Does a Personal Trainer for Seniors Pay a Better Salary?
Does a Personal Trainer for Seniors Pay a Better Salary?
Personal trainers are constantly on the hunt for clients who can afford their services, need their product offerings, and make ongoing fitness a consistent priority. Further, additional revenue streams or ways to maximize the dollar per hour make a successful and long-term career in personal training possible.
The best way to secure consistent business and expand fitness service offerings is by catering to the largest and most untapped market: Baby Boomers (ages 51 – 69) and the Great Generation (ages 70 – 87).
These two groups control the vast majority of wealth in the United States and Baby Boomers are expected to continue to hold over 50% of the wealth until 2020. As consumers seeking services, they have flexibility in their schedules because so many of them are in retirement. Baby Boomers specifically are known to be hard working, goal oriented, motivated and loyal.
Additionally, four out of five of people over 50 suffer from at least one chronic condition. And age-related changes include loss of bone density, strength loss, increased risk of fall-related injuries, weakened core stability, and more.
This is the personal trainer’s dream client: motivated, money in the pocket, and flexible spending with plenty of time to give. On top of it all, they need your help. The question becomes, how does being a personal trainer for seniors command a better salary? We’ll explore the needs of these dream clients and how you can earn a better salary by tapping into their market in this article.
Senior Fitness Needs
As we age, we change neurologically, physiologically, and physically. Although we can’t avoid these age-related changes, we can do things to slow down the process or prevent unnecessary risks. These changes include:
- Increased risk of falls
- Lack of stamina
- Decreased stamina
- Loss of balance
- Decreased strength
- Increased body fat
- Increased risk for joint injuries
- Decreased agility
- Consistent discomfort or pain
For most personal trainers, we’ve heard of these age-related changes. Especially noteworthy of them all is the risk of falls and the reduced stamina.
More falls and less stamina
The frequency of falls happens more than we realize and is discussed in depth here. These are just a few of the stats.
- One in four 65+ Americans fall each year.
- Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury in older adults.
- Every 11 seconds an older adult is in the emergency room for a fall.
- Every 19 minutes an older adult dies from a fall
These statistics prove the important role personal trainers can play in the longevity of an older adult’s life. Reducing this risk is in the scope of practice for personal trainers working with seniors and a fall prevention program will include things like corrective exercise, balance training, and increased core stabilization training.
Loss of stamina is also a primary concern for the aging adult population. This can be a result from the physiological changes in the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, but it can also come from decreased activity levels associated with age. Additionally, there’s a strong and negative emotional element associated with declining levels of stamina. It can lead to frustration, depression, and fear when you aren’t able to do the same things you once could even just a few short years ago.
Increasing stamina is often a primary goal when working with seniors and can range from helping a client simply be more functional each day to increasing the client’s fitness level to take part in events like walking and running races.
A Spectrum of Senior Fitness Needs
When training the aging adult population, it’s important to remember their fitness levels will vary widely on a spectrum. It’s your responsibility, then to create a unique program designed to fit their needs. The spectrum of their abilities will fall along this continuum:
- Functional with Limitations
- Active Fit
- Athletic Fit
Having the knowledge and skills to create holistic programs for senior clients is critical to being successful and earning yourself a better salary. This includes being well-versed in the conditions seniors will present and how to train them. Common conditions an aspiring senior fitness trainer should be prepared for include (but are not limited to):
- Mental conditions (Alzheimer’s and dementia)
- Visual impairments
- Hearing impairments
There’s a longer list of common senior conditions which you should be familiar with and prepared to handle for effective programming. Getting certified as an ISSA Senior Fitness Trainer not only gives you added credibility in fitness facilities, it proves your expertise in an area this population truly values. This is because ISSA’s Senior Fitness Certification fully equips a personal trainer or fitness instructor to effectively train a population in dire need of activity and risk prevention measures.
Maximizing Your Earning Potential with Senior Populations
You now realize the growing demand for qualified fitness trainers to have the ability to work with the aging population. You’ve also come to realize it’s an untapped market full of motivation, resources to afford services, and needs to improve the quality of life.
How to find senior clients
Once you learn the information and earn the credentials to train senior fitness clients, you need to be able to find these customers. Below are our top recommendations for doing more personal training with seniors:
- Use your existing client base to tap into the market. Incentivize your clients to refer their parents, aunts, grandparents, etc. to your services.
