Whether you’re new to the fitness scene or you’ve been around for a while, there will inevitably be a moment when you have to ask yourself if it’s time to get another certification under your belt. Taking a new certification course is certainly an investment. Most of them cost anywhere between $1,500-$3,000. And when your business isn’t exactly thriving and you’re not raking in tons of money (yet, anyway), you have to be wise with how you spend your money.
Let’s not forget that there are some certifications out there that, quite frankly, aren’t worth the time and money. We won’t name any, but they’re out there. On the other hand, though, the excellent certification programs are worth every single penny—plus some. As a trainer or fitness business owner, you know how important it is to keep learning and investing in your knowledge. So let’s go over some of the steps you should take when you’re considering that new certification.
Ask Yourself What You Need to Learn
You don’t know everything you need to know. Nobody does. There is always more to learn. Once you start from this place and commit to keeping your mind open, you’ll set yourself up for success. Each of us has their own preferences, likes, and dislikes. Maybe you’re a trainer who loves working with kettlebells. Maybe you’re partial to bodyweight exercises, suspension training, or bodybuilding split days. The thing you love doing most with your clients is the very thing you probably don’t need another certification for.
Think about the practices and disciplines you need to learn more of. Perhaps you need to learn more about mobility. If that’s the case, take an FRC course. Or maybe you need to get better at bodyweight movement. If that sounds familiar, consider taking the Animal Flow Level 1 certification. Whatever is missing in your repertoire is the place you should start from. Because you’ll be investing a heap of money into this certification program, you want to make sure it’s something you can take a lot from. Don’t just keep going to the same types of certifications over and over again. You won’t further your career very much.
Inquire About Other People’s Past Experiences
Never take a course without first hearing the feedback from multiple people. Ask your friends, mentors, and colleagues about the certification you’re considering. Have they taken it? What did they think? Would they recommend it to you? And if you don’t know anyone who has taken the certification, find some forums or reviews online where you can learn more.
No matter what, don’t just listen to one person’s opinion. Someone may have hated the certification because they couldn’t connect with the material or had a disagreement with the instructor. Another person may have absolutely loved it simply because they knew the person leading the course or it’s a particular subject they just love. You can’t go by just one person’s feedback. Inquire reviews from at least five different people who can put together a picture for you and explain what it was like. Then you can make the educated decision for yourself.
Do the Math
You have to figure out whether this is worth it for you financially. And just because it might be useful for another trainer doesn’t mean it will automatically be right for you. Consider how much the course costs and then compare it to how much more money you’ll make in the long run if you choose to do it.
Think about how many more clients might be interested in training with you if you have these new services to offer. Consider how many more sessions your current clients will want to sign up for when you walk in with this new knowledge. You might even be able to raise your hourly rate if you come back home with a new, shiny certification under your belt and a new wealth of knowledge. And don’t be afraid to charge more if you’re coming back with more to offer. Too many trainers are afraid their clients will walk away if their prices increase, but remember that your clients are paying for a premium service–and if you can show them that they’re receiving more worth than what they’re paying, they’ll be happy to shell out the extra cash. If you crunch the numbers and find that this is financially worth it for you, go for it. If you don’t see it increasing your revenue in the future, maybe now’s not the time to sign up for it.
Consider What Your Clients Are in Need of
You should never be making decisions just based on what you want and what you desire. Your clients and their needs come first. If you primarily train an older demographic in a health club whose main goals are mobility and injury prevention, that handstand certification course you’ve been eyeing probably isn’t right at this moment. If you mostly work with young, vibrant athletes who have specific sport goals in mind, the spin group instructor certification definitely isn’t the right choice.
Before you shell out a few grand on something you’re vaguely interested in, consider what your clients need first and foremost. After all, you’re there to serve them at the end of the day. And if you’re not providing a unique, personalized service that suits all their needs, they have no reason to stay with you in the long run.
The Final Word
What might be right for your colleague at the gym may not be right for you. Don’t just jump into a certification simply because it seems fun and interesting. You have to outweigh all the benefits in order to figure out if it’s right for you and your current fitness business. As a trainer, you have a lot of options in front of you. It seems like there are too many things to choose from. That’s why you have to make a calculated, conscious decision about what your future looks like. If you do decide to go forward with that certification, go in with 100 percent of your attention and energy. You’ll see your hard work pay off in the end.