Becoming a personal trainer to get into shape?

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  • MakePeasNotWar
    MakePeasNotWar Posts: 1,329 Member
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    slhall0822 wrote: »
    I'm contemplating pursuing a personal trainer certification and am interested in hearing other's experiences that may be related to my own (those who are personal trainers, those who are currently studying to be a personal trainer, etc.)

    A little about myself: I'm 32, married, have a very active toddler, am a self-proclaimed book worm... and am obese (~220 pounds at 5'6"). After having my toddler, I made a drastic career change and went from being a corporate, ladder-climbing career woman to part-time massage therapist. I LOVE LOVE LOVE my new career. Because of my career change, I have spent the last few years becoming more involved in the world of health and while I am very aware of how important it is to stay active, I struggle to practice what I preach.

    While picking my brain lately to try to determine why I have such a hard time motivating myself to stay active, I realized that when I do have rare moments of free-time, I'd much rather bury my nose in an anatomy book and learn. I know, I'm a dork... but for me, keeping my mind busy is much more fulfilling than walking in circles around my neighborhood (or partaking in other physically-oriented options). Many years ago, I was in the Army... so I'm no stranger to physical fitness. I am well aware of the benefits of living an active lifestyle. I just much prefer to sit with a book and put knowledge in my brain :-).

    So, that got me to thinking... maybe I should pursue a personal trainer certification. I feel like it's the perfect gateway to taking advantage of what has always motivated me (acquiring more knowledge) in order to not only get into shape myself, but to eventually use my new-found knowledge to help others. I feel that by training to be a personal trainer, I'd be forced to practice what I'm learning in order to be the best at what I do. And I figure, what have I got to lose? Overall, getting certified doesn't seem to cost a huge amount of money. Lord knows that I've spent countless amounts of money trying to lose weight other ways. Plus, I think that the "strengthening" aspect of personal training is a great compliment to the "therapeutic" aspect of a massage therapist career. I've been looking into the ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) certification, as I've heard that it is the "gold standard" of personal trainer certifications.

    Anyone else out there on the same trek? Any other personal trainer bookworms? :) Any personal trainers with any thoughts or comments or suggestions? I appreciate any feedback as I try to brainstorm my next career move in life.

    I haven't yet gone the certification/client route, but I have been taking different fitness and nutrition courses for the last couple of years, and I definitely find that understanding the rationale behind different fitness activities and nutritional strategies helps me stick to them. I read a lot and with all the conflicting information, I found myself changing my plan after every new book, article, etc., so I decided to go back to the basics and get a theoretical foundation upon which to build my own plan. I originally was planning to get a certification, and still might, but every time I learn something new, I realize how much there is that I don't know, so I'm not sure I'll ever be confident enough to pursue fitness as a career.

    I too thought about going back to school for another degree, but with two undergrads and a graduate degree already I am not sure I want to start another 4 year program (not counting the pre-health courses, as my education is in finance and in design.) I might have done it had I stayed in Canada, but university in the US is just so expensive, I can't really justify it, especially since it will not do anything to increase my earnings.

    I think studying anatomy and basic exercise theory definitely helped me to become a better fighter and stronger overall, and now that I have some health problems that limit my exercise ability, I am getting more interested in the nutrition side and have seen some big improvements from putting my new knowledge to work. I have become the "go to" person in my social group for fitness and nutrition questions and have tried to help out some of my friends, and that is also really motivating for me.

    I think your plan is a great one. I found that once I understood the theory of fitness and nutrition, it was much easier to motivate myself to put it into practice. It sounds like you might be a bit like me: being told to do something isn't enough; you need to know why and how the plan was developed in order to have confidence in it. Whether or not you get to the point where you become a practicing trainer, that understanding will help you reach your personal goals.

    Just don't skip your workouts to get some extra studying done. ;)
  • slhall0822
    slhall0822 Posts: 128 Member
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    I think your plan is a great one. I found that once I understood the theory of fitness and nutrition, it was much easier to motivate myself to put it into practice. It sounds like you might be a bit like me: being told to do something isn't enough; you need to know why and how the plan was developed in order to have confidence in it. Whether or not you get to the point where you become a practicing trainer, that understanding will help you reach your personal goals.

