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Is becoming a personal trainer worth it?

Is becoming a personal trainer worth it?

I get ask if becoming a personal trainer is worth it?

Below is the following reasons that it is not worth it and I will follow up with a subsequent post as to why it is worth it. But for now I want to focus on the reasons it’s not.

Certifications / Degrees

Yes, the downside to becoming a personal trainer is getting educated. Its relatively cheap to get a certification, I have several certifications, and ceus for personal training. And I spent less than what someone who has a degree in sports science, or kinesiology spent  on one semester of schooling.

Know arguably that is a slap in the face, or someone who spent years earning a degree. I call it the 50k in student debt, slap to the face. And it hurts more than an rko or piledriver.

The bigger slap is that every gym will hire, people with no certs, some gyms give them options, to earn a cert, because they get kickbacks from cert companies for giving them prospect.

The bigger slaps in the face come with guys who only want to hit on women, who get into the field, and people who aren’t in shape and have no intentions of getting in shape also are let in to the field.

Outside of those factors, most gyms don’t really enforce having degrees. The benefit of getting a degree vs a cert is that you can get a business loan and open your own gym or business. You have a better chance if you pair your degree with a business or marketing degree, and you have some experience.


If you’re like me, you look the part and have the knowledge to impact lives. You’re compassionate, and you genuinely want to see people succeed.

That alone paired with your ability to make rational decisions, and speak eloquently, should have the clients pouring in and lining up at your door, right? Wrong.

People want to buy magical solutions and fairy tales not training services backed by science. They will quickly choose  a trainer who is a glorified cheerleader, especially if they have easy workouts to follow.

The other downside to sales is that other people will lie, about what they are capable of doing. They will also lie and make it seem as if you are a rookie, so no one will want to train with you.

Sales based jobs in less than affluent communities will have you struggling to make ends meet.


Either you work a split shift, which means 4 hrs on 4hrs off and than 4hrs on.. Or you wind up working the whole day, but you don’t get paid for the whole day. If you’re not training.

Gyms will use you to do free labor such as moving equipment, sampling products, cold calling and cleaning. None of which you will be paid for.

You will spend most of your days tired and frustrated.

If your client doesn’t show up or cancels, some gyms let you charge them and still get paid. Which means most people will discontinue training because they will look at you as if you ripped them off. And if you don’t charge them your check is short.

And then you have some gyms that will charge the client for not showing up, and they keep all the money for themselves or they only pay you a small portion.

Retirement | Benefits

There is no way to retire from being a personal trainer. You would have to start your own gym or company and take the role of the ceo which could present its own problems.

Another option is to move up in leadership, but you will become responsible to the sales of other trainers which again can be a headache.

You may get benefits at some gyms, but they are usually whack, which is ironic, considering you are in the health and fitness industry.

Commission jobs = Sharks

In any job where your livelihood depends on how much you sale, there will always be  sharks, and people who do unethical things.

There are greedy people who lie to consumers, just to cash a big check every two weeks, and you will be lumped in with those guys.

Most commonly the sales team and membership sales guys milk the members and then send them your way, and when they find out how much training costs they will feel like they are being ripped off.

And of course they will blame you.

Team | Family setting

The job of a corporate gym, and any company for that matter, is to build a false sense of comradery.


They will throw out terms like, we are a team and family, quite often. This is to lure you into a false sense of comfort. This is the equivalent of your best friend hitting on your significant other.

And when you catch wind and confront them, they say, of I was just making sure she’s loyal bro.

Sure you are bro.

The false sense of comfort they will try to build, is so they can still your commission and clients, in a passive aggressive manner, and act like they didn’t mean any harm.

Consultations Gym BROS Social media

The consultations are a hit or a miss.

  1. They don’t show up
  2. They freebie seek
  3. They want to workout with their bro or friends who are in worse shape than them.
  4. Most gyms don’t pay you for these consults.
  5. Most gyms don’t pair consultations with the appropriate trainer.
  6. Most gyms play favorites and give them to their favorite trainers
  7. Most veteran trainers get all the good consults and you’re left with scraps.


The gym bros

  1. They hit on your clients, and try to charge less than your or offer to “train them for free”
  2. They half ass follow youtubers, and other social media figures workouts, and they have an immense knowledge of bro-science they live by.
  3. They bug you and try to pick your brain and get free advice
  4. They will preach to you about Arnold or some other steroid monkey, you don’t give a fuck about.
  5. They will secretly compare or openly compare themselves to you and try to compete with you.
  6. They want you to validate whatever split or program they are following. To which I simple reply thats dope. And yea you are on track. Rather than poking flaws in their ideology as to not up set their delicate egos.


The yo-yo dieters

  1. They swear by the treadmill and the bs diet they saw on dr. oz.. They always swear they know what to do, but just haven’t gotten around to it. And rather than poke holes in their programming, you just pacify them and send them on their way.


Social Media

  1. Most of these fit people have no idea what they are talking about
  2. Most of them have plastic surgery or some kind of elective surgery, which makes them gurus, so their word triumphs yours.
  3. Most of them ore on steroids, and lie about it, hell some of them even take steroids, and tell people how to do the same, so their word triumphs yours
  4. People sell herbalife, vi life or isagenix and give out free bs workout challenges to follow and people fall for it, so again their word beats yours.

Shady Business practices

One day I will review all the gyms I have worked for, and all the gyms, I have trained at. Not all gyms are bad, some have legitimate business practices. Other gyms not so much, and some have clever workarounds.

The main problems you will encounter, are the following:

  1. Cancellations are a headache, and corporate hotlines suck.
  2. Corporate lies to you, and misrepresents a promotion or service, and you then knowingly lie to customers, who will get mad at you, and you will get mad at your superiors, and corporate because you now look like the bad guy.

The Managers

They want you to find the money at all times.

  1. What this means is they want you to sell more to your existing clients
  2. They want you to do free consultations that your are not paid for
  3. They want you to get referrals
  4. They want you to work free booths and give out demos
  5. They want you to walk the gym floor and pester people.
  6. They will go over your book of business and generate bs sale quotas for you to hit and become upset when you fail too.
  7. They will set unrealistic goals for you to hit, to which you will begrudgingly say yes to.
  8. They will lie to you during your interview to make it seem as if some unrealistic amount of money can be made just by working for them.

Is becoming a personal trainer worth it?

You can make more money than working a minimum wage job, which is great, if you are working your way through school.

You won’t make great money and you may make minimum wage, if you work for planet, charter, or la fitness, because they have the worst pay scales in the industry.

Your pay is not hourly so it is not guaranteed.

Because they pay is not guaranteed other trainers will definitely steal clients and management will do little to nothing about it.

There are a lot of variables that can make or break you.


These are some of my biggest pet peeves, when it comes to being a trainer, the next part in the series will be 10 reasons to consider becoming a trainer. If you have enjoyed this article and video please, comment, like and subscribe.