newsletter Sep 14, 2023

Creator vs. Trainer

By Eric Bugera

A delicate balancing act.

  • Marketing and promotion is an inescapable part of an independent business.
  • Trainers often fall into the trap of becoming “content creators” rather than actually training.
  • Strike a balance that allows you to train predominantly and content create as an adjunct – not the other way around.

An Evolving Landscape

The world of training has grown tremendously over the decades. Now, a new trainer has seemingly endless possibilities to establish and hone their craft. A lot can be learned from the commercial gym space, where the corporate entity is acutely aware of and tied to your success or failure as a trainer. Yet there are other entire wings of the fitness industry where you are solely responsible for your own performance. Being a standout trainer is only one prong of your job security, but marketing, promotion, and sales often supersede your training prowess. For a new or struggling trainer, it can be difficult to balance the responsibilities of training clients and creating your own marketing. However, if no one knows you exist – your skill as a trainer counts for nothing. 

Playing the Game

Social media is the clear frontrunner for marketing and promotion in the digital age. Although in-person freelance trainers should still advertise brick and mortar style – they too benefit from at least a website. Whether you’re creating a simple platform to direct sales or becoming a full on social media mogul, these platforms are likely your best bet at reaching an audience for sales conversion.

The ebb and flow of trainer life then gets a bit more complicated. Training clients, yourself, continuing education, meals, sleep, social life, and now essentially an entire new job. The production of content itself often becomes all consuming. From reels to full length videos, infographics, short form writing or clips – the opportunities for exposure are endless. Time on the other hand, is finite. Your main prerogative should be to remain predominantly a trainer.

Consider which media platform and content structure best suits your ability to maintain this balance. If you are a trainer, you need to train. If you suddenly find yourself committing a disproportionate amount of resources to “content creation” – dig into the numbers. Return on investment trumps all else. Clicks, likes, and shares are red herrings for success. As a trainer, your time must have a tangible return or you will soon wash from your beloved industry. Either you’re making money, supporting your own physical or training needs, or you’re seeing the needle move on client lead generation. Content for content’s sake is the realm of the influencer, not the trainer.

Service Above All

Your time should be spent wisely. An independent entity such as yourself needs to be cognizant of how you are allocating your resources. Although there can be some incredibly dopaminergic aspects of creating content, sustainability comes from income. Income comes from training. Training is the actual service of the fitness industry. Content should encourage potential leads to your service as a trainer, not encourage you simply to enter a content creation feedback loop. One of your strongest points of leverage is to actually utilize your own training and lifestyle as content. Walk the walk, show your personality, and streamline your content creation process. Above all – keep actually training.

  • Select the platform that matches your personality and lifestyle.
  • Determine the best content style which meshes with your ability to actually train.
  • Establish balance between content creation (marketing and promotion) and sustaining income (training clients).