Experts / November 2017
Maureen Quirk, Global Newsroom

4 Lessons for Aspiring Trainers, According to Pros

Gone are the days when being a trainer was just a part-time gig.

Today there are just shy of 300,000 full-time trainers in the U.S. And that number is expected to grow by another 10 percent over the next decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics

With gyms and boutique studios popping up faster than we can bust out a burpee, many trainers are now leaving their “careers” in favor of helping people workout full-time.

Kara Lennon and Christina Muccio are two women who have spent the last year doing just that.

Lennon left her role as a physical education teacher and Muccio parted ways with her fast-paced career in tech sales. Both now teach workout classes full-time at both Barry’s Bootcamp and the spin studio BSpoke

With one year at full-time status under their belts, the highs, lows, and lessons that came with this major life change are still fresh in both of their minds. new-trainer-push-up

And they’re here to share those lessons with all the aspiring trainers out there!  

Lesson #1: Tune Out the Haters

“You’re never going to be 100 percent ready to make the transition,” says Lennon. “It’s never going to feel 100 percent right.”

But in those moments of early doubt while trying to decipher if this is what you really want to do, Lennon recommends not letting the opinions of those around you make you more skeptical.

“It’s such a weird thing to explain to people,” says Lennon, reflecting on how many people in her own life struggled to grasp that fitness could be a viable career path.

“How are you going to do this? How will you afford this? Prepare to be met with those questions,” she continues.   

“You have to keep telling yourself, ‘I will do it,’ and, ‘I will figure it out.’”

Lesson #2: Be Proactive

Finding a job in the fitness industry is just as difficult as finding a job in any corporate field. Because of that, Muccio advocates for proactively putting yourself out there and being honest about your goals and intentions. 

“Taking classes, asking questions, talking to people … that’s how you get started,” says Muccio. 

In her case, she found an instructor whose class resonated with her and proceeded to message that trainer and inquire about any upcoming training or development programs the studio was offering. That simple message eventually led Muccio to land her role at the spin studio. 

But it does not stop there. 

Unlike corporate roles where you may be volun-told to attend the company’s professional development sessions, as a trainer, it is often on you to proactively seek out learning opportunities. new-trainer-lunge

“Taking class with the instructors who sell out every single class every single time,” says Muccio. “There’s no reason why I can’t have their energy in every class. That energy is so addictive.”

Lesson #3: Find the Right Studio for You

“Where you’re going to teach is a big thing,” says Lennon. 

In fact, after a brief stint trying out personal training, she wrote off the fitness industry altogether. It was not until Lennon attended her first spin class that the bug to teach workouts came back.

“I started taking indoor cycling classes. I took my first class and I was like, ‘I have to do that.’ I just knew,” she says.

Even then, she worked at multiple spin studios before ultimately finding her groove at BSpoke.

Just like every client finds a different trainer who they click with, Lennon says every trainer will click with a different studio or gym’s environment. Don’t write off the profession if you aren’t enjoying the first studio you try. Instead, she advises attending more classes until you find that perfect spot.

Lesson #4: Remember, Not Every Client is Like You

“Working in fitness, obviously trainers like to work out,” says Muccio. “But half the people who come to class don’t enjoy it. They don’t like to work out.”

That was one of the most pivotal things Muccio realized this past year. It’s something trainers seldom discuss before diving in and experiencing it head on. 

“People get anxious. They get scared and don’t want to go,” she continues.

Lennon is quick to agree.

“People are so intimidated by instructors and by the workout,” she says.

Finding ways to get those individuals to enjoy the class and enjoy working out in general becomes a major part of a trainer’s role. If they are not enjoying it, it has the power to drain the energy of the whole room, something no trainer wants. 

“You can go to anybody’s class and they can deliver you bicep curls and tricep kickbacks, but when somebody delivers it in such a way where you feel challenged but want to come back, that’s what makes a good instructor,” says Lennon. 

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Experts / November 2017
Maureen Quirk, Global Newsroom