In the wake of the Coronavirus onslaught, it’s a challenging time to consider launching a new career of any sort. Across the globe, people and economies are struggling to recover from the effects of the virus. Millions of people have lost their jobs or suffered significant reductions in the amount of hours they’re being asked to work.
With so many talented and previously-experienced people now being unemployed, finding a job is hard; there’s massive competition for every job opening. Becoming a personal trainer isn’t easy right now, but neither is doing any other job. Let’s discuss some of the most important considerations for becoming a personal trainer in the age of COVID-19.
The Future Employment Outlook for Personal Trainers
In both the United States and Australia, analysts had been predicting an exceptionally favorable outlook for personal trainers and fitness instructors before the virus crisis erupted. The career experts at the US Bureau of Labor Statistics had been forecasting an expansion of 13 percent in this vocation by the year 2028. Those at the Australian Government’s Department of Education, Skills and Employment were expecting to see “very strong future growth” for those participating in this career path.
It’s hard to say how long it will take for things to get back on track now that the virus has disrupted everything. The future employment outlook for personal trainers is more uncertain now than it was before COVID-19.
Gyms Are Going Out of Business
The fitness industry was hit hard by the onset of COVID-19. Gyms in multiple states were deemed “non-essential” businesses and were forced to close. As a result, some gyms lost so much revenue that they are now struggling to stay in business. Some have already shuttered their doors permanently, and others are in the process of bankruptcy proceedings. For example, Golds Gym has already permanently closed 30 of its gyms and is pursuing a reorganization under chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. 24-Hour Fitness is preparing for a possible bankruptcy too.
This sudden shrinkage in the pool of prospective employers is one of the first hurdles an aspiring personal trainer will have to face while seeking work. Of course, it isn’t necessary for a personal trainer to work for a gym; but, in the past, gyms certainly offered a number of convenient options for finding work. Now there are fewer options than there were before, which makes finding work more challenging than it used to be.
Fitness Equipment Is Sold Out All Over the Country
Gyms are convenient, but they aren’t your only option for getting a great workout and connecting with personal training clients. “No problem,” you might think; “I’ll just set up a home gym to use for training clients”.
Great idea, but nope. Right now, that’s going to be harder than you’d think. If you don’t already have a home gym set up, you’re likely to run into difficulties sourcing the equipment you’ll need to stock it. This is because home fitness equipment, like toilet paper and hand sanitizer, sold out quickly in the wake of the virus. It is possible that you might be able to find some gear available locally, particularly on the secondary market; but overall, things like high-quality dumbbell sets are hard to come by right now.
Luckily, equipment isn’t necessary for getting a good workout. If you run into problems with equipping a home gym, consider applying some creativity in designing effective regiments that don’t require machines or gear. For example, you can create entire regiments where your own body weight is used as resistance. You can also incorporate yoga or martial arts exercises into your workouts; try filling up a couple of bags with sand to use instead of barbells, or experiment with rope climbing.
Social Distancing Poses Challenges for Effective Personal Training
Before personal trainers had to worry about the COVID-19 virus, they generally felt free to get as close to clients as they needed to in order to effectively do their jobs. For example, if a client were performing an exercise with incorrect form, the trainer might feel free to physically reach in and help adjust the client’s body position to correct the problem.
Societal pressure to observe social distancing has made it much more challenging for personal trainers to effectively do their jobs.
Some personal trainers and fitness instructors are now using videoconferencing software such as Zoom to train their clients. This is better than not training at all, but it is far less effective than the up-close-and-personal, in-person training sessions people used to have before the Coronavirus became a crisis.
For as long as COVID-19 remains an issue, personal trainers will have the added challenge of figuring out how to keep clients motivated and using correct form while maintaining a socially acceptable physical distance from them.
Things That Haven’t Changed
There are some things that haven’t changed as a result of the virus – specifically, the basic requirements for becoming a personal trainer haven’t changed. One of the most important considerations for personal training is the education and credentials you need to achieve success at the job.
In the United States, employers generally prefer to hire personal trainers who have, at a minimum, obtained a personal training certification. It is becoming increasingly more commonplace for employers to seek out personal trainers who’ve obtained more than just a basic level of education; so it’s an asset if you’re able to earn a bachelor’s degree in a related subject such as physical education, kinesiology or exercise science.
In Australia, personal trainers typically need to complete a certification program – specifically, a certificate III or IV in fitness.
There are many fitness course providers in Australia, and not all of them provide an academic experience that will actually qualify a person to become a personal trainer. For example, there are many free online fitness courses that could be helpful for improving one’s health and fitness levels, but they do not confer the academic credentials that will qualify you to find work in Australia.
According to experts at the TAFE Courses academic portal, the available free courses don’t typically offer the depth of information that personal trainers need for successfully helping their clients. At their website, they explain more about free vs paid PT and the differences you could expect to encounter between both types of courses.
With all the uncertainty surrounding the Coronavirus, acquiring the right credentials is one more challenge that aspiring personal trainers must carefully consider. Many schools decided to shut down during the first wave of the crisis; and while they might have re-opened, or be planning to reopen soon, there’s no guarantee that they will stay open if the crisis worsens.
Under the circumstances, it takes courage to even consider committing the funds necessary to obtain a degree or certification. However, if you’re serious about a career as a personal trainer, at some point you’ll have to just take the plunge and get the education you need to do the job well.
Personal training has never been the easiest career choice, and in the age of COVID-19, it is now significantly more challenging than it has ever been before. However, it’s a worthwhile job, and it’s one that gives you abundant opportunities to truly make a difference in your clients’ lives. If you can figure out ways to meet the above-mentioned challenges and pursue this career, the resulting satisfaction you’ll experience is likely to be significant.