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Personal training

5 Simple Tips to Become a Successful Personal Trainer

By Joe Talarico on Nov 9, 2022 10:30:00 AM
6 Minutes Reading Time


If you want to be the most successful personal trainer, there are a couple steps you’d need to follow to set you up for that success. On paper it may sound relatively easy, but in reality it does require a lot of hard work, and the consistency and energy to want to continually help as many people as you can for free (to start), in order to build up as much of an eventual paying clientele as you can.

Book As Many Intro Sessions As You Can 

For starters I’d like to say if you are new to training, start off at a big box gym. You can go private but you are only making it harder on yourself. The hardest part of being a successful trainer is being able to market yourself to as many people as possible. While a big box gym will pay you less per session, they have done all the marketing for you.

Your goal when you are just starting out is honing in on selling your craft. The top trainer's biggest skillset is being able to sell themselves and provide results. At a big box gym you will be exposed to the highest volume of walk-in clients compared to anywhere else. Take as many of them as you can. The more free intro sessions you can take, the higher chance you have at turning them into paying clients. That is your biggest focus right now. Build up as big of a client base as you can. If you can’t dominate the big box gym with the most clientele when they're being handed to you for free, how do you plan to do it privately with less exposure?

Do A Proper Assessment

Ask questions! Analyze their movement and find imbalances! This is your biggest selling point. What separates you from every other trainer out there is the fact that within that session you’ve asked enough questions and seen them perform certain movements that you know what imbalances they have and know exactly how to fix them. This will blow a prospective client's mind. When trainer’s don’t succeed, I find their biggest issue is they just take the client straight to the gym floor and just run them through a hard workout. While this may get them to sweat, you aren’t providing any actual unique value. Use what information you gathered asking questions, to start building some exercises and a plan around how you’d help them achieve that specific goal.

Show Them The Solution

This is where you start to stand out from the rest of the trainers. If you see they are rounding their shoulders for example, show them 1-2 corrective exercises where they will find immediate relief, or a proper posture correction. Get them to acknowledge how much these small adjustments have already helped them. This will start to bring the value you bring to the table and what they can expect to see from you. Explain to them why they have these issues, what causes them, and why what you are giving them will fix that issue.

Show Them a Variety Of Plans

This is a big moment. At this point you will be sitting them down and trying to close the deal. You should have already demonstrated your value on the floor by giving them exercises to help acknowledge their imbalances.

Now your goal is to present three options for them to choose from. The goal here is to get away from asking “yes” or “no” questions. If you ask them a question they can say no to it is missing the point. You want to provide them with multiple options based on the frequency they plan to come in. A lot of times, prospective clients think they have to be with you every day and it sounds like a daunting expense. Show them what a program looks like if they decide to train with you one, two, and three days a week. Based on what they choose they’d do the remaining one or two workouts on their own. So now it comes down to a matter of adherence and how much they think they can handle on their own versus needing you.

Dominate The Big Box First

As mentioned before, completely book your schedule at a big box gym first. If you are able to do this, then you are only proving how good of a trainer you are, and how well your ability to sell yourself is. I’ve seen too many trainers leave a corporate gym too early and think they can do better going private, only to come back because they ran out of clients. It’s not just about booking clients, but retaining them and being able to have a CONTINUAL pipeline of new clients coming in for when your current clients eventually leave.

Bonus: In this day in age, social media is an important factor. You should have an IG or Tiktok account demonstrating your knowledge. Don’t make your account all about selling your services or you’ll just look like a snakey salesman. Provide valuable information that helps them out. Put out content consistently so that these potential clients know you are the person to come to when they have questions or eventually want to work with you.

Ultimately it is about getting your reps in. Learning to sell yourself, and learning how to apply what knowledge you have towards helping them get to their goals. If you can do this consistently, while not having a loss of enthusiasm for trying to win clients over, you will do great.

How to Become a Successful Personal Trainer

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Joe Talarico

Joe is a certified Precision Nutrition and strength & conditioning coach. He assisted the UCLA Women’s Tennis team in winning their 2014 NCAA Championship Title, as well as study under the great strength coaches at Pepperdine University. He was a collegiate rower at the University of Rhode Island (where he got his Kinesiology degree) as well as an amateur physique competitor. He is currently the master trainer at Upgrade Labs in Santa Monica where he is combining his years of training clients in the gym with newer technology to optimize their performance and recovery. He also cohosts The RelationSH*T Show Podcast with his fiancée where they discuss all relationship topics unfiltered from who pays on dates, to open relationships.

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