Fit for Life: An Interview with Hank Ebeling on his Career as a Personal Trainer

15 02 2010

by Jenna Reisch

Have you ever wanted a career in which you could manage your own work hours and be your own boss? Today’s blog post features an interview with fitness professional Hank Ebeling, whose profession allows him to manage his schedule. Ebeling, a personal trainer at Equinox Fitness Club in Chicago, is an expert in training people to live healthier lives.  In the following interview, Ebeling tells us about his profession and gives tips on how to have a successful career as a personal trainer.

fitness professional Hank Ebeling. image provided by Ebeling.

When did you decide you wanted to become a personal trainer?

In high school, during my junior year…I played sports and liked working out to improve my strength and my physical self.  I started to help friends, as well as other people; I liked the aspect of improving others.

What did you do to prepare to become a personal trainer?

I have a bachelors degree in kinesiology from University of Nevada-Las Vegas and I am ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) certified.  You do not need to be certified or have a degree, but it is highly recommended that you have a degree in a fitness related field, like exercise science, or have a certification.

How long did it take you to get your certification? Did you have to study?

It took me two months to study. I had to take the exam through the ACSM.  You need a degree to take the test and then you need to pass the test.

That sounds like a lot of work.

As a personal trainer while living in Las Vegas, you must have had some pretty cool experiences.  Where was your favorite place to work and why?

The Canyon Ranch Spa Club in the Venetian – it is a 5-star hotel, one of the best resorts in the world.  I got to meet a lot of celebrities.  I did not train any celebrities but I met numerous ones [like] Nelly, Usher, Regis Philbin, Sean Paul, [David] Hasselhoff.

Who did you train there?

Whoever wanted personal training.  It was a very prestigious place.

That sounds like a pretty cool job. So, as a personal trainer, do you receive work benefits?

Full time employees at Equinox get benefits.  Not all places have this.

What does your typical work day look like?

I usually work 7am to 4pm.  I have on average six clients a day.  During the time in-between, I work out and write [exercise] programs for clients.  The days vary because I am running my own business within Equinox.  I control my own schedule, but it is a very atypical day.  It is not an 8 to 5 job.

Sounds like you get a lot of freedom.  Can you take days off whenever you want?

Yeah, I can [leave the gym and] take off because it is my own time, but then I lose money.  I have free rein on my schedule, but it is a commission based position.

Do you have short-term or long-term professional goals as a personal trainer?

personal trainer with client. image by

A short-term goal would be to keep improving business and to keep growing and learning as a trainer to better my business.  A long-term goal would be to open my own fitness club.

Do you have a personal trainer idol or someone who you have looked up to?

There is Gunnar Peterson who is a well-known, smart, and successful trainer in LA.  He trains celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, Brooke Burke, and famous athletes.

What do you recommend to those interested in becoming personal trainers?

Get as much experience as you can in the gym, train your friends and family, get experience working with people, and get a degree.  Also, get certified, read, learn, and be educated.  If you are really good at what you do in training you will be successful.  You will have good business, no matter what club you work at or where you live.

What attributes would you say make a good trainer?

The number one thing is that you have to be personable – you have to be a people person.  You have to have people skills and you have to be a good communicator.  You also have to be a good listener.  You have to care and have passion for what you do, and you must have compassion for your clients.

Ebeling recommends getting the following certifications:

  • ACSM-American College of Sports Medicine Depends
  • NASM-National Academy of Sports Medicine
  • NSCA-National Strength and Conditioning Association
  • CPR/First Aid Certification

He also recommends that every trainer or aspiring trainer read the following books:

  • Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe
  • Strength Training Anatomy by Frederic Delavie

For more information, check out articles and workouts posted by Ebeling on his fitness blog at:




3 responses

31 10 2010
Thermal Imaging :

i always like to stay on 5 star hotels because the ameneties and the ambiance is always great ..

22 11 2010

you can always count on 5 star hotels when you want maximum comfort and a lot of souvenirs ,””

11 01 2015

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it’s good point to start your fight with fat

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