What Continuing Ed is Best for Personal Trainers?

What continuing ed is best for personal trainers
Continuing education is part of being a trainer.  It’s important to know what continuing ed is best for personal trainers.

I mean, think about it… continuing ed can be expensive right?  So doesn’t it make sense to take something that’s going to generate a good return on investment (ROI)?

I think so!  In fact, one of the biggest mistakes I see most personal trainers make is when they pour money into continuing ed that will never actually help them make more money.

So here’s the deal… when it comes to continuing ed, you should be extremely selective.  In fact, there are three questions you should consider before paying for any continuing ed.  This article will focus on what to look for and whether or not you take certain types of courses.


Question #1 – Does more education = more clients and  more money?

There are quite a few trainers that think they will be in higher demand and make more money if they take some of the in-depth, cutting-edge continuing ed courses.

In fact, some of these courses are 3-day workshops that cost thousands of dollars.

But here’s the problem…

YOU might understand the value of an in-depth course, but your clients could care less.  They have no clue about physiology, functional training, or the myriad of other technical training skills you might think are valuable.

So guess what… whether you have the best training or the basic training, a client doesn’t usually care.

Ok… I know you probably disagree, but I’m basing this on my 20 years of experience.

I was never the most-educated trainer.  And I never had the best credentials.  But, I always had the most amount of clients and I charged the most.

Think about it… when you choose a massage therapist, do you do an in-depth background check and only choose the one who’s taken the most courses or has the most plaques hanging on the wall?

Of course not!  You choose based on a friend’s recommendation.  Or you try them and see how they work with your body.

The same goes for training… clients only care about two things:

  1. The results you get (or have gotten with other clients)
  2. How you both connect personality-wise

The rest of it comes in at a distant third, fourth, or even fifth.

So what should you do?

First off, get rid of the idea that education = money.  Instead of seeking out technical education, consider taking business, sales, and communication education.  These things WILL get you more money and help you create a better client experience.

Second, ask yourself the following question:


Question 2 – How will this course allow me to grow my business?

Listen, there are tons of continuing ed courses… lower back specialty courses, paleo courses, functional courses, nutrition courses, yoga courses, etc…

Some courses cost a few hundred dollars and you go through them yourself.  Other courses are workshop-style and cost thousands of dollars… but consider this:

If you pay thousands of dollars for a course, it needs to give you a skill that will DEFINITELY earn back your investment.

I worked with dozens of trainers that took some guy’s course.  He wrote his own book, had his own method, and gave you his special certification.

But… no one other than trainers knew who he was.  His certification meant nothing to the average person.

These trainers spent over $2,000 and the certification meant nothing.

Meanwhile, I took a course for $120 that taught me how to fix lower back issues.  Guess what… I had clients lining up to work with me for that specific reason: they had lower back pain and wanted a trainer who know how to help them.

My $120 investment returned thousands of dollars while the other trainers’ $2,000 investment returned a couple hundred dollars… maybe.

Here are some ways different courses can help:

  1. A sales training can help your conversion rates… this is super important
  2. A niche course can help you differentiate yourself or compliment your training
    1. Lower back specialty
    2. Facilitated stretching
    3. Nutrition design and coaching
    4. Golf training
    5. Etc…
  3. A marketing course can help you understand how to build your brand and get your name out to the community
  4. A communication course can help you understand how to talk to people in order to get them excited and motivate them to do their best and work with you
  5. A branding or speaking course can help you learn how to make yourself stand out so people seek you out rather than you chasing leads
  6. An online marketing course or social-media course can help you spread your message through the community

Look at these examples, very few of them are technical courses, yet most personal trainers focus all their time, energy and money into technical training.

Don’t do what most trainers do.  Be different and extraordinary!

Question #3 – Why are you taking the course?

I’ll be honest… sometimes I take a course just to get my CECs.  Other times I take a course because I’m genuinely interested in the topic.  Most of the time, I take a course because I see a need from my clients or other’s clients… and that means there’s an unfilled demand.

Before you invest a bunch of money, make sure you know why you’re taking the course.

If you look at the three reasons I just gave, here’s how you can differentiat them:

  1. Taking the course for CECs – Low Investment… take a cheap course
  2. Genuinely interested in topic – Low or Mid Investment
  3. To build your business or get a skill that you KNOW is in high demand – High investment

BUT… you need to ask these questions from YOUR CLIENT’s POINT OF VIEW… not from a trainer’s point of view.

And… even though the business-building or specialty skill garners a high investment, it doesn’t mean you HAVE to pay a high sum.  Remember, I got my lower back training for $120.

When I spend thousands for a training, it’s usually a business-building training that I know will give me tremendous value and skills to grow my brand and business.

Yes, the technical training is also important, but I will argue that it’s not of PRIMARY importance, and you shouldn’t spend the bulk of your time, focus and money on technical training.


Leave me a comment or questions below and let’s have a conversation about this.  I want to see what your perspective and experience is!


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