The birth of Virtual Personal Trainer

how to become a personal trainer

Jose Alvarez’ short biography

I am Jose Alvarez from Spain. I am a Ph.D. Scientist and Digital Freelancer with 25+ years of experience. 

My University time

I studied Biology, Food Technology, Nutrition, Organisational Engineering, and Computer Programming. 

Why did I choose my career in these fields?

I actually enjoy learning anything related to science and technology so this is the reason why I decided to pursue these topics.

How did I prepare for my first job interview?

I actually spontaneously sent a cover letter and attached resume, by mail, to approximately ten local food companies around my hometown. In less than a week, a couple of them answered me saying that they will keep my CV for future, and fortunately, one invited me for a personal interview and ended up offering me my very first job.

Why do I think I was selected for this job?

For my first job, I clearly was selected because I was lucky and good enough to convince the company that they needed me before they even knew it. For other jobs, I was always very confident about myself and things I could do and I think that always impressed the interviewers.

From my first job to now

I started working as a Quality and R&D Manager in a small food company. Boredom was killing me so it did not take me long till I decided to continue learning and training myself to pursue a more fun career, such as being a Scientist. This has taken me to where I am now. I am currently working as a Research Specialist, Innovation Consultant, IT freelancer, and the CEO at Virtual Personal Trainer, a free Health, Weight Loss & Fitness website, offering free customized online programs, tools, and mobile apps. 

Lessons from the jobs that I couldn’t get

I have learned not to put down myself, practise autocriticism to know why I failed, fixed it, and keep trying and trying till I get the job I want.

The beginning of Virtual Personal Trainer

I started my career working as a biologist, food scientist, and quality consultant in different companies while working as a pre-doctoral fellow in the field of Molecular Biology in Spain, Mexico, Brazil, and UK, where I finished my Ph.D. I worked as a postdoc in Canada, as a Scientist in Spain till 2012. Then, I took a sabbatical of 2 years to travel around the world, and one day I realized I was getting fat and unhealthy, and that was the time when I started conceiving Virtual Personal Trainer as a way to get back in shape myself and helping others to do so. This ended up with the official release of the site in January 2014.

Adapting to a world of constant changes

Nowadays, it is quite a challenge to offer a very unique service or product. I have used all the information retrieved during my process of weight loss to be able to scientifically reproduce all my findings and get it clinically tested and accepted by internationally science journals. Research articles validating my scientific approach can be accessed here. After these publications, I started attracting and engaging more readers from all over the world.

I am proud to say that, as of today, no website / blog can compete with my website at the scientific level, as most competitor websites are theory-based, mostly providing “suspicious” or very vague content, rather than experimentally-proven information. 

What to expect in the future?

The Coronavirus pandemic has increased my popularity online since people had more time to explore de WWW during compulsory lockdowns. The future looks good since recent studies have shown that people with an “Ideal Weight” have less chance to get sick by COVID-19. Perhaps because of this very latest findings, it seems that Virtual Personal Trainer is attracting more and more visitors every day, which is good and promising. As soon as I have a stable number of monthly readers, I will hire some people to help to improve my site, and I will try to find some partnerships and/or investors to integrate Big Data and Artificial Intelligence technologies into the project, with the idea of offering the world something totally novel and unique, with no competitors. For the moment, I am only offering internships as content writer and computer scientist. If you are willing to get experience in any of these two areas, or both,, please feel free to send me an email with a cover letter and resume at [email protected].

My favorite techniques

To get into this point, I have really enjoyed learning HTML, CSS, Javascript, and other computer code to be able to apply it to my website and all the apps (free and PRO) that are freely available to download at Google Play. And finally, I have integrated it all into a health-platform that includes other partner websites, and social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

The book you can not miss

Without a doubt, the most influential reading source I had has been “The Selfish Gene”, by the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. A book talking about evolution, adaptation, and natural selection theories, focusing around the term “selfish gene”. A concept that truly mirrors who we really are as human beings, and what to expect from us in the future, if things go well, and if things turn out to go wrong.

