I remember when I started out as a personal trainer, I was super excited! I loved to train and had so much passion and enthusiasm. After my first personal training session, I knew PT was for me – I felt this enormous surge of endorphins (like the feeling you get after a workout!) And then when the client said “thank you! That was really good and I enjoyed it!”… I can’t tell you how happy I was!
That said I also had mixed emotions, the elation, also came with worry, fear and doubt. I struggled to pick up clients, and had to work my backside off. I knew lots about the body, but knew nothing about business. I had good people skills, but didn’t really know how to go up to people and approach them for personal training – I didn’t want to be one of those pushy sales people, who’s only think about profits. Being a sleezeball wasn’t for me!
I also struggled with lots of other areas, which thankfully now I’ve learned from. They say you learn from your mistakes, and I’ve made plenty of mistakes…
My reason for starting the personal training blog on my website – is to help other fellow personal trainers out there. I want to help you guys build your businesses, and earn a good living, one where you are happy and fulfilled.
In this post I thought it would be cool to share some tips for those of you out there who are right at the beginning of your personal training career.
Before writing this post I sat down at my desk and asked myself the question…
“if I had to go back to the very start of my PT career, what would be the things I would focus on/do differently?”
4 things came to mind…
A given really! If you want to be a stand out personal trainer you’ve got to study as much as you can. Once you’ve finished your personal trainer course…that’s when the real learning begins. In your spare time you need to spend time increasing your knowledge. There are 4 ways I recommend doing this…
1 – Courses – attend as many courses as you can. Whether that’s taking a kettlebell course, or spin class course, or whether it’s going to private coaching programmes, like the one’s Phil Learney and Mark Coles run. The aim is to be like a sponge soaking up as much info as you can, and then applying it to your clients.
2 – Podcasts – One of the best ways to learn and they are totally free! I would recommend listening to at least 2-3 podcasts per week. Check out this article I wrote the 5 best podcasts for personal trainers
3 – Audiobooks – Another great way to learn. If you’d like some good audiobook recommendations drop me a line at nick@Lepfitness.co.uk and I’ll send you my top 10 favourites.
4 – Books – Again another way to learn. Although reading is not for everybody, for me personally… I love sitting down in the morning with a coffee and reading a book for 10-20 mins. It ignites my mind and sets me up for the day.
In your first year as a personal trainer I’d recommend setting aside at least 1 hour a day to learn more about your trade. Aim to do this at least 5 days per week (ideally 7). I remember when I first started out and I would learn new things 7 days a week – I was totally obsessed with bettering myself and just loved to learn.
#2 Get As Much Experience As Possible
Tip number 2 is to get as much experience as possible. You’ll learn the most from working with real people. Whilst text books are great, they will never replace hands on coaching experience. When you first start out… train as many people as you can. Ask your friends if they want a PT session, train your family members, give away free sessions in the gym, etc, etc.
Some of my biggest lessons were learned in the early days. For example I learned how to build rapport with people, make them feel comfortable, developed my own training methods, and learned how to inspire and motivate people.
When I first started out I took on anybody and everybody, and just wanted to help as many people as possible. I knew that If I kept at it… people would eventually pay and sign up to my services. It’s safe to say that 10,000 x 1-1 personal training sessions later… I was right…my hard work at the beginning paid dividends.
#3 Get To Know Everyone In your Gym
The most popular personal trainers are not necessarily the most knowledgeable. Whilst knowledge is key… the busiest personal trainers are the one’s who connect with people the most. It’s a service and you’ve got to be likeable and be able to bond with others. If you are arrogant, or too geeky/unrelatable… then you’re not going to be the most popular trainer.
Instead, you’ve got to be approachable, smile, be friendly, go up to people and help them. Offer tips for free, go up to people and give them a spot. Ask people in the gym whether they had a nice weekend? Find out about people, their hobbies, kids names, what they do. Being social is one of the best and most valuable traits as a personal trainer. Get to know everyone in your gym as best as you can, and watch clients sign up!
I can guarantee that the busiest trainer in the gym will always be the most popular one (the one people like the most!) – so build rapport with as many people as you can and watch your business explode.
#4 Work Your Ass Off!
When I first started out, I worked every hour I could. I would write articles for my facebook page on Sunday evening. I would post ads on gumtree for free personal training sessions. I applied for business funding (£500) so I could get some flyers and posters for my business. I got a deal on Group On to attract customers. I did everything I could to build a personal training business. It was hard but worth every second.
There are lots of personal trainers who do the absolute minimum, they expect clients to flock to them, and they expect it to be easy. These type of trainers don’t last very long. The trainers that make it, stay quite in the background and work their ass off! They don’t mind working on Sundays, or getting up at 5am – they’ll do whatever it takes!
You don’t always have to work like this, but at the very beginning you do! It’s hard work but worth it. Be a grafter and do whatever it takes!
If you want to stand out from the crowd and learn what it takes to build a successful PT business then i’d highly recommend checking out this post – The Ultimate Guide To Building Your Personal Training Business – I wish I had a resource like this back when I started my business (it would have saved me hours of wasted time!)
Thanks for reading,