Military veterans develop a set of skills and traits that are highly sought after by many different industries. In addition, military veterans often have a mindset and a work ethic that typically stands out from the average person. 

As a civilian, many veterans find the skill sets they develop in the military are incredibly effective in the fitness industry. This is one of the reasons personal training is a popular field for many service members once they leave the military. In fact, you’ll learn that military skills and personal training go hand in hand.

If you’re a military service member or a veteran looking for ways to use your skills, keep reading. We explore why personal training may be the ideal career opportunity for you. 

You can also learn how to use the GI Bill to get a degree in exercise science, making you the most credible physical fitness expert possible. 

The Role Of A Personal Trainer

Professions within the fitness industry are in high demand. With the growing rate of obesity and chronic health conditions, fitness pros with the knowledge and skills to educate clients and promote healthy change are incredibly valuable. 

Personal trainers are no exception–they play a vital role in improving the health and fitness of others. Most personal trainers have a strong foundation in human body science, nutrition, and behavior modification. These are all courses you get with a degree in exercise science. Using this knowledge, they focus on capturing the proper baseline data of each client with the appropriate assessments, working with clients to define their fitness goals, and creating customized exercise programming for each client to help them reach those goals. In addition, they support nutrition education and the support required to produce healthy, long-lasting changes.

Critical Personal Training Skills And The Skills Of Military Personnel

The best personal trainers have a variety of powerful traits, all of which play a considerable role in their success as fitness professionals. 

Military service members naturally embody many of these traits. The following list includes some of the essential characteristics of a successful personal trainer and how they compare to the skills of many military service members.

Passion For Fitness

Loving what you do is a critical component of any professional’s success. The vast majority of people who get into the fitness industry prioritize fitness as a part of their lives and have a desire to help others do the same.  

Fitness is a significant portion of many military service members’ lives. Frequent fitness testing and the need to be physically and mentally at the top of their game make personal and group fitness a high priority for military personnel.  

Resilient And Adaptable

Whether you work for a gym or as your own independent fitness business, there are natural ebbs and flows that inherently come along with the job of a personal trainer. Having the ability to adapt, stay consistent, and maintain focus is instrumental in a personal trainer’s long-term success.

Resilience is a core trait of most military personnel. The trials they endure through both their training and military duties develop resilience and encourage an immense amount of adaptability so that they can adjust to a variety of different situations. 


Personal trainers are often disciplined in their own routines as well as their fitness business. They also understand that exuding discipline in their own lives is essential because encouraging clients to replicate that discipline is a vital component to their long-term success.

Military personnel are trained to quickly and obediently respond to orders. They are also well aware that their consistent habits are the foundation of who they are and what they can accomplish. In addition to this, the discipline also helps develop a sense of confidence. Leading in this fashion and encouraging others to do the same is an incredibly valuable skill. 

Leadership And Teamwork

Working well with others is a must as a personal trainer. Not only is it essential to work well with other fitness professionals (i.e., team members, professionals you refer to, etc.), but it’s critical to be able to work well with a variety of different clients.

Military veterans and service members learn very quickly that working together is critical. Teamwork can often mean the difference between life and death. So, knowing when to lead, when to follow, and how to work as a team is vital to all military personnel. Further, it takes a team approach to help someone achieve challenging fitness goals.   


In any industry, professional attire and conduct are of the utmost importance. When working closely with personal training clients and unraveling some of the intricate details of their struggles, professionalism is critical.

In addition to military service members’ professional appearance, they also exude loyalty, courage, trustworthiness, respect, and honesty. All of these traits are vital components of professionalism.

Taking The Next Step

It’s evident that many military skills easily transfer into the personal trainer profession. This is why the fitness industry is often a smooth transition for many military veterans. Not to mention, it’s easy to get fitness business experience as you transfer to civilian life.

If you’re passionate about the fitness industry and have a desire to become a personal trainer, here are a few tips to help you take the next step.

Explore Your Military Education Benefits

There are various benefits available to military service members, veterans, and their families. Some of the benefits available to eligible service members and their families are:

  • Post 9/11 GI Bill
  • The Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty (MGIB-AD)
  • The Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR)
  • Yellow Ribbon Program 
  • Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses (VET TEC) 
  • Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program (VRRAP)
  • Tuition Assistance

Regardless of the career path you choose, you can contact the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to determine your eligibility for educational benefits and receive guidance in submitting the appropriate documentation for approval. 

Get Certified

The next step in becoming a personal trainer is to complete a recognized personal training certification program. Even if you already have a solid knowledge base in fitness, a personal training certification can teach you how to customize unique programming for various clients. The personal training certification is also something many employers look for hiring personal trainers and something insurance companies need when providing you with liability insurance. 

Did you know? Lionel University is the only college with a degree program that earns you a personal training certification and other fitness specialization before you even finish your degree?

Find Your Niche

Many different populations of people need the guidance of a personal trainer. You’ll ask yourself if you want to work with youth, the elderly, general weight loss clients, etc. You also want to identify if you prefer bootcamp style group training, one-on-one, or a combination of both. You don’t necessarily have to choose. In fact, you can be a personal trainer and a group fitness instructor to maximize your earning potential. Finding your niche will be instrumental in your success.

Change Lives

Once you complete your personal training certification and identify who you want to train, you’re ready to start making an impact. Those hard-earned military skills are valuable traits you can help others develop. And, mastering those skills may just be the key to saving a client’s health and life. 

Are you interested in becoming a personal trainer? 

Even those without a military background enjoy the benefits of the life of a personal trainer. But YOU are uniquely qualified to use your experience and learned skills to beat the competition. Lionel University provides exercise science degree programs that can help you land a job in fitness and nutrition. You can earn an associates degree, bachelor’s degree, or master’s degree at Lionel. 

What’s even better is, included in your program, you’ll earn a personal training certification and other fitness certifications and specializations early on. This makes it easy for you to earn a living in the fitness space and test the waters. You’ll be able to figure out exactly what your long-term career goals are. 

Find out why other students choose Lionel and love it. And, the courses are all online. This means you can earn your degree from home, and on your own time. It’s the best way to learn when you get to choose. Furthermore, the reputation of Lionel is elite. The founders of Lionel are pioneers in the fitness space and have prestigious backgrounds. This means you’ll be learning from the best and most respected program available.