If you’ve decided to become a personal trainer that’s fantastic. Being a trainer can be a VERY rewarding experience. The feeling you get when you know you helped a client make a huge transformation is such a wonderful feeling.
Having said that, the process to become a SUCCESSFUL trainer isn’t easy. It’s hard. Very hard, if not approached the right way. I’d like to go over what I think are the 3 biggest things you need to do to become a successful personal trainer.
First General Guidelines
Before I get into what that is, I just want to quickly list the general stuff. You should have a certification. If you are just starting out I recommend learning the ropes at a big box gym vs trying to go it alone (unless you already have a big list of clients coming in).
Embrace The Process
This is probably the most important one to start out with. I don’t care how much you enjoy seeing people achieve the end result. I don’t care how much you love lifting in the gym for your own sake. Turning it into a PROFITABLE business is hard, hard work. Too many bad trainers get into this profession because they love the “flexibility”, and think because they had some success transforming their own bodies that they are ready to take on clients. That’s not how it works.
Like any job, you have to enjoy the process more than the end result. The result is just a bonus. The process is the discipline to wake up every day and hone your craft as a trainer. You will be working with a whole range of general population clients. Don’t think you get to pick and choose only young individuals or sports athletes. You are just starting out. Learning the ropes at a big box gym will teach you everything you need to know about selling yourself as a brand, picking up clients, giving free assessments, and keeping a client.
It’s one skill to generate clients. Can you hold them? Most trainers who try to go private end up losing half their clients and doing nothing to keep leads coming in. They ended up having to switch careers altogether because they lost motivation. Motivation gets you started. Embracing the process gets you through the long haul.
The training industry is a very saturated field. Now with social media there is even more noise. What are you doing to stand out? What information, or advice are you putting out there that shows people you know your stuff? How do people even know you can get them to their goals?
You have to remember, especially if you are just starting out. No one knows who you are. You are a regular trainer in a sea of thousands of trainers both better than you and worse than you. How are you going to stand out? I think too many trainers out the gate focus on money too early on and expect everything they do to translate quickly into money but that just isn’t the case.
Take a look at Mind Pump. How many free videos, and literally over a thousand podcast episodes have they put out of FREE information? What made you become a fan of Mind Pump? Was it because they made you buy something out the gate, or because you followed their stream of free information long enough to become a loyal fan that EVENTUALLY led into a sale?
With social media these days there are plenty of avenues to take advantage of. Post testimonials and tips on your Instagram and Tik Tok pages. Create a YouTube channel for more in depth guides on how to correct imbalances or technique. Build workout programs and courses you can sell online so people all over the world have access to you. All the BEST coaches I know to this day, are super successful and STILL providing tons of FREE content in order to generate more loyalty. Don’t ever think you are “above” doing something for free.
Always Be Learning
If you look at any of the top trainers in the world they have a ton of experience working with thousands of clients, and they don’t stop learning. They are constantly finding new research, and collaborating with other coaches to hone their craft. Find your weaknesses and strengthen them. The trainers who get left behind are the ones that think they can get away with doing the bare minimum. Think about how many times Sal, Justin, or Adam are citing research or new things they keep learning about bettering our mind, body, or health.
As I said before, it's a journey to become a successful trainer. You need to be able to embrace absorbing new information. Don’t let that paralyze you from taking action though. At some point you need to implement what you are learning or move onto the next thing.