There are many people who aspire to become a personal and professional trainer – not all people are qualified or possess the qualities and characteristics required to stand side by side with a novice to guide them through the myriad of workouts and knowledge of the human body to make a great impact. It’s not just about being fit and loving the personal health industry; whilst this is essential, it’s also important to understand the human mind, to love the person beside you, and yes, to understand when to push it and when to let go. Thinking about becoming a personal trainer? We salute you; it’s not always as easy as it looks. Here’s how to be a great personal trainer: the top qualities and characteristics you need to possess.
First and foremost, it’s a science – and it needs to be practiced safely. Hence, you’ll need to possess knowledge in the areas of human anatomy, exercise programming, biomechanics, kinesiology, and nutrition. It’s also important to be able to incorporate this knowledge into a class or exercise programme, similar to how teachers construct a syllabus or lesson plan.
No personal trainer is an expert in everything. If you don’t know how to train clients with lower back pain, don’t take on clients who say they struggle with lower back pain when exercising, no matter how much you need the money. It is highly unethical for a personal trainer to undertake work that is outside their knowledge area and professional competence.
Remember also to keep your training topped up with regular CPD courses. There’s always more to learn. The more you know, the broader the reach of clients you can take on. Completing new CPD courses is a requirement of remaining a member of the Register of Exercise Professionals, and you always want to be a member of that group if you’re serious about your personal training career.
The successful personal trainer not only knows how to sell the programme to potential clients – he or she must also be able to retain those clients; in other words, the students or clients can’t quit, and when we’re talking about physical training and workouts, that’s often very difficult. The personal trainer has to encourage, listen to complaints, guide, and direct. This requires great communication skills.
Your client comes first
The trainer is bound to have various clients, and each client is different – there’s no such thing as a ‘one-size-fits-all’ client, as clients have different backgrounds and different goals. It’s important to understand this and to be able to adjust accordingly.
You need to create custom sessions and exercise plans tailored to the needs of each individual client. Clients will come to you for all sorts of reasons. Some will want to lose weight, some will want to grow bigger and stronger, some will want to get fitter, and some will want to train to run marathons or do bodybuilding.
Make sure to set short and long term goals for your clients during their fitness campaigns. Goal setting has many positive psychological affects for clients. It keeps them focused, it gives them something to aim for, and when they constantly achieve their goals, it boosts their confidence and makes them feel like they’re making progress. Confidence boosters are especially important for clients with obesity or other weight issues, as those are the clients who tend to give up the most often. Just make sure that the goals you set your clients are actually within reach and not too difficult.
Doing it right
It starts with encouraging the client, explaining everything, and guiding the client. It’s also about listening to the client and adapting. It’s about encouraging and pushing, but also about listening and rewarding. It’s a work in progress, so constant adjustment is a must.
Above all, it’s about commitment – commitment to the profession, commitment to the industry, and commitment to the client, as Discovery Learning, personal training course specialists, will confirm. It’s only when you show personal commitment and enthusiasm for what you do that you can expect the same from your clients.
Like all other professions, you’ll have your high times and your low moments, but it’s important that you can face your client with an energised and motivated attitude – even after training, teaching, and perhaps travelling for hours. Every time you’re about to step out onto the gym floor, take a moment to check yourself mentally and make sure you’re in a good mood and state of mind to interact with potential clients and help them make their lives better.
People you encounter in exercise settings will very easily pick up on non-verbal signals, and if you’re walking around in a bad mood desperate to get done and go home, that will affect how people perceive you and mean you’ll be less likely to land the clients you need to pay your bills.
Harnessing modern technology
If you can learn how to leverage things like the World Wide Web and social media to market your services and find clients, you stand to make a lot more money than you would without them.
Get yourself a nice looking website and get found on Google by people in your home city or local area who are searching online for a personal trainer. Use blogs, newsletters and sign up forms to compile a mailing list of subscribers who you can keep informed of any special training offers you run. Have some social media pages set up for your business and build an online audience of friends, ex clients and co-workers you meet in the industry. Some of them could become your clients again in the future or recommend you to other people they know online.
In the end, it’s about showing the client that it can be done, no matter how hard it may seem. It’s about optimism and having a can-do attitude.
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