- Connect with a local gym that caters to senior fitness. These types of facilities can include YMCAs, locations which offer Silver Sneakers classes, community recreational centers, etc.
- Conduct free assessments. This is an opportunity for you to show the value your expertise can bring to the unique needs of Baby Boomers and the Great Generation. You will have more time to develop rapport with them and discuss the benefits of a holistic program.
- Health Provider Networking: Given the amount of conditions these groups have, setting up a network among health gives will make you the go-to expert for helping individuals improve the symptoms or progression of their conditions beyond the walls of the medical building.
- Use the tools ISSA gives you. In the ISSA Senior Fitness Certification, you get an entire section devoted to marketing and business growth when working with seniors. It’s full of valuable and immediately useful information for expanded your services to this clientele.
Increase your salary as a personal trainer for seniors
You’ve read the demographics on this group. They have the smallest amount of debt among the other generations and the greatest percentage of wealth in the nation. This means they have money to spend. Even better, a good portion of senior clients are retired so they have more time to dedicate to improving their health and quality of life. They’re emotionally invested in their health and can be financial invested just as much- they just need to see your value.
The next step to earning a better salary is to understand the many ways you can work with these groups.
- Self-Membership: Unlike weight-loss clients or the general population, seniors don’t have an immediate goal they’re trying to reach. Quality and longevity are their goals. This means you should get them in an auto-renew program instead of a limited number of sessions package. This will support their need for consistency and the ongoing effort to avoid age related changes.
- Partner Sessions: Older adults like having social outlets incorporated into their lifestyle. You can appeal to them by holding partner training sessions or small group training. This increases your hourly rate, decreases their total cost, and adds an element of social enjoyment they’ll seek in other activities.
- Educational Seminars: Baby Boomers love to learn and are self-motivated. However, they haven’t grown up in the digital age, so they’re especially interested in live education where they can interact with an expert. You can easily conduct educational seminars or large training sessions on the chronic conditions listed in this article. A simple flat cost of $5 – 20 per person can sky rocket your hourly rate and open the doors with a low barrier to entry marketing opportunity.
- Challenges: Competitions are a fun trend the fitness industry is experiencing. This isn’t just for the young and fit clients. Instead, you can set up a variety of pay-for-enrollment challenges such as daily activity minutes, class or group participation, walking contents, and more. Similar to educational seminars, it’s an easy way to scale your business and get new prospects. For the clients, it offers accountability and the enjoyable social element.
- Sport-related Sessions: If you’re in a facility or area that has active and athletic senior fitness clients, you can support their lifestyle in other ways like golf, tennis, and racquetball clinics designed to take their game to the next level. This exposes you to a group of active agers who don’t necessarily need your help but want to get better at the things they already enjoy. You can charge more per hour with this niche or host group seminars.
- In-Home Training: It’s common for the Great Generation to avoid a typical gym membership. So, being able to design fitness programs they can participate in from home will appeal to their needs and current living situation. Further, it gives you more clients beyond those you prospect to in your facility.
These are unique opportunities that can’t be readily found in general client groupings which makes personal training for the senior population an incredible way to increase your salary right away. It’s time to realize the market potential this group has to offer and accelerate your business to pay yourself a better salary.
When you’re an expert in this area the sky is the limit.
More money. Motivated clients. Off-peak scheduling. Increased dollar per hour.
The senior population is a fitness professional’s dream come true.
Whether you’re already a personal trainer or wanting to be one, ISSA has a program for you!
If you’re already a certified personal trainer, all you need to do is get certified in the Senior Fitness Certification course. Here, you’ll learn the specific science and anatomy of this population plus the art of coaching them. As a bonus, the ISSA also offers support and training in how to market to this unique and powerful group (hint: it’s not the same as your typical client). Learn more here.
If you are considering becoming a certified personal trainer, there’s no better way to enter the field than focusing on this specific population who can pay top dollar. Perhaps, you’re a senior yourself and want to start a new chapter of your life helping others and giving back. Or, you’re earlier in your career cycle and looking to shift to something you love. The ISSA Senior Coaching program is just for you. It’s a 2-in-1 package where you receive your Personal Training Certification and have the specialty to train seniors.
Senior Fitness Certification
By the year 2030, the number of Americans over the age of 65 will grow to over 63 million. This group now constitutes the fastest growing segment of our population. While this burgeoning segment of the personal training market constitutes a lucrative opportunity, the real value is in the joy you'll experience in changing people's lives.