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Personal Trainer Starter Guide: Everything You Need to Know

So you bought a personal training certification program, studied, took the exam, and passed. Now you’re a certified personal trainer. You know the information and have the passion, but you don’t have much experience. Well, we’re here to help! Here are five tips to help you thrive in your first year as a certified personal trainer.

Get Organized

As an entrepreneur, you must keep track of many documents related to your business-your business license, credentials, insurance, client invoices, receipts, client records, etc. Developing a basic system that is easy to update and navigate is key to avoiding many headaches. Keep your business documents in one place so that you always know where it is. Keeping business documents and expenses easily accessible will help immensely during tax season. Set aside time each month to ensure that these are updated (if necessary) and in the right place. Keep information about your clients backed up in one or two areas like a thumb drive, dropbox, Google Drive or OneDrive, etc. Digital copies are often easier to update as your clients progress.

Learn How To Sell

Your training sessions are the service or product offering. It is only one part of your business. As a solopreneur, you are also responsible for marketing and sales. Marketing helps you bring awareness to your services. Our ebook provides marketing ideas to build awareness about your services. However, you still need to know how to close a deal. It is not enough to put flyers and hope. You need to know how to show your value to potential clients.

Deliver Quality Service

Quality speaks for itself. Quality service will help you retain customers and attract new ones. When your clients love the service they receive from you, they are highly likely to recommend your services to interested friends and family.

What does quality service mean?

This means:

  • Your training plans should be personalized and designed to help your clients reach their goals.

  • You are knowledgeable about personal training and the body and share that knowledge with your clients.

  • You give clients your undivided attention.

  • You follow up with clients, particularly in situations where they are absent.

Simply put, you are knowledgeable, helpful, respectful, attentive, and friendly.

Find a good mentor or group of health and fitness entrepreneurs.

Mentors are invaluable. They guide and advise those just starting on a path they are either currently walking or have walked. Finding someone you can talk to about struggles you may face in your first year and beyond can make a difference between finding fulfillment in the field and becoming stressed and burnt out. In addition to finding a mentor, a group of peers who will champion you as you grow in expertise can make your career more fulfilling and less isolating.

Be Authentic

Be genuine in your actions. You will be more confident in your decisions and actions when they are true to who you are and what you believe. Do not portray yourself to be something you aren’t. You will always be inconsistent in your actions when putting on a front which can hurt your business in the long run.

Always be a student

Even the most experienced person in their field does not know everything. They probably amassed that experience because they were willing to learn. If you are interested in a specialization, become certified. If you are interested in a particular topic, learn about it. If a trainer is doing something differently or something you are unfamiliar with, ask a question. Always be willing to listen and learn; it is how you grow and become more knowledgeable in your field.


The first year of doing something new is always daunting. There are so many things that you do not know and do not expect. However, this journey can be made easier with a few simple things: organization, a strategy (how to sell, market, and deliver), a teachable spirit, a community, and passion. If you are a personal trainer, share with us how you navigated your first year as a personal trainer. Let’s start a discussion in the comments below!


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