Do you smoke but would like to become a personal trainer? I’m a certified personal trainer but have never smoked. However, having been a PT, I have a lot to say about the idea of smokers becoming personal trainers.
If you’re a smoker, and wish to become a personal trainer, my advice is to follow your dream. That is your right. Who knows, becoming a personal trainer might finally be that kick you need to quit the nasty habit for good. Of course, the better reason to become a fitness professional is because you love exercise and would love the idea of helping people lose weight and get fit.
A smoker can easily pass a certifying exam for personal trainer. Being a smoker will not prevent you from impressing a gym’s fitness director when applying for a position as a personal trainer. The fitness director doesn’t even have to know you have the nasty habit; I’ve never heard of fitness directors asking candidates if they use tobacco.
However, sooner or later they may smell the smoke on you. This is what happened at Bally Total Fitness where I used to work. The fitness director commented to me that the odor of cigarette smoke on one of the new personal trainers was an obstacle to the man’s getting clients; prospective clients would presumably smell the odor.
So if you’re a smoker wanting to be a personal trainer, people WILL smell the odor on you unless you are extremely diligent about clearing it from your body after every cigarette, and this includes brushing your teeth and gargling with mouthwash. After all, personal training requires close proximity to your clients or prospective clients, and they will smell smoke on your breath, hair and clothes if you don’t take adamant measures to clear it out.
As a personal trainer, you may be at the gym for hours on end; will you be able to refrain from smoking during that entire time? If not, where will you light up so that gym members don’t witness it? You’d have to do it in your car and make sure you’re not parked in a highly visible area.
The Bally personal trainer who smoked, quite frankly, smelled strongly of smoke, even though nobody ever saw him puffing away. He was medium build and said he once was 100 pounds overweight. Was he a good trainer? I don’t know; I never observed him enough to know that.
If a smoker has a fit-looking body (and yes, this is possible, keep reading), he or she can be an effective personal trainer, provided he or she has superb communication skills, confidence and knows a lot about exercise and fitness.
Obviously, a current smoker is not qualified to lead a smoking-cessation seminar or to go around lecturing how to avoid smoking. But how to exercise? How to lose weight? How to safely perform dead-lifts, barbell squats and power snatches? How to build bigger arms? Yes, a smoker can effectively teach these weight lifting techniques. A smoker can effectively encourage a fat client to stick to exercise and healthier eating. A tobacco user can effectively transform a “90-pound weakling” into a strong muscular type… provided that the personal trainer is knowledgeable about exercise program design.
I have actually witnessed buff, ripped people step outside the gym to light up. Seriously. It happens. There exist smokers who actually want to look good and be physically strong. Being a smoker is no excuse for not exercising! I bet that every smoker who works out has lost some degree of nicotine craving as a result of their exercise regimen.
If you’re a smoker and enjoy working out and find that you enjoy talking to people about exercise, motivating them to stick to exercise, and have a knack for inspiring people to eat healthier and lose weight, then there is absolutely nothing wrong with pursing a career as a personal trainer.