Should Young, Up-and-Coming Trainers Build a Presence on the Interwebs?

Never miss a glorious update - click here!

Saturdays with Roman, Episode 3

In episode three of Saturdays with Roman, I discuss something relatively controversial, something that’s been bothering me for quite a while.

There is a general question in the industry of young trainers who haven’t spent years “in-the-trenches” bringing their businesses online and building a presence.


What are YOUR thoughts? Should guys who have only been in the industry for a few years be putting content out there? Or should they wait until they have put in their 10,000 hours?


About the Author

John Romaniello is a level 70 orc wizard who spends his days lifting heavy shit and his nights fighting crime. When not doing that, he serves as the Chief Bro King of the Roman Empire and Executive Editor here on RFS. You can read his articles here, and rants on Facebook.

Comments for This Entry

  • Zuupdesign

    I write a blog ( helping people take a long-term view of HEALTH CARE. Provides a discreet and stylish alternative to pill bottles and other dispensers that helps you keep your health your business. I’d be honored if you took a look..

    January 25, 2013 at 3:47 am

  • Steve Seiter

    I've been a personal trainer for over 6 years, 3 of these years have been full time training, and the last year I've been working with a great team of other trainers running a personal training studio in our hometown. As with anything online, it is impossible to "police" web content, including fitness blogs and websites. I think anyone and everyone should have the right to put on the web what they want. If it's garbage, few people will visit the site and eventually they will fizzle out. If it is good stuff, they will build a following, and kudos to them. Websites, and to a lesser extent blogs, are so vital to any business these days that even as an up a coming trainer, you must have some presence online, so it doesn't make any sense to try to limit people who haven't put in their "10000 hours." One thing I've learned over the years, and especially now running our own private business, is that if you want to be a successuful personal trainer, you absolutely must pair basic business principles with your fitness knowledge. Fitness knowledge on its own is useless (in terms of making money and running a strong business) if you do not have the business knowledge to go with it. Even trainers that work at a gym, as I did, and who do not have to worry about renting space, paying bills, marketing and marketing costs, etc must have basic business skills (like networking) to build their client base.

    December 31, 2012 at 1:44 pm

  • Gabriela Melciu'

    I just want to say that you are one of those persons who inspire me. it's hasn't been since veeery long time ago, but long enough to get the point: you're sharing your experience through your work and with lots of fun. therefore, and as you said, we should thank for the great things we're learning from whomever is important, in any way, for us. well, here it is: thank you, Roman, for the inspiration and for the awesomeness injections =).

    December 28, 2012 at 6:37 pm

  • Reece Mander

    Great post Roman! While i've been training people for 4 years and researching for 9, i feel i'm educated enough to provide training/nutrition advice for the people i train. They are mostly desk workers/professionals. I have enough experience and training knowledge to help these people. Training Olympic athletes for a given sport i will leave to trainers who specialise in that area. I think as long as you can help the your target audience why shouldn't you help!

    December 14, 2012 at 2:06 am

  • Cole

    I think it is important to establish an online presence as soon as you feel comfortable with the material you will be writing about. As some have mentioned it will help you learn the material better (it seems that trying to write/teach someone really helps a person better learn a subject). Another thing is that as a 25 year old guy myself I like to read from some guys who are around my age and who can possibly relate to me better. A third thing is that if it takes 10,000 hours to be good at something then it must take 10,000 hours to be effective at communicating online. If you wait until you have worked 10,000 hours in the industry before you put anything online then you have another 10,000 hours of online work to do before you are an expert. It seems like that is a long time to wait to be an expert at communicating online when you could jump start that and start working on it when you are young and still learning a lot about the fitness industry.

    December 7, 2012 at 5:42 pm

  • Eric Falstrault

    Great vlog and I share the same opinion. Like anything else, some might need to look into reading and learning a bit more. But we all learn with our mistakes, and now, we can also see others mistakes. I try to teach the best I can, and while doing that, there is also many other trainers who don't share the same opinion as yours will spread bullshit everywhere. It will never stop. We all were beginners at some point and had some great ideas. Sharing info is the way to learn new information, no matter where you come from, where you got the information and when you started training or working in the field.

