>> Click to play my interview with Jon Goodman




A few years ago, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released some facts and figures about the fitness training industry in the US.

Quick Facts: Fitness Trainers and Instructors

2012 median pay $31,720 USD per year

$15.25 USD per hour

Entry-level education High school diploma or equivalent
Work experience in a related occupation None
On-the-job training Short-term on-the-job training
Number of jobs, 2012 267,000 (up over 44% from 2001)



The 2013 IDEA Fitness Industry Programs & Equipment Trends Report lays out some demographics and trends in the field. For instance:

  • More trainers are doing small group classes instead of just one-on-one.
  • More trainers are doing nutritional coaching. (Insert obligatory plug for PN Certification programs.)
  • More trainers are offering “lifestyle coaching”.
  • More personal trainers are programming sport clinics, SAQ training, plyometric training, and Olympic-style lifting.
  • Less than one third of personal training clients are under 35. Half are between 35 and 54.
  • 2/3 of clients are women. 1/3 of clients are men.

So what does this all mean?

The industry is growing.

There are lots of opportunities for keen go-getters who like the smell of sweat, wearing running shoes to work, and — oh yeah — helping people.

Trainers’ skill and maturity levels often don’t match client needs.

Younger trainers are working with older clients, who may have mild to major injuries, health problems, or other concerns. Life experience as a 20 year old is not the same as the life experience of a 50 year old with a mortgage, a job, 3 kids, and aging parents. (Hint: Take down your “No Excuses” fitspiration poster before that client shoves it up your ass.)

Trainers’ orientations often don’t match client needs.

Bro-science isn’t going to help the 2/3 of clients who are female.

Fitness is a tough business.

$32,000 a year will keep you alive, but doesn’t exactly live up to that dream of being a superstar trainer, does it?

That high school diploma plus no work experience and short on-the-job training isn’t enough.

Most importantly:

You need professionalism, practice, and dedication to your craft if you’re going to make it in this industry.

Enter Jon Goodman.

Jon-Goodman copyHe’s made it his mission to educate, inspire, and help personal trainers improve their game.

  • A former trainer himself, he now runs the Personal Trainer Development Center, a carefully curated selection of resources and articles related to health, nutrition, fitness, and — of course — training and coaching.
  • His book Ignite the Fire — recently revised and updated — was one of the first in the field to treat personal training like a professional career, offering advice on everything from coaching one-on-one to planning, strategizing, and marketing.
  • His companion book, the Personal Trainer Pocketbook, contains the collected wisdom of other trainers and coaches in bite-sized, FAQ-style chunks.
  • He’s also devoted a lot of time to figuring out online coaching: How to do it, how to make money at it, how to love it, and how to travel the world like a boss while still helping clients.

I sat down with Jon to rap about his books, his experience, and where he thinks the field is going.

>> Click to play the podcast or right-click and select “Save As” to listen later.