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by Albert Corvera

Personal trainer Michael Salazar says his business is booming, despite the current economy. Photo from his website.

Personal trainer Michael Salazar says his business is booming, despite the current economy. Photo from his website.

Chicago – Personal trainer Mike Salazar is doing something he dreamed about ever since he was a junior in high school. Not many 23-year-olds can say they have a successful business, but he can.

Just a little over a month ago Salazar’s business, Evolution Personal Training, 2633 W. Bryn Mawr, opened its doors. As of now the profits of Salazar’s training facility have been increasing to go along with his base clientele he has had at previous employers including Bally Total Fitness and locally owned Fitness Defined. In the opening month Salazar netted nearly $8,000 in profit.

Despite financial success at the other gyms, the sports business and business management student at Loyola University in Chicago wanted to break away from the big box gyms and start something different. Something he can call his own.

“I wanted to create an environment where people of all abilities can work out,” he said. “From the busy stay-at-home mom, the competitive athlete, the junior high volleyball player, and senior citizens; there is a place for all these people here at Evolution Personal Training.”

The majority of fitness workers work part-time at one individual facility, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Strength professionals such as EPT trainer Dan Deitch end up holding multiple jobs to create a full-time workload.

“I have a few clients here, some at Fitness Defined and at-home clients,” Deitch said. “A lot of people compliment personal training with other jobs, whether it’s construction or something like that. People just like to do this for fun on the side because it’s such a fun and great job to have.”

Personal trainers start at various wages. To test out his ability Salazar first started training teachers and fellow classmates for a small fee. Once he got his first certification, he became a regular at Bally, which charged clients roughly $20-$30 per hour.

Now at his own facility Salazar charges about $69 per hour on average. With training being a luxury, Deitch said people can pay the rate. They just have to make sacrifices on the little things financially.

“I think a lot of people can afford it,” Deitch said. “It’s just a matter of whether they want to. People tend to budge on really what they want. If you really discipline yourself for a few months financially, you can put that into training. But eventually it’s going to eventually be a need because people aren’t going out for exercise as much.”

Despite the struggles in today’s economy, people will still take their health seriously no matter at what cost. With the prices skyrocketing for healthcare, Frank Miele, vice-president of operations for International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA), says that more people are concerned.

“Personal fitness trainers fill the gap between sick care and health care,” Miele said. “Today, a personal fitness trainer can be defined as an individual who educates and trains clients in the performance of safe and appropriate exercises in order to effectively lead their clients to optimal health.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics a 27-percent increase has been predicted in the number of employment opportunities for fitness and nutrition professionals between 2006 and 2016. Reasons include many fitness corporations are looking for part-timers rather than full-times.

Deitch said there is only one reason to why being a personal trainer is one of the more prospective occupations – technology.

“I think within the last 20 or 30 years obesity in our country, at least among teenagers, will have almost tripled,” Deitch said. “More and more people are staying at home now, either with their ‘Crackberrys’ or their video games or on the computer.”

Twenty-three-year-old client Christopher Rivera recently signed for a few sessions with Deitch. In addition to getting in better shape and feeling healthier, Rivera said that he wanted personal training to learn how to workout smarter.

“You can look at training as a way to ease stress,” Deitch said. “There is nothing better about seeing your body in better shape and feeling better. Everybody has his or her own reasons, but stress alone is a key factor.”

Salazar has said that people want to exercise, workout and get in shape. But with the hectic schedules of everyday life, most people don’t have time to workout as much, which has caused many Americans to become out of shape and obese.

“These people want results,” he said, “but they still want to spend time at home with family and friends. Working with a personal trainer ensures they are getting the most from their workouts.”

“After a good workout it’s going to get some of that stress out,” Deitch said. “If you’re married, you’re going to be working out. If you’re a Cubs fan, you’re going to be working out.”

Personal trainers are self-employed. Many work by appointment. New trainers with a small clientele base go through prospecting, which Salazar describes as the salesman aspect of the job where the trainer attempts to sell him or herself to the consumer.

“As a trainer, you can’t sound like a salesman,” Salazar said. “You need to enjoy what you do, do it right and have integrity towards your work. You shouldn’t focus on the money, but on the client.”

Copyright 2009

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