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Personal Trainers: 7 Ways To Make More Money

7 Top Tips To Help You Boost Your Business As A Coach Or Personal Trainer

So, you’ve been doing this for a while and you feel like you’re working all the time and still barely covering the bills.  And your much-loved work outs, once healthy diet and 8 hour-a-night sleeps are a thing of the past.  Yikes, I get it!  This problem is common with almost all successful trainers, so kudos to you.  YOU MADE IT!  But seriously let’s address some ideas that will help you achieve better balance and more cash.  Here are some ideas to help:

Better Time Management

Some of us just aren’t that great at it.  We say “yes” too much, we run late, we start late.   We allow others to do that to us. We don’t think about commute time and traffic.  If you say ‘that’s not me’, then keep a diary for at least a week or two, and see if any of the above is happening. Once you are aware, then maybe you can improve.

Financially Dense Schedules

Meaning, find a way to max out the income at your peak times.  Also, think about training in one place and have the clients come to you. Even if you charge more, traveling to a client at peak time usually won’t add up, to banging out a session on the hour.  Investigate renting space, converting a room in your home, or contacting a complimenting business about partnering up in a rental.  If you need help with a business plan, many commercial fitness brands like GRAVITY and other organizations can help you.  Check out  Even better join them, support your industry.

Semi Privates

Consider moving towards semi privates, which bring in more money per hour for you and prevent you from turning clients away, especially for prime time spots.

Partner Up

If your prime time spots are now sold out, never turn away business. Find a like-minded trainer that you can shift a few clients to.  See how you work together and get feedback from your clients. Try subbing some clients out with the new person and see how it goes.  Maybe, when you’re taking a much needed vacation, set up the new trainer to succeed.  Newer trainers are very happy to get a good client.  Fill in the time with group training or a specialty class that commands more money, like Pilates or GRAVITY.  Your old clients can join in.

Big Picture

Think about the big picture for your clients. I’m liking the idea of doing 1-6 month programs with my clients. They get a lot more bang for their buck, and I get a lot more bucks for my time.  It can be working with a group to prepare for an event: first time or athletes’ or a general health and fitness.  Most of the research shows that people get better results as a group, and when they make a measurable commitment. This also allows you to combine online sessions with live sessions and create a community within your business … which is highly valuable … with bigger brand building.

Specialty Training

Specialty training, as previously mentioned, is a great way to increase income and add uniqueness to your brand. Companies like Total Gym design the program for you and promote YOU with their brand.  Once again, this requires an initial business plan and financial investment but it will pay off pretty quickly.

Get An Accountant

Get an accountant that understands your business. They are extremely unique, they understand the tax codes and think about what you can and can’t write off for both major expenditures and the small stuff.  Don’t just wing it, I have friends who got audited and it was a horrible mess, not ending in their favor.

We are so lucky to be able to do what we love, preparation and good fiscal habits are a part of any business, including ours.  It’s the good nutrition component to a training plan.  I’ve only touched on a few points that for me have been key.   Please feel free to add your own personal experiences, what works and doesn’t work and lessons you’ve learned for both good and not so much …

About The Author

Debbie Beck - Fitness Coach and Personal Trainer.Deborah Beck is a six time Ironman athlete, coach and personal trainer. For over 25 years she has combined her love of sports and fitness with her passion for travel and adventure. Her early work as a Fitness Director moved her throughout Asia, the Middle East and the UK. She holds multiple certifications and is currently working towards her 500 hour Yoga Medicine. Her training philosophy incorporates Pilates, yoga, Gyrotonic and strength to produce a balanced, unique approach to high endurance training. This fall she is launching a global training and lifestyle company and online community. When not traveling, she splits her time between Quogue NY and Telluride Colorado.


Dissolving The Personal Trainer-Client Relationship

3 Top Reasons To Fire Your Clients

Typically, when a person decides to hire a personal trainer or fitness professional, it’s because they want to get into better shape. The understanding is, that in turn, they will receive expert coaching, motivation, inspiration, accountability, structure and occasionally, some tough love … all of which they appreciate tremendously.

The relationship between personal trainer and client can become close and often blossom into a life-long friendship.  However, there are some rare occasions when no matter what you do as a personal trainer, you just may not be able to help or satisfy your client.   The best thing to do, is to dissolve the personal trainer-client relationship and move on.

Of course, terminating the relationship should not be your first choice.  But after a while, it can become your only choice.   You may have a huge disagreement or one of you loses trust in the other.

A lot of times, younger fitness professionals will continue to extend a bad personal trainer-client relationship for any of these 3 reasons.

