7 key traits on being a Phenomenal Personal Trainer
Sometimes people ask me how to become a good personal trainer. It is always nice and flattering to hear that from someone, and also it is encouraging to know that someone else wants to become a personal trainer because honestly my style isn’t going to help everyone, and there are not enough trainers out there. What people I can’t reach someone else may be able to reach because we all have our own personal style.
My theory is this. Anyone can teach you how to do a squat. Anyone can give you information on nutrition, etc. ANY certified trainer has the education to know how to teach you how to work out and knows how to guide you on how to eat. In fact, if a person really wanted to, they could study books, watch videos, and pretty much teach themselves how to exercise and how to eat. That is not where you carry your value.
Here’s what I have to say to trainers that think they know more, study more, have a better exercise style than the trainer next door or down the street you are wrong and you have the wrong attitude about training people.
The top quality of a phenomenal trainer is
1. Be a good listener- In this line of work you will hear a lot of things. The truth is to retain clients you can’t just pretend to listen. People know when you are faking it. You have to be an active listener. Remember this is your client and it is their time not yours. People do not want a distracted trainer who keeps checking their phone or a trainer who constantly asks the same question only to get the same answer back. Sure it happens sometimes, but remember, clients want you to listen to them.
They do not want to feel as if they are talking to a wall, they can do that at home. Remember it is okay for you to talk, but make sure your clients needs are being met and you are listening. If you need help with this make a conscious effort before you train the person to remember a few things that they said last time and ask about it during the current session so that the client can know that in fact you have been listening to them this whole time.
2. Don’t gossip- As a trainer you might find that your clients will reveal a lot. You may even feel like an unlicensed therapist at times listening to the lives and problems of many different people that come through your doors. Remember everything that is said to you is confidential. Do not go talking about it to anyone else, and especially don’t talk about other clients to your clients. This is a BIG NO NO. If you do this you will find that you will lose clients fast because clients expect confidentiality so they will not be able to trust you if you are sharing others information.
3. Be sincere- As a trainer you can’t be fake and you cannot pretend to care and actually not care. People will see right through that. You must actually care about your client’s life and their success in your gym. If you find an individual that walks through your doors that you just cant seem to care about just drop that person as a client. Trust me on this one. You may think you want to make money and help every person that walks through your doors. However, there are times where personality just doesn’t mix or you just can’t find a way to sincerely care about an individual. It will save both of you time.
4. Know your limits- As a trainer you probably want to help everybody and although you can probably help a lot of people there are some people that you just can’t. For example if you train athletic adults and someone comes in with serious ongoing back pain and they want you to help rehabilitate their back and you have no idea how to be honest with yourself and just let the person know that you are uncomfortable working with someone that has those issues. Or maybe you do know how to work with that individual but you only teach super high intensity classes that would not suit the person. Do NOT stick the person in that class. Instead, kindly admit that you don’t currently have a class that allows for those types of modifications that you would need to do.
5. Be professional- You must always be a professional. You may have close relationships with some of the people that you work and it is okay to talk to other clients about other things than exercise. But make sure that you do not go out, hang out, or go partying with people that you train. Sure, you may be tempted to go out as friends especially if you are in a similar age group, but once you cross the line you will no longer be seen as a professional and you will LOSE YOUR VALUE as a trainer. You will be seen as just another friend who can offer fitness advice.
You may think it won’t harm your relationship but make sure if you are doing things outside of a personal training session or a class it is something that is professionally related. For example, I have some bootcampers who want to run their first 5k. So I will support them and attend the event. In an event like this I am still seen as a professional and will be regarded as an exercise expert, but other events such as a Superbowl party is a huge no no if you want to be seen as a professional. If you really can’t stand it and want to be friends with one of your clients and hang out with them outside of professional events find them a new trainer and just simply be their friend. It’s your choice.
**Added note: This includes social media. If this means creating a separate social media page just for your clients do it. Make your account or any other inappropriate or unprofessional aspects private**
6. Create a positive environment- This one is simple. Be positive and promote it. Remember that half hour or hour might be the only positive time in someones day. Work might be rough and home might be worse. Your gym or training session might be their only escape. Keep it positive.
7. Know your stuff- Be knowledgeable. This is pretty self explanatory. Keep up to date on your knowledge. Don’t just read popular fitness magazines, etc. Read actual reputable sources. You are the expert. Act like it.