If being a personal trainer isn’t quite right for you, then other career paths, such as a fitness class instructor or a gym owner, might be a better fit.
Fitness Class Instructor
As an exercise class instructor, you get to interact with a wider range of gym-goers than a PT but on a less intimate basis. It’s definitely a more extroverted role than that of a personal trainer because you’ll frequently need to raise your voice to make sure that everyone in the class can hear your instructions. Typically, exercise class instructors who work in commercial gyms earn less than personal trainers (especially if you’re employed directly by a gym) because people are willing to pay extra for one-to-one instruction.
Becoming a gym owner is a great career goal for an ambitious personal trainer who wants to scale back their client work and focus on building a thriving fitness community. Creating a workout environment that gym users love definitely requires fitness industry knowledge. And as a personal trainer, you’ll instantly separate yourself from entrepreneurs who open gyms simply to make money because you’ll be able to outfit your facility with better equipment that’s highly relevant to your client base.
While opening a gym certainly requires some capital, it’s a real possibility if you’re a successful personal trainer with plenty of regular clients. Opening a small fitness studio is a good stepping stone in this regard because the space will be cheaper to buy or rent than a full-size gym. Also, training clients out of your own fitness studio means that a gym would no longer be taking a commission or set fee from you.
If you don’t want to spend your time working on the gym floor, then you could train to become a physical therapist instead. This career path requires additional study, likely at a university. However, like personal training, it can be very rewarding to fix your clients’ problems by improving their mobility and strength.
Exercise and Sports Science Lecturer
A similar career path in this regard is that of an exercise and sports science lecturer. This job requires an in-depth scientific knowledge of anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, and sports psychology. You’ll also need a passion for teaching and the enthusiasm to keep on top of new research. While sports science lecturers don’t necessarily earn more than personal trainers (especially not popular trainers), it’s a career that certainly requires more study. And even if you don’t want to lecture to students, having a degree will give you an edge over other trainers and enable you to charge more for your services.
If you get qualified as a personal trainer and then realize that it’s not the right job for you, then don’t worry. As mentioned, a PT qualification opens many other career paths, so don’t think that you’re forced to be a PT just because you have the certificate.