A few months ago I wrote an article analyzing the pros and cons of being a personal trainer. My life has gotten to a point where I am no longer a full-time personal trainer, because frankly the job is not nearly as cool and “dudebro-y” as every screenwriter seems to think it is—and those “smiling douchebag” depictions are probably due to the ignorance of “the man on the outside looking in.”
I am a man capable of self-reflection, so here are a few thoughts on my full-time career as a personal trainer:
1. 90% Of Being A Personal Trainer Is Being A Glorified Handyman
The majority of time you’re a personal trainer, you will not be training people. You’re mostly going to be sweeping and mopping floors, moving stuff, and repairing drywall. One of the few things you’ll be doing that is at all related to training people is making phone calls to other people. Many, many phone calls.
So essentially, after being paid crappily to be a glorified handyman/pack mule, I decided to cut the middle man and just be a handyman/pack mule, and get paid double what I was making as a personal trainer.
2. Your Pay Depends On Convincing Third World Peasants To Buy Your Services
When I would be making my 100 or so phone calls a day, I noticed that a substantial amount of my clientele didn’t speak English particularly well, or not at all. A fact that was confirmed when I would have to do walkthroughs of the gym with clients that literally spoke no English—but hey, at least I got to test my Spanish, which I haven’t spoken regularly since high school. And that was of course when they even bothered to show up at all.
I would estimate that of the 100 or so phone calls I’d be making a day, maybe 25-30 would agree to doing a walk-through, in which I would take them on a tour of the gym, give them a sample workout for 30 minutes, and try to talk them into buying a package of personal training sessions.
Of those 25-30 that I would schedule for a walkthrough, I would further estimate that probably 5-6 would actually show up for the damn thing. So just to clarify, of the clients that I could even talk into doing a gym tour, I would only actually do the tour with 20-25% of those clients. So 80% of my labor was completely pointless, and I’d be desperately trying to sell to that remaining 20%. And since my base pay was 9 dollars an hour—with the rest of your salary intended to be made up by personal training services, well, looks like I’m going home with 100 or so dollars a day at most.
(Oh, did I mention that I’d often be working 10-15 hour days?)
Of course, I’m not the sort of person who has a knee-jerk reaction to the thought of immigration (the white ethnostate isn’t likely to happen, guys), but time preference is a real phenomenon, and when your salary depends on making appointments with a high time preference person who doesn’t really “get” the concept of making an appointment for a future date, is it any wonder that I really started to resent the customers?
3. The Industry Is Full Of Soft People
It’s a commonly stated talking point that people who don’t work out often refuse to do so because they’re afraid of showing their ignorance of the field, afraid of going to the gym and getting mocked and bullied. This is in fact the niche that Planet Fitness caters to, as seen by their commercials.
It’s almost a default assumption of gym novices that every gym is some insane Cobra Kai dojo where you’re trained by a psychotic Vietnam veteran and basically beaten to a pulp until you”git gud.”
That is absolute horseshit.
Go look up a picture of the CEO of Planet Fitness—he’s, to put it politely, a fatty. While that’s the most extreme example, a fair amount of the people who work at gyms from what I’ve seen are not in particularly good shape. Furthermore, most gyms are full of theme days and company events and all the crap that cubicle drones hate about their jobs.
You all know that I’ve argued for the Cobra Kai dojo, and while a part of me wishes that the skyrocketing popularity of the new Cobra Kai show indicates that people want a mean, “tough” gym, I wouldn’t hold my breath.
On that note…
4. Your Co-Workers Are Douchebags That Quote “The Secret”
While the “snarling madman” stereotype of trainers is largely false, the “popped collar dudebro” stereotype is largely true.
My first week on the job at the corporate gym chain which will remain nameless, I had to attend job training. This job training was administered by a gentleman named Corey, a name which should tell you all you need to know about this guy. An archetypical “smiling douchebag in a polo shirt”, Corey was a guy that unironically read The Secret and was more than happy to tell us about it.
Oh yeah, I wasn’t being facetious in the slightest with this section’s heading. And he wasn’t alone in this respect—while the book choices may have differed slightly, the majority of your co-workers will, in fact, be loud, Type-A, “FIST POUND BROHAM” clods. And needless to say, quoting Marcus Aurelius or Robert Howard—writers that have said more about fitness and motivation in a single sentence than an asshole like Tony Robbins has said in his life—would fall on deaf ears.
I do try to be friendly with people; indeed, I never got into any altercations with anybody at the job. With that said I don’t think it’s irrational to complain about annoying co-workers. Hell, don’t we in the manosphere complain about “human resources cat women” all the time? Same deal, in my opinion.
5. Rewards Are Few And Far Between
Despite all my complaints, I do generally love helping people and seeing the positive results. It’s why I continue working in the job part time, and why I continue producing content for the internet. And my clients do enjoy the instruction I give them. But doing this full time for very little reward was just something I couldn’t do anymore.
So tl;dr if you’re going to be a personal trainer, only do it if you own the place or at the very least run your own classes. I run and administer my own martial arts classes and private clients, and I have a lot of fun with the job. But if you’re on the floor begging fat women and old geezers for training, your life is going to be real unpleasant.