Internship in Professional Fitness
As a young U.S. Marine, I wanted to serve my country yet serve my community too! I wanted to do it in the form of fitness and I decided to pursue an internship with a local physical therapy and wellness office off base. I decided to pursue the manager and asked if I could observe and learn and perhaps assist with patient prep. She agreed and allowed me to come into her office to assist four days a week after my military duties were complete for the day. Here is what I did as an intern:
- Assist the therapists with patient charts
- Prep the exercise routines for therapy purposes
- Recommend various eating strategies for patients
- Educate patients on how fitness can make them well rounded human
- Counsel patients on the physiology and make-up of the muscular system
Volunteering at a private practice was one of the most rewarding experiences I could give to myself as well as the community. It was an ideal way to pursue a career in professional fitness for the future. What I want to do is offer some personal views on how pursuing an internship in professional fitness.
To get into an internship, you must take initiative and make the first move. Managers are not going to be seeking you out. If you fear or hesitate to make the first move about introducing yourself, perhaps professional fitness may not be right for you at that particular time. Professional fitness is all about networking and building good relationships with your fellow peers and it begins at the internship level.
Once you are certified and are now ready to move forward with finding a position in professional fitness, networking and relationship building is a great way to segway your avenue of approach. You can only do this by allowing others to see who you are and what you can bring to the table in terms of value. Remember, you want to build value into what you have in terms of talent and knowledge. The most effective way to get into the professional fitness industry after internship is by following these avenues of approach:
Now that we have social media and streamlined information at our disposal, you can search internships online by searching internships in just about any type of specialty you are interested in pursuing. If you use any of the social media mainstreams such as the following:
Seek out other avenues such as face to face contact with health club managers and personal training studio owners. Also try a Google search regarding what type of fitness training you’d like to pursue. I’m certain there are others in professional fitness who would like to share their experiences in fitness and how it can help you as a novice in the fitness industry.
- Expert Connections in Fitness
Don’t be hesitant to reach out to a specific company such as large scale fitness centers such as LA Fitness or Lifetime Fitness to see if you can get a foothold into their company working as a professional fitness trainer or at least as an intern to gain experience. I would recommend visiting the club, introduce yourself to the hiring manager or managers and let them know what your intent is regarding working in professional fitness. You’ll be amazed how hiring managers are very receptive to those who are motivated and take the initiative to seek out opportunities. They are people who good hiring managers are looking for so you can be the answer they are looking for.
If you don’t have easy access to transportation, I would send an email seeking information on internship opportunities. The email address to the Human Resource manager is usually available on the club’s website. Do some digging around, finding a job is a job, or in this case, an internship.
Keep the email short and simple. Just put it as if you were talking face to face with them:
‘Good day, I’m John Smith and I’m seeking an internship with a large scale fitness club such as XYZ Fitness. Is it possible I may come in and introduce myself and perhaps you may look over my resume for a possible working relationship?’
In the fitness industry, things shouldn’t be difficult or overwhelming. It’s fitness and the interests of the clients is what is paramount and always be professional with your peers.
- Make an Offer for Internship
Should you seek internship with fitness centers that don’t offer an internship, you may want to make an offer to a manager and see what can happen. The most effective way to do is to keep in nice and simple. Introduce yourself, sell your value to the manager, let him know what you bring to the table in terms of education, certification, experience, service oriented, goal attainment, priorities, etc..
Set up a timeline for internship such as 3-6 months. Design an effective strategy of what you can do for the fitness center and the value that you can bring to the team. Suggest a schedule that works for both of you and the amount of work you will be bringing to the team.
Set up goals. Give a description of what the goals are and how they are going to be met for the fitness center. Keep in mind, you are putting the client, the fitness center, and hiring manager first before yourself. This is about them, not you. Offer a set of valuable duties that you can perform such as the following:
- Design fitness presentations
- Host a fitness assessment
- Offer a free session to new clients
- Design a fitness plan for implementation
- Suggest faster and easier convenience strategies
When you have met face to face and collected many business cards, it’s time to reconnect and redevelop those relationships with hiring managers. They are usually busy working and need a reminder about your intent regarding internship. It’s okay to follow up with them and they will appreciate you reaching out to them. Remember, initiative is a major skill that will go a long way in professional fitness and it starts with the hiring process.