The Reality Of Being A Personal Trainer…

Thinking of becoming a personal trainer?

That’s great!

It is a truly wonderful job.

But today I want to give you a heads up. Because here’s the thing…

The fitness industry often paints a completely false idea of what being a personal trainer is really like.

And the result?

Well, over 80% of personal trainers quit their business within one year.

Maybe they were expecting an easy life? Or the glitz wasn’t as great as they thought it would be? Perhaps.

But with adverts like the one below, can you blame them?

the reality of being a personal trainer

So today I’m going to give you a guide to 5 things which get across the reality of being a personal trainer.

Having worked in the industry for almost 20 years and trained thousands of men and women (tens of thousands if we include my online work), I’ve experienced all of these first-hand, and seen countless other PT’s fall victim to them.


The Reality Of Being A Personal Trainer…

the reality of being a personal trainer

Keep Your Alarm Set Early!

Wake up at 11… grab some food… stroll to the gym… get worshiped for looking like a God…

You know who thinks like this?

Personal trainers who have no f**king clients!

That’s exactly the “easy life” picture painted by most PT courses when they sell people pipe dreams of getting rich the easy way.

And it isn’t true.

When we take a second to think logically, it’s OBVIOUS. Think about it… the bulk of your clientele are going to want to train either before work, or after work.

A typical day will likely see you up at 5 (A.M.), train your early morning crew, then have a lull in the middle of the day when people are at their jobs, before picking back up again from late afternoon into the night.

(If you’re busy, of course!)

If you are currently working a 9-5 job and, like the advert above states, you feel like you “cannot see your family” then the absolute last thing you should do is go self-employed. Period.

The stress will destroy you.

Starting a business is a very time consuming project, and you’ll need to go “all in” if you want to make it work (as you’ll see below).

Successful PT’s (including me) are constantly on the lookout for ways to improve time management because there’s simply not enough hours in the day.

Do not go into your personal training business with the mindset of a slacker. You will fail.

personal trainer

The Insecurity

Do you know what the BEST thing about a steady job is?

It’s the thing I miss the most:


Sure, your income may be capped. But knowing exactly how much you’re going to see drop into your bank at the end of the month is actually a wonderful thing which many of us take for granted.

In exchange for working for yourself and having a potentially uncapped income, you have to look at the flipside:

You could earn NOTHING.

There are no guarantees.

Again, this is something which is often completely left out of courses because they want you to believe you’re going to be loaded, but it’s a worried look I’ve seen painted on the face of many personal trainers when they don’t know how they’re going to pay their bills at the end of the month.

As well as finding clients to work with, you’ll have to deal with last-minute cancellations and people suddenly disappearing off the face of the Earth just before payday.

how to become a personal trainer

Learning The Business

Here’s something that may shock you…

The things I’ve found the most valuable in my business were not learned on any course.

Even though some of them were very expensive.

Looking back, I’d say all the courses I attended focused on the wrong things! They were built around learning training methods, on teaching exercise techniques, on writing nutrition plans…

Don’t worry, I can hear you…

“Hang on, Russ. Don’t you need to know that stuff in order to be a good personal trainer?”

And the answer is yes, you do.

But that’s not what’s going to help you reach success.

Anyone who loves training will know enough training methods, exercises and nutrition information to help others get in great shape.

I didn’t really learn anything from a PT course that I hadn’t already discovered in the gym on my own, or through the research I actively did in my spare time.

If you really want to succeed you’d do well to start learning about business, not working out.

You think I had any idea how to create an app? How to market it? How to build an e-mail list to over 100,000 members?

Not at all!

Yet here we are.

I had to learn this stuff on my own. I had to attend courses which had nothing to do with the gym. For instance, my last one was about writing sales pages.

I see far too many new PT’s achieve their qualification and then get dropped on the gym floor with advice to “Go make money!”. It makes me sad inside. To make the most of your personal training business, it really pays to start learning about effective marketing techniques, etc.

the reality of being a personal trainer

Hating What You Love

Most people become a personal trainer because they love working out.


That’s why I started.

So it can really hit hard when you begin losing your drive for it. But it’s a part of the job almost everyone has experienced some stage.

It’s a myth that personal trainers get to workout all day long.

If you are successful, your time will be spent working with clients and building your business.

A lot of energy goes into motivating other people (oftentimes, folks who don’t share your enthusiasm for training), and by the time you get to your own workout you’ll probably just want to escape the gym for a while.

It happens.

So be prepared; there will be times when you don’t want to look at another dumbbell. And times when you’re sick and tired of talking about training. And times when you’d like to superplex the next person who says they need weight loss advice and doesn’t listen to any of it.

Grow Thicker Skin

By nature, I’m quite a nice motherf**ker.

I like to see people succeed.

But one of the things I learned very early on this journey is that I’m in the minority.

It’s very common to meet people who’d like nothing more than to see you fall flat on your face even though it doesn’t affect their fortunes either way.

The first time I heard another PT slate me in a gym, it shocked me.

Now I actually enjoy it.

Remember, over 80% of personal trainers are struggling. This makes the gym a very b**chy place to work. If nobody is having a go at you, you’re probably not working hard enough to make them jealous.

It’s up to you, to be be strong enough to handle this side of the business and not give a f**k what people think of you.

And don’t post memes about it. That’s a sure sign that you 100% do give a f**k.

I’ve known many trainers get caught up in ridiculous d**k measuring contests with each other on social media. It only serves to make themselves look bad to prospective clients.

whats it like to be a personal trainer

You’ve Got This…. Maybe

Yes, this industry attracts a lot of people that don’t make it.

That’s why it’s worth $5 billion.

But if you’re still reading, take it as a sign.

A sign that you’ve probably got what it takes to give this a real go.

In which case, jump in and achieve your personal trainer qualifications then get to work on your new business.

(Yes, get your quals. Don’t be one of those annoying people who adds ‘fit’ to their social media handle and tries to coast by on having abs.)

If you’re prepared to work your buttocks off, this is a decision you will never regret.

You have the potential to create a positive impact on many lives with this job, and there’s nothing more satisfying than that.

If you’ve enjoyed my article on what it’s REALLY like to be a personal trainer, share it on social. I appreciate it. You can download my workout app for training programs and workout ideas, enjoy.

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