When we of think of personal trainers, celebrity trainer Commando Steve (Steve Willis) instantly pops into my mind (and I’m not the only one!). Sure, he’s paid very well to look fabulous but there’s more to the job that just being eye candy. He’s also a highly qualified fitness coach and former team commander with the Australian Special Forces who has built a successfully career by motivating, inspiring and pushing people to levels of physical and mental fitness they never dreamed possible. With personal trainers in more demand than ever in Australia, you too can help others to live a happier and more healthier lifestyle, and get paid well for it.
Demand is growing
According to a report prepared by Deloitte Access Economics for Fitness Australia, there were approximately 30,000 fitness trainers working in Australia in 2012. The report estimates that as many as 5.4 million Australians will require fitness training services by 2020 compared with 3.3 million now. In the past, having a personal trainer was something reserved for the famous, for professional athletes or for the very wealthy. But now Joe Bloggs, you and I get a look in thanks to trainers offering competitive rates, plus a greater understanding that being as fit as you can and looking good is not solely the area of the seriously cashed up celebs.
“. . . A certified first-year personal trainer earns between $50-65K a year but a more experienced trainer can earn anything up to $160K”
It’s personality that counts
The Personal Training Institute of Australia states that when hiring their staff, it’s the person with the right attitude that will make the best personal trainer. You may be technically sound and have all the right qualifications, but you’ll essentially be hired on your personality. Great personal trainers are charismatic, positive, motivating, energetic, open and authentic. And most important, they’re humble and can build trusting relationships easily with their clients. If you don’t love people and can’t motivate your client to want to change, then you won’t make the best personal trainer or have a business. These are the untrainable qualities that you need to bring to the job – every day of the week.
Good presentation is also important. Being fit, well-dressed and clean indicates a level of self-respect, self-sufficiency and seriousness about the field in which you work. Would you want to be trained by an overweight and out-of-shape personal trainer? Not likely, because when you’re selling training to clients, they want to feel like they’re looking at the final product. This is not to say trainers have to look like Greek gods or goddesses. But a trainer needs to put their best foot forward if they want to maximise their income potential.
Show me the money
So, you have a great passion for exercise and helping others get fit and healthy but can you convert that passion into a viable, long-term career? Ben Sammut from Oxygen Lifestyle and Fitness Management at Miranda in Sydney’s south says “. . . a certified first-year personal trainer earns between $50-65K a year but a more experienced trainer can earn anything up to $160K”. Personal trainers DO have the potential to make a lot of money and really make an amazing income, business and life from this great industry, but there are a few hurdles that have to be overcome before you start smoking $100 notes.
Typically, personal trainers start really early and work really late. Sometimes, the amount of work can be uncertain and you can lose income when a client goes on holidays, gets injured or cancels their appointment. On the flip side, the job can be hugely rewarding. It offers a healthy, clean living lifestyle, you can work anywhere in the world and help people reach milestones.
Where can I get started?
There are plenty of online short courses available in Australia, but Ben Sammut recommends spending 6-12 months completing a Certificate III or IV in Personal Training at TAFE or the Master Trainer course at the Australian Institute of Fitness. Once you have the recognised qualifications, you can then start building your basic skills in the real world. As a qualified Personal Trainer, you can work for a range of employers or start your own business. Basically, the opportunities are endless and a career worth considering if you love people, enjoy keeping fit and want a job where each day is different.