The neat thing about personal training is that it is just that: personal. It is different for everyone. Getting in shape means something unique to each person that you ask. It might mean losing weight. It might involve accomplishing something athletic or fitting into a different clothing size. It could also mean that you can climb stairs without being winded. The point is that, just like everyone is different, so are everyone’s personal training programs, their goals and their outcomes.

I would suggest that the same holds true for fitness professionals. We all want a more successful career and to achieve great things. Just like our clients, however, success and achievement mean completely different things for all of us.

At the beginning of a career, almost all trainers base success on the number of clients trained and gross profit. In time, our goals, aspirations and desires change. We tend to look at the concept of success differently and the way that we define it changes. I have known more than a few extremely busy trainers that feel like slaves and resent their clients, their lives and their jobs. They would do anything to be less busy. Success for them would mean more free time and more pleasure from their work.

To become truly successful, then, requires that we do what we ask of our clients. Take stock of where you are, be very explicit in what success means to you, and then chart a course to start you moving in the direction of your goals. If you do this, the only thing left is to actually follow through and make it happen.
At the risk of sounding cliché, you cannot get to your destination if you do not know where your destination is.

Take some time to actually think of what success means to you. Be as descriptive and specific as possible. What would your ideal day look like? How many clients would you have? How much money would you be bringing in daily, weekly, monthly? What do you want your organization to look like?

Don't be influenced by other ideas of what you should want. If being a solo trainer working with 10 people per day is your dream, then go for it. If you want to manage a team and do no hands-on work, make it happen. Just be sure of what it means to you.

Next, come up with a list of things to do. Do you need to upgrade your skills? Hire an assistant? Refer some clients to someone else? Whatever your next step is, make it happen, and then decide on what to do after that.
The last part is the easiest part for most fitness pros: the follow-through. Take action, in a massive way, to create momentum towards your goals. Be relentless, and be mindful of ways to actually make it happen. Enjoy the process, negotiate the roadblocks, and keep on moving.

Ernie Schramayr is an ACE-Certified Personal Trainer and the owner of All Canadian Fitness, a private training studio in Hamilton, Ontario (