What if they really knew what it takes?

Carlos Anthony Castro
3 min readJan 20, 2024

As I write this its a Friday afternoon in January.

Just the other day I did something I never would’ve done after I got my baseline certification. I turned down a private client’s business !Why? As much as I like money, it didn’t make business sense when considering the amount of time I’d be losing vs the money I’d be collecting. After all, as a corporate and private trainer I’m managing 2 businesses at once.

Today at corporate trainer gig I was waiting for a client. Two members were near each other in the stretching area. There was a towel on the floor between them. One of the members leaned back into the stretch and touched the towel. She quickly apologized because she thought the towel belonged to the other nearby member. But the other member said it wasn’t hers. I overheard them talking, so I walked over I got that towel out of both of their ways. No I didn’t try to sale them training. I simply saw 2 people I could help, and I helped them.

My day(today) as a corporate trainer started at Equinox & finished up at 1pm where I had 4 clients. I also just got out of a meeting with the rest of the instructors at Show Up Fitness. That’s where I went to personal trainer school.I started the journey of becoming a personal trainer 5 years ago with a baseline certification. And I’ve been with Equinox as a corporate trainer for 2 years and 7 months. That’s enough time to reflect on the process.

In such a short time I’ve seen a lot of trainers come and go. Many of which I thought had the potential to be great. And in my short tenure (compared to other professions), I’m a veteran in this industry.

Various surveys among gym managers suggest that 90% of personal trainers give up within 6 months to a year. And the reason why is 2 fold in my opinion:

  • Lot of people that aspire to get into this business expecting 6 figure salaries in exchange for working short hours. And they have expectations of being famous and flexing their muscles on instagram. Then they look up the most popular baseline certifications. And seems simple enough. Pay $500-$1000 for a personal trainer certification. And just like that you’re at rockstar!
  • The baseline certifications make aspiring personal trainers believe everything they want to believe Ie:great marketing(the most popular being the National Academy of Sports Medicine/ NASM. Thats where I started).

Thinking back on it, it’d be pretty silly to think that investing such a small amount of money would net such a salary. But thats what great marketing will do for ya! As the statistics show, it does the exact opposite. Another aspiring trainer in, another out. Most box gyms are aware of this. That’s why they typically hire more trainers than needed(save some time in the on-boarding process).

So why not give aspiring personal trainers a realistic expectations of what it takes to be successful:

  • Invest in your education
  • Understand the business side of things
  • Networking
  • People skills/ personality (this is huge)

Going to personal trainer school at Show Up Fitness gave me a few things that a baseline certification wouldn’t:

  • I was pointed in the right direction of what it takes to be successful.
  • The opportunity to network with other successful personal trainers.
  • More education, more understanding of the business side of personal training.

Just reflecting on the process, I decided to get into this field because I loved fitness. But even more important I love seeing others do well.And I’ve never been afraid of hard work.

At the time of looking into a career in fitness I had to leave a long time career. So there were some complications. To that end, the certifying bodies making me think it was easy helped me take my first step was as least convenient . I wouldn’t have ran into the good folk at Show Up Fitness(Where Great Trainers Are Made) without them.

The 10% of people that last in this business do so for a reason. But if we all really knew whats need to be successful from the very beginning, I wonder how many would sign up. I even ask myself that question. Would you have?



Carlos Anthony Castro

*Personal Trainer* Marathon Runner * Instagram @iron_endurance_training