(1) they think that they can fix the situation over time

(2) they worry that their reputation will take a hit if they fire the client

(3) they need the money and believe that they cannot afford to lose this client

But in reality, dragging out a toxic training relationship that is going nowhere could end up hurting you more than you think.  Most likely, it is just best to just cut ties and learn from the situation.   And, if you do this early enough, it could be one of the best things that happened to you and your business.

When deciding what the right thing to do is, be careful and know the differences between an isolated incident, where a problem can be fixed, versus the obvious RED FLAGS for a potential disastrous end to your training relationship.

3 Signs That You Need To Terminate Your Personal Trainer-Client Relationship TODAY!

You Dread The Session

I’ll tell you this.  If you are dreading the session, I would bet the farm that they are dreading it just as much as you are.  And maybe even more. Energy is such a HUGE component to providing a quality service to your client.  If you are no longer able to inspire your client, then you shouldn’t be training them. From my experience, most personal trainers and group fitness instructors don’t lack energy and enthusiasm. So, if you ARE lacking enthusiasm, that is the first sign that you need to move on.

It’s Not Safe For You And Others

This is an obvious one because you want everyone to feel safe at your facility, at all times.  But if someone is a danger to themselves and/or others, it may also hurt your business and your reputation.

If you suspect any serious danger, at all, with any of your clients (especially if their behavior becomes a pattern), then you need to cut them off immediately and call 911.

They Don’t Respect Your Business

This is a BIG one.  If someone doesn’t respect your business, they can directly or indirectly destroy it. Not referring clients or attending functions is one thing, but bad mouthing you and your facility is completely another and can destroy everything that you’ve worked so hard to build up.

As the old business saying goes, if someone loves your business, they’ll tell someone else. But if they don’t like it, they’ll tell 3,000 people. This is what I mean by destroying your business. They will even lie about you on social media and say how you treated them badly just because their feelings are hurt and they’re upset.

So, if you see a client change from appreciating you, to blatantly disrespecting you or just having a lack of interest in training with you, don’t drag it out or waste your energy. Nip it at the bud early, set them free and your business will be just fine!

About the Author

Mike Z. RobinsonMike Z. Robinson is the owner of the highly successful personal training facility, MZR Fitness as well as Mike Z. Robinson Enterprises which features & highlights a myriad of options to help fitness professionals grow their businesses and careers. Mike was the 2015 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, is the author of the E-Book: “Fitness Up, Everything Up”, and he is also a Media Spokesperson for both the American Council on Exercise & IDEA Health & Fitness Association.


Total Gym Core Strengthening Program

5 Total Gym Exercises That Will Build A Strong Core

Being in the fitness industry, we all understand the importance of having a strong core.  Fitness professionals also know how to get the core strong and keep it strong.  However, the average person doesn’t think about having a strong core, or if they are, it’s mostly for vanity purposes and say, looking good at the beach.  But in reality, the real goal should be to strengthen the core for FUNCTIONAL  purposes.  Strong core muscles make it easier to do many physical activities and help minimize injury.

Like most personal trainers and fitness professionals, we have all heard our fair share of clients complaining about their bad backs. We see them grimacing and we see the discomfort on their faces.  We don’t like to see our clients in pain.  However, the good news is, that with all these bodily aches and pains, an opportunity is created for us to teach, educate and motivate our clients.  We can get them to start stretching and strengthening their midsection every day, so that they move better and feel better.   Of course, if they come out looking amazing too, with a firmer tummy and/or 6 pack abs, that is a extra bonus!

Use your Total Gym GTS to let your clients know all the benefits of having a strong core and get them to buy into what you are teaching and trying to get them to do.  Have fun with it and keep inspiring them to do more.

Chest Press

Grasp handles to bring the glideboard halfway up the rails.  Facing away from the tower, straddle the rails and sit toward the top of the glideboard.  Position handles next to the rib cage and with cables on the inside of the forearm.   With tension in the cables position the legs on the glideboard with knees slightly bent.  Bring the handles and elbows up to chest height with palms facing down.      Repeat this sequence to complete the first rep, then repeat the movement.    (3 Sets, 15 Reps)

Upright Row

Grasp handles and pull the glideboard halfway up the rails.  Straddle the rails and sit toward the top edge of the glideboard, facing the tower.  With tension in the cables, extend arms directly toward the pulleys and lift feet off the floor. Palms face in.    Now repeat that motion to complete the 1st set. Remember to pull in towards your body fast but to go out slowly to control the movements and maximize the muscle contractions. Repeat this sequence to complete the first rep. (3 Sets, 15 Reps)

