of the popular personal training blog, He guides personal trainers through the challenging period of starting their personal training businesses and helps them on the road to six figures. For more information, you can download his special report, The Six-Figure Formula, at


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