Each month, we'll shine the spotlight on a different NASM Certified Personal Trainer who makes a difference in their community.
For June, we spoke with Kit Rich NASM-CPT and MMACS, who used fitness to transform herself physically and mentally before turning into a career training a-list celebrities.
When was the moment you knew you loved fitness?
I honestly don't have the answer for that. All I know is that I can't deny the transformation that takes place after a good workout. It is so healing for me mentally. I feel clear, capable, centered, and happy.
The feeling after a workout is transformative. So that is what I love. I don't necessarily crave the exercise itself. I desire and LOVE the feeling afterward.
How did fitness go from being a passion to a career for you?
It wasn't a passion beforehand. I was someone who was out of shape, depressed, and with no direction. I became an instructor out of necessity. To find direction and to get out of a funk.
Having it become my career and seeing how much it helped my clients and me- that is when it became a passion. I was roughly about 23 when I walked into a Pilates studio. The owner of the studio thought I was an instructor. At the time, I was so depressed, and out of shape, I wasn't sure why she thought that.
But it struck a chord, and I decided to pursue it. I had no idea this career would completely transform me in more ways than I count.
What was your first job in the fitness industry, and how did it help shape your career?
I was working at a place called Pilates Plus. I was waitressing, and then teaching classes part-time. When I started teaching classes, I began to realize how important it was for me to know my stuff. I had to learn fast how to teach proper form, how to inspire, how to lead, how to make sure clients felt taken care of, and seen and truly how to find my voice.
So grateful for that first opportunity to teach, but it made me realize I had to know more and study more. So teaching there led me to more in-depth studying, which ultimately led me in a different direction.
How did you wind up training celebrities like Kesha and Jennifer Lawrence?
Referrals. Always. I train a lot of high-profile clients, and people always ask me how I got to train them. It has always been word out of mouth and positive referrals. It's old school, but it works.
Do your job. Do it really well. Show up on time. Be authentically yourself. Repeat.
What’s a simple philosophy you hold about fitness?
Keep it simple and listen to your body.
If you could give your younger self any advice, what would it be?
Ask more questions. Seek answers.
When I started in this industry, I did not have a mentor. I still don't. Most people in the industry don't. I wish someone had sat me down when I first started and said, "This is what you have to keep in mind, be aware of, and consider."
But I was too afraid to ask for some reason. I would not be afraid now. I now get the importance of having a mentor. Everything for me was trial and error—a lot of mistakes. I feel like I could write a book about approaching the industry when you first start.
How important has learning and staying on top of the latest in fitness information been in your fitness journey?
It's incredibly important. You should never stop being a student. It keeps it interesting for you and your students, and it keeps you growing and evolving.
I learn from other trainers, I learn from NASM workshops, and I learn from my students. Every year I get a client with a different type of injury to work with, and it humbles me. But I am always up for the challenge.
Two main focuses I would say that a trainer should constantly learn about is how to progress a client towards their goals and how to help with an injury. If you have those two in your pocket, you are set up for significant success.
Fill in the Blank: The best workout is ______and ________
Pilates/ Weight training!
What advice would you give someone thinking about a career in fitness?
The fitness industry is such a unique career. It's seemingly simple, but there is so much you can do under this umbrella. The sky's the limit as far as what you can achieve, but it's about deciding what you want and creating applicable baby steps to get there.
For me, my career has taken me around the world (working with clients and top brands), and I also have an online product company and established partnerships. But everyone's goals are different.
The goals of having private one-on-ones and/or having a fitness app are very different. Both equally valuable but different. Know your goal and create a step by step action plan.
Advice for those just starting in the industry
Since most trainers start teaching classes and one-on-ones, here is some simple advice that no one gave me.
- Set your hours
- Know your bread and butter
- Simplify your teaching location
- Set a comfortable hourly rate
- Put 10% of your checks towards taxes
- Slow and steady wins the race
Set your hours
Most trainers starting take what they can get. The problem with this is your working hours are all over the place, you will lose balance with the rest of your life, and you will burn out. I learned this the hard way.
I started teaching and taught so much, I lost my voice constantly, became overly exhausted, and ended up getting to a breaking point where I contemplated quitting. But it was just because I was not taking ownership of my worth and my schedule. Unless you're an employee, you won't get paid time off, so you have to establish right away the lifestyle you want, and that starts by determining your hours.
Of course, they can change from time to time, but you should create a schedule. Create your training hours- is it 9-5? Is it 6 am - 6 pm? Is it five days a week? Six days? Create a schedule that will make you feel like you can still balance the rest of your life then try to teach classes and take on clients that are willing to work with that calendar you created.
Know your bread and butter
Know exactly how much you have to make monthly to cover all expenses and make sure that what you are charging can help you cover those expenses.
Simplify teaching location
A big mistake first time trainers make is they are willing to teach anywhere, and sometimes the majority of your time is spent in the car, and your schedule is all over the place.
Trust me when I say, this won't work long term.
Keep your training locations to a particular area or gym. You can train clients back to back this way, and you can make more money in less time. When I train clients in-home- I train 3-5 clients in the same area, and they are all just within miles of each other.
Your hourly rate should make you feel comfortable
When most trainers start, they take whatever hourly rate someone will give them even if it's so low. I give this a HARD NO. Assuming you are good at what you do, clients will come. With a low rate, you are going to have to train 3x as many people and way more hours.
YOU WILL BURN OUT.
Why not start at a price that makes you feel you can hold your head up high. Be okay with having fewer clients at first. Clients will come, and when they realize you are good at what you do, the right clients will pay.
Put at least 10% of your paycheck aside for taxes
I have spoken to so many trainers who don't put enough money aside for their taxes. For the most part, you will be a contractor, which means you will not have taxes taken out of your checks.
Take the money outright when you get the check, so you are not stressing out when it comes time to pay.
See this NASM blog post for more on personal trainer taxes.
Slow and steady
Don't take on too much too fast. Let yourself slowly integrate yourself into the industry. Learn, listen, stay positive, and let yourself grow and evolve!