There is a lot more to personal training than simply throwing a few exercises together and telling people to do them. It takes hard work, good people skills, business acumen, and a constant drive to improve to become a good personal trainer. We teach all this in our personal training certification. Here are 5 mistakes to avoid on your path to becoming a successful trainer.
Not investing in themselves
You may think you do, but you really don’t know it all. The human body hasn’t changed very much, but what we know about it is constantly changing and being updated. If you don’t take the time to invest in yourself to consistently grow and learn more, you are doing both yourself and your clients a disservice. More knowledge will produce better results. Better results will lead to more clients.
You can learn quite a bit for free simply by following the blogs of various well-known trainers. However, taking the time to go to conferences and attending live workshops allows you to immerse yourself in the presenter’s expertise. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but words on a page does not reflect the full nuances of a live demonstration.
Not paying enough attention to current clients
You work hard. You’re constantly hustling to get new clients, but business stays the same. You may be bringing new people in, but they are just replacing a constant flow of clients who leave.The answer to this problem is standing right there in front of you. Do whatever you can to keep your current clients happy.
I have several clients that have been with me for more than two years. I have no problem with not charging them for cancelling with short notice (my gym has a 24 hour cancellation policy). I will come in outside of my normal hours on the rare occasion that their schedule has changed. These people have spent thousands of dollars over the years to train with me. I will do what I can to show my appreciation by giving them a break or two.
A trusting relationship has already been established with your current clients. If you do a great job, you are much more likely to retain them for a longer term than to try and achieve the same with a complete stranger. Who knows. They may even like you enough to tell all of their friends about you, giving you a whole new stream of clients who already trust you.
Not practicing what they preach
If you talk to a client about having meals prepared, don’t complain about not having anything to eat. When you’ve discussed the importance of sleep, don’t talk about how tired you are from staying up too late.
If you are not able to follow your own advice, how can you expect your own clients to? You don’t have to be the strongest or the leanest to be a good trainer. However, you should at least do the basic things that all clients should strive for and provide them with a good example to look up to.
Trying to learn too much
How can I help menopausal women lose weight? What’s the best way for a skinny guy to bigger? How do I train around a client’s injury? Are there any exercises I should avoid with a pregnant woman?
When you first start training, questions like these can get quite overwhelming. A gung-ho attitude and insatiable thirst for knowledge quickly turns into dread. How can I possibly learn all of that? You try, but all of the competing bits of information start to blur into one another.
So, pregnant women should avoid jumping exercises. Wait, maybe that was for knee injuries. Or was that the case for both?
My advice would be to pick one or two topics that interest you the most and try to learn as much as you can about them. Become a real expert at a few things rather than a mediocre jack of all trades.Being an expert can also lead to more client referrals.
Not too long ago, I decided to focus on pre and post-natal women and post-rehabilitation training. I am now considered the expert in those two areas in my gym and I am the first to come to mind when a new client comes in with either of those two needs.
Not tracking progress
You know that the scale doesn’t tell the whole story, so why aren’t you taking regular progress pictures as well? What about girth measurements? Or fitness tests?
It is still very difficult to get some clients to understand that weight as the sole measure is not particularly useful. You have to regularly assess other factors to be able to show that they are progressing in spite of the scale. Don’t assume that they can see that their waist is getting smaller or that their endurance has improved. You have to assess and then regularly retest so that you have something concrete to show
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