Kneeling Lateral Torso Rotation

Grasp both handles to bring the glideboard up the rails.  Stand facing the rails and anchor handles down near the top edge of the glidgeboard (hand closest to the tower is holding handle).  Kneel on the top portion of the glideboard facing sideways.  Separate the knees to create a wide base of support between them.   With tension in the cable slowly lift both handles from the glideboard and extend the arms diagonally across the body and upwards.  Repeat this sequence to complete the first rep, then repeat the movement.  (3 Sets, 10 Reps in Each Direction)


Attach the SCRUNCH Accessory to the top of the rails.  Facing the tower, keel toward the top of the glideboard.  Grasp the SCRUNCH Accessory cross bar on the outside with palm facing in and rest the elbows on the padded surface.  Maintaining a neutral spine, position the shoulders directly over the elbows.  Press elbows into the scrunch padding to maintain a neutral shoulder position.. Repeat this sequence to complete the first rep, then repeat the movement.
(3 Sets, 15 Reps)


Disconnect the pulley from the glideboard and stow the handles.  Remove the standing platform.  With the glideboard at the bottom of the rails, face the tower and kneel on the lower part of the glideboard.  Place forearms towards the top of the glideboard, palms facing in.  Raise the knees off the glideboard and align the neck, shoulders, hips and legs into a level plank position.  Press into the forearms to keeps the shoulders in a neutral position. Shift the glideboard up and down into the closed and open positions. Repeat this sequence to complete the first rep and then you repeat the exercise to complete the set. (3 Sets, 15 Reps)

So there you have it, a simple but VERY effective core strengthening program that your clients can perform on your Total Gym machine to help them to get stronger and become more flexible so that they can protect their back for the long haul and minimize the risk for lower back pain.

About the Author

Mike Z. RobinsonMike Z. Robinson is the owner of the highly successful personal training facility, MZR Fitness as well as Mike Z. Robinson Enterprises which features & highlights a myriad of options to help fitness professionals grow their businesses and careers. Mike was the 2015 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, is the author of the E-Book: “Fitness Up, Everything Up”, and he is also a Media Spokesperson for both the American Council on Exercise & IDEA Health & Fitness Association.


Online CECs – Keeping Education Updated

Personal Trainers: Stay Up-to-Date With Online CECs

When it’s time to renew your personal training and/or group fitness certification, I think we can all admit that it could be somewhat simpler.  But that just isn’t the case, and unless you have a lot of time to spend on sifting through all the ins and outs, the re-certification process can be time consuming and confusing. So let’s break it down and try to simplify.

Online “continuing education units” (CEU) can be obtained through several bodies, such as the National Association of Sports Medicine (NASM) and the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA).

One CEU is ten hours of participation in an education program.

Several years ago, we had to attend conferences and classes to as well to accomplish the same goal.  I still believe that is a great way to keep up with industry innovations and news, however online CEUs are becoming the norm now, for maintaining certifications.  Pretty much all the major certifying agencies have online CEU courses, so you really don’t have to leave the comfort of your laptop to stay current.

How Much Does it Cost?

Based on a summary review of available course sites shown below, the price for one CEU ranges from $150 to $250. NASM and ACE require 2.0 CEUs every two years, which will set you back between $300 and $500.

NASM claims to have a re-certification for life option, but you still have to pay for the 2.0 CEUs every two years, as well as your CPR certificate which is around $12-17.

NASM does waive the application fee for life and provides some discounts for courses.

                            All CEU Requirements Are Not Equal

CEU requirements and values are not the same.

NASM’s 2.0 CEUs or 20 hour requirement is more than AFAA’s 15 hours of education or 1.5 CEUs.

Consequently, a course that offers .10 CEU’s for NASM will offer 1 CEU for AFAA.

It’s confusing in that 15 of these courses will satisfy the AFAA requirement, while 20 will satisfy the NASM requirement. So, you have to calculate how many CEUs you’re really getting for the intended re-certification and that can often be tricky.

Check That Your CEU is Accepted

Be sure that the online CEU you purchase is accepted by your agency. According to their website, NASM does not accept CEUs from Continuing Education although they can be petitioned, which involves a fee.

Even if your agency accepts a course from any of the below sites, they may not accept all the course offerings.  So be very careful when reviewing which courses will count for your agency’s re-certification and how many credits it offers.

Some agencies also place more value on specific courses than others.

Sites Offering Online CEU Courses

Continuing Education ACE, ACSM, NSCA


Health & Fitness Continuing Education  ACSM, NSCA, NASM, ISSA, AFAA

IDEA Health and Fitness Association All




In addition to online courses, Exercise ETC., Inc. offers webinars for CEU credit and is accepted by almost all agencies.

