(800) 545-4772
Sign In
ISSA, International Sports Sciences Association, Certified Personal Trainer, ISSAonline, Why Should You Become an Elite Personal Trainer?

Why Should You Become an Elite Personal Trainer?

Reading Time: 5 minutes 41 seconds


DATE: 2024-05-20

If you want a fitness career, one option is to become a personal trainer. With this type of certification, you get to spend your days working with clients to set realistic goals and achieve a higher fitness level. You're able to use your knowledge, skill, and passion to create an effective exercise program.

But maybe you're not the average person. For you, it's not enough to be "just" a personal trainer. It's not even enough to be a successful personal trainer. You want more. If this describes you, you may want to consider becoming an elite personal trainer.

What an Elite Personal Trainer Is

As the name suggests, an elite-level personal trainer is a trainer who is considered "the cream of the crop." This person has advanced fitness knowledge and skills. They know how to help a client reach their fitness goal with more than just exercise.

For instance, an elite personal trainer also has an in-depth understanding of nutrition. They know the difference between macronutrients and micronutrients, and the value each offers. They understand what a balanced meal plan looks like, as well as how to create one.

This higher-level trainer holds specialized knowledge in multiple additional areas. They might know more about functional movement or injury prevention, for example. In addition to one-on-one training sessions, they are a strength coach or teach group HIIT classes.

An elite personal trainer does all of these things. They are like several personal trainers rolled into one. They have the knowledge required to address a variety of issues and areas of fitness.

Why Should You Become an Elite Personal Trainer? 7 Benefits to Consider

Sounds like a lot of extra work, right? There's no sugarcoating it, it is. Earning your certification in three areas of fitness requires more time and effort than earning your certification in one. But there are also many benefits to adding to your certified personal trainer status with specializations. Here are seven.

#1: You Become a Well-Rounded Fitness Professional

If you have a cold that won't seem to go away, you go to your general practitioner (GP). You can also go to your GP if you sprain your wrist, your blood pressure is too high, or your back hurts. That's because this type of doctor is a well-rounded health professional. As an elite trainer, you are a well-rounded fitness professional.

Fitness isn't one single thing. It isn't only strength training or only nutrition. You can't go to the gym every day yet eat only high-calorie, high-fat foods and expect to be fit. You also can't eat healthy meals and always skip your workout sessions and become a top athlete.

Fitness is a multifaceted approach. It involves regular exercise and a healthy diet. It might also include functional training or advanced conditioning. It is many things rolled into one. An elite trainer knows how to address more of these areas, providing clients with even greater benefits.

#2: You Are Recognized as a Highly Qualified Personal Trainer

If you are a student struggling in math, who would you rather have tutor you: someone proficient in algebra only or someone who also knows trigonometry and calculus? The more areas a professional is proficient in, the greater their ability to be recognized as a highly qualified trainer.

The value of this is that people will come to you for help in achieving a variety of fitness goals. The fact that you hold multiple certifications suggests that you can assist them in many areas. They feel that they can look to you for help with more of their struggles. This increases your appeal as a personal trainer.

#3: You Are One Step Above Your Competitors

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there are currently around 373,700 fitness trainers and instructors in the U.S. And this number is expected to grow by 57,600 over the next few years. (1) How do you set yourself apart from these other personal training professionals? By earning elite training status.

When prospective clients want to hire a trainer and they see that you are a fitness expert, you jump to the front of the line. They see you as a leader in the fitness industry, so you become their first choice.

#4: You Have a Broader Client Base

Some clients want a workout routine that can help them lose weight or gain muscle. Others are more concerned about diet and want nutrition coaching. Then there are the clients who have more specialized issues. They need a corrective exercise program or they play sports and their coach told them they need to work on their conditioning.

As an elite trainer, you can help all of these types of clients, depending on your certifications of course. This provides you a more expansive client base. By default, it also lessens your risk of not having enough work because you can help so many different people.

#5: You Can Offer a Combination Fitness Training Package

Maybe you have a personal training program that provides instruction in both exercise and nutrition. Having knowledge in both of these areas tells prospective customers that you know what you're doing. It also prevents you from going outside your scope of practice.