    December 5, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    • Nick Roberts

      I think besides formal and informal education, one of the best ways to build practical knowledge is to find a highly successful mentor who has integrity as well as success and experience.

      December 5, 2012 at 4:07 pm

  • Meathead Media: Dec 4th Updates and Thoughts

    [...] 3)Saturdays With Roman -Part 3 – John Romaniello [...]

    December 5, 2012 at 8:00 am

  • Paul Corral

    Yes, Yes, Yes. -stick to your strengths and be real about what you have to offer. -marketing/ business skills are just as important than training knowledge. -fuck what the haters say. -money rules everything around me get the cream dollar dollar bills yall.

    December 4, 2012 at 12:31 am

  • Mike Arone

    Long time no comment...had to throw in my two cents here. Really glad you posted this up because I truly think you have a great perspective here. A couple points... From personal experience, being able to publish and share my fitness knowledge online, more opportunities to better understand, progress and further educate myself came along. In retrospect, I "fast-forwarded" my knowledge and became better. I earned more opportunities to chip away at my 10,000 hours...train more clients and better understand the needs/wants and trends of the fitness industry. For older trainers of a different generation, like Mike Boyle, who I have respected for many years since a young lad roaming the streets of Beantown...I get it. I totally see where he is coming from...but he should be so happy that an industry that he helped revolutionize is growing FASTER THAN EVER because of the internet...and because of 'young guns' finding new trends and evolving new techniques. Lastly---the whole "10,000 hour" thing. If you haven't already read the book "Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell. He has a very interesting perspective on becoming an expert/acheving success and how "10,000 hours" makes the difference between a novice and an expert. Gladwell makes an interesting argument, but like you and Ben Bruno stated...we all progress at a different pace. With that said---I love the fact that there are different opinions and perspectives and niches out there in regards to the fitness, health and nutrition. Hell, I am sure I write a lot of things people DON'T know and a lot they DO know...but my goal isn't just that. It is to make people enjoy reading/learning about fitness as you and many others do on there websites. Cool video man. Sweet dog too!

    December 4, 2012 at 12:15 am

  • Ryan Graczkowski

    Back when I used to hang around, there was a saying that made the rounds: a blackbelt signifies a thousand hours worth of effort. The reason for this is that martial arts, like fitness, doesn't have much in the way of quality control. You can find certs online for twenty bucks, easy, and they don't qualify you in any way at all beyond the fact that they say they do. And furthermore, even if you have access to all this knowledge, it's academic. It's on a paper. Getting that information into people's lives - convincing them that it's good and that it works and that they need to do it - requires a completely different set of skills that is best refined when working with people. I'm not saying I agree with the haters - if you figure out how to do all that and do it well and it doesn't even take you 500 hours, then so be it. But at the same time, I suspect that Boyle's point is more about quality control in an industry that doesn't have very much of it. So. My 2 cents.

    December 3, 2012 at 3:16 am

  • Adam Milner

    Would early man start a fire by rubbing two sticks together if he had matches?

    December 3, 2012 at 2:22 am

  • Adam Milner

    I'm not a trainer, YET. I've been training for years, all the while researching, reading, experimenting, dieting, you name it. Now it shows and I'm proud of my work. I've accumulated all that experience and knowledge over the years. It's now a passion and I want to help people achieve the same things. If I couldn't put what information I know out there, even if it's just a blog, it would be a hoooge crock o' shit. It is because of guys like Rog, JC, Anthony, you Roman, that I realize I can put myself and my stuff out there and go for it. When I become a trainer I believe having all of this writing out there, being able to hand a business card out with my website or blog on it for potential clients to see, will jump start business. Instead of those people taking a chance on some guy they can read my blog and see that I have something to offer. Not a thing wrong with that. I agree, thanks old guys for paving the way and wish us well. But why hate on the ambition just because we have it a little "easier" getting our name out there?

