How’d you get into that?!: Personal Trainer/Nutritionist

CourtneyWhen you sit back and think of it, your body is truly something amazing. Muscles, Liquids, and Bones make up this thing that you can move! Many people forget how intricate the body is and that it’s important to take care of. There are people who have dedicated their lives to helping people recognize this and helping them improve their lifestyle: Athletic Trainers, Personal Trainers, and Nutritionists. This can be a challenging, but satisfying, career because it can require some creativity and entrepreneurship.  The bureau of labor statistics states that the average income of Athletic Trainers in 2014 was $42,880 and Fitness Trainers had an mean income of $31,720 per year in 2012. But depending on how many clients you can have there is no limit to the income you can earn. Just look at Tony Horton, creator of P90X! He had a passion for fitness and wanting to create a product that people would want to use in order to improve their health! Now he’s a multi-millionaire! You could do that. There are many programs which can lead to this career from 2 year, 4 year, and certificates. Make sure to educate yourself on which would best benefit your career goals  before diving in.  Our next interviewee is Courtney Haseltine, she has been very active in discovering her passion for fitness and nutrition. Here she is to answer some of our questions about her experience!

1.)    Why don’t we start off with the basics. Tell us a little about yourself. ( Where are you from? How old you are? Describe your job and how long you’ve been at it, etc.).

I was born and raised in good old Minnesota. I grew up in a small town called Wyoming and graduated from Forest Lake High School. I have been training at Anytime Fitness for five years. (I can’t believe it) I also own and operate my own personal training business called Trenti Training. Trenti Training is my full time job and Anytime Fitness is my very part time job. At Anytime Fitness I have done a variety of different roles that consisted of managing, marketing, promoting, running boot camps, and training. The majority of my work was spent doing one-on-one training sessions. With my personal business, I have a private gym located in Arden Hills that clients have access to. It’s similar to a Boutique Gym. I also do the occasional in-home training session. I provide one-on-one training, buddy training, and group training. I also have what’s called “Add On’s” in my contract that include:

  • Nutrition Coaching
  • Customized Weight Training Write Ups
  • Nutrition Challenges
  • Meal Prep Coaching
  • Grocery Shopping

And of course: Anyone can receive a $15 coffee gift card for referring clients to my business. I love torturing new peeps!

2.)    Why did you want to get into your job? Was it something you’ve always known you wanted to do? If not, what lead you to it?

I have played sports my whole life. I thought fitness would be the natural route for me to go. However, I did not start with personal training. I started with athletic training and I did not like it. One word: EGOS. Once I switched my emphasize from athletic training to health and wellness, my college advisor suggested I shadow a personal trainer at L.A. Fitness to see if that was something I might be interested in. At first, I thought he was crazy. I was picturing shadowing some big, bulky meat head who was going to make me carry around 45 pound plates all day. Needless to say, that did not happen. By divine intervention. I got placed with a spunky, passionate well-educated trainer named Amanda. She is the reason I went into this business. Amanda is (still to this day)  the best trainer I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. God is good!

3.)    Can you define for us what a Personal Trainer/Nutritionist does?

First we help you goal set. Many clients come to us with dreams and ambitions for their fitness, but they don’t quite understand the time and dedication it will take to get there. Part of my job is helping to create realistic, achievable goals in a specific time frame. Also, finding out a clients emotional triggers is HUGE. Everyone wants to achieve wellness for a different reason and more importantly, everyone has a specific drive to keep them dedicated. One of the tricky parts of my job is keeping my clients driven and motivated on their own.

After we goal set, I put my clients through an assessment test. Similar to a high school fitness test, this introductory routine will help me customize their future weight training program.

After the assessment, the second session is their official weight training session. Once again, every client is different. Some clients I have in full body routines, some are split trainers, some are Olympic style lifers, some are hypertrophy, some are more cardio, some are rehab training and some clients I literally just stretch (not kidding) Everyone is SO different. Once the session is complete, we spend the last couple minutes going over the nutrition and homework. Oh yes! They have routines to complete on their own! One important thing to note is I do NOT create meal plans. That is what a dietitian does. I simply check food journals and give recommendations. If someone claims they can create meal plans and they do not have a degree, RUN!

4.)    How did you become a Personal Trainer/Nutritionist/Business Woman? Do you need a college degree? Are there certifications required? If you do go to college what should you study?

I started strictly in a gym setting through Anytime Fitness. Unfortunately, I was unable to grow at the former location I was working at. I was getting really burned out and I knew I had to make a change. So, I started my own training business. I come from a family of Entrepreneurs, so the drive was there. However, I had to learn A LOT on the fly. It was intimidating at first -and at times discouraging because I don’t have my degree in business- but I continue to strive to stay positive and love on my clients . That seems to work, even though I do not have a background in business management. I do have my B.S. in Kinesiology Health and Wellness, a certification in personal training, Pilates and CPR/First Aid and I do specialize in weight loss training, sports specific training, TRX and Kettlebells.

