The More You Learn, The More You Earn

The More You Learn, The More You Earn

By John Paul Catanzaro, BSc, CEP

When I started personal training in the mid-’90s, most of my education came from muscle magazines. I had a subscription to all of them. Between years of experience in the gym and reading dozens of books and thousands of articles, I felt equipped enough to take on clients. Of course, I also had a university degree in kinesiology and health science, but all that did was place a few letters after my name and a fancy certificate on the wall. Yes, I knew how to take someone’s age and calculate their heart rate training zone for aerobic activity and how many servings of each food group were required, but when it came to strength training, only a little was taught in school!


Was I getting results with my clients?


Absolutely, but anything is better than lying on the couch. A beginner can gain strength just by looking at a weight! The truth is that most clients were doing alright with their training – progress was made but not outstanding. I knew it was time to upgrade my knowledge and skills, so I came up with a four-stage plan of attack:


1. I read at least one book weekly on various subjects, including strength & conditioning, nutrition, and business. If it would help further my career, I’d read it!


2. Every two weeks or so, I’d pick an afternoon and shadow an expert in the field. Whether it was another trainer with more years of experience or a chiropractor, physiotherapist, osteopath, nutritionist, or medical doctor…it didn’t matter as long as I got to observe, ask questions, and learn! In addition to the education, it made for a great networking opportunity.


3. I’d accumulate references from all my readings and visit the university library once a month to get them! You had to pull out the journal and photocopy the pages back then. My girlfriend at the time (and now my wife) would help me out. I’d give her a list, go off in different directions, and an hour later, we’d meet in front of the photocopiers with a massive stack of journals! It was a timely and costly process but well worth it.


4. Every month or so, I needed to attend at least one seminar, lecture, workshop, conference, or symposium. Anything that related to personal training was game. I went all across North America for these events. I can’t tell you how many hours and how much money I spent doing so, but the information and contacts I accumulated along the way were invaluable!

And what was the outcome of all this effort?


Well, the results were excellent, and business grew like crazy! My name got around, and within a few years, I was training several high-profile clients, I had articles published in various magazines, I was appearing on television, personal trainers and other health & fitness professionals were hiring me for training and consultations, and several organizations approached me requesting lectures and workshops.


Without that strategy, I would not be in the same position today. If you think about it, it’s the same as training a client. You devise the most efficient plan to achieve their goals and then implement it. And if you carry out the plan with consistent and relentless execution, look out! You’ll get results.


Trust me, if you get your learn on and strive for higher education, you’ll set yourself apart from the others, and people will quickly recognize the difference. Don’t settle for a “muscle magazine” mentality; go for more. Go for broke! Several of my colleagues have maxed out their credit cards on education (e.g., books, seminars, consultations, etc.) and went into temporary debt only to have it returned many times over in gained revenue.


Your worth is directly proportional to your knowledge. The bottom line is that to succeed in personal training, you must learn more to earn more!

John Paul Catanzaro owns and operates a private facility in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada providing training and nutritional consulting services. He has authored several books and video presentations that have been featured in magazines and endorsed by many leading experts. For more information, please visit

Stay Connected!

Subscribe to FitBizWeekly’s FREE newsletter for news, commentary, idea sharing and developments across the Canadian health and fitness industry.

By clicking on the Subscribe button you agree to be on our newsletter list. You can opt out anytime. We respect your privacy. Your information will not be shared and your email address will be stored safely. 

Stay Tuned

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter 

By clicking on the Subscribe button you agree to be on our newsletter list. You can opt out anytime.  

We respect your privacy. Your information will not be shared and your email address will be stored safely.