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Back in 2011 when I first passed my certification exam with National Academy of Sports Medicine, I did what any other trainer would do and I filled out tons of online applications to your local corporate gyms in anticipation to land my first trainer job. I didn’t have tons of experience (minus training a few friends and my parents here and there) but I had to start somewhere. After several weeks of interviewing at multiple locations, trying to find the right fit and location (gym size and facilities), I finally chose the gym that I wanted to work at.
It was a small gym located in the San Francisco Financial District. The gym was small enough where I felt like I wouldn’t get lost and have to “compete” with lots of trainers for clients. Fortunate for me most of the potential clientele worked desk jobs and lacked the knowledge or time to figure out what they should be doing in the gym. (Download my workout guide here )
My first week of being a trainer was spent on a computer learning all the gyms policies, procedures etc. I’m still not sure if this was a great use of my time. I occasionally had to meet with my manager and shadow other trainers, and their clients during their workout sessions. This was cool for me because I was able to see the rapport that trainers built with their clients. Moreover, I learned how each trainer’s style is truly different due to specialties and different personalities, thus they attracted and worked with different types of client. My second week of “training to become a trainer” was spent doing less computer work but doing more shadowing and working out with other trainers.
Looking back I realized how important this was all for my career. If you read between the lines you may have realized that not much of my time was spent meeting with my direct manager who was in charge of training me. That’s because the time that I was meant to have with my manager didn’t happen. I think I spent less than 3 hours with my direct manager during that time.
Thus I was completely unprepared to train clients.
I lacked direction and I would come into work clueless as to what I was supposed to do. Forced to make my own schedule I relied on other trainers (who had their own schedules to keep up with). This coincided with my manager's exit from the position soon after. It's important for me to recognize, that I didn’t know much about cueing and correcting form (which comes with practice and experience) and I also wasn’t very strong at all. I barely could do a push up. Two weeks after my training I met with my manager about how I was basically getting demoted to front desk until I was “ready to train."
Related: My Fitness Transformation
Of course I was upset and embarrassed about it and even considered transferring to a new gym, but I swallowed my pride and worked front desk at the gym for two months . This was one of the best things that could’ve happened because it helped my business significantly. I spent two and half months working front desk where I had to check members into the gym (which quickly became just another socializing opportunity for me ha-ha), setting members up with easy check in, occasionally giving tours, having to clean locker rooms, and wash and fold towels. It wasn’t what I wanted to do but I did it anyway. In the end I had to prove that I was able to train again by having to pass a test given to me by new fitness manager (who was way more hands on).
I ended up getting Employee of the Month my first month training 🙂 Here are my client testimonials
The Millennial generation gets a lot of grief from those who are older than us for being an instant gratification-seeking group. But not all of us are like that.
Based off my current success as an independent contractor you would’ve never known the hurdles that I’ve had to overcome in the industry to get where I am today. I spent those two months kicking ass at front desk and working super hard by working out a lot and soaking in as much information by working out with other trainers. I’m extremely grateful for all the trainers that have influenced me, helped me, and supported me through the years because I would not be here without them. For those pursuing any type of goal do not let a temporary setback deter you from accomplishing something. A small setback can be setting you up for something even better.
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Related: Post on How I created a successful personal training business and the E-book on How I did it
Thank you to the following trainers and fitness mentors who have helped Evelyn D. Fitness become what it is today: