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Steps to Become an In-Demand Fitness Professional

UNLEASH your fitness passion and become a Fitness Professional - Course 1 of Series.
Marcelo Vazquez
394 students enrolled
English [Auto-generated]
Learn what a fitness professional does.
Identify the types of professional certifications.
Learn how to get hands-on experience.
Recognize why insurance is mandatory.
Avoid overspending on equipment.
Sell profitable training sessions.
Distinguish yourself from the competition.
Spot the big "Dont's" when working with clients.
Embrace your professionalism.

*350+ students have already learned how to make $$$ with their fitness passion. Now it is your turn; enroll NOW!


“If you are passionate about Fitness -like me- take this course. I am a stay at home mother of two and now I am also a Zumba Instructor, all the tips Marcelo gives you in this entire course are so practical and they apply in real life, I personally found it very useful and it answered a lot of questions I had regarding the best Certification, CPR and even how to get advice when ready to start your own business. Recommended 100%!” – Stephanie Rangel

“I really liked the golden nuggets Marcelo teaches in this course. As an aspiring trainer I will definitely implement a lot of the tips and strategies he shares here. Thanks Marcelo!” – Jose Guevara


Welcome to my course, “Steps to Become an In-Demand Fitness Professional”, where you will learn how to get paid doing what you love.

I created this course for stay-at-home moms, college students, and anybody passionate about health and fitness who wants to create extra income or make a living doing what they love… fitness!!!

By the end of this course you will have the tools to successfully start helping others get in shape and improve their overall health. While helping others you will get compensated for sharing the love of fitness.

In this course you will find everything you need to start helping others and make extra money. I will walk you step-by-step through the entire process of becoming a fitness professional.

The ideal student is a person that is very passionate about health and fitness and wants to make a difference in people’s lives.

You only need the passion, the desire and willingness to help others get in shape and improve their overall health.

Follow your dream and start making money with your fitness passion today! If I did it, you can do it too. Please take a look at the course description and I will see you inside!

So You Think You Want to Become a Fitness Professional


All materials provided in this course, including any resource materials, are for informational and educational purposes only. This work is copyright protected. The unauthorized reproduction of all or portions of this material, in any form whatsoever, is prohibited, without written permission from the author.

The author has made all efforts to present all information accurately. No representations, warranties or guaranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the content are written or implied in this document. The author specifically disclaims any implied warranties of use or fitness for a particular purpose or individual. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation.

The purchaser assumes all responsibility for the use of this information and holds THE TRAINER LLC, and any persons involved with this material, harmless of any responsibility from any and all losses, liabilities, injuries or damages resulting from any and all claims. In no case shall the author be held responsible for any loss or other damages caused by the use and/or misuse of, or inability to use any or all of the information described in this work.

You are responsible for consulting the appropriate business professionals, including but not limited to a lawyer and accountant for advice related to business structure, taxes, licensure, insurance and all business related matters to suit what is right for you and your situation.

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Hello, my name is Marcelo Vazquez. I am a fitness trainer, author and inventor.

If you are passionate about health and fitness and you want to make a difference in people's lives, then this course is for you. You can make money by helping others get in shape and improve their overall health.

Many times fitness lovers ask me how to make money in the fitness industry, how and where to start, the type of certification needed and what kind of qualifications are required. Ok, in this course you will learn all of that and more…

I will also share with you the mistakes I made starting out and show you where I spent money on things I later realized I didn't need. I have been in your shoes, so, let me show you the ropes and save you money on the path to becoming a fitness professional.

Follow your dream and start making money with your fitness passion today!

Is becoming a fitness professional right for me?

How do you know if becoming a fitness professional is for you? Ask yourself the following questions:

1.Is working out part of my lifestyle?

2.Am I passionate about sports and fitness?

3.Do I love to help people make healthy eating choices?

4.Do I motivate others to stay fit or practice sports?

If your answer is YES to any of these questions then you are on the right path to becoming a fitness professional.

There are many reason why people want to become a fitness professional. The first and most important reason should be “passion”. The second reason should be the willingness to “help others”, and the last reason should be because you want to “increase your income” doing what you love.

Here are a few case scenarios of people that can get paid sharing their passion:

Stay at home moms: Once the kids are in school do you enjoy taking group exercise classes like spinning, Zumba™ or yoga? If you are already taking these classes why not teach them and make extra money!

College students: Are you a pro in a specific sport? Why not train others and make extra money to help pay school tuition!

Weight loss superstars: Have you lost a considerable amount of weight in a healthy way and kept it off successfully? Why not share your success with others and make extra money!

Coffee shop barista that doesn't miss your daily workout? Why not share that motivation and start training people for a fee. This may even lead to a new career that you are in love with.

These quick examples were selected to show you that anybody can become a fitness professional. As long as you have the passion for fitness, the will to help others, and the desire to make money doing what you love, becoming a fitness professional may be right for you.

What does a fitness professional do?

I have been involved in sports and fitness many years and I would not change my job for anything else. Helping and motivating others to stay in shape is part of my daily life and I enjoy doing it. Somebody once said – “Find the job you love and you never have to work a single day in your life” – I don't remember the last time I worked.

One of the advantages of becoming a fitness professional is that you can earn money anywhere. Once you acquire your nationally recognized certification, you can work at any gym, fitness club, or studio in any city. You can even travel with a cruise company. You carry the knowledge with you!

The fitness industry is a multimillion dollar business, and as long as people want to learn how to start a fitness program, how to eat healthy, and how to improve their overall health, you can make money with your fitness passion.

Some of the things a fitness professional does:

1.Conducts client assessments and screenings to make sure the client is physically capable of starting a fitness program.

2.Designs workouts for individuals of all shapes and fitness levels to help clients achieve their health and fitness goals.

3.Creates group exercise programs that are safe and fun.

4.Provides basic nutrition information according to the certification level. *To be able to prepare a meal plan, you must become a registered dietitian first.

5.Motivates clients to keep them on the path to achieving their goals.

Name one thing a fitness professional does.

Becoming a Fitness Professional

What certification should I get?

There are so many companies offering personal training certifications. How do you know which one is best for you?

The first thing you have to look for is that the certification offered by the company you are considering is nationally recognized, so you can work anywhere you go. Sometimes gym boxes offer their own certifications, but they are only valid for that specific company, and will not qualify you to work at any other company. So, be cautious when you invest your money.

Any nationally recognized certification will prepare you with the knowledge to start training people at any fitness level. Do your homework to select the right kind of certification that is nationally recognized, and for the type of training you would like to provide - sports, fitness, weight-loss, endurance, or clinical/rehab, just to name a few.

Most certifications are valid for a couple of years, or they require you have a certain amount of credits before the time they expire, which you can collect by taking different approved seminars. Some seminars offer more credits than others depending on the complexity of the topic.

I will suggest a few companies that to me are the best on the market at a reasonable price. *Please be aware that I do not have any affiliations with the companies that I am about to suggest, although, I do have a certification with ACSM.

ACSM – Certification

By the time I was looking for a professional certification, I was volunteering at the gym of a catastrophic hospital, where my mentor was working and helping physical therapists with their jobs. That was a very inspirational environment that motivated me to pursue a certification where I could help in a clinical field.

Some health and fitness jobs require you have a specific type of certification, and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) certification is always at the top.

*Note: This certification is widely recognized, however, there are many other factors that could impact the hiring process.

NASM – Certification

*Note: This certification is widely recognized, however, there are many other factors that could impact the hiring process.

ACE – Certification

*Note: This certification is widely recognized, however, there are many other factors that could impact the hiring process.

AFFA – Certification

*Note: This certification is widely recognized, however, there are many other factors that could impact the hiring process.

CPR/First Aid – Certification

No company will issue a certification without a CPR certification. Take a CPR/First Aid Training class at any Red Cross location before you take your fitness certification exam.

Test the Waters

Hands-on experience

Once you finish your certification you need to practice what you have learned. It's not good enough that you know how to train yourself at the gym. It's one thing to train your own body; it's a completely different thing training people with different types of bodies and fitness levels.

Practice makes perfect and the more you practice the better you get. You will need to spend a few months working for somebody else before you start making money on your own. Working for somebody else will help you get hands-on experience and develop your own style and workout routines.

You can start part-time to test the waters. If you work from 9-5pm, you can pick up a shift before or after work. The two peak times at any gym are between 5-7am and after 5pm. At these peak hours you will be able to provide 30-minute training sessions, working with at least 2-4 clients depending on how busy the gym is. In this type of environment you will learn how to train different types of clients, and you will be working with other trainers with more experience.

Working with other trainers is a huge advantage since every trainer is different with different training styles. You can watch them working, interacting with clients, and you can ask as many questions as you need. Typically an experienced trainer will be glad to help you and tell you with pride how much they know.

Learn as much as you can while you are working for somebody else; in the meantime build your own training style and keep an eye out for your niche. There is no better way to learn about the business you want to be in than working in the business.

Name the morning rush hour time at any gym.
Choose your niche

A “niche” is an area that suits your talent and personality; it comes naturally for you and you know you were made for that specific area. Now you have to decide what type of training you would like to provide according to your niche. It is good to acquire experience training clients of all sizes and shapes but you need to start building your brand early.

If you are a stay-at-home mom, or just want to teach a group exercise class after work to de-stress, you still have to choose your niche; it could be yoga, spinning, kickboxing, or Zumba™. So when people think about a training modality, your name will come up in their minds.

I used to train clients for sports, weight loss, overall health, and teach different group exercise formats like spinning, kickboxing, boot camp, and salsa. Then I started focusing on my niche in weight loss, now my blogs, YouTube videos, and website are designed for people that want to lose weight. This way when people need to lose weight or know somebody that needs to lose weight, my name will come up in their minds.

The cost to become a Fitness Professional

The cost to become a professional fitness trainer including certification, insurance and minimal equipment would be around $1,000 (depending on where you live). This money is easily recovered in a month of full-time work. Make sure you seek legal and accounting advice for operating legally where you live. The Small Business Administration (sba.gov) and SCORE (score.org) can help you with this for FREE.

Name a place to find free business mentors.
Insurance is mandatory

Working in a gym box, usually, you will not have to worry about liability, because you will be covered under the gym's liability and the waiver that most gyms make a new client sign in case they get injured while working out with you.

Once you decide to go on your own, the first thing you must acquire is insurance to protect yourself. Please do not even train your mother without insurance and always ask the client to sign a waiver. Hopefully a client will never get injured working out with you, but if this happens you want to legally protect yourself as much as possible.

Usually the companies where you get your fitness certification have partnerships with insurance companies. I learned the hard way, these partnerships do not always offer the best deals, so please do a little research to find a policy that is the right fit and price for you.

I currently use K & K Insurance. You can get a quote online and customize your insurance according to the type of training you provide.

*Correction: Be cautious at all the times; anyone can take legal action for any reason, however, when you are employed you are usually covered under the employer's liability.

Name one thing that is mandatory before you start training clients on your own.
How much equipment do I need?

If you work for a gym, you don't need to worry about this, but once you are on your own visiting private clients, you need to learn how to work smart and not hard when it comes time to carry equipment.

If you follow the recommendations from some of the fitness certification companies, you may end up with a pile of expensive equipment that you do not need. To train people at their home, office or park, keep it simple and buy only the essentials.

When I started my PT business I used to carry a lot of equipment plus a rolling cart. Then I realized that I was spending too much money, and sometimes the client lived on an upper floor without elevator access. I spent extra time transferring all the equipment from my car to the client's place. All this time was wasted, because I didn't get paid for this extra time. Then I learned my lesson; I started carrying only the items I could fit in a medium sized gym bag.

Another smart option was to ask my clients to buy their own equipment so I could leave homework for the days they did not work out with me. A win-win situation for everybody.

The essential equipment to start with is a set of dumbbells (3-5 lbs.), resistance tube/bands, a medicine ball, a mat, and a few cones. Later on you can get fancier by utilizing equipment like TRX®, kettlebells or speed ladders.

Here are a few of my favorite sites to buy the essentials: Power-Systems, Spri and Amazon

You can also prepare workouts that require the use of bodyweight as resistance, like push-ups, squats or mountain climbers, just to name a few. With bodyweight training you are teaching your client something very valuable for the times when they are traveling or they need a quick workout. You will also save money by purchasing less equipment. For some of my clients that have some equipment, I combine these bodyweight workouts with workouts using their own equipment, and the only thing that I carry for these training sessions is my cellphone (which has the routine).

Name one essential type of equipment needed to train clients on your own.
How to sell your training sessions.

After you have worked for somebody else and acquired a substantial amount of experience in the field, you might want to find clients on your own to make more money. Most trainers are not salespeople. So, I would suggest that you educate yourself about basic sales and how to sell training session packages.

Nobody was born as a salesperson but you can learn by just reading books from experts in the field. One of my favorite authors is Jeffrey Gitomer; I like his book “The Sales Bible”.

My suggestion is not to talk about prices until you give the client a chance to try a complementary session with you. According to their fitness goals, you can offer an introductory session to give the client a little taste of what you can do for them. Your first goal is to sell yourself!

Next, create a training session package, and avoid selling by single sessions for two reasons. First, if you let your client pay as they go and they have to cancel for any reason other than an emergency or sickness, you lose money. Second, if they purchase a 10-session package, they will be more motivated to work out because they don't want to lose their money/session.