So there you have it, a brief synopsis to help you continue with your education.  It’s time to open the pocketbook to stay current, but your clients will thank you in the end!

About the Author

Benita PerkinsBenita Perkins is a widely acclaimed health and wellness branding expert focusing on the fitness needs of women and the special demands they must overcome to step into a lifetime of healthy living through fun, interactive lifestyle events. Her company, Bennie Girl Health & Wellness Branding & Events, works with businesses and organizations to associate their brands and products with a healthy lifestyle, by identifying opportune events to participate in and activities that will best define and communicate the organization’s mission.


Total Gym Strength Training for the Over 40s


Understanding Your Demographic – Teaching Total Gym Strength Training to Your 40+ Clients

We all know that as we age our body changes, and the need for strength training and overall fitness becomes ever more important for a higher quality of life and long term durability.  But as a fitness professional, we do not always understand this concept to most effectively service our over 40 clients.

5 components of wellness for the 40+ age group

A comprehensive program for overall wellness in our 40+ clients should include:

  • Strength training
  • Cardiovascular training
  • Mobility (increasing range of motion)
  • Nutrition
  • Supplementation

As a 40+ person myself, I can speak from personal experience that ALL those areas are important, not just one or two.  Here’s why:

The body drops muscle mass at a rate of 1% per year after the age of 40, so the need to create and implement an overall strength training program is vital to support the kinetic chain and maintain muscle on a person’s frame.

Why Strength Training Works

To feel strong physically transfers over into all parts of life.  Endorphins released after training can boost self esteem, self confidence and an overall feeling of well being. Performing daily tasks becomes easier and doesn’t require as much energy compared to someone who does not strength train.

Best Total Gym Strength Training Exercises

I will focus on 7 primary movements as a foundation for the strength program on a Total Gym machine. They include plank, hinge,  pull, push, rotate, squat and lunge.  Plank and hinge are not specific exercises, but rather are the foundation for the major strength movements for the program. Plank – this is the foundation for all movements.   Hinge – the ability to flex and extend at the spine is vital to safe and efficient movement and also to avoid injury.

Reps and sets – all exercises- 3 sets with a reverse pyramid design of 5/6/8 reps.  Drop 10% of the weight for consecutive sets.

See video for demonstration.



Squat – The position offers partial weight bearing closed chain exercises as well as dynamic cable exercises for both upper and lower body muscle groups.  The incline plane provides optimal intensity levels to develop power in the lower extremities with closed kinetic chain plyo-metric exercises.

Upright Prone - Pull Up A


Pull Up – The LAT bars are used to provide partial weight bearing exercises for the back, shoulders and arms.  This allows any client to perform a pull up exercises.  The lower intensity is also ideal for developing power in the upper body by incorporating plyo-metric exercise variations.

Chest Press

Chest Press

Chest Press – This position provides training and conditioning of the anterior shoulders, chest and arms.  Trunk stabilization is integrated into the exercises, as the upper body is upright and unsupported.

Inverted Shoulder Press

Inverted Shoulder Press

Inverted Shoulder Press – This position provides training and conditioning for the shoulders, arms and trunk.  With the inverted body position, the degree of incline will inversely affect the strength and stability components of the plank and push up exercises.  A lower incline emphasizes proximal stability whereas a higher incline emphasizes upper body strength.

Seated Lateral - Toroso Rotation A

Shoulder Rotation

Seated Lateral Shoulder (Cable) Rotation – This position provides training and conditioning of the truck, shoulders, chest and arms.  The line of pull provides a transverse plane resistance with a constant challenge to lateral trunk stability.



Lunges with external weight (med ball, dumbbells, kettle bells). – This position provides functional stability and balance challenges to the entire body while strengthening and conditioning the lower body.

Knowing your clients’ needs and wants is vital to helping people achieve their fitness goals.  Staying true to the initial intent and purpose of a workout program will sustain a client/trainer relationship and provide results for the client.

With the 40+ age group, keeping that perspective in mind is the best way to being an effective and trustworthy fitness professional.

About the Author

Neil MallisonNeil Mallinson is a Master GRAVITY Instructor, Master TRX Instructor and holds numerous certifications through NSCA and NASM, and has presented domestically and internationally for decades.

He studied Kinesiology and Sports Medicine at the University of Maryland College Park and specializes in sports performance training with a focus on mobility and recovery.  The ability to change a person’s life through fitness education and living a healthy lifestyle are what keeps Neil passionate.

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