    Just don't skip your workouts to get some extra studying done. ;)

    That's exactly how I am... I can't just do something because someone tells me to do it. I don't just blindly believe someone when they tell me that something is good, or bad, for me. I have to read, analyze, and understand the research for myself. I like to use my own mind to make my own decisions. Thanks for the input everyone, this has been really helpful!
  • LKArgh
    LKArgh Posts: 5,179 Member
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    If you cannot currently exercise and get in shape, why do you think you would be good at this job? Shouldn't you at least give it a try before deciding on fitness as a career? You say you are currently struggling to stay active, so what makes you think this is the type of job that you could be passionate about? Also, while I am sure a certification is important, why would anyone hire a trainer who does not train herself and is just a beginner? If you start now, it will take years before you have the actual experience. You cannot just learn from a book and a few months seminars, it takes practice. With e.g. a couple of years of going to your gym yourself, you will still be a beginner. A beginner with some theoretical background, but still a beginner. And the lack of practice is at best going to mean you have no clients, at worst it will mean some of your clients will get hurt, because you will be pretty much learning with them.
  • slhall0822
    slhall0822 Posts: 128 Member
    edited May 2015
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    aggelikik wrote: »
    If you cannot currently exercise and get in shape, why do you think you would be good at this job? Shouldn't you at least give it a try before deciding on fitness as a career? You say you are currently struggling to stay active, so what makes you think this is the type of job that you could be passionate about? Also, while I am sure a certification is important, why would anyone hire a trainer who does not train herself and is just a beginner? If you start now, it will take years before you have the actual experience. You cannot just learn from a book and a few months seminars, it takes practice. With e.g. a couple of years of going to your gym yourself, you will still be a beginner. A beginner with some theoretical background, but still a beginner. And the lack of practice is at best going to mean you have no clients, at worst it will mean some of your clients will get hurt, because you will be pretty much learning with them.

    Everyone has to start somewhere. My main motivation for being interested in pursing a personal training certification has very little to do with the potential career aspect. I'm actually very happy in my current career as a massage therapist and I'm doing very well. Should I pursue a personal trainer certification, I would never dream of training someone until I feel that I have the experience necessary to be a good trainer and not potentially injure a client. Over 10 years ago, I experienced a pretty severe injury due to a trainer who was overzealous and had very little knowledge about a contraindication of mine - of which I made him very aware. I don't blame him, he was clueless and was the graduate of a fly-by-night personal trainer certification course. But I do blame myself for not doing my research to make sure that I was being trained by a trainer with sufficient credentials.

    I wouldn't expect, nor would I want, anyone to hire me as a trainer if I were out of shape and didn't train myself first. Why would I expect someone to take anything I say seriously if I don't represent what I'm trying to teach? I would fully expect my potential clients to vet my credentials and would be disappointed if they didn't. I am fully aware that should I decide to pursue this, it would potentially be years before I could market myself as a legitimate trainer. This is why I'm researching the best certification program available. This is why I'm reaching out to other more experienced trainers to get their suggestions and ideas. I'm passionate about helping others and I'm passionate about knowledge. That's one of the reasons I think I might make a good personal trainer. Plus, if I can learn what I need to learn to turn my life around - fitness wise - then I think that gives me a little extra understanding to help clients who are struggling... more understanding that someone who has been a gym rat their entire life and has no idea how to relate to their clients.

