Everybody has a story. How can yours lead to careers in personal fitness journey? We all have trials that have brought us to our knees, obstacles we’ve overcome that we never thought we could, and day-to-day choices that still challenge the past version of who we once were. 

Although many fitness professionals will talk about their challenges with food, weight, exercise, insecurities, etc., it’s often hard to imagine that they once struggled. 

Those struggles, failures, setbacks, and accomplishments are the very details that make a person real…authentic…human. And, the beauty in all of it is that sometimes we get to harness all of those trials and lessons and use them to help others. The things you learn along the way may be the keys that someone needs to change their own life. 

If you’ve had your own personal fitness journey or are going through it now and have a desire to help others, this article is for you!

How Can You Use Your Own Personal Fitness Journey To Shape Your Career?

Have you ever heard the term “imposter syndrome”? It’s common, especially when trying new things. Generally speaking, it’s when you feel like a fraud or phony or like you are not good enough to be doing what you’re doing. 

For example, suppose you struggled with your weight for the majority of your adult life. After many cycles of small successes followed by failure, you have finally found a healthy balance of exercise and nutrition that works for you, and you feel great. 

You’re not perfect; you still cave from time to time, but you try hard to incorporate exercise, make good choices, and you’ve made a substantial amount of progress. You’ve been considering trying to help others do the same by becoming a personal trainer. But, when you think about taking the next step toward a career in fitness or as a personal trainer, you immediately doubt yourself and those negative thoughts start to creep in.

  • You don’t look like what you think a personal trainer should look like. Will people even want to work with you? 
  • You eat healthily, but your eating pattern isn’t always the best. Shouldn’t you have a flawless diet before you start helping others? 
  • And, do you really even know what you’re doing? 

You question whether or not you can really help others and if anyone would actually want to hire you as a personal trainer!

That type of mindset is what’s holding you back from making a difference in the fitness industry. Your journey and your challenges with exercise and nutrition are precisely what some clients need. 

What Clients Really Want

First and foremost (and although it’s a bit cliche), every master personal trainer was once a beginner personal trainer. You aren’t going to know it all or be perfect at it, and you’ll likely fail a bit. That’s life. But, you have to start somewhere, or you’ll never start.

Secondly, people are drawn to authenticity.

Most people have gotten privy to the false personas, lives, and bodies that are spread all over social media. What they crave now is authenticity (and real connection). Vulnerability in struggles is what connects people. As you own and share your story, the right tribe of people will be drawn to you.

In addition, people are drawn to others that are similar to them.

For example, a 70-year-old client isn’t necessarily looking to work with a 20-year personal trainer who promises to help shape and tone their body. Elderly clients are often interested in exercise that helps them feel better, move better, and improve their quality of life. Having an older personal trainer that has struggled with those things and understands the physical, emotional, and psychological changes associated with aging is more ideal.

Similarly, if you’re a woman with kids, have struggled with post-baby weight, and are still wrestling with finding the time to exercise, you’re not alone. Other women in similar situations are looking for someone to help them–they are looking for someone that “gets it.”

Long story short, find your niche and don’t let fear hold you back from helping them. Those clients are looking for you too!

Careers In Fitness

Your love for exercise, health, and fitness can have a significant impact on others. You can help in many different ways. The following list is not all-inclusive, but if you have a desire to use your journey and passion to help other people, here are a few career opportunities you could explore: 

Certified Personal Trainer

Becoming a Certified Personal Trainer is a great way to help others improve their health and fitness. You’ll focus on training clients one-on-one and design exercise programming to help them reach their personal fitness goals. 

Group Fitness Instructor

A group fitness instructor is a fitness professional who coaches large and small groups through group fitness classes or boot camps. You can take this a step further by specializing in a specific group fitness class (i.e., cycling, yoga, pilates, etc.). 

Health Coach

A health coach is a behavior change professional who helps guide clients through the process of consistently making healthier choices. Health coaches often take a holistic approach to help clients lead the changes they need to make while holding them accountable to help them reach a personal fitness goal. 

Registered Dietician

A Registered Dietician is a nutrition professional that can assess certain health conditions, counsel clients through changes in their nutrition, and design meal planning to help clients achieve their health and fitness goals. 

Tips To Help You Start Your Fitness Career

If you’re not quite sure where to start, here are a few tips that can guide you through your next steps in making fitness your career path.

  • Start slow

You aren’t going to learn everything you need to know overnight. And, taking on too many things at once can be a recipe for disaster. So, instead, pick one course, one workshop, or one degree most interesting to you and start there.

  • Consider getting an exercise science degree or personal training certification

Even if you don’t plan on training clients one-on-one, a personal training Certification can provide you with a wealth of knowledge. The insight you’ll gain about the human body and exercise will not only help you as you continue your fitness journey but can also help you with your clients (regardless of which fitness profession you choose). You’ll be investing in education that allows you to help yourself and others at the same time. It’s a win-win.

  • Share your story

It’s not easy to open up and be vulnerable about your struggles with eating or exercise. But, those struggles are what will help you connect with the clients that need your help. As humans, it’s always helpful to know that someone else has gone through something similar, and they understand. But, to do that, you have to be willing to share your story. 

  • Try different things

If you’re not quite sure which career path is best suited for you, try to spend time with several different fitness professionals. If you have the connections, ask questions. If they allow you to, shadow some of those fitness professionals. And, if that’s not an option, consider booking a few sessions with a few different types of fitness professionals so you can see what they do and how they help clients. This experience can help give you a good idea of what each career path is all about. 

Ready to take the next step?

Regardless of whether now is the time for you to make a career transition, one thing is certain. Education is important. This is also the case for if you want to continue your personal fitness story. You’ll want to make sure you achieve fitness goals for clients and yourself in a safe way, while still getting the best results possible. 

Having a Lionel degree in your back pocket will help you. This is in large part because of the elite reputation of Lionel in the fitness education space. History, credibility, and reputation are important when it comes to an exercise science degree program.

In addition to a degree, you’ll need a certification. One of the unique things about Lionel University is that you earn your personal training certification as you go through the education program. This means you can start working as a fitness trainer before you even graduate. Even better, Lionel offers additional certifications and specializations in their degree programs. This will earn you a Master Trainer Certificate. Even without a degree yet, this gives you an edge above the rest and can also help you land a job. The personal training certification and Master Trainer Certificate mean 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 change your career, your body, and your life 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!