What I have learned?

Throughout all these years, I have learned that I should never ever quit, even during extremely difficult times, to succeed. I have also learned that I need to believe in myself if I want someone else to believe in me. I have also learned that I have to work hard and stay energetic. And finally, I have learned that sometimes I will need to ignore those comments or opinions, even from the loved ones, if they are not meant to help to pursue my dream. But most importantly, I have learned to always keep learning and adapt to all potential scenarios and upcoming circumstances.

My advice to job hunters

I recommend everyone, either if you are looking for a company to work, or you want to start your own business, always follow your dream and, as I said before, never quit. If you see yourself as an entrepreneur, I encourage you to find other partners, as it is better to start as a team. This might save you time and lots of headaches. But if building a team is not possible, better give it a try, or else maybe someone else in the future might do it instead, and, if that ever happens, you might really regret it and blame yourself forever.

That’s all for now. It has been a pleasure to have this interview here 😉

All the best,

Jose Alvarez,  

Founder and CEO at Virtual Personal Trainer




Frequency asked questions about becoming a person trainer

You’re on your way to having a successful personal trainer career, but if you want to attract and retain clients, one of the best things you can do is obtain your personal trainer certification. Personal trainers are responsible for the successful implementation of health and wellness services. Their roles are important to the fitness industry and, thus, the amount of job satisfaction they feel is of primary importance. 

how to become a personal trainer

Personal training is a profession that is practiced worldwide (Lumpkin, 2004). It is a highly skilled profession and requires a great deal of expertise in marketing, human relations, communication, service delivery, and knowledge in the field itself. Personal trainers are very responsible for the effective delivery and promotion of health and fitness programs. They play a key role in the fitness industry, and therefore the degrees of job satisfaction they experience is of prime importance (Koehler, 1998). Personal trainers are different from a regular fitness trainer as they train clients on an individual basis. 

After completing their studies, two employment options are available to personal trainers. They may work in a commercial gymnasium or practice as a freelance personal trainer in several health clubs. 

Personal trainers are responsible for training clients and developing policies on the safe and sound use of equipment. Individuals holding this type of position must be able to create, document, and execute one-on-one, partner, or group fitness plans that meet the client’s needs and objectives. This individual must be in a position to advise and educate clients on proper lifting and exercise techniques on basic exercise physiology. This individual will know all fitness floor policies and will be able to convey to a diverse group of some patrons why policies are in effect. 

If you are planning to start a professional career as a personal trainer, you’ll want to become a fitness trainer who is certified. Why? Personal trainer certification gives you credibility with your clients. Yes, you might already know everything there is to know about fitness, but now you’ll be able to prove your experience and knowledge. And who knows, you might end up another skill or two. 

Keep in mind; you’ll also need to have hands-on training in CPR and using AEDs (automated external defibrillators) before you’ll be able to sit for your trainer exam. This makes sense; exercise can be hard on the body, so if your client has a health event, you want to keep them stable until professional help can arrive. 

Who is a personal trainer? 

A personal trainer designs one-on-one wellness plans for clients, inspiring and guiding them to achieve their goals.  

Clients may want to lose weight or add strength, and as a personal trainer, you can teach and help them to exercise correctly using workouts and detailed plans. You will teach and educate clients using several exercise equipment, courses, or weights. 

Similar positions include a fitness instructor and a gym instructor. Still, a personal trainer has more fitness expertise, which ensures that they can provide clients with personalized health and exercise guidance. It is not rare for someone new to the industry to train as a fitness instructor or a gym instructor first before they qualify as personal trainers. You’re going to work in a gym or a similar environment, but you can take outdoor sessions or to other venues. 

What does a personal trainer do? 

Personal trainers assess the strengths and limitations of their patients and develop personalized workout schedules. They provide physical and mental guidance and track consumer progress on a daily basis. They also always make sure that customers don’t get hurt when they’re practicing. Personal trainers can work with individuals or in small groups. 

