NASM CPT 7th Edition Chapter 2: The Personal Training Profession
NASM CPT 7th Edition Chapter 2: The Personal Training Profession 1

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Chapter Goals:

  • Find employment opportunities for entry-level fitness professionals.
  • Be able to make a professional resume and hone your interviewing skills.
  • Be able to describe the most common daily job tasks for fitness professionals.
  • Make sales and marketing strategies for driving clientele growth. 
  • Find the requirements and opportunities for continuing education in the fitness industry.

Fitness Industry Employment

There are enormous levels of growth around the world occurring in the fitness industry. This is shown in the US, whereby at the end of the year 2028, there could be 402,000 jobs. And this is just in the American health clubs alone.

Fitness professionals can work for many types of employers or to work for themselves. This shows why fitness professionals should perhaps use a lifetime learning mentality to improve their knowledge and skills. 

Importance of Education and Certification

The profession traces back to around the 1970s when athletes and bodybuilders were hired to help clients develop a muscular appearance.

After this, the commercial clubs realized that this could create a whole new stream of revenue through the use of personal training.

The functions of a certified personal trainer have changed from working on aesthetics and appearances to working on a client’s overall quality of life through the design of exercise programs for losing weight, preventing injuries, athletic performance, and functions for daily living activities.

As personal trainers go through their careers, they will continue to educate themselves to keep them relevant and fresh. This is required through the continuing education credits by NASM. 

Employment Opportunities 

The next step after certification through NASM is to decide the best option for employment for the trainer for a steady income with a schedule that suits them.

The personal trainer must decide between working as a direct employee of some organization or as someone independent of a company or organization.

If those two options do not suit the trainer, they may start their own business and work in their or clients’ homes.

Commercial Health Clubs

The health club industry is the biggest of the options for personal trainers. 

Health clubs can be local, regional, national, or even international, with locations in many countries. 

There can be low-cost, mid-market, premium, and non-profit health clubs, which all have differences.

As direct employees, the fitness professional is paid hourly, most often when working a scheduled shift on the fitness floor, and then additional amounts when delivering training sessions to clients, with bonuses for sold training sessions.

Independent Professionals

Another option is being an independent contractor for health clubs or studios. 

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Fitness professionals will usually have to pay per client or monthly fees of some form to use their location. They become somewhat of a customer themselves in this scenario.

The different options for employment are studio or health clubs, traveling to client homes, online coaching, and organizational wellness.

Independent contractors usually mean setting your own pay rates and earning the whole amount. This means that the trainer is required to pay the operational costs also.

Small-Group Training

This can be a way to provide a more affordable price point for workouts led by coaches, a more enjoyable experience for clients, and several other factors that are leading to the rise in group training.

Many studios use high-intensity interval training in boot camps and similar group training ideas to get people into the gyms.

Online Fitness Coaching

Many people are motivated to exercise on their own but still need the guidance of a trainer to do it. This leads to growth in the online training businesses.

There are many models to this form of training, just like with actual in person coaching.

Career Development

Personal training can be found to be rewarding as far as careers go because of the help given to others, changing their lives, and earning a living.

Every place of employment will vary, but it’s important to know some base information about the specific jobs in the industry. 

Fitness Manager

A manager’s duties include making the staff schedule, mentoring the fitness professionals, holding regular meetings to keep the team up to date, and doing all this while responding to member questions when needed. 

General Manager

These manager positions are responsible for all business operations in the club, from sales to the maintenance of the said club.

These managers will generally oversee multiple departments and individual employees also.

Facility Owner

One of the major benefits of personal training is the relatively low cost of starting a business compared to other industries. 

Fitness professionals may start a business working with their clients and eventually get to the point where they can start a business and own a physical location of their own. 

Some owners may invest in a location and then not be active and hire others to cover the business, or some may manage the business.

Adjacent Careers

Some of the adjacent careers are that of Master Instructor, Writer and Blogger, Strength and conditioning coach, Social media influencer, and College or Trade school instructor. 

Resume Writing

It is important to have a well-written resume as a personal trainer. The resume should be short and outline the individual’s ability to contribute to an organization. It should highlight the person’s life, not just their job.

Resumes should be creative, organized, unconventional, and vulnerable.

Online searches will show the most current and effective ways to write a resume to attract a potential employer.

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Job Search and Interviewing

The purpose of the resume is to market a person’s skills to get an in-person interview with the hiring manager. 

Where to look for a job

Most online websites have job postings for companies needing a certified personal trainer. You can also use the websites of those specific places to find possible jobs.

It is always a good idea to visit the job site in person and meet the people working there.

