The Life of a Personal Trainer #1: Diving in Head First
What’s up! I have to preface this by saying that I am not the most technical with my grammar and vocabulary. If you are a grammar Nazi, I have to apologize in advance. English was never my strong suit in high school or college, despite getting pretty good grades in class (I just worked hard). This is the first blog post regarding my life as a personal trainer. This blog is not meant to be about the hard science of exercise- I have many other platforms, such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and my podcasts, where I cover how to get stronger, gain muscle, and manage weight. This blog was meant to show you what life is like as a personal trainer, and more specifically my life as a trainer. My goal isn’t to influence you negatively or positively- just to inform you, and be as real as possible. You may agree or disagree with me, and that’s fine- it’s all apart of life! Anyways, on with this shall we??
I first found my passion with fitness back in 2013. This was when I was still in the Marine Corps and had no idea what I was going to do when I got out. Other than your typical gym workouts, I wasn’t anymore into fitness than the next guy; in the military, the gym is often the highlight of your day. One day I had a friend ask me for an ab workout- I didn’t think much of it, I had just told him what I had usually done, and he was on his way. A couple weeks later he hit me up and was ecstatic; “I’m actually starting to see my abs man!” is what he said. The satisfaction and happiness in the way he said that actually made me feel some type of way. That was the initial spark that got me interested in training. It was roughly five and a half years ago that this had happened, so the details there after are a bit hazy. If I recall correctly, I believe I just started watching YouTube videos and doing workouts that I thought were “right” at the time, even though they were far from it.
Getting Out and Getting Certified
When I got out of the Marine Corps (medical discharge) I soon started looking up what I had to do to become a Personal Trainer. I had no idea how the industry worked, and realized real quick that it was not the same as other industries. Personal training does not have a single or even few governing bodies that dictate everything; anyone, at any point in time can call them self a personal trainer with no legal repercussion. I learned that if you wanted credibility and a good base to start from, you had to get certified. There were many companies that offered ways to get certified (probably hundreds of companies), and after researching myself, I decided to settle with the National Council on Strength and Fitness and their personal trainer certification. They were certified as a legit company by the NCCA (a third party organization that gives companies a stamp of approval), many people had good things to say about them, and their price wasn’t too bad either, so it worked for me! Throughout my certification process (studying the materials), I had offered my friends free training sessions so I could 1. Get used to training people, and get experience 2. Do it without charging them because I was still learning. Ultimately, it ended up helping me a ton in the long run because I learned a lot about myself and others!
Leaving Cali, and Coming Back
After getting certified, I left California to live in Kansas. I know, a weird ass place to move to, but I have a few good reasons (or so I think) on why I did so. Firstly, I wanted to be able to live on my own for a while without having to be knee deep in a pile of bills. California is expensive as shit, and Kansas is much cheaper. But why Kansas you ask? I had family there, so it only made sense to move where my family was at, and save money at the same time. I stayed there for roughly 4 years, and while I did learn a lot and grow as a person, I personally did not like it. I specifically lived in the south east Kansas area; while I was there, I got my associates in exercise science, worked a bit, built up my social media platforms, and did what it had to offer (which was next to nothing). That is probably my main criticism of where I was at in Kansas, is that it had next to nothing to do. There was a bar or two in the town I lived in, but if I wanted to do more than go to a bar or shop at Walmart, I had to drive to either Wichita or Tulsa, which were both about 2 hours a way. So yea; eventually I got tired of the place and yearned to be back in Cali, so I came back! I’m never doing that again. I realized that money doesn’t mean much if you have nowhere or nothing to spend it on.
New Beginnings and Being My Own Boss
So I’m back in Cali- now what?? As I am staying with my sister, my first goal is to get a job ASAP. I never have been the one to sit around and wait for nothing, and as I already know how expensive California is, I wanted to get a job as quickly as possible. I applied at numerous places, including on setting up a job search profile on indeed. I actually had about three different places reply back to me- Fitness 19, Crunch Fitness, and an independent contractor position at a gym called Self Made Training Facility. I was pretty torn about the whole situation. On one hand, I had a couple jobs that, while not being my own brand, were guaranteed paychecks for the most part (Crunch/Fitness 19). On the other hand, I didn’t have a guaranteed paycheck, but I could build my own brand, make my own hours, and use the equipment for what I wanted to ( Self Made Training Facility). Even though it took me a few hours to make the decision, deep down I knew that I wanted to be my own boss from the second the opportunity was presented to me. Knowing that my whole brand, the identity I had, and everything that I had worked so hard to build would be “stripped” from me working at a big chain gym stopped me from taking that route. At the very best, I could have hid my social media platforms and separated the two without the gym knowing. At the very worst, I would be fired or I would be forced to stop promoting JP Fitness (which I probably wouldn’t do). So even though it wasn’t the most “secure” route, it was the route that was going to make me happy and not make me look back and regret it. I’d rather try and fail at my dream goal than succeed at a job I settled with. So I ended up taking the position at Self Made Training Facility, despite the heavy task ahead of me (and the commute being an hour and a half haha).
Diving in Head First
So here we are to present times. I have been working as an independent contractor (my own boss) for roughly three and a half weeks now. There are ups and downs to every job, including this one. The positives? Setting my own schedule, rates, and just being able to do me. The people I work around are amazing, and even though I am not working “for” Self Made Training Facility, they help me as if I were. I can use my social media platforms as a tool to help people, and I’m not forced to hide them/get rid of them because of another entity. One of my favorite perks of working with this type of business model is being able to actually use an entire gym with my YouTube videos (I can’t stress this point enough; its amazing to actually be recording in a gym and not in my house in front of a whiteboard). The negatives? For the most part, getting clients and being successful is up to me. The owners of SMTF San Marcos (the gym I am at) and everyone there are as helpful and nice as possible (they truly are), but at the end of the day, they can’t do the work for me. I have one hundred percent confidence in my ability to train and make programs, but the part I’m currently “in the process” of improving are all the soft side skills: sales, taxes, communication, getting referrals, etc. Knowing that at any point in time all my clients can simply stop showing up and “poof! there goes my money!” is a bit scary. But that’s just me overthinking things; I know if I truly work hard, put my passion into this career, and give it all I got, I will be successful. I mean I live and breath personal training. I think I’m working around 70+ hours a week now? It’s hard to keep track. Sometimes I have to remind myself to be patient; moves I made yesterday may not even make their impact for a couple of days, weeks, or even months. Hell, I’m not sure if anyone will even read this blog! But at the end of the day I know for an absolute fact I’m in this industry to help people and be successful.
I think this first blog went well! I let you guys in on more of my personal matters and not just the science side of things haha. Right now I’m aiming for 2-4 blogs a month. I will keep you updated on how things go via social media, videos, podcasts, and more blogs. It is nice to be able to not talk about science for once and be a bit more open. If you have any questions or comments, you can post them down below, or reach out to me here. See you in my next blog!