New to fitness? Or maybe you're established in the industry, yet want to find your specialty. Either way, you're here for guidance. That's why we've enlisted the help of our personal training expert, James Anderson. Here, he shares his wisdom to help you find your fit.
I’ve mentioned in my last couple of articles about how amazing the health and fitness industry is to work in.
When it comes to the area of personal training though, it can start to get a little overwhelming when you start to think about where you might fit in. It can be like going to a restaurant with so many menu items that you get so wrought by choice you end up just ordering a salad because it’s too confusing. But what I'd like to say is that it doesn’t have to be salad for you as a personal trainer!
So where is the best place for you to fit in? Well, although I wish I had that answer for you, finding your fitness niche markets are something you’re going to have to find out for yourself. What I can do however, is offer up a few ideas that my time in the industry taught me that may help you too.
Follow Your Passion(s)
So you’ve got a passion for health? Good. This should be one of the main reasons why you want to get into this industry - if not, then I’m sorry to say but this industry will quickly chew you up and spit you out to allow room for those that do.
Now although you’ve got a passion, I think it’s important to dig a little deeper to find an area, or areas, that you’re passionate about. So what do you love when it comes to exercise?
- Do you like running?
- Do you like bodybuilding?
- Do you like Crossfit?
- Do you like functional training?
- Do you like boxing?
- Do you like bodyweight training?
- Do you like kettlebell training?
Think of this exercise as being similar to a pre-exercise questionnaire that you’d give a potential new client with the question “what types of exercise do you enjoy” and all the modes of training listed beside. Then just tick the boxes that take your fancy. This is where you should begin.
Now, it doesn’t matter if you’ve got one thing or five things on your list. This just means that you can either specialise in one area or you can develop a unique program using all the things that you love. The main goal here is to get a starting point in an area that you enjoy, because if you're enjoying yourself then it will come across when you’re training your clients.
Continue your education
Once you get started, you may find that you start to lean towards certain types of training more than others. This is great and should be followed as it allows you to become a little more specialised whilst still enjoying what you’re doing.
Think of this as a time in which you should continue your foundational education with a more focused self-education on every single facet of the style or area of training. Engross yourself in as much learning as possible so that you become the “go to” expert in that area.
This is not to say that you’ll stay in that area, but what I can say with certainty is that the more you learn, the more you can potentially earn. People pay higher prices for specialist knowledge.
Personal trainers need to be flexible in their approach to training and education. Dogmatic or ego-driven thinking can quickly disable your potential.
As you grow through your career, you may find that an area that may once have been a passion has now lost a little of it’s shine. Don’t stress about this, you’ll learn so much more on the job that you could possibly imagine about what works and what doesn’t.
In my first few years I spent a fortune on educating myself in functional and holistic training, then strength training, then flexibility and mobility training, then Olympic lifting, and now I’m looking into Crossfit training methodologies. If you’d told me all those years ago that I’d be looking into Crossfit I would have probably laughed in your face - but as the years progressed things just start to make more sense.
What I know is that every style of training has something to offer. I've taken what worked best for me and moved on to the next thing, over time, this has allowed me to develop my own unique style of training.
But it all starts with having a flexible and open approach to things.
Build your client avatar
Starting with passion always made the most sense to me. However, considering the fact that this is a very personal job I also believe that it’s important to work with clients that I could build rapport with.
I suggest thinking whilst you’re thinking about the areas in which you’d like to work in, you also have a think about the type of client that you want to work with.
Now before you do this, I think it’s important to state that you may think that you want to train CEO’s with A-type personalities and lots of disposable income. However, you need to be self-aware enough to know if whether that’s a type of person that you can build rapport with. Because at the end of the day, it’s about being able to effectively communicate with someone. Building rapport happens when people believe we share similar qualities, attributes, or outlooks.
Here’s some good starting questions to ask yourself:
- Do I want to work with men, women, children, or all of the above?
- Do I want to work with athletes or the general population?
- Do I want to work with business men/women or stay at home dads/mums?
Then once you know that, take it a step further:
- What industry do they work in?
- What is their relationship status?
- What is their income bracket, and/or their age bracket?
All of this information helps you find your perfect client, as the more information you have about your client avatar, the easier it will be to market yourself and your services to them.
These are just some of the ways in which you can make that menu just a little bit smaller for yourself. Only the fitness niche markets that are right for you will be highlighted. Also, don’t be too worried when you’re first starting out - it’s important to meet and work with as many types of people as you can. This will help you with your communication skills. All we’re are trying to do here is give you a better idea of the areas and types of people that you want to work with, that way you'll be far more likely to excel and enjoy this industry to the fullest.
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