    When deciding where to pursue my massage therapy education, I sought out the best program within my reach. The school I chose was an hour away from my home, cost almost twice as much as the local massage programs at technical schools near my home, and the program I chose was twice as long as the average massage therapy program. I wanted to make sure I got the best education possible. Now that I'm a licensed massage therapist and know what's out there - I am SO incredibly glad that I invested more time and money in a quality education... my clients have repeatedly told me how much of a difference it has made in the quality of a massage they receive from me. To this day, there are hundreds of so-called massage "modalities" that you can become "certified" in. But I refuse to take a weekend course just to get a so-called certification, call myself an expert, and then practice some random massage technique on my massage clients. You're right... the lack of knowledge and false sense of confidence will most definitely lead to injuring someone. I think that I'm extremely responsible when it comes to making sure I'm fully qualified to do what I claim I'm qualified to do. When my massage clients present with an issue that I'm not qualified to address, I don't hesitate one bit to refer them elsewhere... and I've had to be pretty adamant with some of my more loyal clients that I am not qualified to address certain issues and won't ever try to lead them to think that I can.

    Should I decide to pursue personal training, I will most definitely approach it with the same sense of excellence that I approached massage therapy, and my previous education. I believe getting a personal trainer certification is the first step at educating myself and fostering a growing passion in getting healthy - versus just showing up at the gym and haphazardly fumbling my way through the workouts and equipment. At the very least, I would like to use my new found knowledge to learn how to properly incorporate physical fitness in my life. If I'm successful with my own progress - then and ONLY then will I decide if I want to actually market my knowledge to help others. If I never feel confident as a trainer, I would be perfectly fine with being certified and never using it to earn income.
  • barbecuesauce
    barbecuesauce Posts: 1,771 Member
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    I guess it's good that you aren't bothered about using it for employment or not. I don't want to be a meanie here. But if I went to a trainer who was an obese beginner, I would not feel at all confident in their knowledge/abilities, no matter how book smart they were. As others have pointed out, it usually goes that a person becomes more fit and then seeks PT certification.

    You can't compare knowledge gained from a textbook or online with hands-on experience. Are you really going to demonstrate how to do moves that you will have to modify due to your own size? Please don't think I'm having a go at you--8 months ago I was obese and I'm still chubby--but this seems backwards.

    If you're doing it just to have the knowledge, great. But this doesn't seem like the most efficient way to meet your own fitness goals.
  • slhall0822
    slhall0822 Posts: 128 Member
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    I guess it's good that you aren't bothered about using it for employment or not. I don't want to be a meanie here. But if I went to a trainer who was an obese beginner, I would not feel at all confident in their knowledge/abilities, no matter how book smart they were. As others have pointed out, it usually goes that a person becomes more fit and then seeks PT certification.

    You can't compare knowledge gained from a textbook or online with hands-on experience. Are you really going to demonstrate how to do moves that you will have to modify due to your own size? Please don't think I'm having a go at you--8 months ago I was obese and I'm still chubby--but this seems backwards.

    If you're doing it just to have the knowledge, great. But this doesn't seem like the most efficient way to meet your own fitness goals.

    Definitely don't think you're being a meanie :-). And I totally agree... even as blubbery as I am, if I went to a trainer and they were out of shape, I would also question their expertise and likely judge them (and I try my best to stay non-judgmental). Should I decide to train others, I'd definitely not do it until I was in great shape and could show that I practice what I preach.
  • zoeysasha37
    zoeysasha37 Posts: 7,088 Member
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    MrM27 wrote: »
    I don't think I have ever seen that questioned asked here before, I may be wrong. I personally feel the other way around is a good way to go. You want to be able to motivate your clients and you should be able to motivate yourself as well. If you can't motivate yourself without becoming a trainer first then you'll be lacking some qualities that go into the trainer/client experience.

    This
  • LKArgh
    LKArgh Posts: 5,179 Member
    edited May 2015
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    slhall0822 wrote: »
    aggelikik wrote: »
    If you cannot currently exercise and get in shape, why do you think you would be good at this job? Shouldn't you at least give it a try before deciding on fitness as a career? You say you are currently struggling to stay active, so what makes you think this is the type of job that you could be passionate about? Also, while I am sure a certification is important, why would anyone hire a trainer who does not train herself and is just a beginner? If you start now, it will take years before you have the actual experience. You cannot just learn from a book and a few months seminars, it takes practice. With e.g. a couple of years of going to your gym yourself, you will still be a beginner. A beginner with some theoretical background, but still a beginner. And the lack of practice is at best going to mean you have no clients, at worst it will mean some of your clients will get hurt, because you will be pretty much learning with them.