Personal Trainer Certifications 

Do you like to exercise? Want to help people out? Do you have a lot of energy? It could be a career for you to become a personal trainer. There’s a lot more to it than to know how to use the workout equipment. Here’s how to be accredited as a personal trainer. 

Is it worth it? 

It’s certainly worth being a licensed personal trainer. Courses cost between $150 and $300 on average. Textbooks cost anywhere from $25 to $80, the most costly being anatomical textbooks. No financial investment is required to have a great career to do what you enjoy. Some schools don’t even ask you to pay if you don’t get through. After completing either a Personal Training Certificate, a Master Personal Trainer Certificate, or an Advanced Personal Training Certificate, you will choose to specialize in several different fields. There are some of these: 

  • senior fitness instructor 
  • Pilates certifications 
  • youth fitness training 
  • aqua fit instructor
  • sports nutritionist 
  • martial arts instructor 
  • health club management certificate group fitness instructor and many more. 

You can get a job as a personal trainer in a gym, a senior’s home, a martial arts school, a recreation center, a spa, or several other locations. 

Personal trainer certification 

To apply for a certification test, you must be 18 or older, have a valid CPR certificate, and have a photo ID provided by the current government. Once you have applied to the American Council for Exercise (ACE), you can either take a personal trainer exam on your computer at a test center; or register for a paper and pencil exam to be mailed to you. You’ll know the results at the test center right away, but with a written exam, you won’t find out whether you’ve spent 4-6 weeks. If you want to use a computer test center, you may need to download and print a ticket to get you to the exam. ACE is utilizing a third party research center called Castle Worldwide.  

ACE provides something called Research Assistance Coordinators, who can speak to by phone or email. They will answer any kind of questions you may have about the PT exam or profession. The test costs $399, and you must score at least 70% to pass the test. If you fail the exam, it will cost $199 to retake it. There are 150 multiple-choice questions. 

Personal Training 

You can opt-out of having your certificate emailed or mailed to you when you transfer. It takes around 4 to 6 weeks if you want it to be shipped to you. ACE also conducts random tests to see if you have CPR training. They can hold on to your certificate until you show them that you have CPR documents. While not mandatory, it is very well recommended that you have a liability insurance policy to function as a PT. 

If you’re looking for a career, employers will be able to find you on the ACE website to make sure you’re certified. You must complete a mandatory 20 hours of continuing education courses within two years in order to remain accredited. By taking on a continuing education unit, you can become a stronger teacher by improving your personal skills and abilities and enhancing your knowledge. Once you have been certified for two years, you will have to submit a $129 renewal charge, evidence that you have valid CPR & AED certificates, and proof that you have completed CEUs to ACE. Then you’re going to be licensed for two more years. 

Personal trainers may work as employees or on their own. Some start working in a gym, earning a wage, and then strike out on their own. Others already have entrepreneurial skills and start to be self-employed right after qualification. Depending on how hard you work, you will earn between $26,000 and $58,000 a year as a PT. This is a growing field, as people are becoming more concerned about their health, and they are only expected to continue to expand. 

Qualifications 

You will need a Level 3 personal training certification to work as a personal trainer, preferably one approved by a reputable organization such as the Registry of Exercise Professionals (REPS) or the Chartered Institution for the Management of Sports and Physical Activity (CIMSPA). This can be done through your graduate studies or through an apprenticeship or training provider. It is also advisable, but not necessary, for you to possess a specific first aid certification, which should preferably include a cardio-pulmonary resuscitation certificate (CPR). 

It is not mandatory to have a foundation degree, an HND, or a degree to be a personal trainer. However, if you wish to apply for higher education, the most important subjects are: 

  • fitness and personal training 
  • health, nutrition and exercise science health and fitness management 
  • personal training 
  • sports science and personal training. 