    December 3, 2012 at 2:16 am

    • Bryan Krahn

      Actually, a few things wrong with that IMHO. I applaud your passion, but the first thing that jumped out as I read your post was this guy needs to train some clients before he starts writing about solving training problems, which is basically what all fitness writing is -- solving problems. It is only after you train a variety of people from different backgrounds that you realize how situational most training, even nutrition information is. That's where experience becomes the greatest teacher. If you don't have a single paying client yet, what practical experience are you drawing on other than yourself? Essentially you're just relaying other people's information or personal opinion. Nothing wrong with of course (provided you give credit where credit's due) but it's hardly expertise. There's a reason doctors do residencies after 4 years of medical school -- so they can be exposed to the populations they're wanting to help, and translate what they've learned and read about into real world application. In short, marketing can certainly "jump start your training business" and grow it, but it's results with clients that keep you in business.

      December 14, 2012 at 1:35 pm

  • 'Claudio Espinoza

    You were so passionate about this that you almost make me want to become a fitness pro. Excellent work on this video. I'm sure in a few short years, there will be a crop of fitness pros that will credit this video for helping to believe that they could do what they love, be good at it, and make money. Excellent work.

    December 2, 2012 at 9:57 pm

  • Thomas Keenan

    A problem I see with 10,000 rule is what if all those 10,000 hours are of poor quality and done by someone who doesn't care to get better.

    December 3, 2012 at 1:37 am

  • Michael Paradise

    Amen, bro. I think everyone has some kind of talent that they should share with the world – trainer or not, experience or not. If you find that you truly have talent (you do, somewhere) don't ever hide it from the world because someone else said you can't. To obey any arbitrary "rule" created by the more experienced and established people of any industry is to succumb to intimidation and do a disservice to the world, IMO. Let haters hate, then shine & watch 'em dissipate.

    December 2, 2012 at 11:10 pm

  • Peter Mitchell

    Great topic this week. While not young, I am new to the personal training game and have begun learning how to market and self-promote. Frankly, 10,000 hours be damned, we all start somewhere and blogs, facebook, and twitter are the places to market yourself. Plus, a large portion of the content the "10,000 hr experts" are putting out there is a re-hash of practices spoken about by other "10,000 hr experts". Not a whole lot is brand spankin' new out there - at least not for long. So guess what us newbs are going to write about? Secondly - Young, old, up and coming or not, it's far easier and cheaper to gain a level of mass exposure that just wasn't possible 10 years ago on the same budget. That said, it seems that good marketing will eclipse a new trainers lack of experience in the short term. But in the long term, if that trainer doesn't develop themselves and their trade as an ongoing process, then they'll be left in the dust of those who do. The cream always rises to the top. As for the next SwR - In movies and TV-land commonly accepted ethics and morals are getting thrown out the window. In plots and stories the end apparently justifies the means. The hero/heroine usually earns little to no new insight about themselves. Why has the anti-hero become so popular?

    December 2, 2012 at 6:48 pm

  • Alex Judson

    I don't think that anything proves the 10,000 hour rule wrong. At all. Saying that someone is stagnant because they are not spending time learning new material points to the fact that they are not putting in hours learning. Yes they may be doing floor coaching, but chances are after a while many trainers do not bring in 40 new clients every month. Because of this, much of their floor time is spent working on the same issues with the same clients. Those who spend the time outside the gym reading and growing are spending the time moving towards their own level of mastery. There is no trade for time. That being said, If you want to get good at putting yourself out there, gaining exposure, and reaching people, you need to spend time doing that as well. Hopefully you have something awesome to say.