You must also create a 24-hour cancelation policy in case your client decides to cancel last minute for any reason. They have to understand that you reserved that spot for them; if they don't cancel 24 hours before the training session, you don't have enough time to give that spot to somebody else.

Suggested price example:

1.30-minute session at $35 or buy 10 sessions for $300 – Save $50

2.60-minute session at $60 or buy 10 sessions for $500 – Save $100

3.60-minute couples session at $75 or buy 10 sessions for $600 – Save $150

*Prices may vary by location, distance and the type of training you will offer

You can collect payments with your smart phone and devices like The Square or PayPal Here. These FREE card readers will be very handy when clients ask to pay with a credit card. People will spend more when they use their credit cards compared to seeing the dollar amount on a check. I use PayPal Here, since this company has brand recognition, 24/7 live customer service, and the ability to read checks as well.

Name the best way to sell training sessions.
How far will you go?

In the beginning you are so excited because you have prospects calling you to train with you. But you have to think about how much to charge when you have to drive more than 10 miles from your place. Driving can increase your expenses and the time and gas to get there is money spent too.

When I first started I had the fitness bug and I did not realize all the time I spent in traffic and the money I spent on gas. I just wanted to train people. Later on when I was doing numbers, I realized that I was just breaking even with some clients.

So, you have to decide how far you will go to train somebody. Let's say that you have decided to go no further than 10 miles from your home. If a potential client wants you to drive farther than this distance, you have to add the extra expense to your rates before you quote the client. So, make sure you know where the client lives and how long it will take you to get there before you give your quote.

Separate Yourself from the Competition

Your personality will make you profitable
  1. If you are a people person and like to interact with others, then you will do great in the fitness industry. This environment is not about who is the most knowledgeable but who is the most likeable. Be friendly and cheerful and doors will open for you.
  2. Be a good listener. When a future client approaches you, it's because they need your help reaching their fitness goals. Do not talk. Listen carefully, and take notes! Most of the time you do not have to ask much. The future client will tell you what they want. Please avoid interrupting them, like you already know the answer. Do not rush, people like for you to listen to them. According to that information, then you tell them how you are going to help with that specific goal or goals.
  3. It is not about you. The most common mistake trainers make is talking about themselves, how good they are at what they do, how many certifications they have, and the number of fitness events they have attended. This is a turnoff for any future client or employer. Avoid talking about you!

The fitness industry is about helping others and building relationships, so remember, it's not about you, it's all about how you can help others. The same goes when you are interviewing with a gym/studio manager. The manager already knows your skills; otherwise you would not be seated in front of them. So, make sure they perceive the feeling that it is all about them and their clients, and not about you.

Name a way you can be more likeable.

Name a way you can be more likeable.

Professionalism at all times.

To be able to create a workout routine you must ask your clients about their fitness goals, and how many times per week they are able to work out with you. If your time permits, try to accommodate to a schedule that is convenient for them. If you don't have any openings at their desired time, don't ever use the sentence – “I have a problem”. A prospect does not want to know about problems. Instead say that the time is taken but you will let them know when there is an opening on those days and time. If possible always offer an alternative day or time.

Ask your client what areas they are struggling with, and do not assume you already know by looking at their body shape. By asking this quick question the client will tell you their issues like lack of time, lack of motivation, nutrition, etc. You are the expert. By listening carefully, you will have an opportunity to offer solutions.

Once you have a couple of weeks training with your client, ask for feedback, what they like and dislike about the training. That way you can customize the workouts, or the training style to avoid running the risk of losing them from boredom or dissatisfaction. If they are happy with you, just keep doing what you have been doing.

Make the client feel that they are priority for you and you really want for them to achieve their goals. Besides, they are paying you for the hour training, so make it count.

Your client's time is sacred and you must show professionalism during ALL of their time. The following are BIG No's, if you want to separate yourself from the rest:

1. Don't ever answer your phone while training with a client; this is very disrespectful. Leave your cell phone in your bag, unless the routine is there.

2. Don't make comments about what you just saw on the news at the TV in the gym. You should be paying attention to your client's form, not to the TV.

3. Don't coach/train seated on a bench or on a stability ball. If somebody shows signs of fatigue, it should be your client, not you.

4. Don't gossip, if you do, the client might feel that you do the same with whatever they share with you. Sometimes a client will share with you information that they might not share with their spouses. So, anything they share with you ends with you.