5.)    How do you find work in your field? Are there different types of jobs within the field? What is the job market like?

There’s SO many social media outlets. Linkedin, Facebook, Craigslist, local newspaper or even just walking into a gym and making your presence know is HUGE when you are trying to promote yourself. The job market is hopping right now. Since I have started my own business (which was two yeas ago) I have had 10 or more offers to come train at other gyms. But, I’ve kindly turned them all down. I’ve been blessed by my business.

Yes, there are different types of trainers. I have a wide variety of knowledge when it comes to training, however, like I said above, I specialize in certain types of training (meaning I have the most experience with certain ways to train) Some trainers just focus on weight loss clients. Some trainers just take muscle building clients. Some trainers just do classes etc.

6.)    What would the average work day look like?

Every day is SO different. Here, I’ll read my previous weeks schedule to you:

Monday: 4 clients in the morning. Lunch break while checking e-mails and writing routines. 2 evening clients. workout.

Tuesday: 2 clients in the morning. Target run to pick up new gym equipment. 1 client in the afternoon. Lunch and e-mails. 3 evening clients. Lots of assessments that day! So cool to clip the before and after pics.

Wednesday: 3 clients in the morning. New fitness consultation (complementary coffee house meet and greet for a potential client) phone nutrition coaching session. Emails. 3 evening clients. Workout.

Thursday: 3 clients in the morning. Business meeting/marketing in the afternoon with my manager. 2 evening client. Emails. Workout.

Friday: 3 morning clients. Workout. Filming for my FB page and website! My favorite thing to do. Meet my assistant for coffee and catch up on all the promotions we need to get done for next week. More e-mails.

Yes, I schedule my workouts. Part of my job is to maintain my fitness!

And yes I work SUPER long days. That’s part of the double edge sword with owning your own business. However, I can create my own schedule. I’m off by 1-2 on Fridays and no work Saturday and Sunday. That rocks.

7.)    What is the work/life balance like? (Do you work super late nights, odd hours, and weekends?)

See above ^^

Balance is hard. My husband and I have to do a lot of compromising with my work schedule. He really wants me home for dinner, but that doesn’t happen too often because I work so late. So, one night a week, I try to get done with clients by 7 and 3 nights a week, he waits until 830 or 9 to have dinner with me. Bless is heart. He’s in school full time for another year, so once he’s done, my schedule will change.

8.)    What’s the best part of your career?

Changing lives and meeting so many great people from all walks of life. I absolutely adore my clients. God created each and everyone of them so uniquely and I’ve enjoyed getting to know their stories, their quirks, their highs and theirs lows. When you’re a “personal” trainer, you get personal with a lot of your clients. I’ve developed many long-term friendships with many of my clients. Heck, that’s how I met my assistant. She was my client first!

I also love to create workout videos. It’s a great way to bring up my day and help me refresh and revitalize for my evening clients. My assistant and I have a lot of fun using our imaginations.

9.)    What’s the worst part?

Long hours and boundaries.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my job, but owning your own business comes with a price. Anything that will be successful in your life -whether it’s your job, your relationships or your health -requires sacrifice. Some times, the long hours get to me and it’s hard for me to maintain focus and energy at the end of a 12 hour day. That’s why coffee and exercise are my two best friends. They give me the boost I need.

I’ve had to learn the hard way to set boundaries. When you are helping someone accomplish a goal (especially if it’s a BIG goal) they become thankful for you. Which is great! However, sometimes it’s too thankful. I have clients that invite me to any and everything: Baby showers, birthday parties, weddings, races etc. I love it and I try to make it to as many events as possible, but it comes to a point where it gets to be too much. I have to learn to say no. My relationship with God and my family comes first.

10.) What are the biggest misconceptions people have about your job?

  •  Being compared to the Biggest Loser. When I meet for a fitness consult I’ve had people ask, “Are you going to yell and swear at me like in the Biggest Loser?” It makes me laugh.
  •  That the routines are going to be too hard.
  •  That you can’t train through an injury.
  •  Women will get “bulk” from training.
  •  Trainers eat super healthy all the time.
  •  There’s a one size fits all weight training program.
  •  “No pain, no gain.” Not true.

11.) Any other advice, tips, or anecdotes you’d like to add?

Personal training/nutrition is one of those fields that’s constantly growing and changing. Personal trainers are constantly learning. We never “fully arrive” at the perfect training program or the perfect nutrition program. We continue to train with methods that we have seen work, but we are constantly researching, implementing and creating new and inventive ways to workout and eat healthy. Or…I dunno…at least I am…..



A big thanks to Courtney for taking time out of her busy schedule to answer our questions. If you have any questions, would like to know more about this career, or would like to ask Courtney a question please contact your advisor.


Bureau of Labor Statistics Athletic Trainers 2014

Bureau of Labor Statistics Fitness Trainer 2012


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