I often get asked by fellow fitness professionals, "What's the best way to schedule my clients?"

And I always answer 1 of 2 ways.

The first response I give depends on whether you are a new fitness professional trying to build up your client base or whether you already have a steady clientele.

So, if you just started at a new gym or training facility I highly recommend working whenever your clients want to train. This may seem like common sense, but one of the reasons why some trainers never get busy is because they tell their clients something like, "I can only work with you on Tuesday nights from 4:45-5:45 p.m., or Saturday morning between 8-10 a.m."

This would work if you currently have a busy schedule, but not if you're just starting out. The truth is that if you really want this to be a career for you then you need to pay your dues in the beginning and that means you're going to have to either work early mornings or late evenings. (Or both, if you really want to hustle and build up your sessions fast.)

I've had to build my clientele up from scratch four times now and each time I had to put the work in when I was first starting out. However, I found that if I hustled and worked Monday though Friday and a half-day Saturday then I could be back over 30-40 sessions a week within 90-120 days.

Now this next tip is how I recommend you create your ideal schedule once you are already working full-time:

Only after I assured myself that I had a steady clientele did I begin to tweak my session times in order to create my ideal work schedule. The reason I had to wait is because I knew that if I ended up taking off Saturdays or a night or two each week that I would lose a client or two and so I needed others to be able to fall back on.

Actually, one thing I tell my studio fitness training team to do is to actually book up and train more clients than you would like to in your schedule for about 4-6 weeks and then it will be easy to see which days of the week you'd like to take off and which clients you'd like to fit into other open time slots as you make your transition. And of course, if some of your current clients are unable to fit within your new schedule you will nicely pass them on to a colleague where you can help them make a smooth transition.

So as you can see from the examples above you need to first show the world that you want this as your career and work whenever possible to build up your client base. And then once you get busy you can re-arrange your training hours to still hit your goal number of sessions each week while creating a better work life balance.

For some CPTs they may be able to start from scratch to their ideal work schedule within 4-6 months while others may take a year or two. In the end, though, I can assure you it is worth all the work, sweat, long days, and energy it takes to get there. Getting to train clients and share your knowledge really is the best job in the world and it's only a matter of time and perseverance before you achieve your dream job.

Stephen Cabral has consulted for MTV, Maxim, Men's Health, NutritionData, SELF, Women's Day, as well as dozens of others. He was named the PFP 2011 Trainer of the Year. He is also a fitness writer, author, studio owner, and the founder of Personal Training Business School. His free fitness business video series, proven strategies and tips can be found at http://PersonalTrainingBusinessSchool.com