You love going to the gym, so you want to work at a gym. I get it. But, have you ever thought about turning your gym job into your dream job?
You’ll be doing more than just training clients. I’m talking about becoming an industry expert, a thought-leader, and a respect authority on all things fitness.
Maybe you’re thinking; “That all sounds great, but I’m not sure how to get started.” That’s okay.
You don’t need to know it all, because I talked to 10 fitness industry experts who do. They shared their best advice for making it in the fitness industry. Here’s what they had to say.
Steve Kamb | Nerd Fitness
After starting his website, www.nerdfitness.com, as a hobby Steve grew this website into his full-time job. What began as a project aimed at helping beginners and “underdogs” get in shape has grown into a full-time endeavor requiring 10-15 contractors to work on various projects. Now Steve sells ebooks, course, iPhone apps, and apparel, while continuing to grown his following and readership. So what’s his secret? Steve says his breakthrough came when he started to embrace the “nerd” in Nerd Fitness, and focused on writing incredibly long, well-researched, nerdy articles full of personality and humor.”
Steve’s advice for creating community and building a following –
Be different. There are a billion fitness sites out there, and a billion sites selling the same crap and promoting the same tired message. Nerd Fitness is a success because I chose to do things the exact opposite of what fitness marketers teach.
Make sure you identify the audience that you want to help (and don’t say “everybody.” if you try to write to everybody, you’ll help nobody) I cater specifically to nerds who have never worked out before.
Kelly Starrett | Mobility WOD
Professionally speaking, Kelly is a coach, physical therapist, author, speaker, and creator of Mobility WOD. In terms of his impact, he is revolutionizing how athletes think about human movement and athletic performance. He’s honing in on movement and mechanics as a means of preventing injuries, optimizing performance, and perfecting the human machine.
Kelly’s advice for achieving your goals –
I just think; right intention, right action. It means that if you do the right things for the right reasons everything else will sort itself out. When I started I didn’t want to change the world, I wanted to make the athletes around me better, I wanted to solve the problems I was seeing.
I got up and coached every day for eight years. That’s how I became a better coach, I practiced. There’s no substitute for practice.
Derek Flanzraich | CEO and founder, Greatist
When he couldn’t find a community or brand delivering high quality health and fitness resources, Derek set out to create it himself. Born out of a mission to help people make better choices for their fitness, health, and happiness, Greatist is filling that void. Striving to become the most trusted health and fitness resource among the “young, savvy, and social”, Greatist is turning out content that is cited by a PubMed, meticulously verified, and expert approved.
Derek’s advice for making a difference –
Nothing worth doing is easy. The fitness space is FULL of noise, so figure out what defines you, what you’re doing, and why you’re doing it. Then figure out who will resonate with what you’re doing. Figure out your audience. Who are you speaking to? The more specific you make that audience, the more obvious what you should do and how you should do it will become. That’s how you will make the biggest difference.
Matt Frazier | No Meat Athlete
While Matt was training to qualify for the Boston Marathon he experimented with eating a plant-based diet. He began writing about his experiences and sharing his work on his blog. Before long, his non-preachy style began to win people over. Now, Matt heads up an engaged community of endurance athletes eating a plant-based diet.
Matt’s advice for packaging and promoting online content –
Writing great content for my site wasn’t enough: if you write something amazing and don’t package and promote it well, nobody reads it and it fails. When I say “package and promote,” I don’t mean it has to be sleazy or inauthentic, just that you need to engineer your work to be read, viewed, watched, or listened to, and ultimately shared.
Sean Hyson | Training Director, Men’s Fitness; Muscle & Fitness
Like everyone reading this, Sean wanted to get in really great shape. He began seeking out all of the information and resources he could. Except there was a problem, there was too much information to make sense of; too many people, too many idea and too much misinformation. So Sean filled the gap between expert and novice, seeking to distill fitness for the rest of us. Now, he blogs about fitness distilled on his website and he curates the website and magazine content for Men’s Fitness and Muscle & Fitness.