    Everyone has to start somewhere. My main motivation for being interested in pursing a personal training certification has very little to do with the potential career aspect. I'm actually very happy in my current career as a massage therapist and I'm doing very well. Should I pursue a personal trainer certification, I would never dream of training someone until I feel that I have the experience necessary to be a good trainer and not potentially injure a client. Over 10 years ago, I experienced a pretty severe injury due to a trainer who was overzealous and had very little knowledge about a contraindication of mine - of which I made him very aware. I don't blame him, he was clueless and was the graduate of a fly-by-night personal trainer certification course. But I do blame myself for not doing my research to make sure that I was being trained by a trainer with sufficient credentials.

    I wouldn't expect, nor would I want, anyone to hire me as a trainer if I were out of shape and didn't train myself first. Why would I expect someone to take anything I say seriously if I don't represent what I'm trying to teach? I would fully expect my potential clients to vet my credentials and would be disappointed if they didn't. I am fully aware that should I decide to pursue this, it would potentially be years before I could market myself as a legitimate trainer. This is why I'm researching the best certification program available. This is why I'm reaching out to other more experienced trainers to get their suggestions and ideas. I'm passionate about helping others and I'm passionate about knowledge. That's one of the reasons I think I might make a good personal trainer. Plus, if I can learn what I need to learn to turn my life around - fitness wise - then I think that gives me a little extra understanding to help clients who are struggling... more understanding that someone who has been a gym rat their entire life and has no idea how to relate to their clients.

    When deciding where to pursue my massage therapy education, I sought out the best program within my reach. The school I chose was an hour away from my home, cost almost twice as much as the local massage programs at technical schools near my home, and the program I chose was twice as long as the average massage therapy program. I wanted to make sure I got the best education possible. Now that I'm a licensed massage therapist and know what's out there - I am SO incredibly glad that I invested more time and money in a quality education... my clients have repeatedly told me how much of a difference it has made in the quality of a massage they receive from me. To this day, there are hundreds of so-called massage "modalities" that you can become "certified" in. But I refuse to take a weekend course just to get a so-called certification, call myself an expert, and then practice some random massage technique on my massage clients. You're right... the lack of knowledge and false sense of confidence will most definitely lead to injuring someone. I think that I'm extremely responsible when it comes to making sure I'm fully qualified to do what I claim I'm qualified to do. When my massage clients present with an issue that I'm not qualified to address, I don't hesitate one bit to refer them elsewhere... and I've had to be pretty adamant with some of my more loyal clients that I am not qualified to address certain issues and won't ever try to lead them to think that I can.

    Should I decide to pursue personal training, I will most definitely approach it with the same sense of excellence that I approached massage therapy, and my previous education. I believe getting a personal trainer certification is the first step at educating myself and fostering a growing passion in getting healthy - versus just showing up at the gym and haphazardly fumbling my way through the workouts and equipment. At the very least, I would like to use my new found knowledge to learn how to properly incorporate physical fitness in my life. If I'm successful with my own progress - then and ONLY then will I decide if I want to actually market my knowledge to help others. If I never feel confident as a trainer, I would be perfectly fine with being certified and never using it to earn income.

    Ok, I understand what you are saying, although I cannot say I agree. It sounds a bit like saying, "I will only order takeaway and not even try to boil an egg until I have completed the training to become a chef". If the goal is to get in shape, wanting to first get certified as a personal trainer, then start moving, it sounds like an excuse to not exercise, sorry. Go for a walk, take your kids to the park and chase them around, and there, you have done it, without a degree. Not having enough knowledge to start moving, so being obese until you gain this knowledge, it is an excuse. You do not need some deeper knowledge to turn their life around when it comes to exercise, noit unless you are already at an elite athlete's level. You just need a pair of walking shoes.
  • 47Jacqueline
    47Jacqueline Posts: 6,993 Member
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    You've got it backwards. Become a personal trainer so you can inspire others to do the same by your good example. If you can't motivate yourself, how do you expect to motivate others? A personal trainer has a responsibility to help people improve their lives through fitness. You can't do that for someone else if you can't do it for yourself.

