Green Business Ideas: Personal Trainer & Diet Planner

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We see stories in the news everyday about the sorry state of personal health, especially in developed countries, including the trends of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other related effects that declining health can have on the body. But along with those health issues, there is a growing interest in getting fit and healthy and learning to eat better, so if you have an interest in fitness and nutrition, and want to help others help themselves, then one green business idea to consider is starting a personal trainer and diet planning business.

1. What is an eco-friendly personal trainer and diet planning business?

Personal trainers help people achieve individual health objectives, and adding diet planning can help those people achieve their goals more quickly and holistically. In this case, diet planning should help a person achieve their fitness goals through the introduction of organic and low carbon footprint foods, which tend to be healthier for the client as well as for the planet (i.e., cheeseburgers purchased at chain restaurants are both bad for the planet and bad for one’s personal fitness goals…sometimes people just need an expert like you to point that out to them).  Through both personal fitness training and diet planning, you can help people lose weight and become healthier, which are key components of their own personal carbon footprint.

According to Paul Zane Pilzer, economist and author of The Wellness Revolution, the personal trainer industry is fast growing and has yet to even hit its stride.  Pilzer surmises that in 2010, Americans will spend $1 TRILLION dollars on “products and services that keep us healthy, make us look or feel better, slow down the effects of aging, and prevent diseases from developing altogether.”  You’ll notice in the quote that all of those things are very heavily tied to sustainability.  Drinking more water, eating more veggies, working out, and taking a proactive stance on management of your health are all aspects of personal sustainability that leads to environmental sustainability.  Your job as a personal trainer professional is to help people accomplish their own goals, and align them with goals for global sustainability.

2. What required knowledge or skills are necessary?

There are certifications for personal trainers.  One of the industry leaders is the National Association for Sports Medicine, though there are many others.  You can also become a Certified Clinical Nutritionist through the Clinical Nutrition Certification Board. Both certifications will add credibility to your practice. You will need to have a solid understanding of exercise mechanics and physiology, and a strong personal training practice in place, so if you’re already interested in those areas and have experience, you’re well on your way to starting a personal trainer and diet planning business.

 3. How much money is required to start?

$$   (on a scale of $ to $$$$$) If you want to have your own personal gym to train clients in, that may mean investing in a garage or spare room overhaul, in order to make it workout-friendly, and you’ll need to purchase basic fitness equipment. If you plan to train your clients at their own home or at a gym, you will need to figure in the costs of a gym membership for yourself, as well as basic travel expenses. A computer for tracking client progress and keeping track of billing and expenses is another important piece of equipment, and it may be worth the money to invest in a basic marketing or advertising campaign, depending on how crowded the local market for personal trainers is.

4. What is the income potential?

$$$   (on a scale of $ to $$$$$) With the increasing interest in living a healthy lifestyle, coupled with rising health issues that go along with overeating and a sedentary lifestyle, there is a relatively large pool of potential clients for personal trainers and diet planners. Whether it’s because of ‘doctor’s orders’ or personal goals, your ideal client is already motivated to invest in their own health, and engaging a personal trainer can help them stick to their plan, both in terms of personal accountability and wanting to get the most out of ‘putting their money where their mouth is’.

5. What is the best location for an eco-friendly personal trainer and diet planning service?

Urban (good), semi-urban (very good), suburbs (best), rural (fair/poor).

6.  Three best questions to ask yourself to find out if this business is right for you (if you can answer yes to all three, this business might be for you):

  • Do you enjoy helping people help themselves?
  • Do you have a passion for healthy living?
  • Do you have a contagious passion for fitness and nutrition and an upbeat personality that makes other people want to be fit, too?

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