Sean’s advice for wanna-be fitness writers –
Get really good at what you do and start a blog. I’m amazed at the money bloggers can make by coming out with e-products and selling them through colleagues who act as affiliates. Good bloggers are usually good writers and they get noticed by magazines.
Nia Shanks | Lift Like a Girl
Nia is the leader of the Lift Like a Girl revolution and she’s on a mission to show women how to be the most awesome and strongest version of themselves. Tired of the quick fixes being touted by industry experts, Nia decided she’d encourage women to ditch the diet and stop living their lives around a rigid gym schedule. She shuns flashy, innovative fitness fads, relying on the tried and true methods of strength training and proper nutrition.
Nia’s advice for new personal trainers –
Educate yourself constantly and don’t be afraid to ask, “Why?” It’s easy to get caught up in what’s popular and assume it’s the “right way”… Ask “why?” frequently and always do what works best for your individual clients. No two people are the same and so they will require different workout programs and maybe even nutrition guidelines
Jonathan Goodman | Personal Trainer Development Center
When he was studying Kinesiology in school Jonathan began training clients. Then, after graduation, he continued to train clients while managing the fitness staff. As he tried to improve his skills he had trouble finding resources aimed at helping trainers succeed. So he made them himself. First he wrote Ignite the Fire and followed that up the Personal Trainer Development Center; a website that would serve as a clearinghouse for trainer resources. Now he’s exploring psychology and social media in his book Race to the Top: How to Take Over the Social Media Feed and his website, Viralnomics.
Jon’s advice for people beginning their fitness career –
Start out by getting as much experience as possible before deciding on what path you want to follow. Focus on training clients and getting to know what type of clients you love working with.
Put all of your available funds into education and networking…nothing yields anywhere close to the same return as investing in yourself
JC Deen | JCDFitness
A strength coach and fitness writer JC Deen works with people who want to change their body, and their habits to be healthier, leaner, stronger, and more active. Through a combination of hard work and networking, along with a little technical trial and error JC had managed to launch a hugely successful e-product LGN365, get his writing published, and build a brand he hopes to leverage into a book in the near future.
JC’s advice on getting noticed and having fun –
Learn how to write, but more importantly, learn how to connect with people. No one cares about what your credentials are, or what you have done until you can earn their attention.
If something isn’t fun, or doesn’t lead to fun in the future, I don’t want to do it. Life’s too short to do a bunch of stuff that isn’t fun and has no impact.
Sol Orwell | Co-founder, Examine.com
When Sol was undergoing a fat to fit transformation he couldn’t find the right answers to his nutrition and supplement questions. As a computer engineer by trade he wasn’t schooled on the details of diets, but he knew the information was out there. “I thought to myself there is all this knowledge in these various forums, but it’s all hidden away. It would be awesome to have it in one place, in public, easily accessible.” That’s how Examine.com, an independent organization that presents un-biased research on supplements and nutrition, was born.
Sol’s advice on the importance of your website –
Invest in a good website. Coming from tech, there are so many crappy ugly poorly built websites it boggles my mind. Your website is your 24/7 representative – make it look good! Sell your services on it, and make it easy to contact you (and no, twitter should not be your primary point of contact).
Jeremey Duvall | JeremeyDuvall.com
For Jeremey, making the transition from personal trainer to freelance fitness writer has been quite a journey. He started writing as a hobby and ended up enjoying it so much that he began blogging consistently. After being accepted as a contributing to Greatist.com, Jeremey has been able to earn himself more and more freelance gigs, while working towards a full-time writing/editing position in the fitness world.
Jeremey’s advice for working with an editor –
The editor’s goal is to ultimately make the writer look better and guard the pristine quality of the publication. I think you have to be able to take constructive criticism rather than putting up a wall and getting defensive. Just listen to the feedback and rewrite the piece to fit the guidelines.
What’s your best advice for defining your own career path and success?