    Get moving. Eat right. Learn about getting well and staying healthy. You don't need to be an athlete, but you need to know the drill. It's a lot cheaper and easier to focus on yourself.

    You might not want to be a personal trainer when it comes down to it. If what you are looking for is motivation to get in shape, then start by finding activities you like to do. As several people have mentioned - just get moving.

    You've got a lot of excuses for not moving. Working with other people is difficult. All you will find is that just like not being able to motivate yourself, you will not be able to motivate others. Motivation is something that comes from within. By trivializing any activity to walking around in circles or whatever, you're ensuring that you don't start. By not taking the time you need to put into fitness for yourself, you're perpetuating your problem.

    Working out takes 4% of your day.
  • JoRocka
    JoRocka Posts: 17,525 Member
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    slhall0822 wrote: »
    Before I became a massage therapist, massages seemed like a luxury item, not a necessity. Now I feel like everyone should get a massage as often as possible because of the health benefits. Then again, in general, I don't give relaxation massages and primarily practice deep tissue/neuromuscular massage for pain relief. I am so motivated for others to get massage that I'd massage people for free if my bank account wouldn't suffer LOL. I'm hoping I find the same motivation by acquiring the knowledge it takes to be a personal trainer.

    just to be clear- I used to be a trainer- I did zero studying off their "book" because I was already well educated from my personal drive to be a better lifter- I spend more time studying lifting/form/new 'hot topics" then most generic big box trainers do.

    There is more than enough material/information out there- there is zero need to motivate to become a certified trainer. anyone with half a brain who graduated high school can walk in and take the basic one without studying.
  • AllanMisner
    AllanMisner Posts: 4,140 Member
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    I did exactly what you’re talking about. I committed to get in shape and obtained my certified personal trainer from NASM. I’ve added a fitness nutrition specialty and I’m currently working on the corrective exercise specialty. I didn’t do it to motivate me. Instead, I want a second career after I retire (I stayed on the corporate ladder). I’ll keep working on my certs and specialties, get in better and better shape, and train people part time until then.

    One thing about your sitting and reading, audio books. Then you can walk and listen.
  • MakePeasNotWar
    MakePeasNotWar Posts: 1,329 Member
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    aggelikik wrote: »
    slhall0822 wrote: »
    aggelikik wrote: »
    If you cannot currently exercise and get in shape, why do you think you would be good at this job? Shouldn't you at least give it a try before deciding on fitness as a career? You say you are currently struggling to stay active, so what makes you think this is the type of job that you could be passionate about? Also, while I am sure a certification is important, why would anyone hire a trainer who does not train herself and is just a beginner? If you start now, it will take years before you have the actual experience. You cannot just learn from a book and a few months seminars, it takes practice. With e.g. a couple of years of going to your gym yourself, you will still be a beginner. A beginner with some theoretical background, but still a beginner. And the lack of practice is at best going to mean you have no clients, at worst it will mean some of your clients will get hurt, because you will be pretty much learning with them.

    Everyone has to start somewhere. My main motivation for being interested in pursing a personal training certification has very little to do with the potential career aspect. I'm actually very happy in my current career as a massage therapist and I'm doing very well. Should I pursue a personal trainer certification, I would never dream of training someone until I feel that I have the experience necessary to be a good trainer and not potentially injure a client. Over 10 years ago, I experienced a pretty severe injury due to a trainer who was overzealous and had very little knowledge about a contraindication of mine - of which I made him very aware. I don't blame him, he was clueless and was the graduate of a fly-by-night personal trainer certification course. But I do blame myself for not doing my research to make sure that I was being trained by a trainer with sufficient credentials.

