Are you sick of your day job? Ever thought it would have been cool to be a personal trainer, but that it’s too late for you now? Think again. It’s a totally achievable and admirable ambition, at any age.
You don’t need to look any further than the late great Jack La Lanne, the great-great grandfather of modern exercise, to realise that age need not be a liability when it comes to staying fit and teaching others to become strong and healthy. La Lanne was still showing others the way well into his 90’s!
An older trainer is an inspiration, proving to clients of all age groups that growing older doesn’t necessarily also mean growing ‘old’. Age, in any career, can mean that you have more life experience to offer, and this will be greatly valued by certain demographics. Many older people, for instance, will prefer to be trained by someone in their own age demographic because they find them more relatable, and demonstrate the achievability of great health and fitness at a more mature age.
The first step a potential trainer must take is to become certified through a reputable registered training organisation (RTO). In many cases, the study to achieve this certification can be done via self-paced online learning, which is ideal if you are currently working during the day, or if you’re busy raising children. This ability to undertake flexible study while also managing other responsibilities is very useful for a lot of people.
Depending on your circumstances, part-time study can also be a convenient option for those with other responsibilities, but who prefer to learn in a live classroom (either in-person or live-streamed).
The process of gaining your certification can also help you build connections in the fitness industry, especially iof the RTO you study with has programs in place to connect you with prospective industry employers and work experience.
This can be particularly helpful if your current career has nothing to do with health and fitness. Once you are qualified (and subsequently insured and registered), you can start working in the fitness industry, training clients to improve their fitness and their lives. Whether you opt to be a full-time PT in an established club, or to set up your own business and train clients in the great outdoors, is up to you. With your qualification comes options.
You don’t have to quit your current career!
Personal training can be done on a part-time basis, so quitting your day job isn’t a necessity. This is ideal for those who may not be sure of the career change, or who are wanting to build up their new business reputation before turning it into their full-time career.
Many trainers take clients early in the morning or in the evening, before and after their other work. If you happen to work in an office that has a gym, you may find that your first clients are your own co-workers. This also presents a good opportunity to gain brand awareness and build your reputation as a fitness professional.
Online is becoming an increasingly popular mode of personal training. Prior to 2020 it was gaining momentum as an additional training option for many PTs, but the arrival of pandemic-related restrictions hugely accelerated this trend as virtual became the only method of delivering sessions to locked-down clients. Online training is also well suited to trainers who are not in a position to leave their established career.
An online trainer works with their clients in the same way as an on-location PT, conducting fitness tests and establishing exercise and flexibility programs. For accountability purposes, online trainers usually require that their clients stay in contact during the week via email, text or apps. This has the added advantage of increasing the connection between client and trainer.
If you’re at a stage in your life where part-time work is the most suitable option for you, then personal training is a great option. If you’re looking to reduce your working hours after a lifetime of 9 to 5, personal training is a good option for part-time work (as it is for parents working around school and childcare hours, university students and others).
If you’re running your own business, you can choose the number of clients you train and hours you work each week, which can be a great way to ‘retire part-time’. While many PTs train clients before and after traditional working hours (i.e. before 9am and after 5pm), if you were to specialise in training older clients who may be retired, and therefore not restricted by such time constraints, you may find that you can establish a mid-morning and afternoon training schedule which also provides easier access to gym equipment due to it being off-peak times.
Changing your career can be a big step. The longer you leave it, the more daunting it may feel. There’s no need, however, to feel threatened by your age and the change itself. There are plenty of great reasons to change your career mid-life – and many benefits to doing so.
By changing careers later in life, you can bring a wealth of life experience to a fresh challenge, giving you a powerful combination of experience and enthusiasm. You may also be able to benefit by working part-time, choosing your own hours and even keeping your day job while you establish your new career and build your client base. If you’re thinking about changing careers and getting involved in the fitness industry, getting qualified is your first step to getting into your new career.
If you know the benefits of exercise and want to help others improve their wellbeing then a career in fitness may be the perfect fit for you! To find out more about making a career change to Personal Training check out AIF’s Personal Training courses now!