When you create a training program for a client, you start with the culminating event and then build the program backwards to where the client is starting. Next, you fill-in the progressive steps to make the program a success. Building a plan for your career can be done the same way. Start by selecting a long-term goal for various aspects of your career. Then, chart a timeline backwards to where you are now.
Some of the best mentors and fitness professionals in our industry are writing out their career goals, creating retirement strategies and setting client retention goals years and even decades in advance. With the endgame in mind, a plan can be created to map out the step-by-step process that will lead to achieving each goal. These steps should be specific, realistic, progressive and time-sensitive. Consider all obstacles or needs that could arise for you to achieve your goals, including financial savings, scheduling study time, booking travel plans and creating budgets.
Suggested career goals for personal trainers:
  • Career progressions: become an employee, independent contractor, studio owner, etc.
  • Continued education opportunities: attend annual conferences, earn certifications, hire a mentor, etc.
  • Client retention, referral programs and business strategies: marketing campaigns, community events, hire employees, etc.
  • Retirement options, vacations and healthcare: open a Roth IRA, earn health insurance, purchase life insurance, etc.
Once you establish where you want your career to go, you can plan the route on how to get there. The way you map out a client’s training program is a great example and guideline for forecasting your career path. Be sure to include time to reassess and update your goals just as you would with a client. Reassessments allow you to track progress, make changes and confirm that you are on the path to success.
For sample plans and timelines for the four career goals listed above, visit You’ll find specific action items and progressions for each goal to keep you accountable to success!