    I wouldn't expect, nor would I want, anyone to hire me as a trainer if I were out of shape and didn't train myself first. Why would I expect someone to take anything I say seriously if I don't represent what I'm trying to teach? I would fully expect my potential clients to vet my credentials and would be disappointed if they didn't. I am fully aware that should I decide to pursue this, it would potentially be years before I could market myself as a legitimate trainer. This is why I'm researching the best certification program available. This is why I'm reaching out to other more experienced trainers to get their suggestions and ideas. I'm passionate about helping others and I'm passionate about knowledge. That's one of the reasons I think I might make a good personal trainer. Plus, if I can learn what I need to learn to turn my life around - fitness wise - then I think that gives me a little extra understanding to help clients who are struggling... more understanding that someone who has been a gym rat their entire life and has no idea how to relate to their clients.

    When deciding where to pursue my massage therapy education, I sought out the best program within my reach. The school I chose was an hour away from my home, cost almost twice as much as the local massage programs at technical schools near my home, and the program I chose was twice as long as the average massage therapy program. I wanted to make sure I got the best education possible. Now that I'm a licensed massage therapist and know what's out there - I am SO incredibly glad that I invested more time and money in a quality education... my clients have repeatedly told me how much of a difference it has made in the quality of a massage they receive from me. To this day, there are hundreds of so-called massage "modalities" that you can become "certified" in. But I refuse to take a weekend course just to get a so-called certification, call myself an expert, and then practice some random massage technique on my massage clients. You're right... the lack of knowledge and false sense of confidence will most definitely lead to injuring someone. I think that I'm extremely responsible when it comes to making sure I'm fully qualified to do what I claim I'm qualified to do. When my massage clients present with an issue that I'm not qualified to address, I don't hesitate one bit to refer them elsewhere... and I've had to be pretty adamant with some of my more loyal clients that I am not qualified to address certain issues and won't ever try to lead them to think that I can.

    Should I decide to pursue personal training, I will most definitely approach it with the same sense of excellence that I approached massage therapy, and my previous education. I believe getting a personal trainer certification is the first step at educating myself and fostering a growing passion in getting healthy - versus just showing up at the gym and haphazardly fumbling my way through the workouts and equipment. At the very least, I would like to use my new found knowledge to learn how to properly incorporate physical fitness in my life. If I'm successful with my own progress - then and ONLY then will I decide if I want to actually market my knowledge to help others. If I never feel confident as a trainer, I would be perfectly fine with being certified and never using it to earn income.

    Ok, I understand what you are saying, although I cannot say I agree. It sounds a bit like saying, "I will only order takeaway and not even try to boil an egg until I have completed the training to become a chef". If the goal is to get in shape, wanting to first get certified as a personal trainer, then start moving, it sounds like an excuse to not exercise, sorry. Go for a walk, take your kids to the park and chase them around, and there, you have done it, without a degree. Not having enough knowledge to start moving, so being obese until you gain this knowledge, it is an excuse. You do not need some deeper knowledge to turn their life around when it comes to exercise, noit unless you are already at an elite athlete's level. You just need a pair of walking shoes.

    I don't think she said anywhere she was going to wait. I started studying fitness and nutrition in order to keep myself highly motivated with my training and it actually helped me to get into better shape than I had ever been, both because I was able to customize my training to my goals and because my adherence was much better when I understood the benefits of each specific exercise and nutritional change.

    I would have never got to an athlete level without the knowledge I got from my studies. Some people can follow a program and trust that it will work, but others (like me and OP) need to understand WHY in order to keep going when the progress isn't apparent, or when things don't go exactly as planned. Neither way is better or worse, they just work for different people.
  • sengalissa
    sengalissa Posts: 253 Member
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    slhall0822 wrote: »
    MrM27 wrote: »
    I don't think I have ever seen that questioned asked here before, I may be wrong. I personally feel the other way around is a good way to go. You want to be able to motivate your clients and you should be able to motivate yourself as well. If you can't motivate yourself without becoming a trainer first then you'll be lacking some qualities that go into the trainer/client experience.

