The next few posts by me, as well as this one, focus on the issues and concerns new trainers (or those considering becoming trainers) face. If you fall into one of those categories, read on! If you’re an experienced trainer, be sure to share these posts with a new trainer you know who you think would benefit.

So, let’s get right to it.

Starting a new career is tough mentally and actually, and a lack of confidence doesn’t help matters. Fake-it-‘till-you-make-it might work in some situations for short-term relief but, understandably, that method doesn’t work when it comes to personal training and you have clients’ wellness and safety at stake.

So, instead of focusing on mere attitude, we’ll focus on gaining authentic and true confidence.

Get Certified:

Becoming educated and certified in personal training will steer you in the right direction. It’s not about being able to name drop the company you’re certified through or just having a certificate to show.

Here’s what it is about: Understanding exercise programming, knowing what you’re talking about when asked questions by your clients, and having a fitness community to bounce ideas off, get advice from, and network with.

In an accredited certification program, you’ll learn about safe practices, motivation techniques, human anatomy, and exercise science. When you have real information to back up your practices and techniques, you’ll automatically have more confidence when addressing the various needs and goals of your clients.

printed NFPT Certification program manual

Get Experience:

It’s a classic chicken-or-the-egg situation for sure. You need some kind of experience to get a job, but you need a job to get experience, right?

Well…yes and no. When it comes to experience, it’s good to think outside the norm. Even if you’ve not technically been employed at a gym, think over your total work and fitness history to see what you have to offer, and build on it.

Be proactive. Train friends and family to get some real-world experience. It will give you confidence in your ability to train effectively. If you happen to know a personal trainer, ask if you can take them through a session, and be sure to ask for a critique at the end. Be receptive and stay positive about critiques; they will help you improve.

Also, ask if you can sit in on some of their sessions, if their client consents.


Give Yourself Time:

I believe this is even more difficult than becoming certified or getting experience. Have you heard the old saying “Hurry up and wait”?

You have all this excitement, you’re absolutely ready to go, and then you find out that it’s taking longer than you thought to find a gym that’s the right fit for you. Or that first training session didn’t go quite as smoothly as you’d hoped, or (and this one is me, and it nearly made me blush) the first group fitness class you’ve been recruited to instruct is over half empty though it was filled to capacity with the old instructor.

You must give yourself time to build your reputation at a gym and hone your technique. Once word gets out about your general awesomeness, that first session (or week or month) will seem a long way behind you. When it does, congratulations. You’ve got your confidence.

Let’s start a conversation and inspire new trainers.

Tell us about your first experience as a personal trainer or group instructor and how you got your confidence. Or, if you’re a new instructor, what are your concerns? Talk to us in our Facebook comments.

Plus, don’t forget, if you’re an NFPT trainer, join our Facebook community.

Tanisha Rule

Tanisha Rule

Tanisha Rule has a BA in English and is a former Mad Dogg-certified Spinning instructor. She taught indoor cycle and boot camp and has now combined her passions as a full-time writer for the health and fitness industries, check out her site at If she isn’t writing or reading, she can be found happily training for an endurance event, likely after having said, “This is my last one for a while,” because there is no finish line; there is only progress.