Best Personal Trainer Certification Organizations 

There is no lack of services providing a personal trainer credential. However, in order to make sure you get your money, you really want to select a program with a high pedigree, such as one of the five training certification courses listed below. 

These services are all run by venerable fitness institutions, incorporating state-of-the-art fitness research and distance learning methodologies. In addition, many provide career advice, internships, and other assistance to quickly get you out of the classroom and into your first fitness training role. Here’s a closer look at some of the best personal trainer certifications available today. 

ACE (American Council on Exercise) 

Emphasizes customized workout plans for all kinds of individuals, including special populations, by means of their proprietary Integrated Fitness Training (IFT) model. Becoming a licensed personal trainer via ACE is a common option for individuals interested in engaging with a wide range of clients, with a focus on helping them achieve long-term fitness and wellness. 

One of the most commonly recognized certifications of CPT by fitness employers. ACE offers a very open and streamlined organization, which is another benefit to be taken into account—highly recommended for those pursuing a certification program that offers a strong, well-rounded personal training base with easy-to-access learning materials and support. 

ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) 

ACSM is known as the world’s largest sports medicine and exercises science association. Some hospitals and top-notch wellness centers require or prefer ACSM certification to their personal trainers. ACSM provides a set of guidelines on exercise and body structure and guidance for both stable and diseased groups, including children and senior citizens. These generally accepted guidelines are widely used in clinical settings and universities. It is recommended for those categories of people who want to work in a clinical setting or who are interested in pursuing a medical or healthcare professional. 

ISSA (International Sports Sciences Association)

One of the main discrepancies with ISSA is that it has its own College of Exercise Science, officially recognized as an academic institution under Title IV. Many famous fitness centers chains are approved, including Gold’s Gym, Lifetime Fitness, Youfit, and Equinox. Traditionally more geared towards enhancing body composition/bodybuilding and fitness standards in adult customers, the organization’s most recent goal was to provide education and training primarily to help prevent the continued spread of obesity in the United States. 

NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) 

Based on the validated and effective evidence-based Optimum Performance Training (OPT) model, NASM applies the most recent scientific findings in the field of human performance and injury prevention to its certification programs. Their OPT model basically underlines the value of consistency in providing the requisite basis for a fitness program for both athletes and non-athletes. 

NASM CPT certification is intended to incorporate remedial exercise into clinical populations, leisure or competitive athletes, and general fitness clients. NASM’s specializations expand much further into the area of functional exercise, performance, nutrition, and special populations. They are recommended for those who ultimately intend to specialize in either clinical populations (specifically, orthopedic or musculoskeletal clients) Or individual performance (e.g., amateur or professional athlete). Also, it is not rare for athletic trainers to be NASM accredited due to the organization’s focus on the prevention of injury. Strong reputation in both the fitness industry and the world of sports medicine. 

NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association) 

NSCA has been considered by many to be the world’s leading human performance research organization. Their CPT credential prepares the trainers with a strong overall experience to teach a wide spectrum of clients, although a little more focused on involved, stable individuals. Recommended especially for those who are in the process of completing their bachelor’s degree and potentially preparing to take the NSCA Accredited Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) exam and train athletes or become a good coach for a sports team. Most of the strength coaches in college and professional sports are NSCA certified. 

WHICH PERSONAL TRAINER CERTIFICATION IS MOST RESPECTED?  

This is a tough one since it varies depending on the workout room you’re in.  

At the end of the day, the fact is that your clients rarely take care of, or even note, where you have earned your certification. They’re going to think about the service you’re giving them, your interaction with them, and their outcomes. Make sure you choose the choice that gives you systems that allow you to distinguish yourself on the market. 

WHAT IS THE MOST FLEXIBLE PERSONAL TRAINER certification COURSE? 

When choosing the right credential for personal training, make sure it suits your lifestyle. The best thing about all the courses mentioned above is that they will fit with a busy job and a personal life. You can buy the course materials that you read or watch at your own leisure. 

