The grass is greener on the other side; or so they say. Since my career in the fitness industry began, I have constantly overheard the rambling chatter of other trainers; "I could get paid more to do this on my own" or "I should open my own studio; I could make a killing." Both statements have the potential to be true, however, one must not forget that although the grass may seem greener on the other side, it isn't always easy to get there to find out. The costs of rent, marketing, billing, hiring an accountant and a myriad of other items make independent training substantially more challenging than training under the umbrella of an established club. Throughout my career, I have discovered that training at a club has numerous benefits, and the following are some of the most significant ...

Learn your craft
As a personal trainer in a club, there is no better stage where one can not only learn, but also hone their craft. These facilities serve as a place where the role of personal trainer can be mastered, and the skills required to be successful in this ever-growing and highly competitive industry can be fully developed. A majority of clubs offer positions that have been specifically designed to assist new trainers, as well as to increase the knowledge-base of existing trainers. In the long run, this system bodes well for new and veteran trainers alike.

Club chains offer a significantly larger source of clientele than that of a privately-owned studio. In some of the clubs I used to run, anywhere from 500 to 2,000 people walked through the doors every Monday seeking a workout, yet in the studio I currently train out of, walk-ins are few and far between. In order for trainers to thrive in a club setting while simultaneously increasing their client-base, building relationships with veteran members is highly beneficial. Although these members may not financially invest in your services, they ultimately influence those that will. By knowing you on a personal and professional level, the likelihood of them giving referrals or making comments such as "he/she is the best trainer here," increases exponentially.

Low expense
Working for an organization instead of as an independent allows you the luxury of having virtually no business expense. The marketing, advertising and prospecting for new member acquisition is done for you. The equipment has already been purchased and you don't have to spend your hard-earned money on renting a facility. In some cases, clients are simply handed to you, but in most cases all you have to do in a club setting is track your sessions during pay periods and prospect new clients off the floor. This leaves room for you to focus on your ultimate goal as a personal trainer which is to assist your clients in getting results, and in turn, retain clientele; what on earth is not to like about that?

Take it from an industry veteran, who ran thirty-six (36) clubs across the United States and who is now running his own business as an independent trainer; the grass may or may not be greener on the other side, but when the time is right to find out for yourself, you will know.

Josh 'JB' Bowen, BS, CSCS*D, NSCA-CPT*D is the former Quality Control Director of Personal Training for Urban Active Fitness and is currently a personal trainer for Fitness Plus II in Lexington, KY and a consultant and National Fitness Director for Compel Fitness.