Oh noooo! It’s the last part in the series! In this article I share my final 10 tips to help personal trainers and personal trainer business owners. Enjoy…
1) don’t rush the process
It takes time to make good things happen. You wouldn’t go straight into the gym (with no training experience) and try and squat 300kg! You’d be cruising for a broken back! No, you’d go in and try bodyweight squats, then 20kg squats, then work up to 30kg, 40kg, etc – this takes time. Your personal trainer skill set and business is absolutely no different. Continuously make small deposits e.g. by reading 2-3 articles per week, reading a book per month, going on a training course every 6 months, etc – just some ideas. Over time knowledge, skill set and experience will improve. It’s a long journey, don’t expect miracles to happen after 2 weeks!
2) drop the attitude
I see so many personal trainers with ego’s bigger than A-Lister celebs! They care more about themselves than their clients. They spend half the session talking about themselves, and instead of observing their clients technique, they look at their own reflection in the mirror! I’m not even kidding, i’ve seen it happen!
You then go on their social media profile and it’s just filtered pictures of them with abs! No helpful content… just pure narcissistic behaviour! This is extremely off putting to your audience. Remember that your attitude is key, you need to put your clients first, and be professional when your in a session with them. The session is about them, not you. An ego style approach may work for a select few trainers – however if your trying to appeal to everyday members of the public let me assure you your business will not succeed as much as if you take a more humbling approach.
3) go out of your way to help people
If you see someone in the gym who looks unsure of what they are doing go and help them. If you can share with them a technique and benefit their training… then do it. All you have to do… “hey I saw you using the lateral pull down machine, thats a great choice of exercise. I noticed that your form is very good and I think if you did X (provide tip) that would help you get even more from the exercise” Don’t be patronising, be genuine, give away free tips and help people. You’ll gain respect and they’ll be the first to sign up with you when they look to hire a personal trainer.
4) be approachable
Let’s put yourself in the shoes of a gym newbie. Lets say you’ve spent the last 10 years abusing your body with junk food, alcohol, poor sleep, and stress, your confidence is at an all time low and going to the gym is a very scary place! The trainer at your gym is stood there with a tank top, a tan, and bulging ripped muscles, looking arrogant and very self assured. Would you go up to him? my bet is that you wouldn’t or you’d be reluctant.
It’s important for personal trainers to be approachable. You can do this by smiling, making eye contact, using a friendly tone when you speak to people, and wearing professional clothing (you can show off your physique, without wearing tank tops!). Members of the public are much more likely to ask for your service. At my gym the busiest personal trainers are not the henchest, the busiest are the ones who are friendly and approachable – people can relate to them more.
5) share your struggles
In some shape or form we are all struggling with something in our lives, whether that’s grieving a relationship, starting a business, failing to lose weight, or whatever it may be. There are usually aspects we wish improved. People can relate to struggle, especially when it strikes an emotional cord with their predicament. One of the most successful posts I have ever written was about my own experience of suffering with body dysmorphia – Why? I believe it’s because many people can relate to the story.
I think it’s great to share your previous struggles with clients at appropriate times, for example when they go off plan (which at some point is inevitable), let them know you’ve done it before and this is how you overcame it. Let them know that its okay not to be okay…okay? Theirs a high likelihood that your clients look up to you, they respect you, be honest, and discuss some of your previous setbacks, then share your wisdom to help them overcome their predicament.
6) Create Sustainable Plans for Clients
Get your clients to train 7 days per week, eat lots of meat and vegetables, drink 5 litres of water per day, ban chocolate, never socialise (ever!), and get them to sleep for 10hrs every night! pffff! Your having a laugh mate! this just isn’t going to happen. You can create the best plan in the world on paper, but if your plan is not sustainable it’s effectively useless!
If you set the bar too high you are setting clients up to fail. Unless your clients are hardcore bodybuilders or professional athletes – you need to help your clients create small, sustainable changes that they can succeed at. For example that could be getting them to train more. Going from 0 to 3 sessions per week is more sustainable than going from 0 to 5! Getting a client to eat more protein is another good step. Think about making small gradual changes, with the aim of upping the ante further down the line. Think to yourself, can this work for them, how can we make a handful of changes that are suitable, sustainable and will yield improvements. Aim for progress not perfection.
7) Never stop learning
You can never know enough! It’s essential to stay hungry and hunt out new knowledge. Arguably one of the greatest philosophers and thinkers of all time ‘Socrates’ once said “True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing”. There’s so much one can learn. Aim for continuous self development, aiming to refine your skills as a personal trainer, improve your thinking, mindset, attitude, whatever it may be… the ‘learning journey’ never ends.
8) Seek both science and application
One without the other is lame… and useless. It’s great to know what the perfect squat looks like but trying to get a client who’s not trained for 10 years, who has tight hip flexors and a bad back to emulate a perfect squat…. is like expecting a cat to bark like a dog!… basically it’s not going to happen. Using proven scientific methods is essential but you must also be able to adapt its application to real life situations.
9) Lead by Example
You are a leader and people are paying you because they need your help. Just like the CEO of a fortune 500 company who has to lead his troops, you too have to lead your clients. How you hold yourself, your body language, vocal communication, how you dress, and greet others are just a few ways of establishing yourself as a leader. Your clients will look up to you, make-sure that you set your standards high by being the best leader you can be. I just read a superb book called Leading – by Sir Alex Fergusson I would highly recommend you to check it out.
10) appreciate your role
Your in a frickin amazing position, you get to help people transform their lives and earn a fantastic living of the back of it. Appreciate how lucky you are to have this opportunity. In my opinion this is the best job in the world, it’s fulfilling, you get to witness positive change (visually and mentality) and in return you can earn an extremely good living. Now go out, apply these tips, make a difference…. and kick some ass!