(This lesson is brought to us buy Mark Fisher Fitness’ original scissors sister, Amanda Wheeler! Wheels knows a thing or two about landing a job and working at a kick ass gym. Let’s let her wax poetic for a minute and take in her wisdom. Get ’em, Wheels!)
Many coaches have the dream of opening their own facility because they love to train and don’t want to work for someone else forever. For some coaches, the idea of being responsible for a facility and all that it entails – build outs, lawyers, taxes, zoning, equipment, website maintenance, cleaning services, employees, payroll, getting the toilet paper and ink for the printer – is about as appealing as stepping on a lego.
If you don’t want to open your own space but don’t want to live that corporate gym or contractor life forever, here’s how you can score a job at a kick ass independent gym.
Interact on social media and make yourself known
The fastest way to be on someone’s radar is to interact and add value. If you’re interested in working for a specific gym, participate on their social media pages or blog. Share their content and tag them. Add to the conversation. If you are adding value or contributing in some way, they are going to remember your name and take note.
If you live in the same city as the gym you’d like to work, stop by. Hang out. Get to know the staff. Drop in for a workout. Take the owner out to lunch (and pay) to pick their brain. Be fucking persistent, and make yourself known.
Be uniquely you as a coach
Cressey Sports Performance already has an Eric Cressey. Mark Fisher Fitness already has a Mark Fisher. They don’t need clones. They need YOU. Bring your own flavor, knowledge, and personality to the team. You have something to offer. The most boring teams all think the same and agree on everything. Have your own thoughts, opinions, and experiences, and don’t be afraid to shake shit up. That’s how teams get better. No team is looking for someone they already have. They are looking to fill gaps.
Get on that Con Ed
Always be learning, reading, and growing your own library and box of knowledge. Attend conferences. Listen to podcasts. If you have the drive to learn on your own without prompting, the gym you want to work for will see that you’re eager and want to get better with or without them. That’s super attractive to a potential employer.
Have an area of “expertise”
No matter what kind of training the gym does, having an area of expertise can add to your chances of potential employment. If you are the go-to guy or can fill a gap that the gym doesn’t have, you have secured yourself a job for a long time.
For example, Coach Fury at Mark Fisher Fitness is the go-to RKC/OS/DVRT guy. He fills a lot of gaps for our team. To be completely honest, when we hired him, we weren’t looking or in need of trainers. He rounded us out so much that there was no way we weren’t going to hire him.
We have a trainer on our staff that had no experience whatsoever in training, but is an expert at ridiculousness and play. He is a professional clown and daytime Emmy Award winner. We brought him up to speed on the training part, and he shares his knowledge of clowning with us.
It doesn’t matter what it is. If you are a newer trainer but know Excel or PowerPoint like a mother fucker, that will absolutely fill some kind of gap for a team. Bring the thing that you are most skilled at, and share that with people.
Be a fucking good person
It doesn’t matter how many certifications you have, how much you can lift, or what you can bring to a team if you’re not easy to work with or be around. Everything else can be learned and acquired with time. Most gyms will invest in your education and make sure you are up to speed, but if you’re not nice to be around, you won’t have a shot. Or if you do, it will be very short lived.
Humility, kindness, and a good attitude will get you so much further in a potential job situation than you can imagine. Leaving your ego behind and being open to consider any and all ideas is a characteristic that is very hard to teach. Be a fucking good person.
There are gyms out there that will take care of you more than you can imagine. You don’t have to open your own facility to get the perks of owning a gym if that’s not what you want. In fact, working for some gyms will be way less stressful than owning your own space and may provide you the opportunity to do your own thing within their space.
Make yourself known. Add value. Continue to learn, and be kind. You’ll get your dream job faster than you think.