    I wondered that as well (how can I motivate others if I can't motivate myself?) but then I realized that for me, knowledge really is power. Take massage for example, I always knew that self care (like stretching and relaxing your muscles) is good for you... but I never really knew WHY. Since my massage school education, I now know exactly WHY self-care (in the form of stretching/flexibility/relaxation) is good for your body and the WHY is what motivates me. I am hoping that learning more about the exact reasons behind how physical activity benefits your body will help to not only motivate myself, but to motivate others. If I'm passionate about something and REALLY understand and believe how and why it works, then I'm much more likely to want to motivate others. Does that make sense?

    I like that you are trying to work with your strengths instead of working against your weaknesses :) All this makes total sense to me. I have thought about it myself because I am a person who needs to know the why as well. I have been following a few blogs and read a lot, and now I feel like at least I should spread some of that instead of keeping it to myself.
    Do you enjoy reading about fitness, or just wellness? Why don't you start there and contemplate a little longer?
  • CSARdiver
    CSARdiver Posts: 6,252 Member
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    It certainly would help act as a part of the positive feedback loop - inspiration through others, a need to stay physically fit, providing inspiration for others. Certainly a good goal while you are getting back into shape, but as in any sales job - you aren't so much selling your product than yourself. A PT in poor shape is not going to gain many clients. A good friend of mine just achieved her ISSA and left the corporate world to become a full-time PT - loves every minute of it.
  • slhall0822
    slhall0822 Posts: 128 Member
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    aggelikik wrote: »
    slhall0822 wrote: »
    aggelikik wrote: »
    If you cannot currently exercise and get in shape, why do you think you would be good at this job? Shouldn't you at least give it a try before deciding on fitness as a career? You say you are currently struggling to stay active, so what makes you think this is the type of job that you could be passionate about? Also, while I am sure a certification is important, why would anyone hire a trainer who does not train herself and is just a beginner? If you start now, it will take years before you have the actual experience. You cannot just learn from a book and a few months seminars, it takes practice. With e.g. a couple of years of going to your gym yourself, you will still be a beginner. A beginner with some theoretical background, but still a beginner. And the lack of practice is at best going to mean you have no clients, at worst it will mean some of your clients will get hurt, because you will be pretty much learning with them.

    Everyone has to start somewhere. My main motivation for being interested in pursing a personal training certification has very little to do with the potential career aspect. I'm actually very happy in my current career as a massage therapist and I'm doing very well. Should I pursue a personal trainer certification, I would never dream of training someone until I feel that I have the experience necessary to be a good trainer and not potentially injure a client. Over 10 years ago, I experienced a pretty severe injury due to a trainer who was overzealous and had very little knowledge about a contraindication of mine - of which I made him very aware. I don't blame him, he was clueless and was the graduate of a fly-by-night personal trainer certification course. But I do blame myself for not doing my research to make sure that I was being trained by a trainer with sufficient credentials.

    I wouldn't expect, nor would I want, anyone to hire me as a trainer if I were out of shape and didn't train myself first. Why would I expect someone to take anything I say seriously if I don't represent what I'm trying to teach? I would fully expect my potential clients to vet my credentials and would be disappointed if they didn't. I am fully aware that should I decide to pursue this, it would potentially be years before I could market myself as a legitimate trainer. This is why I'm researching the best certification program available. This is why I'm reaching out to other more experienced trainers to get their suggestions and ideas. I'm passionate about helping others and I'm passionate about knowledge. That's one of the reasons I think I might make a good personal trainer. Plus, if I can learn what I need to learn to turn my life around - fitness wise - then I think that gives me a little extra understanding to help clients who are struggling... more understanding that someone who has been a gym rat their entire life and has no idea how to relate to their clients.

