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How Paige Became a Personal Trainer

Share Your Story: How I Became a Personal Trainer

By PaigeExercise

Updated October 07, 2009

Why I became a personal trainer

I've always been into fitness, but worked in a completely different industry. When I ended up at a dead-end office job, I decided to switch careers to something more active and something I could be excited about. It was the best decision I ever made.

My certification(s) and/or specialties

ACE Personal Training Certification

How long I've been a personal trainer

10 Years

What I did to get certified as a personal trainer

I got certified through the American Council on Exercise. I chose it because it was accessible, well-known, accepted at most health clubs and they offered exams near me (I lived in Nebraska and there weren't many exams offered there at the time). At the time, there weren't any workshops near me, so I studied at home with the certification manual, a workbook and a practice exam. I gave myself about 3 months to study and used the workbook as guidance for what to focus on. I was surprised I passed the exam - it was tough! I had a few other certifications, but decided to stick with ACE when upkeep got expensive.

How I become a personal trainer

After getting certified, I got a job at a 24 Hour Fitness. I kept my office job and trained part-time at night, doing new member orientations and getting clients whenever I could. I did that for a few months and, after gaining more experience and clients, I quit my office job and started training full-time. I learned a lot from working in a health club but, eventually I moved on to a personal training studio where I could focus more on training (and less on selling). Of all the places I've worked, the studio was my favorite. Businesses devoted solely to personal training tend to be more nurturing and supportive, both to personal trainers and their clients and I wasn't under so much pressure to sell training, supplements or other things. I now work for myself, which is harder in many ways, but offers more freedom to do what I love.

Lessons learned

* If you really have a passion for fitness, get certified. It's something you can have, even if you're not ready to jump into the fitness business * Do some research into certifying organizations and make sure the one you choose is accredited and has a good reputation * Be prepared for the added expense of keeping your certification updated as well as continuing education credits * Talk to other trainers as much as possible - pick their brains and ask questions - it's amazing what you can learn from experienced trainers * Get some personal training experience before going out on your own
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