5. Don't play your favorite music, or don't play any music at all, unless your clients want to play their own music. Not everybody has the same taste for music. But whatever your client plays, do not make comments about their choices, remember, this is their time and they are paying you to train them.

6. Don't wear wrinkled clothing, or the clothing you use to work out. Sometimes this workout clothing may smell, even when clean. You are the face of your business, there is no need to wear expensive or designer clothing, but always look professional.

7. Don't provide a massage, and avoid touching your client. Some people feel uncomfortable being touched without warning.

8. Don't command, be a demonstrator. This is also a great opportunity to tell your client the right and wrong way to exercise. If the demonstration requires you to touch your client to correct their form, again, ask permission first, and tell your client that the demonstration requires a slight touch of the specific body part.

9. Don't use vulgar language, or the same language you use with your friends. You are a fitness PROFESSIONAL.

Name a big NO when working with clients.
Incorporate new equipment when possible

1. I am not a big fan of carrying too much equipment to train clients, but I like to keep my training sessions fresh and exciting. For example, boot camp style training does not require any equipment, other than your own body weight. But you can still customize this workout by adding some resistance tubes, bands, cones, etc. The point is to look for new things you can implement in your training sessions.

Buy a set of inexpensive boxing gloves and pads, and add a few kickboxing exercises to your client's routine. You can use a speed ladder for your sports training clients, and why not an AB wheel for your ABS training sessions.

2. Technology is useful to trainers as well. To help your clients reach their fitness goals, you can introduce them to new tools like a smart bracelet/watch, or a website where they can search for healthy recipes, or track their calorie intake.

Motivate yourself to motivate others

1. The two most important reasons why a person will hire you are; first, they need help with their fitness goals, and second they lack motivation. To be able to motivate others you need to get motivated. Try to read a positive quote daily. One of my favorite free sites is Tiny Buddha.

2. Another way to get motivated is by listening to positive messages from experts in the self-improvement field like Anthony Robbins, Napoleon Hill, Jim Rohn, or Brian Tracy. There are plenty of podcasts or free seminars on YouTube to choose from.

3. Every time your client achieves any goal, like losing the first 2 pounds, shrinking 2 inches from their waistline, or improving their walking endurance, celebrate! This will create a positive behavior in their minds.

4. Avoid being too pushy with your training, be a partner instead. A person that has never worked out in their life will feel a little intimidated at first, so it is your job to make them comfortable and keep them asking for more. Have fun, smile, put a little humor in your training, and deliver lots of “high fives”, “great jobs”, or “great efforts”. Your clients will love you for that, and guess what, do you think they will leave you just because another trainer charges $5 less per session? I don't think so; once you build a strong relationship, they will be loyal to you.

Keep learning and share

If you keep doing the same thing other trainers are doing, you just become one more trainer in the pile. To separate yourself from the rest you have to be unique and create something new that nobody is offering.

After I got my certification, my next step was to learn more about nutrition, so I became a fitness nutrition coach. Then I pursued group exercise certification and little-by-little I became an instructor for different modalities like spinning, kickboxing, and boot camp. I even created my own after school fitness program for kids.

What I am trying to tell you is that on top of all the knowledge you can acquire about different types of training, you still have to keep learning and feeding your creative brain. It's true that you have to spend money to make money, but the money invested in your education, is money well invested. You may say to yourself that you know how to do what other trainers are doing, but you should ask yourself, “Can other trainers do what I do?” If your answer is no, then you are in a winning position.

As Brian Tracy (one of my favorite mentors) said – For every dollar you invest in your personal development you add thirty to your bottom line. Even mega movie stars and athletes hire coaches, and CEOs attend seminars just to get better and to separate themselves from the rest.

Another way to set yourself apart from the competition is by sharing your knowledge. How many trainers do you know that will take their time to write a blog, or create a short video for YouTube? I don't know many.

So, this is another opportunity to separate yourself from the rest by writing a weekly or bi-weekly blog, posting health and fitness articles on your professional Facebook page or creating video content for those that don't have the opportunity to train with you. Make sure you check out my course about FREE marketing tools and how to use them.

You are now a fitness professional

This was a compressed version of how I started and still make money with my fitness passion. I know how excited you are about this because I was there once. You don't need to quit your daytime job; test the waters by starting part-time first, and little-by-little, as you acquire more experience, time will tell you when to make the transition.

Now please do me a favor, if this course was helpful to you, please leave me a positive review. Thank you for your support, and if you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact me.

*In the next course you will learn “How to Find Clients in Your Area” and much more. Please don't miss course #2. I will see you there!

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