    When deciding where to pursue my massage therapy education, I sought out the best program within my reach. The school I chose was an hour away from my home, cost almost twice as much as the local massage programs at technical schools near my home, and the program I chose was twice as long as the average massage therapy program. I wanted to make sure I got the best education possible. Now that I'm a licensed massage therapist and know what's out there - I am SO incredibly glad that I invested more time and money in a quality education... my clients have repeatedly told me how much of a difference it has made in the quality of a massage they receive from me. To this day, there are hundreds of so-called massage "modalities" that you can become "certified" in. But I refuse to take a weekend course just to get a so-called certification, call myself an expert, and then practice some random massage technique on my massage clients. You're right... the lack of knowledge and false sense of confidence will most definitely lead to injuring someone. I think that I'm extremely responsible when it comes to making sure I'm fully qualified to do what I claim I'm qualified to do. When my massage clients present with an issue that I'm not qualified to address, I don't hesitate one bit to refer them elsewhere... and I've had to be pretty adamant with some of my more loyal clients that I am not qualified to address certain issues and won't ever try to lead them to think that I can.

    Should I decide to pursue personal training, I will most definitely approach it with the same sense of excellence that I approached massage therapy, and my previous education. I believe getting a personal trainer certification is the first step at educating myself and fostering a growing passion in getting healthy - versus just showing up at the gym and haphazardly fumbling my way through the workouts and equipment. At the very least, I would like to use my new found knowledge to learn how to properly incorporate physical fitness in my life. If I'm successful with my own progress - then and ONLY then will I decide if I want to actually market my knowledge to help others. If I never feel confident as a trainer, I would be perfectly fine with being certified and never using it to earn income.

    Ok, I understand what you are saying, although I cannot say I agree. It sounds a bit like saying, "I will only order takeaway and not even try to boil an egg until I have completed the training to become a chef". If the goal is to get in shape, wanting to first get certified as a personal trainer, then start moving, it sounds like an excuse to not exercise, sorry. Go for a walk, take your kids to the park and chase them around, and there, you have done it, without a degree. Not having enough knowledge to start moving, so being obese until you gain this knowledge, it is an excuse. You do not need some deeper knowledge to turn their life around when it comes to exercise, noit unless you are already at an elite athlete's level. You just need a pair of walking shoes.

    I don't think she said anywhere she was going to wait. I started studying fitness and nutrition in order to keep myself highly motivated with my training and it actually helped me to get into better shape than I had ever been, both because I was able to customize my training to my goals and because my adherence was much better when I understood the benefits of each specific exercise and nutritional change.

    I would have never got to an athlete level without the knowledge I got from my studies. Some people can follow a program and trust that it will work, but others (like me and OP) need to understand WHY in order to keep going when the progress isn't apparent, or when things don't go exactly as planned. Neither way is better or worse, they just work for different people.

    Exactly! This! I'm glad some people completely understand :)
  • SideSteel
    SideSteel Posts: 11,068 Member
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    I have my doubts that this will work, but:

    If you have the disposable income to purchase a training certification
    and
    you aren't expecting to turn this into a career (at least not yet)
    and
    you think this is going to be the thing that causes you to adhere to diet and exercise

    ..then I'd say do it.

  • Curtez
    Curtez Posts: 62 Member
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    Get in shape first.
    As the saying goes: "cant trust a skinny chef."
  • alpine1994
    alpine1994 Posts: 1,915 Member
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    I started studying for the ACSM cert but had to stop due to increased responsibilities with my full time job, but I enjoyed what I learned. It is now a few years later and I actually just got certified to teach spinning (indoor cycling) because a spot opened up at my gym and they encouraged me to get certified. Now I get paid to do my favorite workout. Score! So yeah, I think it goes well with your massage therapy and if it would motivate you, then go for it!
  • jetortola
    jetortola Posts: 198 Member
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    I just want to pop in to say follow your intuition and your dreams -- you know yourself best and you understand what motivates you -- and best of luck!

    I think its perfectly reasonable to get in shape WHILE working on your certification -- you will learn from both experiences and each will benefit the other. Take it as far as you want to go.

    To those who say that someone not in shape shouldn't be a trainer... well, I think the idea is that by the point she is actually training, she will be in shape! :)