Seems like no matter your stage of life, someone is always asking you, “What’s next?” This is often directed at personal trainers. The question, “What’s next?” begs you to consider your next steps. It’s often accompanied by conversations of growth, change, and opportunity – all good things. But, more often than not, “What’s next?” implies there is a next step beyond where the trainer is; that being a personal trainer at a club and servicing clients is merely a stepping stone versus a viable, long-term post.

We should always be striving to be better, but being a personal trainer is ripe with opportunity even if you never move into management, open a studio, or create a best-selling product. The world needs more personal trainers. Better personal trainers. Full-time personal trainers. Seasoned personal trainers.

We have a lot of people we need to get moving. For many, the traditional health club is their first step. Whether it’s a privately held club, a community rec center, the local YMCA, or a low-cost club, this is where many get started. It stands to reason that we need to increase the number of quality personal trainers in these areas. Instead, we are often led to believe this is just where to get started, to cut our teeth, and to make mistakes. This leads to a revolving door in the very place where clients (and, more importantly, potential clients) need to see consistency.

We continue to learn about ways to increase income by moving on and venturing out on our own or moving into management for a better (or, at least steadier) income. While both of these career moves make sense for some, it should also make sense to stay in a more traditional personal trainer role. While there is a need for change from employers to increase earning potential, give access to benefits, offer better work conditions, we can (and should) change our internal rhetoric and explore ways to stay ‘in the trenches.’

“What’s next?” should lead you to look down the road at what makes the most sense. It might lead you to management, to venturing out on your own or creating products. But it may also stir conversation around how you can do more where you are. The next time you hear, “What’s next?” explore how you can move deeper into this profession to positively impact the most lives possible.