There are tons of trainers in the world and they all claim to want to be successful. Few will have what it takes. When it comes to training, sure there are the obvious things like being knowledgeable, and providing good service. There are also tough lessons you need to learn along the way that no one tells you going into it.
Today I’d like to give my 3 tips for becoming the most successful personal trainer in your gym.
Ability to Outwork Anyone
Being a successful trainer isn’t as easy as it sounds. Just because you got yourself in shape, doesn’t mean you are ready to train others and be good at it. Being a successful trainer means putting in the hours. I’ve heard too many trainers sign up for the job because they love that they can create their own hours, and end up working as little as possible so they have more free time. Talk to any successful trainer and the one thing you’ll hear from them all is that there are no off days. They work 7 days a week (especially when starting out), and they’re constantly marketing themselves.
Being a good trainer isn’t just about what you do within the session. You need a constant book of business. You are the brand. You need to constantly be putting yourself out there to book more clients to keep a paycheck coming in. You need to be willing to work hours others may not want and making sacrifices in the beginning that aren’t fun. This is what it takes to make it long term. You need a relentless work ethic to want to help people more than you enjoy making the money. If you are just chasing the money, you will not last.
Check out my article How to Determine if Personal Trainers Know What They Are Doing
Creating Behavior Based Outcomes
When new trainers get clients, they spend most of their energy focusing on just providing a good workout without taking into account why the client is there in the first place. Sure, they might want to lose weight. What are the underlying factors? I’ve found working with a client is more of a therapy session than anything else. To get a client to stay with you, you need to find their why. Why do they want to lose weight?
They are going to have days they don’t want to come in, and most likely try and cancel on you. If you don’t address that soon, they’ll stop coming altogether. Clients who attain long term results, do so because they address the real reasons for wanting change. It has to be beyond the superficial.
Once you find the “why”, you need to be able to create behavior based outcomes to help them get to their goals. It can’t just be “eat less, move more”. If losing weight is their goal, instead try “Eat one fistful of vegetables with each meal”. That is a behavior based outcome, that is creating a series of sustainable habits to eventually hit their goal. The reason we do this is, the issue isn’t losing weight. It’s losing it, and being able to keep it off long term.
Check out my article What to Look For When Choosing A Personal Trainer.
One of the hardest things when you start off as a trainer is the ability to say no. I know this might sound contradictory towards the first tip, but it’s not. Yes, you should be hustling hard and taking on clients. Having said that, you need to be able to say no to certain clients or refer out. Maybe you are given a client who has issues above your scope of practice. Or maybe you have a client with issues you’ve never dealt with before. You have to know when it is something you can take on, vs acknowledging you can’t do. That isn’t a bad thing. In most cases, if you learn to refer them to physical therapists, and other trainers, you end up building a network along the way of other colleagues who will refer clients back to you. Keep your hustle strong, but along the way start to find your niche and where you excel and double down on it.