If you’d like to begin an adventure in the fitness industry, these are the vital steps for success you should be following to turn your passion into a profitable career.
Years ago in the most rural corner of the Welsh hills, I decided to make bodybuilding a career. Having done my fair share of unfulfilling dead-end jobs such as furniture removals and laboring on building sites, I decided there had to be a better direction for me. Through a friend I was introduced to weight training to reduce back pain I’d had from racing motocross. Instantly I became hooked and began to read up on this new-found discipline. Very quickly I was absorbing as much information as I possibly could and expanding my knowledge to improve my results. Eventually, this led to me completing a diploma in the fields of nutrition, fitness, rehab and massage, which enabled me to take my first step into the world of fitness.
My first job took me out of Wales working on cruise ships, fulfilling a role as a sports massage therapist while fine-tuning my knowledge of exercise and nutrition. From here my career meandered through different paths within the fitness world which included my own mobile PT business to eventually purchasing my own gym in Australia, working as a bodybuilding photographer and writer for FLEX magazine, becoming editor-in-chief for bodybuilding.com, celebrity coach, best-selling author, co-founder of a food company called Nutrition by Design, co-owner of the Gethin Gyms Franchise and now CEO of KAGED MUSCLE supplements. It is safe to say my journey over the last 20 years in the fitness industry has given me some extraordinary experiences along with the capacity to affect millions of lives for the better. This is my greatest privilege and it gives me purpose. For anybody who wants to begin their adventure in this amazing industry, here are my top ten tips for success.
Education is key
“Knowledge is power.” This is a saying I have lived by since the beginning of time and you should do the same. Education sets you apart from the field, and it allows you to achieve things others cannot, because they don’t know how. Expanding knowledge takes a great deal of time and effort. However, it will repay you in spades if you’re willing to devote the time now. Even if you work full-time, spend the evenings learning about nutrition, training, supplementation, health and even psychology. Use your time more wisely when traveling or doing cardio, listen to podcasts rather than music, there are ways to compact your learning into relatively small windows of time. Complement daily self-learning habits with official courses as well so you’re able to gain some credibility and know that some accreditations are better than others.
Prove Yourself First
Be willing to put the work in before expecting any rewards. If you want to be a transformation specialist, spend time coaching people, even if it is for free, in exchange for their testimonials for marketing purposes when they get life-changing results. This extends to becoming a social media influencer because tangible evidence of your knowledge is the best way to gain an audience’s trust and respect.
Timekeeping is something I am fastidious with, my schedule is locked in, I turn up on time, I meet deadlines, and nothing gets in the way of that. This is how you must conduct yourself in this industry to succeed, whether that is delivering a program on time for a paying client or writing content for a publication. If you develop a reputation for being punctual, people will come to respect that you’re reliable and that can carry you a long way forward. Equally, if you’re not punctual, you will quickly be tagged with this undesirable image.
Focus on having an impact on other people’s lives and that could be by coaching them or through the content you create. Doing this means an audience will naturally gravitate towards you more freely and over time, it will establish you as an authority on your chosen subjects within fitness. Don’t start out thinking, “How can I become well known?” Instead, keep delivering on your strengths, triple down on this and eventually it will be more widely received. Imagine creating content which is life-changing; people will recommend it to their friends and over time this will give it the viral factor.
Do not wait for an opportunity from a big publishing organization to become an author. Self-publish using a landing page and divert traffic there! When I first started as a writer, there were no platforms like this, so I had to keep hounding magazines with my content, eventually breaking through over time. Starting today is so much easier, write content, make it interesting and informative, publish, then work on getting eyeballs to the page. Simultaneously, you can keep asking publications to commission work from you as well. Don’t become disheartened if it takes several attempts either – it took me over six months of continuous submissions before I got my first reply.
Your body sells you
If you want to be taken seriously in this business, your physical appearance really needs to convey a lifestyle of health, aligned with the message you’re preaching.
If bodybuilding is your niche, make sure your physique communicates that, so practice what you preach otherwise people won’t take you seriously. You don’t need to look like Mr. Olympia, but having a sensible level of physical development adds pedigree to your image and ultimately, the message you’re trying to get out there.
Ask for Feedback
Don’t be afraid to ask people for feedback whether that is a group of clients, other fitness experts, or a publishing company – this information will help you improve on your discipline. Often you can overlook things which are holding you back from reaching the next level; external feedback can provide the key to making that leap. Don’t be fragile and take constructive criticism as a negative. You can put these pointers to great use by expanding your ability.
The first piece of advice I gave in this column was to get educated; I can’t express how vital this is to a long-lived career in the world of fitness, especially today. However, you must understand that science is always evolving and information you learn today may alter tomorrow so you need to sustain your learning practices on a regular basis. Never think you know it all because you never will.
Some people want things more than others. Let me tell you this loud and clear; if you really want to make it in this industry, you have got to be relentless. This means continuously repeating habits which build momentum until it snowballs to the point nobody can ignore you. If content creation is your angle, create it multiple times per week and make it your mission to drive traffic there and do whatever it takes to be heard.
The same goes for any path you choose within the industry, whenever you think you’re not getting anywhere, remember others will be feeling this way and are also about to give up but you won’t if you want it bad enough. That is one less person you now have to compete with; keep going and be the last one standing. Be sure to pick your starting point carefully so you have a defined goal. Live and breathe fitness, network with like-minded people, expand your contact list, provide more value than you ever ask for and, over time, this will transcend into something meaningful. Be warned, the majority of people who try to crack the fitness industry fail because they have the wrong mindset. Use this as your guide, especially on days when you feel like giving in.