It may seem a bit unfair, but most of us don’t discover our true passion early in life. We go through our teenage years and generally finish out our Year 12 with absolutely no idea what career we should pursue, or what professional path to take. After uni, we typically spend our twenties in occupations that pay the bills and let us get a start on adult life, but before you know it years pass by and suddenly, you’re in your thirties. By then, if you’re lucky, you’ve found your passion—but the question arises: is it too late for me to change careers? Should I really be starting something new?
And if your passion is fitness, and you’ve had thoughts about becoming a personal trainer, you may be plagued with thoughts about competing with trainers in their 20s—who may have already been on the job for years. There are a multitude of reasons to follow your dreams, at any point of your life. Only by living a purpose-lead, meaningful life can we be content and fulfilled. Work which you feel passionate about is one of the keys to long-term happiness. But can you hack it in your 30s, or did you miss the boat?
If you’ve been facing that dilemma, here’s some great news for you: according to the latest data available from Fitness Australia, the average age of a personal trainer is 31. That data is several years old, and trends would suggest that since the time of that report, the average age has likely increased.
Some of these trainers are, of course, career professionals who started on their path in their early twenties, but it’s likely that, by now, just as many came to the fitness industry in their 30s or later. Many of these “older” personal trainers are likely to be active well into their fifties and sixties, which reflects the general trend among the population. As in most developed nations, Australia’s population is aging due to increasing life expectancy, and being a personal trainer can absolutely be a life-long career if you know what you’re doing.
There are actually benefits to starting your personal trainer career a bit later. Life experience can’t be taught. It comes with age and can give you a serious advantage over younger personal trainers. Being slightly older is likely to make you more organised and focused, and by your thirties you generally have a good idea of what your strengths and weaknesses are, and (with work) can manage them to your advantage.
Most clients will be predisposed to take a slightly older personal trainer more seriously—maturity lends some added authority. And at that age, most of us likely know what we want and are more willing to stick to it and see it through until we reach success. That kind of tenacity and drive are invaluable qualities for a personal trainer to have. If you’re considering personal training as a career change, you’re likely to be into fitness already, and have spent years working out, seeing what works and what doesn’t, and picking up all kinds of insights that someone who’s younger—even if they’re a trained personal trainer—may not have had time to acquire.
A lot of your potential clients will be in their thirties, forties, or even older. The average age of a gym-goer is likely much higher than you might think. It makes sense when you think about it—who can afford private personal trainer sessions, and who has the available time? Clients in well-established careers with solid income streams, and of course retirees who have ample free time to get a workout or five in each week. Most of the time, these older clients will prefer to have someone a little older training them.
There may be some slight disadvantages to starting your personal trainer career later. By the time most of us are in our thirties, there’s a fairly good chance that we have more commitments—a family or other responsibility which could limit your time and perhaps make you think twice before pursuing a fitness career. But should it? Almost certainly not. Gym owners have identified the trend in older gym goers, and many are looking for more mature personal trainers to meet the demands of that demographic.
You’re likely to start with clients around your age, and will be able to prepare training and nutritional plans which are applicable for them, as they’re likely similar to your own. An older person will often have fitness goals that are different to those of a younger person. You’re likely to find it easier to build rapport with older clients, as you’ll have more understanding of their age-related limitations and concerns, and again: you’ll be able to offer experience younger personal trainers simply won’t have.
A career as a personal trainer may be ideal for someone in their 30s—or even older. The best way to get started is to consult with a knowledgeable professional about your goals, and to begin pursuing a Certificate III in Fitness. There’s no finer place to do that than the Personal Training Academy, where dedicated fitness pros will be able to guide you, step by step, toward your goal of becoming a personal trainer.