However, if you are a procrastinator, this versatility might be troublesome, so you may want to look for an alternative that provides accountability and directed learning. 

  • NASM offers a 9-week eTeach course.  
  • ACE offers an important online Resource Center for questions. 
  • ASCM offers in-person workshops and online webinars 
  • ISSA offers an in-depth study guide and online support. 

WHICH PERSONAL TRAINER CERTIFICATION WILL guide and TEACH ME HOW TO GET PERSONAL TRAINING CLIENTS? 

What’s a good credential if it doesn’t teach you how to get clients to train? A significant criterion for the “highest” certification is that they teach you how to make money! Yeah, many fitness practitioners enter the industry because they’re passionate about fitness and love to change lives, but at some stage, you’ve got to make a buck if you’re going to pursue your long-term coaching dreams.

 The unfortunate bitter truth is that there is a shortage of conventional personal trainer certificates in this field. It’s probably a very big part of the reason why 80 percent of personal trainers leave the industry in two years. New personal trainers entering a flooded market need to learn how to separate themselves from others. 

When choosing a personal trainer certification course, be sure to set yourself up for career success by choosing a course that will educate you on the business concepts of fitness. Look for ads, marketing, revenue, metrics, and management topics that will set you up with a basic understanding of how to retain and get new clients on board. If you don’t start learning this stuff on the front end, you’re going to end up trying to figure out and pay for extra business mentoring to expand your client base. 

What are the Benefits of Obtaining a Personal Trainer Certification? 

A personal trainer certification can be a good way to boost your credentials with your potential clients. It’s also required when applying for a job as a personal trainer in the gym, all together with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in kinesiology or other fitness-related fields. It can also help you make a lot of money throughout your personal trainer career as you gain more credibility, trust and win potential clients or partners. 

Work experience 

With a rising number of people joining the fitness industry, it is advisable to have as much applicable job experience as possible. This will give you the chance to gain deeper insight and understanding of the industry and give you the chance to do some important networking with other fitness practitioners and make your face clear to potential clients. 

While a training course or apprenticeship can be begun to become a personal trainer with no prior needed experience, many employers, as well as prospective customers, expect you to have obtained relevant, active fitness experience. 

Working hours 

Working hours differ widely, depending on whether you are hired by a gym or self-employed. You’re going to need to be flexible to accommodate your customers’ needs, so you’re probably going to work in the early mornings, evenings, and weekends. When you’re building your client list, it’s not rare to work 12-hour days, which may involve working with current clients while still attempting to hire new ones. 

What to expect 
  • Personal training is not an administrative job from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Where you work, it can be extremely varied. This could include a client’s home, a local gym, a park, or even a cruise ship or holiday resort. 
  • Their clients also see personal trainers as positive role models. It is a top priority to take care of your own health and well-being in order to encourage a healthier lifestyle for others. 
  • Keeping up-to-date with the fitness industry’s innovations is important, as is the continuous improvement of your own expertise, knowledge, and qualifications. This will allow you to provide a wide variety of services to your clients, customized to their individual needs. 
  • You will be required to provide public liability insurance as a freelance or self-employed personal trainer. 

Personal Trainer Salary 

A significant proportion, almost 80%, of personal trainers work independently (self-employed) and are often paid by the hour for each session they perform. 

  • Freelance instructors should expect to receive between £ 20 and £40 per hour. This could be even higher, between £ 50 and £100 per hour in some places, and if you deal with high-profile clients. 
  • For those working in a gym or the like, expect to start with a salary of between £14,000 and £16,000, increasing to between £ 20,000 and £30,000 with experience. 

In the end, you’ll have to decide which physical trainer certification program is right for you — but don’t forget that personal training certs alone won’t make you a successful trainer. That might help bring new clients in the door, but you’ll have to keep them coming back for more. You’ll need to build great relationships with your clients using your skills, passion, and experience to succeed and keep those clients loyal for years to come. 

The birth of Virtual Personal Trainer

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