If you are a new intern entering the field of health and fitness or considering a change in careers as a strength and conditioning coach or personal trainer, this post will highlight ways to make your internship experience stand out.
I went through two internships and I wish I had more insight before Day 1. For those about to begin a new internship here are some important points I took away that will enrich your experience:
- Is It the Right One for You
- Make Sure You Can Budget Your Experience
- Be on Time
- Ask Questions
- Help the Staff
Is It the Right One for You?
There are numerous internships you can work at but make sure the one you apply to is right for you. If you want to work in a college setting, interning at a college or university might be suitable.
Want to work with kids, high school and college athletes as well as adults, a private sector gym may offer those types of clients. If working with professional athletes is your goal, reach out to professional teams or at least organizations that are affiliated with the professional team. Biggest thing to ask yourself: Who do you want to work with? What gym has those types of clients or athletes? Then apply.
Make Sure You Can Budget Your Experience
Make sure you can budget and support yourself as an intern. Most internships are unpaid or pay very little, but trust me when I say the experience and education is significant to your development as a coach. Talk with your intern coordinator and ask them before your internship begins if they are ok with you working part-time somewhere else as long as it does not interfere with your time and responsibilities as an intern.
Also, the coaches and trainers working at the gym or school have probably done an internship either at that facility or somewhere else so they should be able to relate to you and offer you great advise. If they can work at that facility you are interning at, you may consider it’s a place that you could see yourself in the future as well; if you do a good job, they will vouch for you.
Very simply put, smile. People come to the gym looking forward to their workout or use it as a place to get away from distractions. If you aren’t in a good mood or look like you do not want to be there; they probably won’t want to work with you.
Put yourself in their shoes and try to see their point of view. Smile, be friendly, and make their experience great!
Be on Time
There is really no explanation to this one but make sure you are on time. Some gyms expect you to arrive 10-15 minutes earlier than your scheduled time; which you should use to look over your client or group’s program and prepare for the session ahead.
The better prepared you are for your athlete or clients, the better experience everyone will have.
If there is ever a question that comes to mind, ask it without hesitation! You have several coaches you’re learning from who will help you understand their way of thinking as long as you ask. This does not mean asking a million questions at once but definitely think before you speak. Does this question make sense? Is it relative?
The more questions you ask and have answered, the better off you will be when your internship ends.
Help the Staff
Taking out the trash, mopping up the floor, preparing and putting away equipment. These were a few of my responsibilities as an intern, but it’s always good to go a little more beyond clean-up duties.
When the gym was really slow and there was not that much foot traffic, I asked people working the front desk how I can help. Don’t forget that the coaches and staff also have lives and really appreciate any extra help you can give them.
Additional Tip: “Pretend You Work There”
The best advice I can give is to “pretend you work there”. If you were late, unprepared, unmotivated, do you think you would still have a job or your internship?
Probably not and that’s why thinking that you work there can really make you stand out. Do a good enough job, and I guarantee the school or facility will be a great recommendation to have and might even ask you to join their organization.
Wrapping It All Up
Your internship can be a great experience as long as you work hard and make the most of it. Create relationships with the staff, coaches, and clients, ask questions, and don’t forget to smile!
If you have any questions about the internship or if you want to share your personal experience with us, shoot me an email at [email protected]. Also, at CLIENTEL3, we offer internships and provide education as well as teach our interns our systems and operations. If interested, reach out to us at [email protected] or visit us at our website.