It takes passion, knowledge and salesmanship to make it as a personal trainer. Now it's time to use these same competencies to achieve a new personal best in your income, the factor that allows you to pursue the profession that you love. The following are tips to help you get the compensation you deserve for what you know about nutrition.

Start with a Personal Inventory Assessment

What do I do best? What do I love to do? What do I really know, without having to think twice? How much money do I have to make to be able to pursue my dream? These are the questions that can help you discover a whole new income source by simply doing what you do best. Of course, everybody's different in years of experience, formal education, certifications and even in availability and willingness to make an additional time commitment. That's why it's important for you to start with a personal inventory of what is most important to you in both your business and your personal life. Your list should include long- and short-term goals, strengths and weaknesses and areas for growth. Write down your answers, and be honest!

Expand Your Horizons
Now that you are more familiar with your own abilities, use those abilities to expand your income. Know that there are only three possibilities for income expansion as a trainer:
1.   Charge your current clients more. Will your current clients stay with you if you raise your prices 10% or even 20%? Decide what your value is, and set the best possible rate.
2.   Bring in more clients. It takes time, commitment, skills and some money, but face it — selling is essential to keeping your business growing. Someday, clients will come to you by word-of-mouth. Until then, you need to commit yourself to spending at least 20% of your time finding new clients.
3.   Offer more to your current clients — what a concept! Couldn't most of your clients benefit from a pure multivitamin or the support of a meal replacement shake? This one is a no-brainer. Your clients have come to trust you and rely upon your expertise as a professional.
Give Away Advice on Nutrition
Even though you may not be a registered dietitian, you certainly know how your body reacts to protein, carbohydrates and fats. How many times a week do clients ask you about which supplements to take or which ones you consume? The ADArecommends that everyone should take daily multivitamins and multi-minerals — even children. You probably also have a meal replacement shake or bar that you have come to rely on. The local health food store makes all the money on the clients that you send their way. Use your nutrition knowledge to expand your income from the clients you already advise.
Nutrition Information is strategic to your business Let's assume that you don't really understand nutrition very well. Isn't it about time you did? Remember — nutrition is the foundation of physical fitness; the engine just won't function properly if you don't give it the right fuel. So how can you bring yourself up to speed with nutrition information that will help your clients manage their weight, increase muscle mass, live a healthier life and simply perform better? The answer is literally at your fingertips. 
Harness Technology to Sound Like a Professional
Everything you ever needed to know about nutrition and dietary supplements is on the Internet.  The only questions are, "How much does it cost?" and "Where do I go for information I can trust?" There are a lot of sites trying to sell you something and will simply tell you whatever they need to say to make a sale. Let's face it, we have no idea who made the last editorial change to the "Glucosamine" entry in Wikipedia!
The Gold Standard for Nutritional Knowledge
When trying to understand nutrition, the gold standard is double-blind, placebo-controlled human clinical studies that have been peer-reviewed and published in reputable scientific journals. These studies and other valuable information can be found at a number of generally reliable internet sites, including:
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Consumer Labs    
Medline Plus         
Natural Standard   
Reuters Health
These are great reference sites, but many cost money and require subscriptions. The best of all worlds is a site that is comprehensive and offers objective information but is also free. 
Think of Yourself as a "Wellness Provider"
Paul Zane Pilzer, author of The New Wellness Revolution, maintains that wellness is the next trillion dollar industry. He explains that many billionaires like Sam Walton (Wal-Mart), Fred Smith (Federal Express) and Ross Perot (Electronic Data Systems) "made their fortunes by finding better and cheaper ways to physically distribute products to consumers that consumers already knew they wanted." Here is some information you should know to help make this model work for you:
  •     Your client is coming to you because they want to look, feel and/or perform better, especially because they want to live longer and more active lives. They are already willing to pay you a fair amount of money to get the result they want. 

  •     You know that the right nutrition is essential to achieving the client's short-term goals and that a real change in nutrition has to be part of a new regimen that you help instill.

  •     Your clients are likely spending a lot of money today on nutritional supplements and willing to spend even more if it will truly help them meet their goals.

  •     The Internet is the new distribution opportunity that you can harness to take advantage of the upcoming "wellness revolution." The consumers can order the products from their homes, and the producer ships the products through electronic orders, while you can add income by simply dispensing the same nutrition advice that you already give away.

  •     Most importantly, think about your client's current options for counsel. It's either you or the health food store clerk. 

  •     You're a trusted advisor, so your input carries strong credibility.

Make Dietary Supplements a New Income Stream
Let's eliminate the obvious possibilities that don't fit the definition of Pilzer's "Wellness Revolution." Opening a brick and mortar store would distract significantly from your current employment situation, and developing your own private label line would require heavy investment, even if you knew exactly how the line should be formulated. 
Again, the choices are right there on the Internet. Here's the checklist that will help you find the answer that fits your current income need and employment situation:
ü       How credible are the products? You shouldn't believe promises that are "too good to be true."
ü       Are the products science-based? Look for the evidence on the website. If you don't see it out front, then it's probably not there.
ü       Would you use the products and ingredients for yourself? Selling the line has to be consistent with what you already know to be true.
ü       Will selling these products help you understand nutrition better? It should!
ü       Who is already endorsing the line? Is it used by professional people who think  similarly to you?
ü       What up-front investment is required? Do you have to buy inventory? Stock it? Ship it? You shouldn't have to do any of this.
ü       How much time will it take to process, submit or deliver orders? Supplement fulfillment will distract from your training efforts and probably is work you would not enjoy doing. 
ü       What commission can you earn? It probably is worth it for 12%-15%.
ü       Is there multi-level marketing? That means that you have to share your commissions when you're doing all the work and that the real way you'll make money won't be counseling people on nutrition. You'll have to spend more of your time trying to recruit a bevy of people into your network so you can share their commissions.
If you are employed by a fitness center, you should inform them of your intentions to direct clients to a pure multi-vitamin and mineral supplement as well as meal replacement shakes or bars. Find a way to create a win-win situation for you and your employer regarding the maximizing of your clients' health, results and retention, as well as opportunity for you in the supplement arena.
Be Passionate about Turning Better Nutrition into a New Income Stream
You didn't decide to get into the fitness business because your mother did it or because of your school's guidance counselor — you became a trainer because you wanted to be in a profession where you would love going to work every day. You feel good working out, and it makes you feel good to know that you're really helping another person live a better life. Muster those same passions when making the decision to earn money by selling the nutritional support that your clients really need. 
There is a wellness revolution underway! There's no better time than the present for you to be on the leading edge, so start profiting from the nutrition knowledge you already have. Your advice is worth paying for, especially if you're willing to spend a little extra time learning more about what supplements really work best for different people. If you're reluctant to recommend supplements until you learn more about them, there are Internet solutions for that as well.
Use the same selling and counseling skills and the same personal development philosophy that made you successful in your current business. Obviously, the first target is your existing client base. Harness the power of the Internet to find the right product line and business model and to help you increase your understanding of nutrition. It's all right there at your fingertips — all you have to add is the passion to make it.
John Hazlin has a master's degree in marketing, and he is the President of For more info, or email