I meet several newly certified trainers who find it difficult to get their first "chance" at training clients. Whether as an independent trainer starting a business or getting hired at a facility, many aspiring trainers find themselves in a "chicken-or-the-egg" situation -- most gyms and potential clients are looking for experienced trainers but newly certified trainers need to find a way to gain that necessary experience and credibility to jumpstart their career.

Here are a few tips that you should find helpful in gaining that initial career momentum:

1. Be willing to put in your time. You may not get what you think is your ideal job or the highest paying clients right off the bat, but with experience comes more opportunity and likely more money; but you have to be willing to put in your time to gain well-rounded experience.

2. Look for internship or mentorship opportunities. Many facilities are now offering internships or mentorships and this offers a win-win situation for both the facility and the trainer. If there is a facility you want to work at, you may even approach them and see if they'd be willing to bring you on as an intern to give you hands-on experience.

3. When you're interviewing with a potential employer, always think "what’s in it for them." Most people go in to interviews focused on what the employer can do for them; once you change your approach and ask the employer what they need, you almost immediately become a more appealing candidate.

4. Separate yourself as a great candidate. Most employers look to hire a great candidate first who they believe will fit in with the culture of the company before they hire based on solely on qualifications. Show them you are a great addition to their team and that you're willing to do what it takes to build your qualifications so it helps build their business. You may not have training experience, but I bet you have other strengths that bring value.

5. Focus on the career as a fitness trainer, not just as a side job. Don't tell a potential employer that you got certified to do training as a "side job." In an industry where high turnover is unfortunately the norm, good employers look for vested team members.

6. Fake it 'til you make it. Not literally of course. There is no question that you need to have your skill set and knowledge-base as a trainer, but confidence is key. Note: confidence, not ego; ego will taint everything. Continue to develop your voice as a trainer and always be open to learning and your confidence as a trainer will grow exponentially.

Being a newly certified trainer doesn't have to mean there aren't opportunities available to you; but it does mean you may need to navigate a bit further and be open-minded with the initial direction you take. A strong passion and commitment to your new career path will go a long way with potential employers and clients; just stay the course!


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