So You Want To Be A Personal Trainer?

If you read these mails, watch the videos or follow my blogs, I’m guessing you’ve a bit of an interest in your health and fitness. You probably enjoy reading about training, food, recovery and everything else that comes together to have a person in good shape.

For some, that rabbit hole becomes deeper and deeper without ever realising, and before you know it – you’re studying to become a personal trainer. So today, I’m gonna talk a bit about how I think you should become a personal trainer, and the common mistakes and pitfalls to avoid.

(if you DON’T want to be a trainer, it’s still worth reading because you’re about to get a shocking insight into how easy it is to get “qualified”)

Our Dublin Personal Training Gym is more than just a gym – it’s a place to learn, grow and have fun.

GETTING QUALIFIED QUICK
First things first – if you want to open a gym and start training people as quickly as possible, go do a CrossFit Level 1 cert, write an essay about what CF means to you, and get a bank loan for 20-30k. 1 weekend of study, a quick shopping trip online, and an industrial unit somewhere and you too can be a gym owner.

(yes – seriously, it takes just one weekend unless CrossFit have changed their process recently. Most CF gym owners have done, and continue to do, much more than that of course)

Next, coming in at approximately 6 weeks, you can do a full time gym instructor and PT course. There’s numerous options to choose from around Dublin, most as good as the other so have a chat with the providers and see which one you get the best feel from. One thing I will say tho…

…if they make you take an exercise to music component, look somewhere else. Run. Fast. Aerboics is dead, and unless you want to teach classes in someone elses gym all your life, you don’t need it.

Exercise to music belongs back in the noughties, just like Mean Girls.

PLUS if the course insists on you using that kind of out dated method of training, I wouldn’t hold much faith for how up to date the rest of the course is.

The final option is to sign up to a part time gym instructor and PT course. I think most of those run 16-20 weeks studying 1 evening a week and 1-2 days each weekend. By the end of that, you’re as qualified as any other PT in the land.

(but you do know qualifications mean jack shit right?)

GETTING QUALIFIED WELL
…wait – qualifications mean jack shit?

Yup… qualifications mean jack shit. All they show is that you showed up and fulfilled the minimum requirements. Well done.

I’ve hired several trainers over the past few years, and taken on many more interns. Not once has the PT course they’ve done have even the slightest bearing on my assessment.

A PT course is the first step in opening your eyes to all the things you DON’T know. To learning about the different methods, theories and practices that you’ve never encountered outside of what got you started in a gym in the first place.

(side note – the reason why most “online coaches” are so shit is because the sum total of their experience is watching fitness entertainment on youtube, and following a plan off another online coach who learned everything they know from their online coach)

So…. if that’s how NOT to do it… how SHOULD you learn?

(..again this is just in my humble, but correct, opinion)

Dietmar, Bosu, myself and Ralph – 3 great dudes to learn off, and me.

6 THINGS EVERY NEW PT SHOULD KNOW
#1 Spend time being trained yourself by a good coach or teams of coaches, regularly. Experience a number of different programs and styles. Become at least proficient in all.

#2 Read, watch, learn, attend seminars, a lot. Pick things that interest you initially, and as you become more experienced, pick things that make you uncomfortable and force you to push your boundaries.

Here’s some resources I recommend: http://revolutionfitness.ie/dublin-personal-trainer/


#3 Apply what you’ve learned – there’s nothing worse than a seminar junkie who never actually puts into practice the things they’ve learned. They can tell you everything that’s WRONG, but never actually have a position or style of their own.

#4 Get an internship with someone awesome. 2/3 of our full time coaches in RevFit started as clients, before becoming interns and eventually moving on to a full time gig. Their expertise is significantly higher than anyone I’ve ever seen come straight out of a PT course.

(…in fact – I think most of our long term clients would make better coaches than people coming off a 16-20 week part time PT course, but that’s a story for another day)

#5 Realise you’re not worth shit (at least initially). There’s a lot of entitlement around at the moment. When you start as a trainer, you’re more of a resource drain than a benefit to the coach you’re interning with. They’re going to have to invest a lot of time and effort to make you a good coach.

…but with the right people it’s completely worth it. We’ve done it with Eric, Luke, Ste, Bec, Eamon and are doing it with Niamh and Paul now. I wouldn’t hesitate to go back to the start with any of them and begin the journey again.

#6 Personality > knowledge. Becoming a good trainer isn’t “hard”. You just have to keep showing up and look to learn one new thing day day. BUT if you’re as interesting as a bag of cheese and onion crisps, or have the personality of a bucket of magnolia paint, you’re in trouble.

People respond to people they like. That doesn’t mean you need to be all “rah-rah-rah”, but you should be able to at least relate to someone on a basic human level.

Do all that, and you’re well on your way.​​ ​​

You’ll notice I didn’t even talk about online certification, or online coaching, because if you know anything about me now – you know I think that’s a load of bollox.

And that’s all I’m saying about that.

PS – on Monday i’m opening up the last remaining slots for our next 12 week transformation. As of writing we have 6 left for our next course starting on Tuesday May 2nd.

If you’re already training with us, or recently joined, don’t worry – you’re all set.

If you’ve been waiting a while to join, now’s the time :)​​​​​​

James Hanley

Strength Coach. Performance Specialist. Dog Lover. Powerlifter. And the guy behind the scenes in RevFit that keeps the plates spinning.