The career span of a personal trainer is relatively short compared to many other careers. In the UK, it’s about three years on average, although a few can go a decade or more before moving onto other roles.
There are a number of reasons for this, including the long unsociable hours, the difficulty in getting clients, the frustration of chasing payments, the annoyance of cancellations, as well as having to pay astonishing rent levels if you work in a high end health club or giving a huge cut to an employer who gets your clients for you.
However, many ex trainers also struggle to find work outside of the industry. This baffles me, and I think employers are missing out on some valuable employees by dismissing personal trainers for high paid jobs in other sectors.
Personal trainers have an array of traits and skills that can be transferred into any other industry.
Here are my top 12:
1. They’re physically and mentally strong
Hours and hours beating on their craft in the gym forces them to develop grit, mental strength, and physical endurance, which makes them more useful in the workplace and in life. If my CEO or superior weren’t mentally fit or strong I wouldn’t want to take orders from them.
2. They’ll throw themselves in the deep end
Most employees would tremble at the thought of having to walk the gym floor and approach hundreds of new people a month.
To build a personal trainer business you have to go through this — it’s like their initiation into the industry and it takes balls especially at the start. Good personal trainers have this skill locked down and enjoy it whilst having a chance to refine their people skills. This takes away the fear of talking to new people and allows them to be bold in their interactions.
3. They know how to sell
Selling is a huge part of almost every career. Personal trainers know how to sell and some of the most persuasive people I know come from a fitness background. It’s hardwired in their nature, and this skill can be transferred to another career.
Read more: How to Sell Personal Training
4. They have excellent time management skills
A good trainer knows how to manage their diary effectively to get the best bang for their buck with the time given to them in a given day.
They have to factor in clients, study time, own training time, food preparation, marketing strategies, invoicing and program design into their week all before they can have some playtime.
This isn’t some 9-5 shindig where you can go out drinking after work every night.
5. They are willing to put in a shift
Most PT’s at some point will have worked extremely long hours to build their business. They will work longer hours than most other professions and they will do it willingly — and they won’t get paid for a lot of their time. You can’t say the same for a traditional profession.
6. They take care of their body
Working out and eating healthily improves performance in the workplace and most employees struggle with these things, which is hampering their performance and their overall growth. Busy city people struggle to keep on top of this thing because they’ve created a lifetime of poor habits and walk around with sub standard energy levels, without even knowing it most of the time.
This also means PT’s are less likely to get seriously ill and when they do, it won’t be for very long.
7. They have good discipline
A highly sought after trait is discipline. To succeed as a trainer requires being organized and getting things done on time — keep turning up late to sessions and they won’t have clients for very long.
8. They have excellent communication skills
Many in the workforce don’t know how to communicate effectively. A smart personal trainer will know how to communicate with different communication styles and their client’s personality traits and this will differ in every person they meet. This shows cognitive flexibility and emotional intelligence, which the majority of people don’t have to any great degree.
They have to listen to their clients’ problems, which show they’re trustworthy and have a degree of empathy as long as they don’t tell other people. They can also be very influential and persuasive when it comes to creating a desire outcome from their clients. The art of persuasion should never be underestimated.
Read More: What is self determination theory? (motivational interviewing)
9. They have tremendous self-determination
Take a look at a professional bodybuilder or fitness model on stage — this takes a tremendous amount of planning and implementation to reach these heights. Personal trainers set goals and they hit them – they’re ruthless when it comes to striving for a target. This trait and determination would be an asset to any employer when in the workplace.
10. They’re excellent motivators
Trainers motivate their clients for a living. This can be beneficial when other people need to be picked up or when they lose their way. They don’t give up easily on tasks and when the going gets tough they’ve developed the mental grit and determination to soldier on and plough through until they get to where they need to be.
11. They are extremely patient
A good personal trainer has infinite patience. This comes from working with clients who don’t always get things right first time and who will make a lot of mistakes through their training. They understand that everybody is different and some people need more time to achieve something than others.
12. They are very resilient
Personal trainers get rejected often and most people don’t understand how demoralizing it can be. This builds character and resilience, things both needed in large amounts in any job that has any credibility.
Personal trainers develop a thick skin and under-appreciated fortitude that often goes unnoticed.
If you’re an employer reading this, just remember that for every client and success a personal trainer has with a client, they’ve probably had ten times the rejections and failures. Can you say the same about some of your employees?