The nice thing about having a combination workout and diet program is, by addressing more than one area, it will likely offer clients better results. Tackling their fitness from more than one direction will often provide more positive changes in less time.

This is good for them because they are able to hit their goals faster. It's also good for you because the better you are at providing results, the more sought-after you become.

#6: You Offer More Value to the Elite Athlete

Maybe your dream personal training position involves working with professional athletes. Earning an "elite" designation makes you more compelling to this clientele.

Think like an athletic trainer for a moment. Who would you rather have your star athletes working with: a personal trainer or an elite personal trainer? The elite trainer will likely win every time.

#7: You Can Do More Than Personal Training

Another benefit of having the title of an elite trainer is that it opens doors outside of the gym or training studio. Your credentials can be used to get speaking gigs, for instance. You can use your education in multiple areas to inspire greater fitness from the stage.

You might also take your advanced education and use it to train future certified trainers. Teach them the ins and outs of building and growing a fitness business. Help them learn the skills necessary to become a top trainer. Talk about what an effective training session looks like or the elements of a results-driven workout.

The options are endless for what you can do with your multi-level training. Be creative and consider all of your options. If personal training is your thing, great. But if you want to do more, becoming an elite trainer can help get you there.

ISSA, International Sports Sciences Association, Certified Personal Trainer, ISSAonline, Why Should You Become an Elite Personal Trainer?, Continuing Education

Continuing Education Requirements for an Elite Personal Trainer

One question that is commonly asked when it comes to becoming an elite trainer is whether continuing education requirements change. Specifically, do you have to earn separate continuing education credits for each individual certification or will your credits apply to them all?

Though we can't speak for other certifying agencies, ISSA certification can be retained in all areas with the same continuing education classes. For instance, currently, 20 hours are required to renew your certs every two years. Even though you will hold three separate certifications through the ISSA, you still only need to do the 20 hours (not 60 total, or 20 for each cert).

Elite Personal Trainer Salary

How much can you make as an elite personal trainer? As with many careers in the fitness industry, it depends. Based on your level of experience, location, and the type of clients you work with an elite personal trainer could make anywhere from $50,000 to $150,000 per year. 

According to Glassdoor.com, the average salary for an elite trainer is $55,841. Once you include additional pay such as bonuses and commissions, the total take-home pay is estimated to be $75,426 per year. (2)

ZipRecruiter indicates that $59,970 is the national average for an elite personal trainer. (3) For comparison, ZipRecruiter lists the average salary for a personal trainer at $51,579. (4)

How to Get Started as an Elite Personal Trainer

The first step in becoming an elite personal trainer is to take the courses required. With the ISSA, this is the personal training course, the nutrition course, and another specialization of your choosing. Once each one is complete, you must pass a certification exam. This garners you your personal training certification, nutrition specialist certification, and certification in another area of your choice. Pass all of the exams and you will receive your elite fitness certification.

Ready to get started? Enroll in the Elite Trainer certification program with International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) today. Take your personal training career to the next level and join some of the nation's top trainers. This puts you one step closer to becoming the best of the best!

Featured Course

ISSA | Elite Trainer


  1. Fitness trainers and instructors: Occupational Outlook Handbook. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2022, September 8). Retrieved April 26, 2023, from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/personal-care-and-service/fitness-trainers-and-instructors.htm 

  2. Salary: Elite personal trainer. Glassdoor. (2022, September 15). Retrieved April 26, 2023, from https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/elite-personal-trainer-salary-SRCH_KO0,22.htm 

  3. Elite Personal trainer salary. ZipRecruiter. (2023, April 19). Retrieved April 26, 2023, from https://www.ziprecruiter.com/Salaries/Elite-Personal-Trainer-Salary 

  4. Salary: Personal trainer. ZipRecruiter. (2023, April 19). Retrieved April 26, 2023, from https://www.ziprecruiter.com/Salaries/Personal-Trainer-Salary 

Sign Up & Stay Connected

Receive $50 off your purchase today!