    December 2, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    • Clint

      i get the feeling this was directed at me lol. I was just getting at the fact that just having spent 10,000 hours face to face coaching doesn't necessarily guarantee that you are a book of knowledge (I probably could have worded it better before but was pressed for time). I know of trainers who have spent many more hours face to face with clients than I have but i feel it doesn't necessarily guarantee they are more knowledgeable or can guarantee better results than I can. An observation that I have made since day dot of been in the industry (and I think Roman mentioned it, or something similar) is that it seems often the case that the great marketers originally do a lot better than the great personal trainers but eventually the great marketer is found to be just that, a great marketer and then these clients often look for a great trainer, or ideally someone who markets well and has the knowledge and previous results to back it up. It is a bit of a shame however that sometimes the great marketer's poor coaching soils the reputation of the industry/personal trainers in general. Fortunately for all new trainers however and experienced is the access to free information on the internet(interwebz =D) [albeit not all is 100% accurate) and that this often saves trainers from spending big bucks on workshops and seminars but like any profession you only get out what you put in. Although there is the "in the trenches" experience there is a lot more to a successful trainer than the hours spent face to face- I believe it is the hours behind the scenes you put in that will separate you from the field regardless of your time in the industry. As I said, quality time is more influential to your career than quantity.

      December 2, 2012 at 11:51 pm

  • Clint

    To totally prove the 10,000 hour rule wrong- and I'm sure there are many trainers who experience first 2 years of training was in a big gym where the trainers who were getting the best results with clients were new to the biz. There were two trainers who had a wealth of experience (one 5 years the other 10+) but there opinion was they were there to make money, not spend it. I was one of the new trainers who spent a stack of money attending workshops, courses and time reading as many articles as possible. It may be a biased opinion but I felt I caught and often passed trainers in knowledge and even experience within 12-18 months then they had in years. It's the age old quality vs quantity. Time alone is not a guarantee. Interesting topic though!

    December 2, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    • Kerry Nitz

      One problem with 10,000 hours is that it creates 'mastery'. This means going beyond conscious competence to unconscious competence. For many people the best trainer is someone with conscious competence of the exercises because they are better at explaining the how and why - your example of the 'do as I do' is a great example of the problem of unconscious competence.

      January 14, 2013 at 8:55 pm

  • Shelby Turcotte

    Great Post Roman! Unfortunately, I had this exact mindset from when I was a kid. I felt like I wasn’t supposed to better than kids who were 2-3 years older than me. Fast forward to my training career, and Mike Boyle has been one of my biggest influences/mentors in the field. Despite my in-the-trenches success with athletes, I felt like I still didn’t deserve to make money and be successful because I was young. Now 8 years later and I’ve only been holding myself back. Bottom line, if you can help people, you should.

    December 2, 2012 at 7:24 pm

  • Jen Rau

    I completely agree with the idea that it doesn't take everyone the same amount of time to get good at something. With that said, I definitely think that young, up-and-coming trainers should build a presence on the internet. Are they still learning? Yes. But aren't we ALL still learning? And at the end of the day, it's strictly up to the trainee whether or not he or she will choose to follow that information. With all the crap that's already on the internet, people who are interested in fitness information need to do their own research and make their own judgments. After all, every single person's body is not going to respond the EXACT same way to a certain program.

    December 2, 2012 at 3:03 pm

  • Alex Mullan

    Speaking from personal experience (website coming Feb 2013), I completely agree with your views on this. If young trainers are creating their own business online, chances are they have very high levels of passion and drive to be successful. It's this same drive and passion that also pushes them to learn as much as they can. The amount of knowledge someone has at a given age is completely dependent on their effort levels and thirst for more.

    December 2, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    • Bill Mullan

      It's also pretty much a given these days. If I encounter somebody on a professional basis (any line of work), one of the first things I'm going to do is check them out online, see if they have a blog etc, hopefully get a deeper sense of what they think and know -- where they're coming from.

      December 2, 2012 at 7:04 pm

  • Devan Nielsen

    The haterz should allow the up and comers to push them to be better themselves. You should be able to learn from everyone, what not to do and what to do. I think the hate comes from jealousy and a lack of understanding.

    December 2, 2012 at 6:38 pm

Leave a Comment