Summary: Because of the skills required, personal training is a common career for military service members to transition to. However, starting a new career in any industry can be slightly uncomfortable. We explore 4 ways that you can make the transition into the fitness industry just a little bit smoother with ways you can get fitness business experience after the military.

Personal training is a popular career for many military veterans. Their passion and commitment to fitness, desire to help others, resiliency, and discipline make the transition into the fitness industry a smooth one after their military life. Bottom line, military skills and personal training go hand in hand.

That being said, jumping into a new career can be a bit of a challenge for anyone. However, there are ways you can start to “get your feet wet” in advance to help you prepare for a career as a personal trainer after your military experience.

So, if you’re considering becoming a personal trainer, keep reading. We explore 4 ways to get experience while studying to become a personal trainer. 

4 Ways To Get Fitness Experience

Getting experience in an industry when you have little to none can be a challenge. However, it can be done. Here are four ways you can get experience in the fitness industry while you’re working on your certification. 

1. Hire A Personal Trainer (Or Two)

One of the best ways to get experience as a personal trainer or get exposure to a fitness business is to start working with different personal trainers. Going into the training sessions intentionally will allow you to not only observe the personal trainers but also explore the experience from the client’s perspective while getting a workout.

Ultimately, this can help you determine what you do and don’t like about the training experience from the fitness professionals perspective as well as the client’s. 

Training with one personal trainer for a short time is a good start. However, working with more than one personal trainer can provide exposure to additional pros and cons for you to consider as you shape your own personal training fitness business. 

2. Shadow A Personal Trainer

If hiring a personal trainer isn’t in your budget, you can consider shadowing a personal trainer instead. 

If you have a friend or family member currently working in the fitness industry, ask them if you can shadow them for a few weeks (or more). If you don’t already have a contact, you can approach your local fitness center or find a local fitness trainer in your area, let them know you’re studying to become a personal trainer, and ask them if they’re okay with you shadowing them. Keep in mind you will also want to make sure you get consent from the client they are working with as well. 

Similar to hiring a personal trainer, if you approach the shadowing intentionally, you can gather information about what you do and don’t like for your fitness business and what you do and don’t like for your future clients. 

3. Train Your Family And Friends

As a military service member, physical fitness is likely an important component of your daily life. The skills and experience you’ve developed from your military fitness training and the content you’re learning in your personal training course give you a solid foundation to start building training programs for your friends and family.  

Working with friends and family is a great place to start as a new personal trainer because they can allow you the freedom to train them while working through some of the bumps in the road or jitters associated with training someone for the first time. They can also provide you honest feedback from the client’s perspective to help you improve. 

It’s important to note that you will want to consider getting personal training liability insurance before working with any clients. Insurance for personal training is often very inexpensive and some insurance companies may have a student rate that provides coverage while you’re still working on your exercise science degree or personal training certification.

4. Host A Boot Camp

Another popular style of training you will want to consider is boot camp training. You may want to run boot camps in addition to one-on-one training or strictly run only boot camp or small group training. Throughout the course of your military service, you likely experienced military boot camp training or testing on more than one occasion. Clients are often drawn to this style of military training, and your military fitness experience provides a solid foundation to structure this style of training for the general public. 

You can round up family and friends or promote something in your local neighborhood to practice structuring the boot camp, determining what space and equipment you need, and training a small group of people at once. 

From a business perspective, boot camps are a popular option for a few reasons. In regards to the impact you make on others and the financial component of your fitness business, boot camps are a great way to lower the cost for each participant (help more people) and still maintain a high hourly income. For example, let’s say you earn $80 an hour training a client one-on-one. With a boot camp, you could charge ten clients $20 for the same session. So, you could help ten clients instead of one and make $200 for the hour. 

Keep in mind, whether you do in-person or boot camp-style training while you’re working to start your fitness business, having the proper fitness paperwork (i.e., consent forms) and liability insurance is important, even if you’re just practicing. 

Getting Started

For those that are eligible, the military offers education benefits to military service members, veterans, and their families (i.e., GI Bill, Tuition Assistance, etc.). These benefits provide an excellent opportunity to get portions of or all of your education and training paid for. If you need help, check out this easy read on how to use the GI Bill.

Additionally, many military service members (or their family members) that qualify use their education benefits for their Personal Training Certification. 

If you’d like to take the next step in your education, you can reach out to the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs. They can help you explore your eligibility and benefits and start the application process to use those benefits to get the education and training you desire.   

Do you love fitness and have a passion for changing people lives? 

The world of fitness and nutrition is big, so there’s more than just one job. This makes it so you can carve your own path and future. First comes your passion for fitness and helping others. Then, comes your education. Regardless of the training job you’re looking for, you’ll need (at minimum) a personal training certification. Most successful personal trainers also have a college degree. At Lionel University, you can get both in the same program. This means, you don’t have to invest additional money on expensive certifications. Regardless of whether you’re pursuing an associates degree, bachelor’s degree, or master’s degree, at Lionel you earn multiple certifications and specializations along the way. This means you can start working on getting that dream job before graduation day. And, with the help of financial aid, earning your exercise science degree is even more of a possibility. Check out our programs and contact Lionel today