Attire

When visiting a place and inquiring about a position, it is ideal for to dress in business attire. This shows the place of business that the job will be taken seriously and that the person understands the importance of professionalism.

The Interview

This formal process enables job candidates to show their personality, convey their work ethic, and discuss aspects of their job history beyond that of the resume.

How to Follow up

It is always a good idea to follow up an interview with a thank you via email or a handwritten note. This again shows how serious the person is in their pursuit of a job.

A Day in the Life of a Certified Personal trainer

There are only specific times when a person can meet their trainer. Most people are generally available before, after work, or during their lunchtime. With the way the job market is changing, this recently has changed to have it possible to meet during many times of the day depending on the client’s job.

A normal schedule will have trainers training clients in the morning before work, having some administrative time, then having lunch, training lunchtime clients, more administrative time, and then training after work clients. 

Sales and Marketing

Clients seek services from fitness professionals due to problems they have that must be solved. This could be anything from losing weight, lowering blood pressure, and/or improving strength and stamina.

Trainers need to understand the sales process to be able to handle their business interactions and such. 

Introduction to the Sales Process

There are specific stages in the sales process:

  • Identify the customer’s needs
  • Communicate the solutions to their needs
  • Making the sale by asking for a financial commitment to solving their needs

Prospecting and Lead Generation

Prospects should be found in a few ways:

  • Ask for referrals from your already existing clients
  • Work the floor to meet the members of the facility and build rapport with them
  • Obtain warm leads provided by the member or the sales department
  • Answer inquiries from social media and other streams for marketing

Building Rapport

Rapport is built on open communication and trust. This is vital for getting new clients and requires communicating honestly and making friends and personal connections.

Forecasting

This is a financial goal setting to determine how many prospects a trainer needs to interact with daily to keep a consistent flow of clients in the pipeline.

Asking for the Sale

Emotions mainly drive buying decisions, and investing in sessions with personal trainers may be extremely emotional.

When asking for the sale, the trainer should present all available price points and allow the potential clients a little time to receive the information.

Marketing

Once the goals are set, and a trainer knows how much work they need to do to earn a specific income amount, it is necessary to market the fitness services to the possible clients.

Marketing is the process of promoting a service to communicate the features, advantages, and benefits of training to the clients.

Many health clubs will have dedicated marketing in some form, often making it easier for the trainer to take on new clients. In the case of independent contractors, it is more often that they need to promote themselves and market a way that they can solve a problem. 

It is important to have your own unique selling point and convey that in your marketing. This trait or skill allows you to stand out compared to other trainers.

Some examples of a USP would be like this:

Specializing in an age group like 55 years or older 

Focusing on weight loss specifically and teaching long term health and body composition improvement

Training athlete to improve their performance in sports

Building Value and a Brand

Your brand tells a story and creates an identity for the product or service.

It helps to create your own when you look up how your own brands do this.

Using a SWOT Analysis to Build a Brand

SWOT analyses look at the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats of your business. It requires research into these four areas and comparisons to the rest of the market. It is a good idea for all businesses to go through this.

Four Ps of Marketing  

Communicating the benefits of using a PRODUCT

Identifying the competitive PRICE of the service

Finding how to PROMOTE the service

Choosing the PLACE or distribution method

Social Media

Personal trainers can use social media to help market their services and be found by clients. It is important to separate your business and personal accounts when doing this form of marketing and business.

Industry Events and Networking

Attending industry events such as conferences, trade shows, or workshops can help to market and network for the benefit of your business.

Email Campaigns

These can be beneficial when using online platforms and websites designed to manage email lists.

Continuing Education

As the trainer’s career progresses, it is important to pursue additional education to develop skills and serve a wider range of clients.

Requirements

The NASM requires trainers to get 2.0 CEUs every 2 years, equivalent to 20 hours of continued education credits over those 2 years.

The opportunities for these credits include trade shows, workshops, online CEUs and Specializations, college courses, and industry contributions.

Some other uses of these continuing education credits are to increase the work you can do with niche populations and to increase your pay due to those specializations. 

NASM CPT 7th Edition Chapter 2: The Personal Training Profession 2
NASM CPT 7th Edition Chapter 2: The Personal Training Profession 3
NASM CPT 7th Edition Chapter 2: The Personal Training Profession 4

Tyler Read

Tyler Read, BSc, CPT. Tyler holds a B.S. in Kinesiology from Sonoma State University and is a certified personal trainer (CPT) with NASM (National Academy of sports medicine), and has over 15 years of experience working as a personal trainer. He is a published author of running start, and a frequent contributing author on Healthline and Eat this, not that.

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