07-14-2006, 10:28 AM
Hey--Sorry about posting this question in this section, but I thought it was the only place I would get some good answer. Im going to be a junior in HS next year, and need to start planning for college. I want to be a personal trainer/nutritionist. I figure many of you in this forum are the same. I already know what I have to do to become a Trainer, but Im a little confused about the nutrition part. I obviously know you have to take a course in Nutrition, but is there any majors in this, and is there any other courses that would help with a career in this area? Thanks so much.
07-14-2006, 11:12 AM
I suggest you PM Alan Aragon. He will help you in this field.
07-14-2006, 05:00 PM
I suggest you PM Alan Aragon. He will help you in this field.
Good call Saw. Apparently Alan gets a lot of these PMs so here is a response of his discussing this http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showpost.php?p=10621614&postcount=400
Little aside here, I continually get pm's about this, including from some of you in this thread, and thought more might be wondering the same things. This thread is as good as any to post this, so here it is.
Far as career paths go, I see it like this..
1) Figure out what it is in life you absolutely are obsessively interested in more than anything else; what really excites you that's relatively ethical/safe/legal. Don't even consider earning potential, the money will follow whatever you can lose yourself in the joy of doing. Don't set limits according to convention & parental/peer pressure; follow your own beat. Everyone's personal vision & destiny is unique, you'll ultimately be happiest doing exactly what YOU want to do with your life.
2) If what you like doing happens to be one of your innate talents, then you have an edge & a head start. If this isn't the case, build your skills until they can be mistaken for talents.
3) Go all out, knowing that other doors may open as a result of your original efforts either collapsing or staying on track.. I actually started off as an art major (graphic design), because my parents said that there's no real careers in bodybuilding/fitness. I said okay, & they knew I had a talent for art, so they pushed me toward graphic design. 1 year into the major, I sat down with a good counselor who asked me what the hell I was doing in this major when all I could talk about was bodybuilding & fitness. The rest is history. I basically personal trained to make ends meet & struggled through the undergrad Nutrition degree (as Chuck is well aware it's an asshair away from getting a minor in chem). While my dietetics colleagues filed off for internships, I got another personal training cert & kept working. Then I literally got straight A's through the master's degree in Nutrition because things finally clicked for me, & everything was crystal clear as far as my interests meshing with what I was good at. Now I counsel individuals & teach courses to CSCS's & Registered Dietitians. I'm my own boss, who woulda thunk, my dad told me that entrepreneurs are miserable & stressed out, always having to hustle for the buck. However, I enjoy the burden of business ownership, it just fits my personality best. And honestly, I'm very happy as long as I can get laid. How much can you make? As little as 25/hr as a hospital dietitian or as much as 45/hr as an upper-level staff personal trainer, or up to 75-90/hr as an independent personal trainer, or 100-150/hr in private counseling practice. I fall into the latter group. I'm sure Chuck makes right near this amount, since it's the typical going rate. Online clients are charged much less, since there's almost an unsaid "outreach" factor that allows the nonaffluent & all types of demographics to receive help. When I speak for corporations, I charge 250-500/hr depending on what the company can afford, and how much prep is involved with the talk. I spoke to Pfizer pharmaceutical for barely an hour, & charged $1000. Same scenario with the Spectrum Academy, $1000/hr to the fitness staff. To contrast that, I speak to highschools for free about 4x a year. Right in the middle are the universities who don't have extravagant budgets, so I compromise according to what their typical honorariums or budgets are. How much you can make annually really depends upon how well you budget your time. Just because you make 100 bucks an hour in my line of work, doesn't mean you're working all day without gaps. Marc is perhaps the smartest of all of us in the department of earning, because his money isn't dierctly tied to the time he puts in a workday. He's making money while he sleeps.
4) Find balance by not letting your career quest consume you. Do other things, nurture other interests. Build your business hours AROUND your personal hours, not the other way around. I did that for years, & it's hard not to once you're in demand. But you gotta respect your personal/self-improvement/family time, and prioritize it above all else. Can't emphasize that enough. And don't forget to count your blessings daily & thank God for them.
So from my personal & limited perspective, here are the pros & cons about being a counselor in private practice in the fitness field:
-- I am the boss & the sole proprietor, no one can fire me except me. I make all the decisions about how I run my operation, and how I help my clientele.
-- I set my rates according to how the market perceives the value of my services. If you're willing to do what it takes to make the market regard you highly, then you certainly can set your rates accordingly.
-- I can take what I learn in private practice & teach it to the professionals, students, & lay public for extra income.
-- I get the ego satisfaction of being recognized as an expert in my field.
-- I get the personal satisfaction of knowing that I'm doing things the best way I can conceive of, versus having to endure the compromises common to employeeship.
-- I can set my own schedule & vacations.
-- There's nothing quite like the intrinsic victory of seeing a client "graduate" and either maintain their goals or move on to the next level.
-- I can eat & go to the bathroom without asking permission to do so.
-- I can affect things globally according to my own personal vision. If I were to work under someone else's vision that didn't click 100% with mine, I wouldn't strive as hard.
-- I get the satisfaction of giving away knowledge I've gained & helping others avoid the mistakes I've made & observed in the formative years of my career.
-- There will be a certain learning curve in which you will fall flat on either your face or your ass several times before you get things streamlined, & before you get enough experience under your belt to handle a wide range of client types.
-- This is not a career for the impatient. It takes time to build solid referral networks, not to mention the trust required to keep them in place.
-- Not every client is gonna be compliant to the protocol. although most are a joy to work with, not every client is mentally sane, nor easy to work with.
-- I've taken it upon myself to be 100% on top of the research regarding what I teach & what I deliver in program design for clientele. This takes a lot of time out of the day.
-- It's easy to overwork yourself and not lead a balanced life, especially when I didn't have the nerve to turn people down & put them on a waiting list. I just recently set limits on how much clients I can take on and still give 110% effort into helping them blow past their goals.
-- This is actually a good & bad thing, but the overall responsibility is HUGE. when you're dealing with people's health & sense of self worth & achievement, it's pretty much like life or death. You cannot slack off for a second & think it's not gonna have a ripple effect that could put you out on the curb. Whereas with other jobs, you can take your hand off the wheel periodically, & that paycheck will still float in. As an entrepreneur, you don't have that luxury unless you set up passive income streams.
-- More book writing
-- More lecturing
-- Maintain full clientele
-- More debating on the internet with wonderful guys who eat twinkies & ding dongs in secret
Be back guys, gotta grab my calipers & get ready to pinch a client
As for what you should be doing in the mean time...take as many science and math courses as you can. These will be very important in securing a degree later on if that's the route you decide to go. This is a link to the American Dietetic Associations education page which will give you lots of information on what schools might be around you and what they require: http://www.eatright.org/cps/rde/xchg/ada/hs.xsl/career.html
As for personal training and nutrition, you can get varying certifications through companies such as CSCS/NSCA, NASM, ISSA or a bunch of others. Some may require a high school diploma only, some might require a bachelors degree. A simple google search with the above names will give you plenty of information to mull over in the mean time. Good luck.