There is no Money Working with Athletes!
In America, sports are a billion-dollar industry and also one of the most popular pastimes. From the “elite” youth aau/club teams that people pay for their children to be a part of, to college and professional sports, there is a lot of money to be spent and/or earned off athletics. Keep this in mind as this story unfolds.
When I graduated from college, I knew I had to get a job (since I was at home), and that I wanted to train people, so I applied to every gym from Tacoma to Seattle that was hiring personal trainers. Anyone who knows this industry understands that there is a high turnover rate for trainers, especially in the mainstream or big box gyms (LA fitness, 24-hour fitness, etc.), so it seemed like everyone and their mom were hiring. These gyms also falsely advertise high salary potential (usually what the top trainer makes at their gym), with the ability to earn the high incomes within 6-8 months. Although these ads are very enticing, they are far from true, but that’s a topic for another article.
Since I had a bachelor’s degree in the field, with a couple of years of training experience with athletes and the general population in college, I received invitations for interviews from most of the gyms I applied to. I’d like to note (this doesn’t have anything to do with the article), that most of the interviewers were better salesmen/women than they were trainers, and most only had 1 – 2 clients, but I digress.
One of the main questions that was asked at every interview was “what are you goals for the future” and/or where do you see yourself in five years”? My answer almost every time was that I wanted to be a strength and conditioning coach and also run my own gym (neither of these was the right answer, and probably a reason a lot of gyms didn’t hire me). Their reply almost 100% of the time was, “there is no money and sports, it’s too heavily populated” or “ 80-90% of the population and the majority of their members aren’t athletes, so I needed to focus on the general population”.
Not one of the interviewers directed me to resources that could help me reach my goal, instead they shot it down, and tried to impose their goals/realities on me. I don’t know if it was their lack of success as a youth athlete or a lack of success working with athletes, but they strongly opposed me working with athletes, or were either threatened by me wanting run a gym.
Fortunately for me I’m hardheaded, so I ignored their unwanted advice, but how many people don’t? How many people take their advice and give up on their dreams, and for many, on training altogether?
These were some of my thoughts while reflecting on my journey as a personal trainer/strength and conditioning coach. As always, thanks for reading and feel free to comment or share.
Owner of Gray's Academy
B.S., CSCS, NASM CES, USATF 1