If you’ve entered the personal training space, you may or may not know that there are several avenues you can go. Before choosing just one, I highly suggest trying any and all that interest you because you never know which one you may gravitate towards.
General Population/Weight Loss
Most trainers default to this niche to start. This is most of your clientele coming into big box gyms. Specializing here means you work mostly with people just wanting to shed some unwanted body fat and get overall healthy and active. While this may seem simple, it’s actually a little harder than it looks. If you truly have a client that wants weight loss, it’s going to require proper nutrition and dieting skills on your end.
Just because one diet or method may have worked for you doesn’t mean it’s going to work for them. You have to have an excellent grasp not only on weight programming, but altering their diet too. This usually involves additional certifications in nutrition coaching.You are doing yourself and the client a disservice if you aren’t taking the proper steps towards educating yourself to optimize their time and money.
This route tends to focus on dealing with athletes predominantly. A lot of young trainers all claim they want to end up in this field but few ever make it. It is a very niche community and very competitive. These days most strength coaches require a master’s degree, and having had experience working under reputable coaches who are willing to vouch for you. You also need a specific NSCA-CSCS certification for colleges and teams to even remotely consider hiring you. Most places will want to see you have a ton of experience as an intern before hiring so keep that in mind.
It’s also a different skill set in that your programming will fall more on functional and injury prevention training with some emphasis on explosive exercises and speed.
There are actually coaches and websites completely dedicated to this niche. There is no shortage of women getting pregnant or having just had a pregnancy who are totally unfamiliar with what they should do next. There is a lot of nuance involved in rebuilding the core muscles, and changing the mindset post pregnancy.
If you choose to go this route, please do your due diligence to understand every aspect of it. A lot of care and safety needs to be taken as these clients have stretched and atrophied their muscles in ways that a careful eye needs to be placed to get them stronger again.
These are technically two different niches, but for the sake of this article I’ll put them together. Specializing in powerlifting or bodybuilding coaching usually involves the trainer having been a competitor themselves. Regardless of which sport you choose, this will require a LOT of experience especially as you get closer to show or meet time. Both sports have very specific peak week strategies that need to be implemented whether it’s to make sure the body is recovered to perform optimally come show day, or to make sure the ready is primed and ready to soak up carbs on show day. Your clientele are going to hold you EXTREMELY accountable towards getting them a very specific physique. This isn’t general weight loss where they are just trying to lose a couple pounds for the beach. These people expect to be hitting their best lifts or bringing their most shredded physique on stage. You need to have absolute expertise on how to program for either sport, and the mindset it takes day in and day out to get to those goals. At the end of the day, they are sports, so they will have offseasons, and peak seasons. Most trainers end up working alongside nutrition coaches and posing coaches to help prepare that client for the day of.