Where is training as a profession today?
With so many options among trainers, methodologies, goals, it doesn’t only get complicated and confusing for clients of personal training (small group or one-one-one, as well as group exercise/classes), it becomes all the more confusing for the professionals. Maybe confusing isn’t the right word, challenging pressure cooker might be more appropriate set of terms to define what’s happening.
For marketing and research purposes, and also because I have tried to diversify my approach to business over the past few years, where personal training is only one aspect of my offerings in the fitness industry, I have notice, by going outside, that the climate is frankly quite the same across all industries.
Because of my natural proclivity and proximity of looking at the Real Estate market, where my wife has been working as a Realtor® for as long as I have been a personal trainer, the need for marketing, branding, advertising, mailing and then some exists and is just as challenging. And since social media and an online presence seem de rigueur in this New (Digital) Age, what has been coming up in my research is that there are countless individuals who sell systems to become a 6-figure business owner.
All of these people popping up showing photos of their luxury sports cars, mansions, cover model girlfriends, and showing how “Billy Trainer, 23, followed my system and is now making quadruple his previous year’s income in one month only, and is on track for 7 figures by year’s end” (I am not far fetched in paraphrasing the claims), present themselves as super established fitness marketing celebs.
I must truly live under a rock, I have never heard of them. Yet, I am curious to read the copy… Because it’s a well crafted message, especially because it’s hard out there in the trenches. People always look for a deal, have no issue spending money on the latest gadgets and cars, clothes or other toys, but will always try to squeeze the entrepreneur who is looking to make their life and health better. And trainers always want to grow and get out of the dollars for hours business model. Not duplicatable, not a business, but a job.
If you’re not a trainer, don’t try to squeeze your trainer out of his or her money. Trainers hustle to learn, spend more on becoming better, have little ROI, and have rates that rarely match the rise in inflation, or don’t benefit from your work bonuses or raises, and have a hard time rooting for your new electric SUV or how cool your new gizmotronic is. I kid you not, there is a guy in Santa Monica who drives his import luxury car to train with, get this, a homeless trainer! The trainer might be crazy, old and ripped, but he’s still homeless! If not, he surely appears to be whenever I see him with his bags and sleeping on the beach!
So, it seems there is a whole generation of vultures out there looking to prey upon the trainers looking to better themselves, where they sell you expensive shticks and spiels that yield little return, have little in-the-field experience, repackaging the same concepts other industries try to re-sell you, and they are making their money not IN the fitness industry, but FROM fitness industry professionals.
So, where is the state of fitness now? I believe it’s like in the whole concept of the “Sharing Economy”, where trainers work harder, work more, and get less and less, until being driven out of the industry and until a new crop of trainers shows up, follows a few trends and moves on because they’re beaten and worn. And of those who have survived, the veterans with skills and knowledge, that lasting power erodes unless you are the one who got handed a golden ticket. Truthfully, it seems easier to break into Hollywood than to make is as a trainer…